Nicole Walawander, Asad Tanweer and Khrystyna Adam
Despite widespread dental laser use, there is a large deficit of proper training on how to use them. There are many variables at play that affect how a dentist should operate their lasers, however many user manuals fail to recognize this.
My name is Nicole Walawander and I am currently a senior Biological Sciences major at the University at Buffalo. I conduct my research in the Oral Biology Department under Dr. Praveen Arany. In addition to performing research with dental lasers to further my knowledge of the dental field, I am participating in this as a part of the Honors Biology Program. I am an incoming student at UB School of Dental Medicine starting in fall of 2020.
After learning about the lack of training for novice users, I began to ask myself, "Not everyone's gums are the same, so why should we be using the same laser parameters on them?" To answer this question, I conducted trials which experimented with device, operator, and subject variables and found three ideal and two non-ideal parameters for five tissue types. By emphasizing the importance of these variables in laser training, future dentists will be able to make precise and ideal surgical outcomes.
Necessary adjustments must be made of laser power and hand speed for superior surgical results without charring in relation to tissue pigmentation and hydration. Three contact and two non-contact lasers were used to make incisions on five tissues. Ham, steak, apples, and oranges were used to represent the soft tissues of the oral cavity such as gingiva, while egg shells were used to represent hard tissues such as enamel. By experimenting with device (laser power, mode), operator (hand speed, pressure), and subject (hydration, pigmentation) variables, three ideal and two non-ideal parameters were found. The incisions using these parameters were evaluated on the basis of tissue separation, charring, and depth. There are differences in hydration and pigmentation levels of these tissues which play a role in determining laser parameters that make precise incisions with minimal charring. The software program Image J will be used to quantify charring using Black Pixel Analysis.
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