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Dental mythbuster 26: Safe use of lasers

Categories:
  • Organisations we regulate

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.

Staffing

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.

Controlled area

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

Management

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.

Professional guidelines

Last updated:
26 October 2018

 


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