Franklin Park Dental Associates, Ltd.
General Dentistry

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9767 West Franklin Avenue
Franklin Park, IL 60131
847-455-6663
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Academy of Laser Dentistry

Academy of Laser Dentistry

American Dental Association American Dental Association
Academy of General Dentistry Academy of General Dentistry
 


TO TELL THE TOOTH : Read Dr. Pietrini's current monthly article

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To Tell The Tooth
Read Dr. Pietrini's current monthly article from the Fra Noi newspaper.

 

Air Abrasion...

Dr. Pietrini writes a monthly column for Fra Noi, an Italian newspaper. Articles related to the topic of Air Abrasion are featured below. Click here to view this month's article

 

Just Drill It by Dr. Pietrini
Many times during a golf match, while lining up a putt, I have had my friend Flip tell me to "drill it into the hole." I usually reply that I am trying to enjoy my round of golf and ask him if he would not refer to the term "drill." If you are old enough to have been a dental patient prior to the 1950's, you would remember the bone-chilling effects of a belt- driven, slow-speed dental drill with carbon steel burs that made you think your tooth was going up in smoke. Since local anesthetics were seldom used prior to preparing teeth for fillings, unpleasant visual effects, sounds, odors and pain are stamped in the memories of previous generations of dental patients. It was not until the 1960's that invention of the high-speed drill and more frequent use of anesthetics helped to shorten the time of the average dental visit and helped to reduce the pain that a patient would experience.

In 1959, as a high school freshman, I remember taking a reading comprehension test that had a section on dentistry. The topic was about an unconventional method of removing decay from teeth with a device that worked like a sandblaster. As it turns out, in 1945, Dr. Robert Black wrote an article on what he called "airbrasion." In 1951, the S.S. White Company introduced the "Airdent," and sold about 2000 of these dental units. At this time, the typical dental filling was either silver alloy (amalgam) or gold. Since this system produced a cavity preparation that was not suitable for these filling materials, this technology was lost until the 1990's, when American Dental Technologies developed the first modern "air abrasion" unit. Despite the improvements in comfort and efficiency in dentistry, there was an unending desire to reduce the need for injections and the whirring sound of the "drill." For the first time, a practical alternative to the dental drill and new approach to cavity preparation was available.

Air abrasion is based on the theory of kinetic energy. The machines perform like mini-sandblasters. An abrasive powder comes out of a tiny nozzle and is sprayed towards the stain and decay in the tooth. Unlike the dental drill, there is no heat or vibration when air abrasion is used resulting in little or no discomfort. The cavity preparation is ideal for placing tooth colored, bonded fillings for patients of all ages and preventative sealants for children. Often, treatment can be done without the need for injections. The drill is still necessary for removal of old silver and gold fillings, so in those cases it is usually necessary to give the patient anesthetic prior to treatment.

Dentists who are currently using air abrasion have discovered that they have changed their entire approach in the area of restorative dentistry. Gone are the days of "watching" a stained groove or pit in the tooth. In a matter of seconds, an easy diagnosis can be made with air abrasion as to whether a patient needs a sealant or filling placed.

Fluoride hardened enamel and high-speed x-ray film can make detection of some types of decay more difficult. In my next article, I will discuss how one type of laser can be used for cavity detection and another laser can be used to remove decay.

 

 

 

 

 

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