Polarizing microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction analysis have been used to study the effects of the radiations of a CO2 laser equipment on the dentine and cementum of sound human permanent teeth. The typical lesions induced in dentine and cementum differ only lightly because of the different composition of the tissues. They assume a crater-like aspect and show structural alterations, less and less severe when moving away from the beam focal center. The morphological analysis of the tissues, which loose their organic components through combustion, suggests that such lesions are the consequences of a very fast overheating followed by a fast cooling. X-ray diffraction analysis shows that the hydroxyapatite of the tissues submitted to the thermic stress does not undergo phase transformation, which means that the temperatures remain lower than 1200 degrees C.
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