Thermal effects of the Er:YAG laser on a simulated dental pulp: a quantitative evaluation of the effects of a water spray.

Journal of dentistry

PubMedID: 14659716

Attrill DC, Davies RM, King TA, Dickinson MR, Blinkhorn AS. Thermal effects of the Er:YAG laser on a simulated dental pulp: a quantitative evaluation of the effects of a water spray. J Dent. 2004;32(1):35-40.
OBJECTIVES
To quantify the temperature increments in a simulated dental pulp following irradiation with an Er:YAG laser, and to compare those increments when the laser is applied with and without water spray.

METHODS
Two cavities were prepared on either the buccal or lingual aspect of sound extracted teeth using the laser. One cavity was prepared with water spray, the other without and the order of preparation randomised. Identical preparation parameters were used for both cavities. Temperature increments were measured in the pulp chamber using a calibrated thermocouple and a novel pulp simulant.

RESULTS
Maximum increments were 4.0 degrees C (water) and 24.7 degrees C (no water). Water was shown to be highly significant in reducing the overall temperature increments in all cases (p<0.001; paired t-test). None of the samples prepared up to a maximum of 135 J cumulative energy prepared with water spray exceeded that threshold at which pulpal damage can be considered to occur. Only 25% of those prepared without water spray remained below this threshold.

DISCUSSION
Extrapolation of the figures suggests probably tolerable limits of continuous laser irradiation with water in excess to 160 J. With the incorporation of small breaks in the continuity of laser irradiation that occur in the in vivo situation, the cumulative energy dose tolerated by the pulp should far exceed these figures.

CONCLUSIONS
The Er:YAG laser must be used in conjunction with water during cavity preparation. As such it should be considered as an effective tool for clinical use based on predicted pulpal responses to thermal stimuli.