Published online Jan 16, 2015. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v3.i1.34
Peer-review started: July 28, 2014
First decision: September 16, 2014
Revised: October 6, 2014
Accepted: October 28, 2014
Article in press: December 23, 2014
Published online: January 16, 2015
Superficial stains and irregularities of the enamel are generally what prompt patients to seek dental intervention to improve their smile. These stains or defects may be due to hypoplasia, amelogenesis imperfecta, mineralized white spots, or fluorosis, for which enamel microabrasion is primarily indicated. Enamel microabrasion involves the use of acidic and abrasive agents, such as with 37% phosphoric acid and pumice or 6% hydrochloric acid and silica, applied to the altered enamel surface with mechanical pressure from a rubber cup coupled to a rotatory mandrel of a low-rotation micromotor. If necessary, this treatment can be safely combined with bleaching for better esthetic results. Recent studies show that microabrasion is a conservative treatment when the enamel wear is minimal and clinically imperceptible. The most important factor contributing to the success of enamel microabrasion is the depth of the defect, as deeper, opaque stains, such as those resulting from hypoplasia, cannot be resolved with microabrasion, and require a restorative approach. Surface enamel alterations that result from microabrasion, such as roughness and microhardness, are easily restored by saliva. Clinical studies support the efficacy and longevity of this safe and minimally invasive treatment. The present article presents the clinical and scientific aspects concerning the microabrasion technique, and discusses the indications for and effects of the treatment, including recent works describing microscopic and clinical evaluations.
Core tip: Enamel microabrasion is indicated for the removal of superficial stains and irregularities of the enamel, mainly located in esthetic areas. The technique involves the mechanical rubbing of acidic and abrasive agents on the altered surface. Recent studies show that the technique is a conservative treatment when the enamel wear is minimal and clinically imperceptible, and is effective and long lasting. The present literature review aims to discuss indications and clinical and scientific aspects of the microabrasion technique, as well as its effects on the enamel surface.