Abstract

The reflectance vs angle of incidence method was used to determine the refractive index and absorption coefficient of dental enamel at CO2 laser wavelengths. A strong wavelength dependence of the optical constants was observed in this spectral region which corresponds to a well-known absorption band of hydroxyapatite, the main constitutent of dental enamel. A directional dependence of the optical constants of dental enamel was also observed. The absorption coefficient reaches a maximum between 9.75 and 10 μm. This particularity may be important for the main CO2 laser treatments proposed in dentistry up to now: surface treatment of teeth and fusion of dental materials.

© 1987 Optical Society of America

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