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Dental mythbuster 26: Safe use of lasers
Lasers can be used to treat soft tissue lesions, for periodontal or root canal treatment and to cut hard dental tissues.
We consider how medical laser equipment is used when we review if the practice is safe. This relates to:
and key line of enquiry (KLOE)
The current legal framework with respect to laser safety is complex encompassing various UK, EU and international regulations and guidelines. Lasers are subdivided into four classes: Class 3B and Class 4 lasers are used in clinical dental practice.
Using lasers safely
If you use lasers in your practice you must follow these steps.
Appoint both a:
- laser protection advisor (LPA) and
- laser protection supervisor (LPS).
They carry out similar functions to radiation protection advisers and radiation protection supervisors.
All staff involved in using lasers must be trained. This should be updated regularly.
You must only use lasers within a designated controlled area:
- only people directly involved in treating patients with lasers should enter
- you must have clear signs showing that lasers are being used
- everyone in the area, including the patient, must wear eye protection during laser emission
You must have a governance framework in place for the safe use of lasers that includes:
- risk assessment
- local rules for safe use
- maintenance schedule for equipment with inspections by a competent person.
- quality assurance system for staff to check equipment (for example, daily or weekly)
- system to report critical incidents
Health and safety
You must provide:
- safety protection equipment for staff and patients
- health surveillance for employees if their skin or eyes are affected by laser use
- fire prevention measures.
- Lasers, intense light source systems and LEDs: guidance for safe use in medical, surgical, dental and aesthetic practices (MHRC, September 2015)
- Using lasers in dental practice, peer-reviewed articles (British Dental Journal, 2007)
- Last updated:
- 26 October 2018