Patients who feel some level of dental anxiety at the thought of a traditional drill may be pleasantly surprised to discover that air abrasion, an alternative to drills, is available for many dental procedures. Air abrasion is a method for removing tooth decay with tiny particles of aluminum oxide or silica&ndesh;imagine a miniature sandblaster gently wearing away the decayed material without the friction of a drill. Your dentist uses compressed air to spray a stream of the micro particles at the affected tooth while an assistant generally suctions away the excess. Unlike traditional drills, air abrasion produces no heat or friction during dental treatment and generally reduces discomfort and lessens the need for a local anesthesia injection. Additionally, multiple parts of your mouth can often be treated in one appointment, which may mean fewer appointments.