Since the introduction of lasers to dentistry, dentists have been intrigued with the idea of placing laser energy into an infected root canal with the goal of removing the bacteria and infected tissue, and sterilizing the root canal system. This paper will discuss the bacterial origin of endodontic infections, and describe the use of the Er.YAG laser to remove bacteria, prepare the canal walls, and aid in the creation of a superior seal of the root canal system.
Many oral manifestations of HIV infection can be used as markers for degree of immunosupression. These manifestations may be treated with antibiotics, analgesics, and antineoplastics, which may interact and interfere with antiviral agents used to treat the disease, and possibly exacerbate it. Dentists will see more HIV-infected patients as medical research transforms this disease into a chronic illness. Lasers have been shown to be effective instruments in palliation of oral manifestations of HIV infection. The use of lasers to palliate the painful symptoms of three oral manifestations of HIV infection is described. The advantages and benefits to both patient and dentist will be discussed. The paper does not address the use of lasers as a modality to treat or cure HIV infection -- only to palliate some of its symptoms.