Alumina air-abrasion has been used to remove caries and has been shown to over-prepare access cavity preparation. A study by Dr. Avijit Banerjee, et al published in the January issue of the Journal of Dentistry investigated the working hypothesis that bioactive glass air-abrasion is more self-limiting than alumina for minimally invasive caries removal. The study involved 20 extracted human molars that were divided into sound and carious groups; 10 teeth were air-abraded with alumina and 10 teeth with bioactive glass, using identical operating parameters. The amount of enamel removed and the operating time were recorded. The study found that bioactive glass abrasion removed extrinsic stain and substantial quantities of enamel from all carious fissures but not from sound tooth structure, where only minimal microscopic surface modifications were observed. Alumina air-abrasion resulted in faster extrinsic stain and clinically substantial enamel removal in both sound and carious groups equally. The study concludes that bioactive glass air-abrasion appeared to display a significant self-limiting tendency toward demineralized enamel and extrinsic stain removal but was slower in comparison to alumina air-abrasion. Self-limiting bioactive glass air-abrasion could be used clinically to clean teeth, detect caries, and minimally prepare carious enamel as part of minimally invasive caries access or placing a sealant restoration.
(Source: Journal of Dentistry, January 11, 2011, Volume 39, Issue 1, Pages 2 to 7)