Influence of Er,Cr:YSGG laser irradiation on enamel caries prevention
The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of chromium:yttrium-scandium-gallium-garnet (Er,Cr:YSGG) laser irradiation on the acid resistance of dental enamel. Forty human enamel samples were divided into four groups. They were manually irradiated with an Er,Cr:YSGG laser device (λ = 2.78 µm, 20 Hz, 20 s), in a scanning mode, with and without water cooling, according to the following parameters: Group 1: 0.25 W, 62.5 J/cm2, no water cooling; group 2: 0.25 W, 62.5 J/cm2, 5.0 ml/min; group 3: 0.5 W, 125 J/cm2, no water cooling; group 4: 0.5 W, 125 J/cm2, 5.0 ml/min. No airflow was used. Afterwards, the samples were submitted to an acid challenge and assessed by cross-sectional Knoop microhardness at different depths (20, 40, 60, 80, and 100 µm) from the outer enamel surface. Average values were obtained for both irradiated and control areas in each sample and they were compared to obtain a percentage of microhardness increase. Data were analyzed by analysis of variance and Fisher’s exact test (α = 5%). The percentage of microhardness increase observed in group 1 (+23.58%) was similar to group 3 (+19.12%), but higher than groups 2 (+3.61%) and 4 (10.9%) (p < 0.05). The comparison of the depths showed that the Er,Cr:YSGG laser acted in the superficial layers of the dental enamel. The findings of the present study suggest that the energy densities of 62.5 and 125 J/cm2 were capable of increasing the acid resistance of human enamel. The presence of water during irradiation makes it difficult to obtain an enamel surface more resistant to acids.