Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : The crowns of 60 permanent human molars were sectioned transversally. The exposed dentin surface was divided into different parts: a first part was kept as control, a second part was immediately varnished, and a third part was irradiated with a CO2 laser using the same irradiation conditions as those applied for caries removal (10 impulses of the same energy; 0.2 s/impulse; energy density/impulse 280-715 J/cm2. After irradiation, a small portion of this area was varnished. The teeth were immersed for 4 weeks in a cariogenic gel (pH = 4.5) at 36 degrees C. Twenty teeth were studied by scanning electron microscopy, and longitudinal sections of the other teeth were prepared for microradiography and microdensitometry measurements. The lased dentin surface appeared smooth for energy densities lower than 425 J/cm2. Longitudinally fractured samples revealed a layer of dentin devoid of tubular structure (20-70 microns thick, depending on the energy density used), whereas below the sealed layer, the dentinal tubules retained their normal aspect. Although the sealed layer showed no demineralization when exposed to acid, demineralization of the underlying dentin occurred, but to a much lesser extent than in the unlased dentin.