Air abrasion is a method for removing tooth decay with tiny particles of aluminum oxide or silica — imagine a miniature sandblaster gently wearing away the decayed material without the friction of a drill. Your dentist uses compressed air to spray a stream of the sand-like particles at the affected tooth while an assistant generally suctions away the excess. Because air abrasion, or microabrasion, is most commonly used to prepare a tooth for a tooth filling, it is also often referred to as kinetic cavity preparation.
During your appointment, your dentist will generally provide safety goggles to protect your eyes from the spray of particles. He or she will also take steps to shield the surrounding teeth, to avoid unintentional wear of healthy tooth surface. A rubber dam may also be placed around the teeth not being treated. However, some dentists opt to use a protective layer of resin to achieve the same effect.
In addition to removing tooth decay, dentists often use air abrasion to prepare a tooth for dental sealants or dental bonding. Old composite resin fillings can often be removed with the technique as well. In some cases, air abrasion can even be used to gently remove stains on the tooth surface.
Locating hidden decay before it destroys tooth structure (from the inside out) is a major goal for modern dentistry. The widespread use of fluoride supplements in dental materials, toothpastes and drinking water has made tooth surfaces harder and more resistant to decay. However, diagnosing cavities beneath the hard surfaces is more challenging because the disease process can start through microscopic defects in the hard surface enamel and can readily spread to the softer tooth structure beneath the surface.
X-Rays and probing with an explorer are limited in detecting sub-surface decay, particularly when the cavity is in its early stages. Fortunately, the new DIAGNOdent is a major breakthrough that allows your dentist to monitor the areas below the hard surfaces, locating hidden decay. The use of DIAGNOdent paired with treatment stops the spread of disease before it destroys the tooth from within.
In a nutshell, an intraoral camera is a small video camera that takes an X-ray of the outside of the gum or tooth. The intraoral camera resembles an oversized pen and although usage varies depending on the model-type, this image-taking device is typically outfitted with a disposable protective sheath for each new patient. While simultaneously viewing a monitor, the dentist inserts the camera into a patient’s mouth and gently shifts it about so that images can be taken from a variety of angles.
The intraoral camera is especially useful during dental restoration procedures. For example, if you were to have an amalgam tooth filling replaced with a composite resin filling, your dentist could use the intraoral camera to take “before and after” pictures and display the results simultaneously for you to see!
In addition to being a great diagnostic tool, the intraoral camera is a fantastic educational aid. Instead of merely explaining to you what’s happening inside your mouth, your dentist can actually show you. And, unlike conventional X-ray images that require processing time, there is no development time associated with intraoral cameras: The immediately available images that this tool renders can be a great time-saver for both you and your dentist.
You’ve always been told – seeing is believing. Dr. Goloskov believes this as well, as he can’t treat what he can’t see, and exceptional dentistry requires an expert attention to detail. With the use of magnification optics, Dr. Goloskov is able to visualize things not otherwise perceptible to the naked eye. Not only improving the quality of care for his patients, but the use of the magnification optics also allows for an expanded range of treatments offered.
The Benefits of Magnification:
- Magnified Image
- Increasing Precision
- More Accurate Diagnosis
- Improved Dental Care
Chances are you may already be familiar with ultrasonic scalers — or at least, your teeth are. They are the tools of choice for many dentists and dental hygienists. Why? Because they’re so good at removing the buildup of stains, dental plaque and calculus (also called tartar) from the crown (above the gum) and root (below the gum) surfaces of the teeth. Since the removal of plaque and calculus helps eliminate harmful bacteria beneath the gum line, cleaning with an ultrasonic scaler (sometimes called “root debridement”) is a primary means for preventing gum disease.
The piezoelectric variety moves in a linear motion. With its vigorous, repetitive motion, the tip is easily able to break up hardened deposits on the tooth without damaging it. Some tips are so fine that they can be used not only on the crown surfaces of teeth, but on the roots as well. The ultrasonic scaler can rapidly remove tough stains and tartar, meaning less time for the patient in the chair, and less fatigue for the clinician. In fact, the tool’s tip moves so quickly that it must be cooled by a constant stream of liquid, a process called lavage.
Generally speaking, anyone who needs a deep cleaning of the teeth, both above and below the gum line, can benefit from ultrasonic scaling. This treatment is especially important as a preventive measure for people who may be prone to periodontal (gum) disease. In many instances, ultrasonic scalers are used in combination with traditional hand scalers for a thorough cleaning.
Detecting oral abnormalities early leads to more treatment options, potentially less invasive or radical treatments and better patient outcomes.
The VELscope® which centers on a wireless, handheld scope that applies tissue fluorescence visualization to identify oral mucosal abnormalities early – often months or even years before they can be identified with the unassisted eye.