2016 Volume 58 Issue 4 Pages 583-589
A number of concepts and devices have been proposed for caries removal. Among these, the Er:YAG laser is a potential alternative to conventional mechanical treatment. This study compared the effectiveness of the Er:YAG laser with that of low-speed rotary instruments for removal of carious tissue in 26 extracted human molars and premolars with severe decay (i.e., large occlusal or proximal decay but no pulpal contact). The teeth were divided into three groups of eight teeth, and two teeth were used as controls. After sectioning all the teeth through the center of the carious lesion before excavation, each group was randomly assigned to three groups—Er:YAG laser versus tungsten bur, Er:YAG laser versus polymer bur, and polymer bur versus tungsten bur—to evaluate the efficacy of the three techniques. The time required for carious treatment of each half was recorded, and samples were then histologically examined. Mean duration of caries removal did not significantly differ in relation to the technique used. Histological analysis of tooth halves treated with the Er:YAG laser revealed a regular 5-µm-thick stained layer that appeared to be denatured collagen. A smear layer was often detectable in halves treated with carbide burs. A superficial disorganized layer, which was found to be affected dentin, was observed in halves treated with polymer burs. The present findings indicate that the three techniques were clinically and histologically effective in removing the infected dentin layer.
(J Oral Sci 58, 583-589, 2016)