Utilizing Chair-side Air Abrasion

January 13, 2019 Lee Ann Brady DMD

Chair-side air abrasion has numerous advantages, especially today when we use adhesive retention so much of the time.

The advantages for many years have been outweighed by the logistic challenges. With the advent of small, lightweight, easy to use air abrasion handpieces this is no longer true. When I became aware of the etchmaster I was skeptical, but I am now a believer and use air abrasion int he operatory all day long.

The Clinical Applications

One of the first things that many of us will utilize air abrasion for is to “etch” zirconia restorations for bonding during final seating. The only way to prepare the inside of a zirconia restoration is with 30-50 micron aluminum oxide. The particle size and type is critical. The ideal pressure is 1 bar (15psi). Next on my list is to clean tooth preparations prior to bonding and cementation. To me there is no better way to assure the removal of temporary cement and prepare a tooth for maximal adhesive retention than with 30 micron aluminum oxide.

My list goes on as I have started to prepare small class one cavity preparations using small glass beads in my chair-side unit. Cleaning out the occlusal grooves prior to a sealant and etching un-prepped enamel for anterior esthetic composite margins are other uses. In addition sodium bicarbonate can be used to remove stain. Now that I have a convenient, easy to use unit, I find more and more reasons everyday.

Air Abrasion Made Easy

When I first began to experiment with air abrasion the biggest challenge was the equipment and managing the logistics.  The Etchmaster is a small 3 to 4 inch attachment that connects to either a 3 or 4 hole line on your unit. The pressure is precisely controlled, for great clinical outcomes, and it means the patients mouth is not full of powder when you are done. The powders come in pre-filled tips that slide into the top of the hand-piece. You can choose from a variety of sizes and particle types and sizes. This means no more filling a reservoir with powder, wondering if you have too little or too much. It also means not wondering what particle type and size is in the reservoir the next time you go to use the unit.

Have you explored the clinical advantages of air abrasion? How has this been beneficial in your practice?

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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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