Purpose: The aim of this work was to investigate the ablation rate and the morphological aspects of three composite resins using Er:YAG laser irradiation. Materials and Methods: Three different types of composite resins were chosen (microfilled, hybrid, condensable) regarding their chemical and structural composition. Composite tablets were irradiated with an Er:YAG laser at different energy levels per pulse (100, 200, 300, and 400 mJ). The diameter and depth of each composite resin tablet were measured, as was the microcavity produced by laser ablation, and from this the overall volume removed was calculated. Observations of morphological aspects were performed using electron microscopy. The ANOVA and Tukey tests were used to statistically analyze the volume results. Results: The only variable that influenced the ablation rate of the composite resins tested was the energy level per pulse. Conclusion: Examining the basic features of laser ablation of composite resin represents the first step to understanding the mechanism of composite resin ablation by Er:YAG laser and the numerous differences due to resin composition and structure.
Keywords: ablation rate, morphological aspects, Er:YAG laser, composite resin