A Novel Laser-Enameloplasty Technique for Caries Prevention

Oleg Borisiuk

Dental lasers in our lab.

Dental lasers in Dr. Arany's laboratory. 

Undergraduate Student Project


Tooth decay (cavity), is the most common human disease, and the most common type of cavity is one on the occlusal (top) surface of molar and premolar (back) teeth, called occlusal caries. This type of cavity is usually caused by food, bacteria, and other particles being stuck in the deep, narrow grooves, called pits and fissures, on our back teeth. Currently, the most popular treatment for occlusal caries is the dental sealant, which involves the filling of these pits and fissures with a composite material; however, these sealants are prone to problems like micro-leakage, which is when the sealant wears over time, and bacteria sneaks its way below the sealant via pores, causing secondary caries. They also wear over time and require replacement every few years.

My name is Oleg Borisiuk and I'm a junior Biology major at the University at Buffalo, and I've been working with Dr. Praveen Arany in the Department of Oral Biology on this project for two years now. I inherited the project in its early stages from a pediatric dental resident, Dr. Erica Lavere, who left the lab at the end of her residency for private practice, and I have been the sole individual working on the project ever since. I have done all of the laser treatments and SEM analyses myself, but I have received some help from other individuals in the lab to carry out my treatments and analyses. My goal is to develop a one-time, hard-tissue dental laser treatment to widen the pits and fissures of molar teeth, thereby increasing their self-cleansing nature and prevent the formation of occlusal pit and fissure caries.

My lab is heavily involved in the promotion of laser dentistry to the mainstream. While many current dentists are skeptical in introducing lasers into their practice, especially hard-tissue, they could open the door to many new preventative clinical treatments such as the one we are investigating. The goal of my project and our lab as a whole is to offer more efficacious, cost-effective alternatives to many popular preventative treatments.


Tooth decay is the most common human disease, and dental sealants are currently the most common treatment to prevent carious lesions. However, they are prone to limitations such as micro-leakage leading to secondary caries and wear or loss of retention and require replacements. The objective of this project is to examine if a novel laser enameloplasty technique would be a more efficacious for caries prevention. Occlusal surfaces of extracted human teeth were treated by an Er,Cr;YSGG (Waterlase, Biolase) laser, and the depth and uniformity of resulting fissures was examined. As bacteria is entrapped in the deep, narrow occlusal fissures, we developed a novel slime-retention toothbrush simulator assay to examine the efficacy of laser-widened fissures. We used fluorescence imaging and digital quantitation for analyses. We observed that laser enameloplasty reduced slime retention compared to untreated surfaces. This technique could prevent occlusal caries and have a significant impact on clinical dentistry.

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