Worried about the yellow and brown stains on your teeth but the whitening treatments have not lasted as long on you? In that case, try enamel microabrasion.
This is a permanent cosmetic dentistry treatment that aims at removing stains and discoloration from the surface of the tooth.
These are usually decalcification stains resulting from a weakening of the enamel.
The procedure is usually performed to eliminate the stains that affect the appearance and occur during fluorosis or enamel defects in development.
This article discusses the procedure of enamel microabrasion.
Keep reading to know how you can benefit from the treatment.
Understanding Enamel Microabrasion
Since this procedure improves the appearance of the teeth it comes under cosmetic dentistry.
While it removes discoloration that happens due to enamel defects in early tooth development, decalcification because of the buildup of acids and sugar, or fluorosis, unlike teeth whitening procedures, enamel microabrasion is a mechanical procedure.
Teeth whitening procedures use chemical procedure such as bleaching to break down the stains and whiten the teeth.
While here using the mechanical dental tools and technique, the dentist will be able to whiten your teeth.
For this reason, this treatment is also better for your teeth than the rest because it does not require harsh chemicals.
You may be worried that the process will remove your precious enamel.
Since enamel does not have any living cells, it does not grow again.
But there is nothing to worry.
What is removed are micro layers of enamel.
So the protection enamel provides to your teeth remains.
Moreover, the dentist will also be careful in ensuring that your teeth have enough enamel remaining.
Additionally, the treatment is non-invasive and its effects are long-lasting.
What’s more, it has a fairly simple procedure.
Let’s find out about that below.
Pros and Cons
It is a non-invasive treatment that is effective and also long-lasting.
The results from enamel microabrasion will last you longer than teeth whitening treatments.
Usually you will notice your teeth relapsing after a teeth whitening procedure, within a year.
That happens, if you do not take care of your teeth well and return to old destructive habits.
Through this procedure you will see a significantly brighter smile.
However, not taking care of your teeth and oral health will again be detrimental to them.
That said, the results from this treatment last a significantly longer time.
Moreover, it does not use any harsh chemicals, unlike the teeth whitening solutions that use bleaching agents.
Bleaching agents are strong and can cause sensitivity right after the procedure.
If they get onto the lips or skin, it can be irritating there too.
Here, the mechanical tools will carry out the procedure, lowering the risk of sensitivity.
The whiteness will not be perfect, especially in cases where the yellowness reaches deeper.
Some discoloration can go beyond the surface area that this procedure targets.
In order to get rid of the yellowness in that part, a non-invasive procedure will not be enough.
In fact, you will need something more intrusive.
Therefore, the biggest downside of this procedure is that it may not benefit you if there is deep discoloration.
The procedure will work best when the enamel is only slightly discolored.
For that, a minor whitening procedure such as microabrasion will be enough.
This procedure will not hurt your teeth however, there may be some harm pertaining to how you needed the procedure.
After all, you wouldn’t need a procedure if your teeth were in good condition.
So even if it is a non-invasive procedure, it is still a procedure.
Enamel Microabrasion Treatment
This is a treatment you can get in one session.
It is quick, and painless with only slight teeth sensitivity that may hardly last a day.
In order to remove the white and brown decalcification resulting from enamel mottling in fluorosis.
Your dentist will first begin by:
Recording the Baseline
The dentist will first begin by determining the patient’s baseline and taking pictures.
This will help the doctor and the patient see the progress clearly.
Isolating the teeth
Protect the gums and soft tissues with a rubber dam so that these parts are not affected.
Alongside that, cover the gingival margin using a light-cured resin barrier.
The dentist will use a rubber prophy cup to apply acids and abrasive agents on the teeth that are present in the form of a paste.
The paste is a hydrochloric acid slurry containing silicon carbide microparticles.
This is a combination of mechanical abrasion and chemical stain removal.
Apply a 1mm thick layer of the paste to 2 to 3 teeth.
The pressure should be minimum at about 50RPM per 60 seconds.
The gentle scrubbing using the prophy cup by the dentist removes the enamel defects that are around 0.2 mm deep.
As all the teeth are covered, the dentist suction the paste and you are allowed to rinse.
If the paste begins to thin out during the procedure, the dentist will add more of it.
This avoids overheating and keeps the paste moist.
Evaluate the final shade with a shade guide.
Some stains are deep so the dentist will need an additional application or give you teeth whitening at-home kit.
Your dentist will use a fine-grit water-cooled tapered diamond bur for patients that have hypo-mineralization of more than 0.1-0.3mm.
Sweep it on the area for a few seconds before applying paste.
Before and After Enamel Microabrasion
The dentist will record your progress if you cooperate to show you clearly how your teeth look different from before.
However, given the nature of the stains that compelled you to seek this treatment, you will be able to notice the huge difference on your own.
This procedure uses mechanical tools rather than harsh chemicals to whiten your yellow and brown teeth.
If you have stains due to bad oral health, drinking coffee and tea resulting in tannins sticking to your teeth, dental fluorosis and genetics, this procedure is for you.
People with dental fluorosis may seek this treatment rather than chemicals for whitening because it forms white, yellow and brown discolorations with porosities.
Thus, if you are seeing surface irregularities and mineralized white stains on your teeth then your dentist can recommend this procedure.
Bleaching agents may not be as effective against it.
Once, the dentist will carry out the treatment, your teeth will look significantly different.
Apart from removing the discoloration, the surface of the teeth i.e. the enamel will be glassy, it will have a shine and also look radiant.
The overall surface of your teeth will become smoother.
Therefore, as the surface smoothens, it prevents bacterial colonization.
As a result, there is less accumulation of bacteria and over time it will reduce your risk of oral health problems that bacteria infamously cause.
For instance, you will have a decreased chance of getting tooth decay and cavities.
While usually most patients are done with the procedure in a few hours, some patients with deep hypo-mineralization will need an overnight whitening regimen.
That is after the procedure, the dentist will suggest you get a prolonged overnight whitening regimen.
Some people with deeper stains may not respond to the treatment overall.
Outlook on Enamel Microabrasion
This procedure will only require one hour of your precious time.
Getting multiple treatment sessions for it is unlikely.
If your stains are deep, then the doctor will suggest an overnight whitening regimen.
Though, if even that does not work out then they may resort to aesthetic bonded restorations.
Do not apply veneers or crowns immediately rather wait for 2 weeks after the procedure.
This will ensure the bond strengths and the color stability of the bonded restorations after the whitening procedure is completed.
If you have mineralized spots on your teeth, enamel microabrasion is a good option for reducing them and giving your teeth a clearer look.
It is a minimally invasive procedure that is generally safe for teeth.
The dentist uses solutions and pastes such as 37 percent of phosphoric acid with silica and 6 percent hydrochloric acid.
Though it is a mechanical procedure, in some treatments, the dentist may use a bleaching agent to get the best results.
The paste or rubbing gel along with the action of the rubber prophy cup removes the stains by also removing the porous surface enamel layer alongside that.
While enamel microabrasion is a procedure you can consider if you want to improve the appearance of your teeth, you can also avoid such cosmetic dentistry procedures by taking good care of your oral health.
This includes brushing your teeth twice a day properly, flossing at least once a day and visiting your dentist bi-yearly.
Keeping a check on your oral hygiene prevents several dental problems and a costly visit to the dentist.
Nonetheless, if the appearance of your teeth bothers you, enamel microabrasion is a procedure that can provide you with a non-invasive and quick solution.
Consult your doctor about whether it is the right cosmetic dental procedure for your teeth.