Thermal effect of Er:YAG laser radiation on dental hard tissues

Harvey Wigdor, Joseph T. Walsh, Steven R. Visuri

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


For any laser to be accepted by the dental community it is essential that the effects of this laser on the tissue treated be understood. It is also crucial that the laser be shown through basic research not to have the potential for causing more damage then existing dental methods. It is the opinion of the authors that for this or any laser to be used on hard dental tissues or dental restorative materials water must used as a coolant. The object of this paper is to evaluate the thermal effect of the Er:YAG laser on human teeth and discuss the preliminary studies of the effects of water on the ablation efficiency of the Er.YAG laser. Human extracted teeth were sectioned into varying thicknesses in a horizontal plane and placed in a holder and aligned in a position where the laser was in focus on the surface of the tooth. First the laser was set at a known energy and the number of pulses needed to ablate through the known thickness of tooth were counted and a proportion of energy vs. ablation depth(etch rate) was determined. These readings were taken with and without water. After etch rate was determined a thermocouple was placed on the back surface of the tooth section in line with the laser. The laser was then used to cut into the tooth just above the thermocouple and the temperature determined with and without water. This is a preliminary report on the method and results presented are only preliminary data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-32
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - Dec 31 1993
EventDental Applications of Lasers 1993 - Budapest, Hungary
Duration: Aug 29 1993Sep 3 1993

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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