Date of Award

Spring 1999

Document Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Gonzalez, Cesar

Second Advisor

Barron, Joe

Third Advisor

Post, A. C.


The purpose of this study was to define parameters to attain a consistent etch of human enamel equal in quality to an acid etch using scanning electron microscope evaluation. Forty-five extracted, noncarious, human teeth were divided into three sample groups for examination. Each tooth had four windows cut into the buccal surface, two were for laser etching, one served as acid etch control, and one as unetched enamel. Laser exposures were at 5W .05 sec, 10W .01sec, and 10W .02sec with a Luxar CO2 laser. A .8mm focal spot was used throughout Scanning electron microscope (SEM) exam was performed at 75x and 1200x. SEM exam revealed that all samples had some degree of etch. However, all samples showed inconsistency of etch across the focal spot, as well as fusion, crazing, cratering and surface debris. The results of this study indicate that a consistent etch with CO2 laser can not be attained at the parameters set forth in this study.



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