The exact mechanism of the ablation of tooth hard tissue with most common wavelengths, which are 2,940 nm and 2,780 nm, is not yet clear. There are several different theories, but none of them has yet been established. Concepts and methods of looking at these mechanisms have been based on heat formation and transformation, and mathematical calculations evaluating the outcome of ablation, such as looking at the shape of cuts. This study provides a new concept, which is the monitoring of the direct interactions between laser light, water and enamel, with a high-speed camera. For this purpose, both the above-mentioned wavelengths were examined. Bovine anterior teeth were prepared as thin slices. Each imaged slice had a thickness close to that of the beam diameter so that the ablation effect could be shown in two dimensional pictures. The single images were extracted from the video-clips and then were animated. The following steps, explaining the ablation procedures during each pulse, were seen and reported: (1) low-output energy intensity in the first pulses that did not lead to an ablative effect; (2) bubble formation with higher output energy density; (3) the tooth surface during the pulse was covered with the plume of vapour (comparable with a cloud), and the margins of ablation on the tooth were not clear; (4) when the vapour bubble (cloud) was collapsing, an additional ablative process at the surface could be seen.
Erbium:yttrium–aluminium–garnet (Er:YAG) laserErbium, chromium:yttrium–scandium–gallium-garnet (Er,Cr:YSGG) laserAblationEnamelHigh-speed camera