An overview of the physics of dental tissue processing with ultra-short pulse lasers is presented. Due to the small ablation rate per pulse, multiple pulses are necessary for macroscopic material removal. The paper discusses the cumulative effect of multiple pulse processing. Experimental data and calculation of thermal loading are presented, and the optimal laser system repetition rate is estimated. Modeling of the crater produced by multiple pulses is presented and possibilities to control the crater shape are discussed.© (1996) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.