It is an instrument that works like a mini sandblaster to spray away decay. Air abrasion works by blowing a mixture of air and aluminum oxide particles on to the surface of the tooth. The particles bounce off the tooth and removes the decay.
The advantages of air abrasion are that it produces no heat, sound, or vibration. In many cases it can reduce or even eliminate the need for anesthesia. Because air abrasion cuts with great precision it helps preserve more of the healthy tooth structure. This is particularly advantageous when treating children. Many children treated with air abrasion early on avoid the apprehension and anxiety that may develop from more traditional methods.
Air abrasion is not for everyone. It is best suited for small areas of decay that are early in development (see Diagnodent) and cannot be used for areas where the decay is deep., In addition it cannot be used to remove old silver or amalgam fillings, crown preparations, or decay between the teeth.