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Dentistry: Manufacturing Technology Works in the Mouth

Photonics Spectra
Aug 1997
Manufacturing Technology Works in the Mouth

Jennifer L. Morey

It doesn't take a huge stretch of the imagination to consider the possiblity that the technology that drills precise holes in metal parts might also be able to drill precise holes in teeth. The reality is that while lasers have been used for several years in treating gum disease and other soft-tissue applications, it's only just getting started in the "machining" procedures.
By far, the biggest news in laser dentistry this year has been the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of an Er:YAG laser for the treatment of tooth decay in adults. Its promoters say it is more accurate, less invasive and less traumatic than the dental drill, and that it may eventually replace the drill.

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