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Product Code: JLA_9_3_171

Peter Kohns
Ping Zhou
Reinhard Sto¨rmann
Optikzentrum NRW, Universita¨tsstraß 142, D‐44799 Bochum, Germany

We present a feasibility study into laser treating dental materials by using femtosecond pulses generated by a titanium:sapphire laser system which consisted of an oscillator and a regenerative amplifier. The pulse duration was varied between 200 fs and 2 ps. The observed energy thresholds for the ablation process of dentine and enamel were clearly smaller than those observed when longer pulse durations were used. The consequence of this observation is a lower thermal load within the vicinity of the radiated area. Thus no thermal damage or mechanical damage, such as cracks, were produced during the laser treatment. Commercially available femtosecond laser systems can produce ablation rates in healthy and in‐vitro demineralized dental material of 2 mm3 per min and 6–16 mm3 per min, respectively. These values are an order of magnitude larger than those produced by picosecond laser systems at the same pulse energy and pulse repetition rate. The brightness of the plasma spark generated by the laser treatment depended on the extent of the demineralization of the teeth. This may allow online control of the laser treatment.

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