Caries inhibition potential of Er:YAG and Er:YSGG laser radiation

Daniel Fried*, John D. Featherstone, Steven R. Visuri, Wolf D. Seka, Joseph T. Walsh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

100 Scopus citations


Dental hard tissues can be ablated efficiency by λ = 3 μm laser irradiation with minimal subsurface thermal damage. However, the potential of lasers operating in the region of the infrared for caries preventive treatments has not been investigated. In this study, the caries inhibition potential of Er:YAG (λ = 2.94 μm) and Er:YSGG (λ = 2.79 μm) laser radiation on dental enamel was evaluated at various irradiation intensities. Pulsed IR radiometry and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were used to measure the time-resolved surface temperatures during laser irradiation and to detect changes in the surface morphology. The magnitude and temporal evolution of the surface temperature during multiple pulse irradiation of the tissue was dependent on the wavelength, irradiation intensity, and the number of laser pulses. Radiometry and SEM micrographs indicated that ablation was initiated at temperatures of approximately 300°C for Er:YAG and 800°C for Er:YSGG laser irradiation, well below the melting and vaporization temperatures of the carbonated hydroxyapatite mineral component (m.p. = 1200°C). Nevertheless, there was marked caries inhibition for irradiation intensities below those temperature thresholds, notably 60% and 40% inhibition was achieved after Er:YSGG and Er:YAG laser irradiation, respectively. These results indicate that the Er:YSGG laser can be used effectively for both preventive dental treatments and for hard tissue removal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
PublisherSociety of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)0819420468, 9780819420466
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996
EventLasers in Dentistry II - San Jose, CA, USA
Duration: Jan 28 1996Jan 29 1996


OtherLasers in Dentistry II
CitySan Jose, CA, USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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