Laser removal of dental hard tissue has been proposed as a replacement for or augmented approach to the dental handpiece. The main limitation for widespread usage of lasers in dentistry has been inefficient ablation of dental hard tissue, accompanied by potential laser-induced damage to the surrounding tissue. The research focuses on a novel approach for enhancement of tissue ablation and confinement of laser interaction to a small tissue volume by controlled placement of an exogenous dye on the enamel surface. Studies were done with both pulsed alexandrite and pulsed Nd:YAG lasers, with indocyanine green and India ink, respectively, used as photo-absorbers. These dye-enhanced laser processes demonstrated the feasibility of this technique for cavity preparation. While control studies produced little or no appreciable crater, average preparation depth for the dye-enhanced ablation was from 1 to 1.5 mm, with a diameter of approximately 0.6 mm. Knoop hardness measurements show that, surrounding the crater, there is a small annular region slightly softened by the laser action. SEM studies of the interior structure of the tooth did not show significant damage to the surrounding tissue. Temperature measurement studies indicated that the pulsed nature of the laser, combined with the photoabsorbing dye, effectively prevented significant temperature rise at the pulp. The remarkable effectiveness of this technique in creating cavity preparations and the absence of any notable collateral damage to the surrounding tissue suggest that dye-enhanced pulsed-laser ablation could be used as an alternative to the dental handpiece in selected procedures.
- Calcified Tissue
- Laser Ablation
- Pulp Temperature
- Temperature Measurement Studies
ASJC Scopus subject areas