Comparing enamel hardness before and after laser and fluoride varnish treatments
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INTRODUCTION: Recent studies have explored the effect of laser on improving enamel hardness and structure. However, the evidence is insufficient regarding optimal settings for laser in enhancing enamel hardness with or without fluoride. The objective of this in-vitro study was to evaluate the effect of CO2 laser irradiation in combination with and without topical fluoride varnish on enamel hardness in permanent teeth. METHODS: Forty extracted non-carious permanent teeth were prepared and treated with laser individually or in combination with fluoride varnish, at two CO2 laser settings (2 and 4 watts). Knoop enamel hardness tests were conducted for before and after treatment. Univariate analysis was conducted to evaluate differences between baseline versus post-treatment enamel hardness. RESULTS: A significant increase in post-treatment enamel hardness following CO2 laser treatment at 2 watts (p-value = 0.04) and in combination with fluoride vanish (p-value = 0.04) was observed when compared to baseline hardness. There were no significant differences between baseline and post-treatment enamel hardness following treatment with CO2 laser 4 watts, individually or in combination with fluoride varnish. While enamel hardness improved following fluoride varnish application alone, this was not statistically significant (p-value = 0.88). When comparing post-treatment enamel hardness between treatment groups there were significant increases in hardness when treated with CO2 laser (2 and 4 watts) in combination with fluoride varnish. CONCLUSION: The results suggest that CO2 lasers can be an additional resource in improving enamel hardness and should be considered for clinical use as part of preventive dental treatment.