Minimally Invasive Caries Removal Using Bio-Active Glass Air-Abrasion

J Dent. 2011 Jan;39(1):2-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jdent.2010.09.004. Epub 2010 Oct 1.


Objectives: Alumina air-abrasion has been used to clean teeth and shown to over-prepare access cavity preparation to caries. This study investigated the working hypothesis that bio-active glass air-abrasion is more self-limiting than alumina for minimally invasive caries removal.

Methods: Human extracted molars were scored visually using ICDAS II criteria, divided into sound and carious groups and air-abraded with alumina (n=10) and bio-active glass (n=10) in each group, using identical operating parameters. The amount of enamel removed was semi-quantitatively assessed using scanning electron microscopy. Operating time was recorded.

Results: Bio-active glass abrasion removed extrinsic stain and substantial quantities of enamel from all carious fissures but not from sound, 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.

Conclusions: Bio-active glass air-abrasion appeared to show a significant self-limiting tendency towards demineralised enamel and extrinsic stain removal but was slower in comparison to alumina air-abrasion. Self-limiting bio-active glass air-abrasion could be used clinically to clean teeth, detect caries and minimally prepare carious enamel as part of MI caries access or placing a sealant restoration.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Abrasion, Dental / methods*
  • Aluminum Oxide
  • Ceramics
  • Dental Caries / pathology
  • Dental Caries / therapy*
  • Dental Cavity Preparation / methods
  • Dental Enamel / ultrastructure
  • Dental Fissures / pathology
  • Dental Fissures / therapy
  • Glass*
  • Humans
  • Materials Testing
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Molar / ultrastructure
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Tooth Demineralization / pathology
  • Tooth Demineralization / therapy
  • Tooth Discoloration / pathology
  • Tooth Discoloration / therapy


  • bioactive glass 45S5
  • Aluminum Oxide