Micro-Abrasion

Indications for treatment?

Teeth that are discoloured or have enamel defects such as Fluorosis and Tetracycline staining are the most common reasons for this procedure. Other reasons may include teeth that have undergone trauma or devitalised (No nerve in teeth/Have been Root Canal Filled). Fluorosis is where an excessive amount of fluoride has been taken into the body (large amounts of toothpaste) and has caused brown and white speckled marks in the enamel of the tooth.

Tetracycline is an antibiotic used to treat a number of bacterial infections. It is now considered an a disadvantage to prescribe this antibiotic to patients with developing teeth as it can consequently change the colour of the dentine in the teeth, causing a degree of yellowy, blue-grey discolouration. Tetracycline staining is known to be the most difficult discolouration of teeth to eradicate with tooth whitening and so micro abrasion may be considered to try and remove or reduce the appearance of the staining.

Trauma to a tooth and those teeth which have undergone Root Canal treatment can sometimes appear darker over time. This is because the blood pigments in the tooth infiltrate the dentine, causing a degree of discolouration. The success of the Microabrasion treatment will depend on the intensity of the discolouration of the tooth.

Tooth whitening may be a follow up treatment in the future to increase the desired results.

 

How is it performed?

Before we start the procedure, we will take photographs and present you with your current shade, so we have a good measure to how well the treatment has worked.

Microabrasion involves the removal of a small amount of surface enamel and classically incorporates both ‘abrasion’ with dental instruments and ‘erosion’ with an acid mixture.

An 18% Hydrochloric acid and pumice slurry technique is used to, step-by-step, to try and abrade the discolouration or stain from the tooth. This method is repeated several times.

It is a safe procedure as the area in which we are working on is isolated carefully with the use of a rubber dam (rubber sheet with a metal frame) to stop any materials going into the mouth.

After a few layers of enamel are removed, the result is evaluated. This process is repeated until the stain is gone or the process must be stopped for other reasons (enamel getting too thin or tooth getting sensitive).

After the process is complete, a fluoride varnish is placed on the teeth in order to reduce post-operative sensitivity. The entire process can take less than an hour.

 

Advantages

The procedure is less invasive than crowning or veneering the teeth and should be the first treatment to be considered as it’s simple and a fast procedure.

Studies have shown enamel microabrasion is successful in removing the outermost layer of the enamel which improves the appearance of the teeth, giving patients back their self- esteem and confidence to smile again.

 

Disadvantages

There may be difficulties performing the procedure on the younger age range where a rubber dam is needed to perform the procedure safely. Un-erupted or partially erupted teeth may stop the rubber dam in staying securely in place during the treatment. 

Post treatment, the teeth may take on a yellowish colouration as the enamel is slightly thinner and therefore the dentine appears more evident. A course of tooth whitening treatment may be need several weeks after the Microabrasion treatment.

Microabrasioned teeth can develop a darker shade or yellowish coloration after treatment because the remaining enamel surface is slightly thinner and translucent, so the dentine appears more evident.