Ti: Sapphire femtosecond laser ablation of dental enamel, dentine, and cementum

Lingfei Ji, Lin Li, Hugh Devlin, Zhu Liu, Jiao Jiao, David Whitehead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reports an investigation into the characteristics of femtosecond laser (800-nm central wavelength) in the ablation of human dental enamel, dentine, and cementum at various laser fluences from 0.2 to 3.68 J/cm2 with single and multiple pulses. The femtosecond laser interaction with cementum is reported for the first time. Ablation thresholds were determined to be 0.58, 0.44, and 0.51 J/cm2 for enamel, dentine, and cementum, respectively. Under the average laser fluences of 1.13 to 3.68 J/cm2, clean ablated surfaces without debris and microcracks were obtained. Laser fluence was found to influence the ablated diameter and depth, whereas under a certain fluence, pulse number only affects the depth, without affecting the diameter. The ablation mechanism is found to be based on multi-photon absorption, not previously known for femtosecond laser ablation of dental materials. The low thermal loads of 0.708, 1.44, and 0.404 J/cm3 required for ablating enamel, dentine, and cementum, determined for the first time, are beneficial for minimizing the heat-affected zones and micro-damage. The Raman spectroscopic analysis of phosphate shows that the chemical components of the tooth remain intact before and after the fs-laser ablation. It also shows that different dental tissues respond differently to the laser irradiation. © 2011 Springer-Verlag London Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-204
Number of pages7
JournalLasers in Medical Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


  • Ablation characteristics
  • Ablation mechanism
  • Cementum
  • Dentine
  • Enamel
  • Femtosecond laser


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