Purpose: Lasers are increasingly being used for gingival dental surgery and to replace the use of electrosurgery. The aim of this study was to evaluate and compare the temperature rise in hard and soft tissues when using lasers and electrosurgery units and for soft-tissue dental surgery. Materials and Methods: Gingivoplasty was carried out by one operator on fresh pigs jaws using two electrosurgery machines and three dental lasers (a CO2 laser and two diode lasers). The temperature in adjacent dental tissues was recorded using thermocouples located in bone, pulp, and gingivae. A total of 12 readings were recorded for each electrosurgery and laser unit at each location. Results: The temperature rise in the bone was 0.6 ± 0.9°C for the CO2 laser, 1.8 ± 1.7°C and 1.6 ± 1.4°C for the two diode lasers, and 3.6 ± 1.7°C and 2.3 ± 1.5°C with the two electrosurgery units. In the pulpal recordings, the temperature rise of 0.5 ± 0.3°C for the CO2 laser was significantly less (p < 0.001) than that recorded with the other two lasers, 1.7 ± 0.7°C and 1.2 ± 0.6°C. With electrosurgery, the temperature rise in the pulp was 1.6 ± 0.8°C and 2.1 ± 1.1°C. For the gingival recordings, the CO2 laser generated the highest temperature rise at 13.6 ± 8.1°C, which was significantly higher (p < 0.001) than that with the diode lasers, 6.9 ± 3.4°C and 2.9 ± 2.0°C. The electrosurgery units generated a temperature rise in the gingivae of 1.7 ± 1.2°C and 1.8 ± 2.0°C. All three lasers generated higher temperatures in the gingiva than did the two electrosurgery units (p < 0.05). There was no significant difference in the temperature rise in any tissue between the high frequency (27 MHz) and low frequency (3 MHz) electrosurgery units. Conclusion: Heat generated during gingivoplasty is unlikely to be of concern when the equipment is used correctly, but caution is required with all electrosurgical and laser techniques, particularly the CO2 laser. Following the manufacturers guidelines and proper training are recommended.
Keywords: electrosurgery, carbon dioxide lasers, diode lasers, temperature rise