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Barrie dentist: Air abrasion – we got it!

Hey, our Barrie dental office has just taken delivery of a PrepStart Air Abrasion machine!  Great, but what is this piece of equipment for, and how can it benefit you?  We’re glad you asked!

We’re not big into promoting the gadgetry we have, because honestly, tools are tools.  There are always more gadgets to buy out there, and nobody should be impressed by bells and whistles.  We’ve written before that good dentistry is not about the equipment, it’s about the operator.  However, there are things that this thing can do that no other machine can, and that’s why we’re telling you about it.  It fits right in with our goal of having up-to-date technology that produces evidence-based results.  From a practical point of view, it’s not enough that cosmetic dentistry looks good on the day it is inserted; it has to look good for years afterwards.  One of the common problems is brown staining at the edges of bonded fillings, veneers, or crowns from microleakage.  Using air abrasion (or more accurately, particle abrasion) is intended to help minimize this.

The PrepStart Air Abrasion machine by Danville.  This quiet device removes surface debris by sending a fine spray of abrasive particles onto the area to be bonded.  The end result is incomparably improved resin bond strengths.
The PrepStart Air Abrasion machine by Danville. This quiet device removes surface debris by sending a fine spray of abrasive particles onto the area to be bonded. The end result is incomparably improved resin bond strengths.

An air abrasion machine can be thought of as a dental mini-sandblaster.  It was originally conceived as a method to remove decay from teeth by spraying a stream of abrasive particles at the tooth.  And yes, our machine is fully capable of doing that.  This, though, is not why we bought it.  For our purposes, the air abrasion machine is used to clean your tooth just prior to any dental bonding.  By removing surface debris, any subsequent bonding will achieve better adhesion, and ultimately, gives us more confidence that the work we do will last.

Bonding is a chemical process, and that means that the surface to be bonded to, whether that is a tooth that is receiving a porcelain veneer, porcelain crown, or even just a white filling, must be clean.  Up to now, we have been following the standard protocol of acid etching of a tooth to achieve a clean surface (phosphoric acid etching).  We now know, that a quick surface clean with air abrasion, then followed by the acid etch, produces a significantly higher bond strength.

We have now put in practice the use of the PrepStart air abrasion machine when bonding anything to teeth – a quick clean with the powder, and the tooth is ready to go!  There is no added cost to the procedure, and minimal (seconds, in fact) added time.  This device is designed and manufactured by Danville Engineering in California.

The relevant data comes as follows*:

Influence of Air Abrasion and Long-Term Storage on the Bond Strength of Self-Etching Adhesives to Dentin Franca FMG, Santos AJS, Lovadino JR Operative Dentistry 2007;32(3): 217-224

Air Abrasion as an Adjunct to Conventional Acid Etching in Orthodontic Bonding Nandini S. , Hemalatha S. , Sanju K. Somiah  J. Dental Sciences and Research 2011;2(2): 1-5

Effect of air abrasion particles on the bond strength of adhesive resin cement to zirconia core. Kulunk S., Kulunk T., Ural C., Kurt M., Baba S. Acta Odontol. Scand. 2011 Mar;69(2):88-94

The effects of tooth preparation cleansing protocols on the bond strength of self-adhesive resin luting cement to contaminated dentin. Chaiyabutr Y., Kois JC Oper. Dent. 2008 Sep-Oct;33(5):556-63

The effect of Tooth Preparation Cleansing Protocol Using Particle Abrasion on Bond Strength to Enamel/Dentin of Adhesively Retained Indirect Restorations Chaiyabutr Y., Kois JC Kois Research Center 2007.

 There you have it; a piece of equipment that we can actually get excited about.  Evidence-based results that we hope will translate into better clinical results.  Is this piece of equipment mandatory?  Nope.  Does it make every bonded dental restoration last longer?  Maybe, can’t say for sure.  But what we can say, is that it sure doesn’t hurt to have better bond strengths.  For a complete assessment of your oral condition, please contact us!  We’d love to be your dentist in Barrie.

* Credit where credit is due: the Kois Center in Seattle has been nothing but a practice-altering life-changing learning environment.  Much of the data as presented by the Kois Center.

Dr. Elston Wong Portrait

About Dr. Elston Wong

Dr. Elston Wong completed his dental degree at The University of Toronto in 1999 before arriving in Barrie in 2002. After graduating, he continued to learn everything he could about dentistry. Now he has taken the time to share important information for anyone to read.

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