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Proceedings Paper

Near-IR imaging of thermal changes in enamel during laser ablation
Author(s): Linn H. Maung; Chulsung Lee; Daniel Fried
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Paper Abstract

The objective of this work was to observe the various thermal-induced optical changes that occur in the near-infrared (NIR) during drilling in dentin and enamel with the laser and the high-speed dental handpiece. Tooth sections of ~ 3 mm-thickness were prepared from extracted human incisors (N=60). Samples were ablated with a mechanically scanned CO2 laser operating at a wavelength of 9.3-μm, a 300-Hz laser pulse repetition rate, and a laser pulse duration of 10-20 μs. An InGaAs imaging camera was used to acquire real-time NIR images at 1300-nm of thermal and mechanical changes (cracks). Enamel was rapidly removed by the CO2 laser without peripheral thermal damage by mechanically scanning the laser beam while a water spray was used to cool the sample. Comparison of the peripheral thermal and mechanical changes produced while cutting with the laser and the high-speed hand-piece suggest that enamel and dentin can be removed at high speed by the CO2 laser without excessive peripheral thermal or mechanical damage. Only 2 of the 15 samples ablated with the laser showed the formation of small cracks while 9 out of 15 samples exhibited crack formation with the dental hand-piece. The first indication of thermal change is a decrease in transparency due to loss of the mobile water from pores in the enamel which increase lightscattering. To test the hypothesis that peripheral thermal changes were caused by loss of mobile water in the enamel, thermal changes were intentionally induced by heating the surface. The mean attenuation coefficient of enamel increased significantly from 2.12 ± 0.82 to 5.08 ± 0.98 with loss of mobile water due to heating.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 March 2010
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 7549, Lasers in Dentistry XVI, 754902 (5 March 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.849333
Show Author Affiliations
Linn H. Maung, Univ. of California, San Francisco (United States)
Chulsung Lee, Univ. of California, San Francisco (United States)
Daniel Fried, Univ. of California, San Francisco (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7549:
Lasers in Dentistry XVI
Peter Rechmann; Daniel Fried, Editor(s)

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