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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

CO2 laser inhibitor of artificial caries-like lesion progression in dental enamel.

Several studies during the last 30 years have demonstrated the potential of laser pre-treatment of enamel or tooth roots to inhibit subsequent acid-induced dissolution or artificial caries-like challenge in the laboratory. The overall objective of ongoing studies in our laboratories is to determine, systematically, the optimum sets of parameters for carbon dioxide laser irradiation that will potentially effectively inhibit dental caries in enamel and tooth roots. The aim of the present study was to examine the roles of wavelength and fluence in the prevention of caries progression in vitro in enamel by means of a pH-cycling model. The hypothesis to be tested was that the highly absorbed 9.3- and 9.6-microm wavelengths would be efficiently converted to heat, creating a temperature sufficiently high to reduce the acid-reactivity of the mineral and inhibit caries-like lesion progression in dental enamel. One hundred and sixty caries-free tooth crowns were cleaned and varnished with acid-resistant varnish, leaving one exposed window of enamel. Twelve groups of 10 enamel samples were irradiated in their individual windows by one of the four wavelengths (9.3, 9.6, 10.3, or 10.6 microm) of a tunable CO2 laser. Energy per pulse was 25, 50, 100, 200, or 250 mJ (25 pulses). Repetition rate was 10 Hz, and beam diameter was 1.6 mm. Fluence conditions of 1 to 12.5 J/cm2 per pulse were produced. All teeth, including 40 non-irradiated controls, were subjected to pH-cycling to produce artificial caries-like lesions. Results were assessed by cross-sectional microhardness testing. Inhibition of caries progression of from 40% to 85% was achieved over the range of laser conditions tested. At 9.3 and 9.6 microm, 25 pulses at absorbed fluences of 1 to 3 J/cm2 produced inhibition on the order of 70% with minimal subsurface temperature elevation (< 1 degree C at 2 mm depth), comparable with inhibition produced in this model with daily fluoride dentifrice treatments. Safety and efficacy studies will be required in animals and humans before these promising laboratory results can be applied in clinical practice.[1]


  1. CO2 laser inhibitor of artificial caries-like lesion progression in dental enamel. Featherstone, J.D., Barrett-Vespone, N.A., Fried, D., Kantorowitz, Z., Seka, W. J. Dent. Res. (1998) [Pubmed]
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