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1/1. lasers in dentistry.

    Since the development of the ruby laser by Maiman in 1960, there has been great interest among dental practitioners, scientists, and patients to use this tool to make dental treatment more pleasant. Oral soft tissue uses are becoming more common in dental offices. The possible multiple uses of lasers in dentistry, beyond soft tissue surgery and dental composite curing, unfortunately, have not yet been realized clinically. These include replacement of the dental drill with a laser, laser dental decay prevention, and laser decay detection. The essential question is whether a laser can provide equal or improved treatment over conventional care. Safe use of lasers also must be the underlying goal of proposed or future laser therapy. With the availability and future development of different laser wavelengths and methods of pulsing, much interest is developing in this growing field. This article reviews the role of lasers in dentistry since the early 1960s, summarizes some research reports from the last few years, and proposes what the authors feel the future may hold for lasers in dentistry.
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