In the diode laser industry, the two most commonly used wavelengths for oral surgery are 810 and 980nm. The differences between these two wavelengths are small and focus more on how the laser works instead of the speed of an operation. While we go over the biggest differences between the two lasers, first we need to make sure we understand the diode laser basics.
The diode laser produces and amplifies light. This wavelength of light can modify certain tissues depending on the light’s energy. Most diode lasers are used for soft tissue operations because the light waves are in the lower end of the near-infrared spectrum are absorbed into body pigments such as the heme in hemoglobin found in blood. The hydroxyapatite crystals found in bone and teeth are only absorbed with wavelengths in the mid to far infrared range. The laser can be used in procedures through contact or over an extremely close distance. These unique options give dentsits may have higher tissue ablation ability or simply cut. While the purpose and capability of the 810nm and 980nm wavelength are practically the same, the biggest difference is in their attraction to melanin.
Melanin vs Water
Both the 810nm and 980nm wavelength mainly attract chromophores including melanin, oxyhemoglobin, and hemoglobin. The 810nm wavelength is said to better balance the absorption by hemoglobin and melanin with the 980nm wavelength very close behind it. In layman's terms, the 810nm wavelength absorption per square centimeter has more melanin while the 980nm has more water. Both tools vaporize gingiva with immediate cauterization and professionals are unable to tell the difference in time spend during oral procedures. In studies, especially when comparing the four different wavelength options, the 810nm and 980nm are placed on together since they are so similar.
In a study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, 27 patients with different benign oral lesions were treated using an 810 nm diode laser. The results following the procedures showed patients were comfortable and experienced no pain, there were no occurrences of infection, and there were no complications during the procedures.
The choice between an 810nm and a 980nm diode laser will ultimately come down to the laser specification and tools itself. Functionality factors like wattage level, preset options, portability, or tip type will be the weight holding when deciding between an 810nm and 980nm diode laser.