Pulse Mode vs Continuous Mode

Posted by Pioneer Lasers on

Laser hand piece activated with light coming out

While it may seem super obvious to some, figuring out when and how to effectively use pulse or continuous mode has been difficult for many dentists. The two different modes create control over tissue temperatures and the efficiency of the energy. Here’s a quick outline for the biggest differentiating factors.

Pulse Mode

This setting allows for laser radiation to be emitted in short bursts while the foot pedal is depressed. This provides a less aggressive approach and allows the tissue to cool between pulses. One of the most confusing aspects seems to be how the wattage differs when using pulse mode as compared to continuous mode.

While the wattage set in continuous mode will be what is released per second, the power pulse mode on will be half of the set wattage. This is because the Pioneer units are programmed to release 10 pulses of energy per second with each pulse lasting for 0.05 seconds. If 2 watts are set on pulse mode, it will be the same power as 1 watt on set on continuous mode.   

There are 6 total pulse procedures identified in the pioneer operator’s manual which range from peri-implantitis to temporary pain therapy. Please refer to the manual to see which procedures require contact, an initiated tip, or a therapy sleeve.  

Continuous Mode

Just as the name implies, this setting ensures that the laser energy remains constant and uninterrupted during the procedure. This setting will deliver a specified amount of wattage in one second. Like the example above, if the laser is set at 2 watts, the beam will release 2 watts of energy per second with the foot pedal depressed.

Using continuous mode helps the laser ablate tissue faster and more efficiently but will generate more heat causing collateral damage to the targeted area and the adjacent tissue. The best way to avoid this is by cooling the tissue with periodic air blasts from a triplex syringe and a high-speed suction. If an area has prolonged exposure to the laser’s beam, you can cool the area with water.

There are 30 procedures where the laser mode should be set to continuous; details are located in the operators manual of the Pro and Elite. Whether it’s for socket treatment to tissue tag removal, it’s important to review whether the procedure is contact or non-contact as well as determining if the tip needs to be initiated or not.  


Diode lasers are an amazing tool to add to the office. If there are any questions or concerns about your Pioneer unit, walk us through what’s going on and we’d love to assist you.

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