Air abrasion, also called “microabrasion,” is a commonly used technique in microdentistry for removal of small areas of decay.
The air abrasion tool works like a mini sand-blaster. Small particles of silica or aluminum oxide are propelled toward the tooth by compressed air. When the particles hit the tooth surface, they dislodge small particles of decay, which are then suctioned away. The air abrasion technique reduces the need for anesthesia and eliminates the heat, noise, and unpleasantness associated with dental drilling. However, the technique is mainly useful for small cavities and cannot be used to treat larger areas of decay. It is especially helpful in treating young children who might normally be scared of the dental drill.