Using Air Abrasion for Composite Repair

March 28, 2022 Lee Ann Brady DMD

A while ago, I had the opportunity to repair a small bubble in an old composite restoration, and I got to thinking you might like to know how I use air abrasion to do this type of repair.

I don’t know how many times you see this, but I frequently see small holes in old composite restorations. In many cases, the margins look good. Everything looks good about the restoration except where there was an air bubble when the composite was placed and now there is a little hole on the occlusal surface. Food can get trapped and staining can occur in the hole, but the hole doesn’t descend into the tooth. And sometimes I see a little gap on the margin of an old composite with staining or early decay. In both cases, I don’t want to remove the entire restoration.

I use a lot of air abrasion in my practice, and in particular, I find it is wonderful for repairing old composite. I have the EtchMaster® from Groman. It’s a little handpiece that is super easy and convenient. It makes using air abrasion chairside something you will want to do every day.

Use 50-micron aluminum oxide air abrasion to clean out the stain, etch the old composite, and etch the tooth. If any tooth structure is to be etched, this air abrasion is a replacement for phosphoric acid. So, in one easy step, you have prepped the tooth and the composite. A plus of this technique is that local anesthetic is not needed if the hole does not extend into the tooth.

Now you can go in and use your dentin adhesive and replace your repair composite. Today, dentin adhesives contain MDP or PMMA which is the chemistry we need for the new composite to bond to the old composite. If I were to repair a composite restoration with a handpiece and a burr, I would not get the same bonded interface between the new resin and the old resin.

For both ease, patient comfort, and the best bond, I choose to treat previously polymerized resin with air abrasion and then some sort of resin that contains either MDP or PMMA.

Related Course

E2: Occlusal Appliances & Equilibration

DATE: February 9 2025 @ 8:00 am - February 13 2025 @ 2:30 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 44

Dentist Tuition: $ 7400

Single Occupancy with Ensuite Private Bath (per night): $ 345

What if you had one tool that increased comprehensive case acceptance, managed patients with moderate to high functional risk, verified centric relation and treated signs and symptoms of TMD? Appliance…

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Lee Ann Brady DMD

Dr. Lee Ann Brady is passionate about dentistry, her family and making a difference. She is a general dentist and owns a practice in Glendale, AZ limited to restorative dentistry. Lee’s passion for dental education began as a CE junkie herself, pursuing lots of advanced continuing education focused on Restorative and Occlusion. In 2005, she became a full time resident faculty member for The Pankey Institute, and was promoted to Clinical Director in 2006. Lee joined Spear Education as Executive VP of Education in the fall of 2008 to teach and coordinate the educational curriculum. In June of 2011, she left Spear Education, founded leeannbrady.com and joined the dental practice she now owns as an associate. Today, she teaches at dental meetings and study clubs both nationally and internationally, continues to write for dental journals and her website, sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, Inside Dentistry and DentalTown Magazines and is the Director of Education for The Pankey Institute.

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Your Patients Want Thorough Oral Cancer Screening

July 20, 2020 Deborah Bush, MA

Why Patients Want Early Detection

For more than a decade, there has been an increase in the occurrence of head and neck cancers in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, over 53,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer in 2020. Worldwide, new cases of oral and oropharyngeal cancer exceed a devastating 640,000 people per year.

Head and neck cancers include those occurring in the lips, mouth, tongue, and throat. These cancers are often referred to as oral cancer or oropharyngeal (back of the mouth and throat) cancer. There are two distinct pathways by which most people develop these cancers. The one most familiar is through the use of tobacco and alcohol, and the other is through exposure to the HPV-16 virus (human papilloma virus, version 16). HPV-16 is a more recently identified etiology and the same one that is responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women. In less than 7% of oral cancer cases, there is no known cause, and it is believed that these cancers are related to a genetic predisposition.

While oral and oropharyngeal cancers are still considered uncommon, The Oral Cancer Foundation reported in 2019 that approximately 132 people in the US are diagnosed each day and one person dies from oral cancer every hour of every day. This sobering statistic has not improved in many years. The most recent statistics reported by the American Cancer Society indicate there has been an ongoing rise in cases of oropharyngeal cancer linked to HPV infection in both men and women.

Oral cancers have an 80%-90% survival rate when found at early stages. Unfortunately, the majority of oral cancers are found in the late stages and this is the reason for the very high five-year death rate of 43%. Late-stage diagnosis is said to be a result of many complex conditions including a lack of public awareness and a lack of professional screenings in dental and medical offices.

Automatically Include Cancer Screening

Within your exam fee, I urge you to include a thorough oral cancer exam. Make sure your patients know the screening is automatically included in your new patient and regular exams. While performing the screening, talk about what you are doing and why. Patients are becoming more and more proactive about their health and are more than pleased to know about the inclusion of the screening. This is a health-centered benefit of your practice that will distinguish you. If your patients are aware that you are doing it, they will mention it to others and their confidence in you will grow.

If you find you and your team are struggling to implement this, you can reach out to OralCancerCause.org for ideas and coaching.

Another Opportunity to Engage New Patients

My friend Linda Miles, co-founder of Oral Cancer Cause, says, “During the last few years of my teleconsults, I encouraged each dentist to develop a strong relationship with their local oncologists, radiologists and ENT specialists so that he or she would become the go-to dentist to do dental clearances for all cancer patients especially the head and neck cancer patients. In order to start radiation or chemo, all pending dental treatment must be completed. This ranges from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars per patient to the practice. Dental Oncology is a growth path many should develop.”

Related Course

E4: Posterior Reconstruction and Completing the Comprehensive Treatment Sequence

DATE: November 7 2024 @ 8:00 am - November 11 2024 @ 2:30 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 44

Dentist Tuition: $ 7300

Single Occupancy with Ensuite Private Bath (per night): $ 290

THIS COURSE IS SOLD OUT The purpose of this course is to help you develop mastery with complex cases involving advanced restorative procedures, precise sequencing and interdisciplinary coordination. Building on…

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About Author

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Deborah Bush, MA

Deb Bush is a freelance writer specializing in dentistry and a subject matter expert on the behavioral and technological changes occurring in dentistry. Before becoming a dental-focused freelance writer and analyst, she served as the Communications Manager for The Pankey Institute, the Communications Director and a grant writer for the national Preeclampsia Foundation, and the Content Manager for Patient Prism. She has co-authored and ghost-written books for dental authorities, and she currently writes for multiple dental brands which keeps her thumb on the pulse of trends in the industry.

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Topical Antioxidants

March 17, 2020 Lee Ann Brady DMD

It used to be a challenge for me to help patients who came in with recurrent aphthous ulcers, lichen planus or erosive lichen planus, burning mouth, burning tongue, or geographic tongue that was uncomfortable. I’d worry about the pharmaceutical reactions of prescription options such as prednisone, steroid mouth rinses, and lidocaine rinses. Now, that challenge is greatly reduced due to the success we have had treating these problems with nonprescription topical antioxidants. 

There is a group of nonprescription topical antioxidant products that I rely on weekly from PerioSciences. These products not only promote healing but also provide significant relief from soft tissue pain, xerostomia, and burning sensations in the mouth. This is PerioSciences’ AO ProVantage line of mouthwashes, gel, and toothpasteThey are without a doubt the best products I have come across in my career for oral medicine applications. They were developed by dental scientists and other researchers and contain two antioxidants from the skin of apples. The products are marketed to help with a number of things in addition to oral wound healing, for example, to treat superficial gingivitis and to maintain patients who are at advanced risk of perio inflammation.  

In my practice, I have two patients who have chronic erosive lichen planus. We discovered that the application of the AO ProVantage gel to a lesion, four or more times a day, allows the body to heal the lesion. Within three to four weeks, the lesion is gone completely. After lesions are gone, my patients stop using the gel and start using AO ProRinse three to four times a day to prevent the outbreak of another erosive lesion. If they get another lesion, they go back to using the gel. The mouth rinse has reduced the number of outbreaks for these patients, and having these products on hand, has allowed my patients to successfully manage outbreaks on their own. 

I have lots of older patients who suffer with burning mouth or burning tongue. AO ProRinse mouth rinses have worked well for them. Some of my patients have severe dry mouth in association with the burning—some with Sjogren’s syndrome, some with Lupus disease. We start them on the hydrating formula of AO ProRinse, and they rinse their mouths four to six times a day with remarkable results. It’s also been of great value to my patients going through chemotherapy to keep their mouths hydrated and comfortable.  

The PerioSciences products are nonprescription and now readily available via AmazonOnce introduced to the products and given guidance, my patients have found it easy to determine when to start using the products and how often to use them. Topical antioxidants are just one more example of industry breakthroughs I am grateful to have in my clinical toolkit and widely available to patients.  

Related Course

Pankey Scholar 15A

DATE: January 16 2025 @ 6:00 pm - January 18 2025 @ 3:00 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 0

Dentist Tuition: $ 3495

Single Occupancy with Ensuite Private Bath (per night): $ 345

“A Pankey Scholar is one who has demonstrated a commitment to apply the principles, practices and philosophy they learned through their journey at The Pankey Institute.”   At its core,…

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About Author

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Lee Ann Brady DMD

Dr. Lee Ann Brady is passionate about dentistry, her family and making a difference. She is a general dentist and owns a practice in Glendale, AZ limited to restorative dentistry. Lee’s passion for dental education began as a CE junkie herself, pursuing lots of advanced continuing education focused on Restorative and Occlusion. In 2005, she became a full time resident faculty member for The Pankey Institute, and was promoted to Clinical Director in 2006. Lee joined Spear Education as Executive VP of Education in the fall of 2008 to teach and coordinate the educational curriculum. In June of 2011, she left Spear Education, founded leeannbrady.com and joined the dental practice she now owns as an associate. Today, she teaches at dental meetings and study clubs both nationally and internationally, continues to write for dental journals and her website, sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, Inside Dentistry and DentalTown Magazines and is the Director of Education for The Pankey Institute.

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Your Patients Want to Know…How to Better Control Diabetes through Oral Health

October 23, 2019 Deborah Bush, MA

When it comes to diabetes, let your patients know about the impact oral inflammation can have on their health. Explain what you can do to help them and what they can do to help themselves. Clarify what they can do to take control so that they can live happier, longer lives.

Give your patients optimal assistance.

Include questions in your health interview about whether the patient has been diagnosed with diabetes, has been counseled about being at risk (prediabetic), and/or has a family history of diabetes. If your patient affirmatively answers to any of these questions, inquire about what they know about the link between gum inflammation and systemic diseases, such as diabetes.

Gently, explain why you are concerned.

Even if it is slight, gum inflammation is harmful when chronic. Let them know that among other health problems, persistent inflammation exacerbates diabetes and development of diabetes. It would help to tell them a story about an anonymous dental patient whose blood sugar decreased over a matter of six months and improved again within a year due to the elimination of gum inflammation.

Invite your patients to begin a new oral health regimen.

Let them know that you will partner with them to track their compliance, evaluation, and improvement. Inspire them with a story about another anonymous patient whose oral health and diabetes was improved by starting a healthier regimen.  They too can experience the healing power of making healthy choices and developing healthy habits throughout their life.

Your patients will start to report to their physicians, family, and friends about the conversations you have had with them. They will all be able to see the efforts you are making to control inflammation in their mouths, and the evidence of improved health. You might begin to see referrals from these patients and their doctors start to follow.

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DATE: July 25 2025 @ 8:00 am - July 29 2025 @ 2:30 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 41

Dentist Tuition: $ 7400

Single Occupancy with Ensuite Private Bath (per night): $ 345

Understanding that “form follows function” is critical for knowing how to blend what looks good with what predictably functions well. E3 is the phase of your Essentials journey in which…

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About Author

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Deborah Bush, MA

Deb Bush is a freelance writer specializing in dentistry and a subject matter expert on the behavioral and technological changes occurring in dentistry. Before becoming a dental-focused freelance writer and analyst, she served as the Communications Manager for The Pankey Institute, the Communications Director and a grant writer for the national Preeclampsia Foundation, and the Content Manager for Patient Prism. She has co-authored and ghost-written books for dental authorities, and she currently writes for multiple dental brands which keeps her thumb on the pulse of trends in the industry.

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Your Patients Want to Know…Invisalign & Oral Health

June 10, 2019 Deborah Bush, MA
In the Pankey Institute’s Invisalign focus course, course leaders invite you to consider the ways in which Invisalign can be used to enhance what you do for patients on a daily basis.

One of the most significant benefits to be gained from Invisalign is achieving a more optimal environment for eliminating gum disease and maintaining periodontal health. Another is the preservation of natural tooth structure.

In my position as Director of Content for Patient Prism Academy (at www.patientprism.com), I work daily in helping dental teams communicate with their patients and prospective patients, and sometimes even among themselves. Knowledge translation is my strength. I’ve made it my business to know what patients want to know. The following information is provided in a form you can easily include in your treatment presentation when discussing dental alignment with your patients.

You know this, but I remind you here. The ideal candidate for aligner treatment is not limited to esthetic cases. Your patients who are battling gum inflammation and inflammatory diseases such as diabetes and CVD, or your patients whose teeth are worn, chipped, crazed, or perhaps even mobile, will be receptive to this particular discussion.

They Just Don’t Know

The ADA has told us that, although 75% of adults (80% of adults over age 65) have some form of gum disease, only 60% have any significant knowledge about it. It’s not surprising, then, that even fewer have an understanding of the association between their dental alignment and the health of their teeth, their dental alignment and the health of their supporting bone and gum tissue, and their dental alignment and their systemic health.

Your Patients Want to Know What Studies Have Shown

  • Gum disease has surpassed tooth decay as the leading cause of tooth loss.
  • Plaque accumulates more where teeth are crowded.
  • Where teeth are crowded, more types of harmful oral bacteria are present in the plaque below the gum line.
  • When teeth are crowded, there is increased risk for development of periodontal disease and tooth loss.
  • When teeth are crowded, there is increased risk for chronic gum inflammation.
  • Even low grade chronic inflammation harms periodontal tissues and systemic health.
  • Crowded teeth, in combination with any of the following, increases the patient’s risk of gum inflammation, periodontal disease, and systemic diseases:
    • Tobacco use
    • Diabetes
    • Heart disease

This is to say that, if more than one of these factors is present, the risk to health is even more.

  • Gum disease, chronic or acute, exacerbates (makes worse) cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
  • Poorly aligned upper and lower teeth put abnormal force on each other. Over time or suddenly, this abnormal stress wears down, chips, or creates cracks in precious dental enamel. The stress can also weaken root support, inflame periodontal ligaments and nerves, and result in loose teeth (teeth that wiggle).

Your Patients Also Want to Know

  • Battling gum inflammation, periodontal disease, and systemic disease can all become problematic due to crowded teeth. Until teeth are aligned properly, the personal cost can (will) grow in terms of the extent of treatment needed and the time and expense required for treatment to restore health and quality of life.
  • Additional benefits of Invisalign treatment will be a more esthetic smile and proper tooth spacing for restoration of damaged teeth (and replacement of missing teeth if one or more teeth are missing).

Feel free to copy any of this to an information sheet to utilize in your consultations. Because your patients view videos fed from YouTube via your social media, I encourage you to use these bullets to organize your thoughts to prepare a video presentation for patients.

Related Course

E2: Occlusal Appliances & Equilibration

DATE: August 10 2025 @ 8:00 am - August 14 2025 @ 2:30 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 44

Dentist Tuition: $ 7400

Single Occupancy with Ensuite Private Bath (per night): $ 345

What if you had one tool that increased comprehensive case acceptance, managed patients with moderate to high functional risk, verified centric relation and treated signs and symptoms of TMD? Appliance…

Learn More>

About Author

User Image
Deborah Bush, MA

Deb Bush is a freelance writer specializing in dentistry and a subject matter expert on the behavioral and technological changes occurring in dentistry. Before becoming a dental-focused freelance writer and analyst, she served as the Communications Manager for The Pankey Institute, the Communications Director and a grant writer for the national Preeclampsia Foundation, and the Content Manager for Patient Prism. She has co-authored and ghost-written books for dental authorities, and she currently writes for multiple dental brands which keeps her thumb on the pulse of trends in the industry.

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