Aim: To compare changes in pulpal chamber temperature during the visible-light curing of direct pulp capping compounds and various modes of diode laser irradiation without prior placement of a pulp capping compound and the resultant seals.
Materials and methods: Pulp exposure holes were made in 100 extracted human primary first molars, which were randomly assigned to ten equal groups. The holes were sealed by (a= Group 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7) different pulp capping compounds which were cured using various types of visible-light curing units or (b=Group 8, 9 and 10) diode laser irradiation without prior application of a pulp capping compound. Pulpal chamber temperatures were recorded during the procedure, and the resultant seals were examined under a scanning electron microscope.
Results: Visible-light curing of the pulp capping compounds and diode laser irradiation at a 0.7 W output power can cause non-injurious temperature rises in the pulpal chamber. At higher output powers of the diode laser, the temperature rises are sufficient to cause thermal injury. The seals were complete when pulp capping compounds were used for direct pulp capping, but were incomplete when laser irradiation without prior placement of a pulp capping compound was used for the identical purpose.
Conclusion: The visible-light curing of pulp capping compounds is not harmful to vital pulp, and provides an effective seal of the pulp exposure hole. Laser irradiation is not an effective sealant, and can cause thermal injury to vital pulp at high output powers.