Scanning Microscopy


Laser irradiation at and above parameters producing the modification threshold for dentin causes structural changes to the dentin surface. This study determined the microhardness of dentin before and after laser modification and acid treatment using a repeated-measures de-sign. Seven dentin sections (4 mm in thickness) were cut from freshly extracted non-carious third molars using a diamond saw. The middle occlusal third was used as the test dentin surface. One section served as a control (C); three received laser modification (L) and then acid treatment (L + A); and three received acid (A) and then laser treatment (A + L). Laser modification was made using a pulsed (120 μs) fiber-optic-delivered (500 μm diameter) Nd:YAG (⋋= 1.06 μm) laser at the physical modification threshold of 207 J/cm2. Acid treatment consisted of 10% nitric acid applied for 45 seconds. Twenty Knoop indentation microhardness measurements (KHN) were obtained using 300 g force engaged for 15 seconds for each section before and after each treatment (n = 400). Knoop microhardness values recorded: C = 62 ± 3; L = 149 ± 35; A = 24 ± 5; L + A = 40 ± 16; and A + L = 33 ± 5. Multifactor-repeated measures, with analysis of variance (ANOVA; p ≤ 0.05), indicated significant differences between all treatment groups. Scanning electron microscopy analysis of dentin surfaces documented unique surface morphology for all treatment conditions. Laser modification of dentin before or after acid treatment increased dentin microhardness.

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