Introduction: New technologies in dental practice, such as laser, have enabled new strategies to be established in dental
education. The aim of this study was to analyze the difficulties that dental students encountered with performing surgical
incisions using Er:YAG laser (LE), and the morphology of these incisions. Material and Methods: Sixteen undergraduate
dental students and ten dental professionals (DP) enrolled at The Master of Science Program in Laser Dentistry were
asked to perform 15 incisions using an LE and 15 with a conventional scalpel. The incisions were compared, based on
the shape factor (relation between area and perimeter), which was obtained by a digital image system and by a
morphometry software. Data was submitted to statistical analysis of variance (p 0.05). Results: Considering the incisions
performed by scalpel, DP showed statistically significant differences (p < 0.01) in relation to control group (CG).
Considering the LE, all groups showed significant differences (p<0.0001) in relation to CG, especially the DP group. The
main laser technical failures were performing an incision that was not in a straight line, without defined borders, using an
inconstant cutting speed, and absence of suction and water jet appliances. None of the groups performed adequate
incisions using LE. Conclusion: Greater emphasis is required in relating laser therapy practice to the physical properties
of laser, particularly for dental professionals that specialize in laser.