ablation – The process of removing tissue with a laser through vaporization or mechanical disruption.
absorption – Specific molecules in the tissue known as chromophores absorb the photons. The light energy is then converted into other forms of energy to perform work.
active medium – The laser component that produces laser light when stimulated. Dental lasers use crystals, gas, or semiconductors as their active media.
beam transfer hardware – Mirrors, optical fibers, or hollow wave guide hardware that caries the laser beam from the machine to the handpiece.
chromophore – The tissue component that absorbs the laser energy and converts it into thermal energy.
coherence – The tendency of laser light waves to travel with their peaks and valleys in unison.
continuous wave mode – A form of laser emission when the laser is on continuously.
divergence – The tendency of the laser beam to spread outward once it exits the handpiece. Divergence varies depending on the specific laser and hardware used.
energy density – The amount of laser energy in an area of exposed tissue.
Er,Cr:YSGG – Erbium, Chromium - doped Yttrium Scandium Gallium Garnet crystal.
Er:YAG – Erbium-doped Yttrium Aluminum Garnet crystal.
free running pulsed mode – A form of laser emission where laser light is emitted in discrete pulses with specific, measurable temporal characteristics.
gated wave mode – A form of laser emission where the beam is blocked part of the time by a shutter device creating a pulsed laser emission.
laser – Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.
millijoule – Measurement of energy.
monochromatic – In laser science refers specifically to the fact that lasers produce a single wavelength of light.
Nd:YAG – Neodymium-doped Yttrium Aluminum Garnet crystal.
optical pumping – Flash lamp stimulation of an active medium.
output coupler – A semi-transparent mirror in the resonator that the laser beam passes through into the beam transfer hardware.
photobiomodulation – The process whereby laser energy is used to stimulate positive clinical outcomes such as pain relief and improved healing.
power – Rate of doing work, measured in Watts.
pulse duration – The amount of time a laser pulse is on, measured in microseconds.
reflection – When the laser beam bounces off the surface with no penetration or interaction at all.
resonator – The mirrored chamber surrounding the active medium that helps to amplify the laser light produced.
scattering – The tendency of laser light to bounce in multiple directions once it enters tissue.
stimulated emission – The process whereby the active medium is stimulated by an external source of light or electricity to produce laser light.
thermal relaxation – The ability of tissue to absorb and dissipate heat produced by pulsed dental lasers.
transmission – When laser energy can pass through superficial tissues to interact with deeper areas.
watt – Power measurement of energy produced over time.