Lasers and the treatment of periodontitis: the essence and the noise

Periodontol 2000. 2017 Oct;75(1):205-295. doi: 10.1111/prd.12137.


The dental literature contains 25 years of accumulated reports and clinical studies addressing the utility of lasers in the treatment of periodontitis, both as a monotherapy or as an adjunct to surgical and nonsurgical therapy. Yet, the evidence from the 118 human clinical studies cited in this narrative review remains conflicted and insufficient to suggest that integration of a laser in a periodontal treatment protocol will provide antimicrobial and healing outcomes superior to those achieved by traditional therapy. When viewed as a collective body of evidence, it becomes apparent that a majority of the studies are underpowered and exhibit significant heterogeneity in design. Furthermore, the collected studies report a varied choice of parameters, even within the same wavelength of laser. There is little uniformity between studies in the reporting of measured clinical parameters. Most studies reported 3- and/or 6-month post-treatment results; however, the range of time intervals includes studies reporting results from 1 week to up to 1-12 months or longer. Lastly, many studies were considered at risk for bias as a result of a lack of examiner masking and/or calibration. There is great need for well-designed, highly controlled multicenter clinical trials that are adequately powered in terms of subject enrollment, that use similar protocols in terms of laser parameters and that report measureable outcomes in a uniform manner. Without such studies, the questions surrounding the use of lasers in the treatment of periodontal disease will persist.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy / methods*
  • Periodontics / instrumentation*
  • Periodontitis / therapy*