Erbium, Chromium:Yttrium-Scandium-Gallium-Garnet Laser Effectively Ablates Single-Species Biofilms on Titanium Disks Without Detectable Surface Damage

J Periodontol. 2017 May;88(5):484-492. doi: 10.1902/jop.2016.160529. Epub 2016 Nov 25.


Background: Increasing evidence implicates biofilms, consisting of species such as Porphyromonas gingivalis (Pg), in the etiology of peri-implantitis. Multiple approaches to ablate biofilms on failing implants have been proposed and include use of lasers, most recently the erbium, chromium:yttrium-scandium-gallium-garnet (Er,Cr:YSGG) laser. The purpose of this study is to establish an in vitro single-species biofilm model on implant surfaces and determine power settings of the Er,Cr:YSGG laser that remove biofilm without causing physical damage to disks.

Methods: Single-species biofilms consisting of Pg strain 381 were grown on titanium disks, including: 1) sandblasted, large-grit, acid-etched (SLA); 2) calcium phosphate nano-coated (CaP); 3) anodized; or 4) machined surfaces. Power settings from 0 to 1.5 W using an Er,Cr:YSGG laser equipped with radial firing tip were used. Biofilm formation/removal was quantitated using confocal and scanning electron microscopy. Surface changes in temperature, microroughness, and water contact angle were analyzed.

Results: Results show confluent Pg biofilm coating all disk surfaces. The laser removed biofilms from all surfaces, with CaP and SLA surfaces requiring power setting of 1.0 to 1.5 W for ablation of bacteria coating the disks. Within this power range, and with water spray, there were no changes in surface temperature, surface roughness, or contact angle on any surfaces tested.

Conclusion: The Er,Cr:YSGG laser with radial firing tip and water spray was able to effectively ablate ≥95% of biofilm on all types of tested titanium surfaces, using clinically relevant power settings, without causing measurable physical changes to surfaces.

Keywords: Biofilms; Porphyromonas gingivalis; decontamination; lasers; titanium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biofilms / radiation effects*
  • Dental Implants / microbiology
  • Lasers, Solid-State / therapeutic use*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis / radiation effects
  • Surface Properties
  • Titanium / radiation effects*


  • Dental Implants
  • Titanium