BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The superpulsed 9.6-microm CO(2) laser is an effective laser for ablating dental tissues and decay. This histological study compares laser class V preparations with conventional treatment to evaluate the resulting formation at the cavity walls. STUDY DESIGN/MATERIALS AND METHODS: Four class V preparations (one made with a diamond drill and three with the CO(2) laser (9.6 microm, 60 microseconds pulse width, 40 mJ pulse energy, 100 Hz, integrated scanner system, water cooling) were performed on ten extracted teeth. The cavities were filled with a composite resin partly including enamel and dentine conditioning. RESULTS: After laser preparation, no cracks or signs of carbonisation were detected. The results were comparable to those attained with conventional treatment. Following cavity filling without prior conditioning, gaps were noted at the cavosurface indicating a lack of adhesion. Dentinal bonding decreased gap formation significantly. CONCLUSION: The 9.6-microm CO(2) laser is an effective tool for cavity preparation.