The effects of the Luxar LX-20 CO2 dental laser on resected apical root dentin were examined using stereomicroscopy and scanning electron microscopy. The surfaces of 2-mm-thick sections of dentin from freshly extracted human teeth were exposed to CO2 laser radiation. Fluences used ranged from 2.1 to 625.0 J/cm2. The effects of the laser energy on the dentin ranged from no visible effects, to charring, cracking, cratering, and glazing. The most dramatic effect was cracking. Cracking was evident on all specimens having any visible modification of the dentin. A prototype-curved laser tip was used and compared with a standard straight tip. The curved tip did not deliver laser energy to the dentin as efficiently as a straight tip. CO2 laser radiation did not consistently obliterate dentin tubules.
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