Space-age dentistry


  • Randy Showstack


Work on developing high-power lasers to remotely sense the atmosphere has led to a technological spinoff that could cut down on the need for dentists' drills and scalpels. Researchers at NASA's Langley Research Center have demonstrated a multiple-wavelength laser technology that dentists, with a flip of a switch, can use for working on either hard or soft tissue. If approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the system could replace separate laser systems for hard and soft tissue work, and be easy to use, according to researchers.

“The system is simple because we have already done all the complex physics in the lab,” said Keith Murray, a laser researcher at Langley and co-inventor of the dental laser technology