Woman Sitting In Dental Chair With Dentist Behind Her Using Suction and Air Tool

Why Do Dentists Blow Air Onto Their Patients’ Teeth?

Have you ever left a dentist appointment wondering why your dentist blows air across your teeth during an examination? This may happen several times each visit, even though you are there for different reasons.

That quick spurt of air aimed at your teeth can seem puzzling, but dentists are quick to assure patients that it is indeed beneficial and necessary. Essentially, it serves the purpose of drying the surface of your teeth.

Think about how much saliva is inside your mouth at any given time. This bubbly moisture often blocks an undistorted view of your teeth and can even affect how different dental substances adhere.

For a little more perspective, here are the reasons dentists give for using air inside your mouth.

Reasons Dentists Blow Air Onto Their Patients’ Teeth

Ultimately, the reason dentists blow air into your mouth during an appointment is to remove saliva and dry the teeth. More specific reasons include the following.

  • To Remove Trapped Food Debris. The reason for blowing air into your mouth may be as simple as attempting to remove trapped food debris away from the surface or from between your teeth. That tiny bit of lettuce stuck in a small crevice may be blocking the view of a hidden cavity.
  • To Increase Visibility of Tartar, Plaque, Cavities, and Even Fracture Lines. Your dentist requires a clear view of your teeth and gums during an examination to provide a proper and thorough diagnosis of any dental issues you may have. Drying the teeth of bubbling saliva can help with this, although other examination measures may be needed to identify any non-visible issues.
  • To See the Subtle Shades in Teeth. A cavity often causes a distinctive change in the affected tooth’s color. It can be a white spot or a darker staining indicating that decay may be involved. Saliva can hide this, so drying the area is essential to seeing any subtle shading.
  • To Avoid Excessive and Damaging Probing Pressure. The use of a dental explorer tool and pressing in areas where decay may be present can increase or completely break down fragile tooth enamel. Instead, dentists often avoid the risk and blow air to dry the area and examine from a distance.
  • To Ensure Substances Adhere During Procedures. During certain procedures, dryness is imperative to ensure substances adhere properly inside your mouth. For example, when restoring a tooth using a resin, you need a dry tooth surface. Dryness is also required when cementing a crown on a tooth. If any moisture is present on tooth surfaces, the necessary bonding between natural and artificial teeth will fail to occur.
  • To Test a Tooth’s Sensitivity. Many dentists may blow air onto their patients’ teeth to stimulate sensitivity. This is a test to determine if a tooth is vital or not. If a tooth is dying, you will most likely experience no reaction. If the tooth is vital and overly sensitive, you may experience pain as a result of the air.

The blowing of air onto your teeth boils down to the need to dry your teeth, so conditions are visible and favorable to examination and procedures.

Reasons a Dental Hygienist Might Blow Air Onto Patients’ Teeth

The simple method of blowing air onto patients’ teeth isn’t just reserved for dentists. A dental hygienist may also blow air across your teeth at times, including when looking for any cavities that are easily visible or checking that she/he has gotten all the tartar off each tooth.

When teeth are dry, you can see any pieces of tartar left behind. This tartar has a chalky white appearance when the tooth is dry. It can easily be missed if the tooth remains wet.

With this, a good dental hygienist will then be able to fine-tune the cleaning on any missed spots and ensure that all of your teeth receive a perfect clean each time. Since these cleanings only occur a few times a year, this additional step is necessary to help protect your dental health overall.

Schedule Your Dentist Appointment with Smile Hilliard Today

So many things can happen between dental visits. Our dentists here at Smile Hilliard understand this and will take the time to thoroughly examine your teeth each visit.

Whether you need to schedule a preventive cleaning or an appointment to address an already developing dental issue, you can expect compassionate attention and care from our staff. Contact our office today to get started.

We gladly accept most insurance plans and also offer the Smile Hilliard Membership Club for those without insurance. Call today to discover more and schedule your appointment. Our Hilliard, OH office is conveniently open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Thursday.

We are committed to the best dental solutions for you and your family. Life is complicated. Dentistry doesn't have to be!

At our office in Hilliard, Ohio, Dr. Rachel Sanyk and the Smile Hilliard team are fully committed to providing our patients with the very best in general dentistry with comprehensive preventive, restorative, cosmetic, and therapeutic services.

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