Our dental care office offers the highest quality dental technology available in Woburn. Read more about the technology we offer to our patients below!
Air abrasion is making a splash in the world of dentistry, offering dentists and patients a way to eliminate plaque build-up and decaying areas of the teeth without the intimidation of loud, bulky dental equipment. No longer only reserved for cosmetic facials, abrasion is proving quite beneficial for dental purposes, helping to eliminate more tooth decay in a single sitting, rather than spread out treatments over multiple sessions.
Left untreated or merely covered up with a filling, tooth decay spreads to other areas of the teeth below the surface. That is why prior to filling in decayed areas of the teeth, dentists have traditionally used drills to remove the decayed tissues of the teeth before filling in cavities and sealing the teeth to prevent further deterioration. However, with dental air abrasion, drilling is unnecessary, which means more of the original tooth tissues remain intact, and patients may experience less anxiety overall.
Air abrasion is highly versatile and adaptable for multiple purposes. For example, in addition to removing decaying areas of the teeth, the fine stream of particle-infused air is also useful for removing stains from the surface areas of the teeth, as well as preparing, or “sanding,” the surface of the tooth prior to placing a sealant or bond. Air abrasion can even help remove old or cracked composite fillings that need to be replaced.
How Dental Air Abrasion Works
Prior to performing an air abrasion procedure, the dentist will place a protective rubber dam around the areas of the mouth and teeth that are not going to be treated in order to protect them from the particle stream. Similarly, patients are asked to put on protective eyewear to prevent irritation from any particles that may escape from the particle stream and into the air, where they could otherwise agitate the eyes.
Air abrasion consists of a very fine air stream filled with aluminum oxide, baking soda and silica ground into very small particles. The particles are combined with the stream of compressed gas or air, which the dentist then aims directly at the decaying portions of the tooth. Because the particle stream is so minute, even the tiniest areas of the teeth can be targeted, leaving more of the healthy tooth tissues behind.
When compared to a dental drill, air abrasion is much less intimidating, as it has no sound, heat, water stream or vibration. Furthermore, the air stream is not uncomfortable when used on the surface of the tooth, meaning there is no need for anesthesia or numbing injections All of these points make air abrasion a compelling choice for children and adults who may be afraid of dental work, although all patients can benefit from the technique.
Who is a Good Candidate for Air Abrasion?
Anyone with tooth decay or the beginning stages of tooth decay may be a good candidate for dental air abrasion. Although not effective for treating deep cavities or heavily decayed teeth, surface-area cavities respond well to air abrasion. The process typically takes less time overall than traditional preparation techniques, and it often releases patients to complete corrective procedures without the use of anesthesia or other sedatives.
Occasionally, dentists diagnose patients with periodontal disease, which is caused by bacteria growth beneath the gum line. Often, these patients must undergo a scaling and root planing, or SRP procedure. Although it sounds complicated, the procedure is a non-surgical means of cleaning deeply beneath the gum line.
Because periodontal disease is caused by bacteria that grows and infects the gums, an antibiotic may be needed to kill the bacteria causing the problem. In the past, this involved ordering patients to fill a prescription and remember to take an antibiotic pill for several days. However, if the patient failed to complete the antibiotic regimen, all of the bacteria may not have been eliminated, meaning the infection could return.
Now, dentists are using Arestin, which is a time-released antibiotic designed to slowly treat infected areas below the gum line. Dentists typically use Arestin immediately after conducting a scaling and root planing procedure, or at a scheduled SRP follow-up visit. Arestin is completely pain-free and frees patients of the need to take an antibiotic pill. By killing the bacteria that caused the periodontal disease, the gums are allowed to heal better. However, by killing the bacteria over the course of several days, Arestin ensures the gum can heal thoroughly without worry of the initial treatment area becoming infected again.
How Arestin Works
Arestin is filled with the antibiotic minocycline hydrochloride. Rather than just apply the antibiotic to the gums, the makers of Arestin encapsulated it in tiny microspheres that are not visible to the human eye. The microspheres are designed to release over time, rather than immediately upon application. That means that Arestin delivers consistent antibiotics directly to the bacteria in the gums over the course of several days without the patient having to do anything.
Many patients appreciate that Arestin does not require filling a prescription or remembering to take a pill twice each day. Furthermore, because Arestin is applied directly to the infected area, it provides a much more localized form of treating bacteria, rather than killing other healthy bacteria that is present in the body.
During the days following an Arestin treatment, patients should avoid eating crunchy foods or ingesting sticky foods, such as honey or candy. Also, flossing should be avoided in the areas treated with Arestin, because it can inhibit the antibiotic’s intended effects. So long as patients follow all instructions after treatment and begin incorporating good oral hygiene into a daily routine, Arestin should help reduce gum inflammation and bleeding, and it should safely eliminate periodontal disease and keep it away in the future.
Who Is a Candidate for Arestin?
Anyone who is suffering from periodontal disease is probably a good candidate for Arestin treatments. However, a dentist may recommend it outside of a scaling and root planing procedure if symptoms of gingivitis or other disease appear at a routine check-up. Additionally, dentists may want to ensure that periodontal disease is gone by recommending follow-up Arestin treatment to individuals who were previously diagnosed and treated for periodontal disease. However, it is only after a consultation with a dentist that anyone can know for sure whether Arestin is right for them.
Dental X-rays are one of the most important part of your regular dental treatment. Your dentist uses the specialized imaging technology to look for hidden tooth decay – also called cavities – and can show dental issues such as abscessed teeth, dental tumors, and cysts.
Additionally, your dental X-rays allow your dentist to see the condition of prior dental procedures, such as fillings, crowns, root canals, and bridges. And, too, your dentist will be able to look for possible bone loss as a result of periodontal gum disease and find hidden tartar build up.
In addition to diagnostics, your dentist may choose to perform dental X-rays in order to check for bone density as part of preparing you for dental implants, which require an adequate density in order to support the implants.
What are Digital Dental X-Rays?
Like old fashioned dental X-rays, digital dental X-rays are used by your dentist to take images of your mouth, including tooth structure and your jaw bones. In order to take the digital images, your dentist – or a dental technician – will place a small sensor in your mouth, carefully positioned. This small sensor is connected to the processing computer by a very thin wire.
Your dentist or the dental tech inputs the command for the the X-ray machine to send a X-ray through your teeth and into the sensor, effectively taking a photo of your tooth or teeth. The sensor captures the resulting image and sends it through the wire to the computer. Then your dentist will reposition the sensor and take additional digital X-rays until all of your teeth have been X-rayed.
With digital dental X-rays, your dentist or other dental professional is able to immediately see your teeth and jaw bones. This means that assessment and diagnosis is virtually instantaneous.
Digital Dental X-Rays – A Great Advance
Many dentists are now using digital dental X-rays, which have many benefits for you, as the patient. Among some of the many benefits for you, are:
- A reduction in the amount of radiation you are exposed to during the X-ray process.
- No need for dental film or processing chemicals in order for your dentist to be able to see the images.
- An almost instantaneous ability to see the X-ray images, which means, if you’re in pain, you’re not waiting for the images to be processed and then viewed.
- Your dentist is able to use color contrast in viewing and manipulating the X-ray image, in order to see all of the details in the image.
When you’re looking for a dentist, you would be well served to choose one who offers digital dental X-rays. The benefits are immense, the process is simple and painless, and you’ll be able to see the images when your dentist reviews them with you.
The intra-oral camera makes going to the dentist easier for both the patient and the dental health provider. Offices that use intra-oral cameras allow patients to be more interactive in the exam process, which provides patients with a greater sense of understanding and responsibility about personal dental health. Although a traditional visual inspection of the teeth may have sufficed in the past, technology has made it possible for dentists and patients to reap many more benefits from each health exam.
Early Detection of Dental Health Problems
The intra-oral camera enlarges the inside of the teeth to more than 40 times their actual size on a full color screen display. By zooming in on problem areas in affecting the teeth, dentists are capable of seeing much more than they could with the human eye alone. Often, dentists find the beginnings of periodontal disease or tooth decay that would have otherwise gone undetected if examined without the intra-oral camera.
The intra-oral camera is not just a diagnostic tool, but it also serves as an educational one too. In the past, dentists have struggled to explain dental decay and other health problems to patients. Most people cannot see well into their own mouths, which leaves dentists to drawing diagrams or using props to attempt to explain what is going on in the mouth of their patients.
With the intra-oral camera, however, the patient sees exactly what the dentist sees on an in-office screen. If necessary, the dentist can pause on a particular tooth or area of the mouth to point out problems and explain possible treatment options. This also frees the patient to ask questions and become a part of the examination process. When dentists can point out specific places on the actual teeth that are decaying, patients may have a better idea of how home hygiene practices and brushing techniques are affecting them.
Better Record Keeping
The intra-oral camera makes record keeping a breeze. Because the camera can take pictures of decay or the beginnings of oral health conditions, images can be printed and placed into patient files. Previously, dentists merely attempted to write an explanation of problems found during exams. Now, dentists can accurately track the progress of treatments or problems for years following a visit. Furthermore, patients can receive printed pictures of the conditions the dentist finds, which may be beneficial for filing insurance claims.
The intra-oral camera is very small and approximately the size of a pen. Because of its small size, the camera can reveal images of the teeth from angles previously unseen. All exams using the intra-oral camera are completely sanitary, as a different disposable camera cover is used on each patient every time. Images from the intra-oral camera may be digitally stored, printed or disposed of following an exam.