Efficacy of removal of cariogenic bacteria and carious dentin by ablation using different modes of Er:YAG lasers

The primary objective of this in vitro study was to evaluate the efficiency of removal of cariogenic bacteria and carious dentin by ablation using two lasers: fluorescence-feedback controlled (FFC) Er:YAG laser and different pulses of Er:YAG laser based on variable square pulse technology (VSPt). The secondary objective was to measure the temperature during laser ablation of carious tissue. Seventy-two extracted human molars were used in this study. Sixty teeth with carious dentin were randomly divided into four experimental groups according to the treatment for caries removal: group 1: 400 µs (FFC group); group 2: super short pulse (SSP group, 50 µs pulse); group 3: medium short pulse (MSP group, 100 µs pulse); group 4: short pulse (SP group, 300 µs pulse) and one positive control group with no treatment. Twelve teeth without carious lesion were used as a negative control group. After caries removal, swabs were taken with cotton pellets and real-time PCR analysis was performed. During caries ablation, a thermal infrared camera was used to measure the temperature changes. In all experimental groups, specimens were free of bacterial contamination after the treatment. In the SSP, MSP and SP groups, temperatures measured during caries ablation were significantly higher compared to temperatures in the FFC group (P<0.001). In this in vitro study, laser treatment for removal of carious dentin and cariogenic bacteria was an efficient treatment modality without causing excessive temperatures that might adversely affect pulp vitality.