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Proceedings Paper

Pulpal safety of a 9.6-um TEA CO2 laser used for caries prevention
Author(s): Harold E. Goodis; Daniel Fried; John D. B. Featherstone
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Paper Abstract

Lasers are used for several procedures involving hard and soft tissues of the oral cavity. Included in those procedures is the use of the CO2 laser to alter the surface structure of tooth enamel to render it more resistant to caries. A new 9.6micrometers wavelength TEA CO2 laser (Argu Photonics, Jpiter, FL) has been investigated as a device that can be used for this procedure without harming the dental pulp. Erupted, caries and restoration free third molars (n=24) were used in the experiment. Teeth were irradiated at an incident fluence of 1.5J/cm2 and a repetition rate of 10Hz and a spot size 1mm in diameter. At the low and high settings, 200 to 400 pulses were delivered at 12mJ per pulse for a total energy of 2.4 or 4.8J delivered for 20 or 40 seconds respectively. Other teeth were subjected to a sham dental procedure (positive control) or no procedure (negative control). Prior to testing, radiographs were taken of all teeth, and they were tested pulpally using heat, cold and electricity to determine vitality. The teeth were removed either immediately or at one week or one month after testing. They were bioprepared and examined histologically for signs of inflammation. Only one tooth developed symptoms of sensitivity to cold for 10 days following exposure to the high power level. The sensitivity was of fleeting duration and was judged to be reversible pulpitis. All teeth tested responded normally at pretesting and pre-extraction time periods. Histological examination disclosed no indication of an inflammatory response in the pulp tissue. All sections appeared normal with no changes seen in the normal pulpal morphology. We conclude that the 9.6 micrometers wavelength laser causes no pulpal damage at the energy levels used and can be used safely for caries prevention treatments.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 June 2002
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 4610, Lasers in Dentistry VIII, (3 June 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.469313
Show Author Affiliations
Harold E. Goodis, Univ. of California/San Francisco (United States)
Daniel Fried, Univ. of California/San Francisco (United States)
John D. B. Featherstone, Univ. of California/San Francisco (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4610:
Lasers in Dentistry VIII
Peter Rechmann; Daniel Fried; Thomas Hennig, Editor(s)

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