A study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association shows that Argon laser (AL) irradiation before remineralizing solution (RS) treatment may improve clinical caries resistance to enamel dissolution. G.H. Westerman at Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, NE, and his collegues evaluated the effects of AL irradiation and RS treatment alone and in combination on caries-like lesion formation in primary tooth enamel in an in vitro study.

The authors divided 10 caries-free primary tooth enamel surfaces into four segments and assigned them to one of four treatment groups: no treatment (control); AL irradiation alone at 13.5 joules per square centimeter (0.270 watts, 5-millimeter beam, 10 seconds); RS treatment alone for 2 minutes; and AL irradiation before RS treatment.

They created in vitro caries using a modified ten Cate solution. They evaluated longitudinal sections for mean lesion depth. After lesion formation, mean lesion depths were 179±16 mcm for the no treatment controls, 137±19 mcm for AL irradiation alone, 87±9 mcm for RS treatment alone, and 68±12 mc m for AL irradiation before RS treatment. They reported that all the treatment groups had mean lesion depths that were significantly less than those for the matched no-treatment control group. AL irradiation before RS treatment significantly reduced lesion depth compared with AL irradiation alone or RS treatment alone.

The researchers concluded that the maximum reduction in lesion depth in primary tooth enamel was achieved when the RS—which contained calcium, phosphate and fluoride in a carbopol base—was combined with AL irradiation. It would appear that to improve clinical caries resistance to enamel dissolution, AL irradiation before RS treatment could be used.

[gort.ucsd.edu, July 18, 2006]