Femtosecond Laser for Dental Ablation and Caries Prevention

Investigators: Yong Wang and Liang Hong, UMKC-Dentistry; Robert Tzou, Hao Li, Vitaly Gruzdev, Qingsong Yu, UMC-Engineering
Femtosecond (FS, 10-15 s for each pulse) lasers are extra-fast, extra-intense lasers that have unique characteristics for dental application due to their minimizing thermal damage and changes of biochemical structures of surrounding tissues. Our preliminary studies have shown that the FS laser will likely provide unparalleled advantages in painless dental ablation/drill and caries removal/prevention. The minimal collateral damage during the FS laser treatment, consequently, will ensure fast recovery. Dental burs currently used in dental preparations, such as carbide and diamond burs, are known to cause significant discomfort and pain during the process, and post-operative sensitivity. Our preliminary studies have demonstrated that the FS laser has high potential to deliver painless and vibration-free treatment of tooth, including caries removal, with high precisions. In addition, our preliminary studies have clearly shown that the FS laser may also be an excellent tool for caries prevention. Combining an array of diverse experience and expertise, we propose a multidisciplinary collaborative research project to study the applications of femtosecond lasers on dental hard tissue (enamel and dentin) treatment. The overarched goal of this project is to achieve fundamental understanding of the effects of femtosecond lasers on dental hard tissues to establish a scientific basis for safe and effective uses of femtosecond lasers in dental caries removal and prevention. Through this integrated effort, we propose to determine the specific FS laser ablation conditions that can effectively and efficiently cut dental hard tissues and the specific FS laser irradiation conditions that maximize caries resistance of irradiated tooth and also assess the thermal and mechanic behavior and the acid resistance of post irradiated and ablated tooth.