Dental Lasers Demystified


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From an outside perspective, laser dentistry can appear daunting. You may have heard about lasers at a trade show or had a few discussions with colleagues, but still have plenty of questions about the different kinds of lasers on the market and whether any of them are a good fit for your practice. To help demystify dental lasers, we’ll take a high-level look at CO2 lasers, Erbium lasers, and what sets Solea® apart.

Native and Isotopic CO2 Lasers

The most common CO2 laser used in dentistry is the Native CO2 laser, which operates at a wavelength of 10.6 µm. Native CO2 lasers are highly regarded for their reliability in soft tissue procedures, offering a significantly less invasive and more precise approach when compared to traditional handpieces. While Native CO2 lasers provide predictable outcomes; their major shortcoming is that they’re only useful for soft tissue treatment.

Solea, on the other hand, is an isotopic CO2 laser that operates at a wavelength of 9.3 µm rather than the 10.6 µm wavelength utilized by Native CO2 lasers. This difference in wavelengths fundamentally sets Solea apart from all other CO2 lasers on the market: By emitting the 9.3 µm wavelength, Solea is able to closely match the absorption rate of hydroxyapatite (the primary component of enamel and dentin), enabling its use in hard tissue procedures such as cavity preparation and caries removal. In addition to its hard tissue capabilities, the 9.3 µm wavelength allows for more precise cutting of soft tissue with more speed and less bleeding than any Native CO2 laser available — giving you the control you need to keep more soft tissue procedures in house.

Solea vs. Erbium Lasers

Solea and Erbium lasers are both indicated for hard and soft tissue treatments. But Solea’s wavelength is totally unique in the way it cuts. Erbium lasers only absorb water and slowly chip away at enamel. Solea’s 9.3 µm wavelength is absorbed in hydroxyapatite and water, which vaporizes enamel instead of chipping enamel.

Solea also holds clinical advantages in cutting speed, delivering a reliable analgesic effect, and minimizing bleeding. Solea uses computer controls to create patterns and cuts by penetrating shallow ablation depths at very high repetition rates. With that in mind, Erbium lasers have a repetition rate of up to 30 Hz and penetrate tissue at an average depth of 20 µm. Compare this to Solea’s repetition rate range of 1-1,100 Hz, easily controlled by the variable-speed foot pedal, and penetration depth of only 2 µm.

Ultimately, once some of the key aspects of dental lasers are demystified, Solea allows for more efficient procedures when compared to Native CO2 lasers or Erbium lasers. Want to learn how Solea can integrate into your practice? Reach out to us here