Background Carious tissue removal in enamel and dentin requires the use of sharp and resistant instruments. New tools have appeared to optimize/facilitate dental treatment, among them the laser. Regarding laser application for dental caries removal, the use of erbium laser doped with yttrium, aluminum, and garnet (Er:YAG) stands out. The Er:YAG laser is excellent for hard tissues ablation since its wavelength of 2.940nm is highly absorbed by water and hydroxyapatite.
Objective To review the application of the Er:YAG laser in dental caries removal, to present its advantages and limitations in clinical practice, as well as to describe its action mechanism, and to compare its effectiveness with different methods used to remove caries.
Data sources The search for articles to compose this literature review was carried out in the PubMed and Embase databases.
Study selection Articles in English published between 2006 and 2021. The manual search included additional articles and books; a total of 39 references were selected.
Data extraction Information from studies that evaluated the use of the Er:YAG laser to remove caries or related this type of laser to other methods. Articles that evaluated characteristics of the dental structure, or the influence of restorative materials after caries removal with the Er:YAG laser, were also considered.
Study selection Based on studies results, the Er:YAG laser presents itself as an alternative for caries removal since it can remove demineralized tissue (selective ablation) without causing damage to the dental element.
Cariology; Dental Caries; Dental Caries Removal; Dentin; Lasers.