Laser technology has been studied as a potential replacement to the conventional dental drill. However, to prevent pulpal cell damage, information related to the safety parameters using high-power lasers in oral mineralized tissues is needed. In this study, the heat distribution profiles at the surface and subsurface regions of human dentine samples irradiated with a Nd:YAG laser were simulated using Crank-Nicolson’s finite difference method for different laser energies and pulse durations. Heat distribution throughout the dentin layer, from the external dentin surface to the pulp chamber wall, were calculated in each case, to investigate the details of pulsed laser-hard dental tissue interactions. The results showed that the final temperature at the pulp chamber wall and at the dentin surface are strongly dependent on the pulse duration, exposure time, and the energy contained in each pulse. © 2003 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.