Laser hazards are usually prone to life and explosion hazards and the following precautions must be observed:
1. All the highly combustible materials must be stored or explosive outside the hazardous zone.
2. During laser surgery nitrous oxide should not be used as it supports combustion causing Laser hazards.
3. Anesthetic agents used must be noncombustible in nature. Also avoid alcohol-based topical anesthetic agents.
4. Protect soft tissues adjacent to the surgical site.
5. While firing the laser, alcohol-moistened gauze needs to be avoided.
6. In case of an emergency, fire extinguisher must be handy.
Cooling System for Safety from Laser hazards
All lasers require a cooling system. Some have got an internal fan and others a fan and a radiator with self-contained coolants. Several class IV lasers requires an external source of water or air to be supplied.
Mandatory Eye Safeguard from Laser hazards
Lasers present distinctive hazards to human eye as it produce an intense highly directional beam of light that is absorbed to some degree if directed, or focused on an object. Hence, wearing the correct protective eyewear is very essential while using dental lasers.
Retinal Damage from Laser hazards
Retinal damage occurs primarily with lasers with more depth of penetration, such as argon, heliumneon, diode and Nd:YAG with shorter wavelengths. Laser-induced retinal damage usually results in irreversible loss of visual function.
Important Points for Safety Principles from Laser hazards:
A. The nominal hazard distance at maximum output of laser beam varies with each wavelength, and that distance is specified in the operator’s manual of laser instrument.
B. Laser safety glasses must protect eye structures from the specific wavelength in use.
C. Information about lens protection must be imprinted on the frames of the glasses or goggles.
D. With multiple laser units in office or clinic, everyone within the hazardous zone must use correct eyewear before the laser is activated.
E. Eyewear designed to have adequate protection for one wavelength could have completely inadequate protection for another wavelength.
F. All the protective eyeglasses must possess side shields to protect the eyes from reflective laser energy.
G. Despite eye protection, a practitioner should never look directly at the laser beam.
These Laser hazards must be carefully studied and kept in mind in the field of dentistry.