Efficacy of laser monotherapy or non-surgical mechanical instrumentation in the management of untreated periodontitis patients. A systematic review and meta-analysis

Clin Oral Investig. 2021 Feb;25(2):375-391. doi: 10.1007/s00784-020-03584-y. Epub 2020 Nov 10.


Objective: To evaluate and compare the effects of laser monotherapy with non-surgical mechanical instrumentation alone in untreated periodontitis patients.

Materials and methods: A focused question was formulated based on the Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome, and Study design criteria (PICOS): in patients with untreated periodontitis, does laser mono-therapy provide adjunctive effects on pocket probing depth (PPD) changes compared with non-surgical instrumentation alone? Both randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTs) and controlled clinical trials (CCTs) were included. The results of the meta-analyses are expressed as weighted mean differences (WMD) and reported according to the PRISMA guidelines.

Results: The search yielded 1268 records, out of which 8 articles could be included. With respect to PPD changes, a meta-analysis including 5 articles (n = 148) failed to identify statistically significant differences in favor of laser monotherapy for PPD change (WMD = 0.14 mm; 95% CI: - 0.04/0.32; z = 1.51; p = 0.132) nor for clinical attachment level (CAL) (WMD = 0.04 mm; 95% CI: - 0.35/0.42; z = 0.19; p = 0.850). Data on cost-effectiveness are lacking. One study reported patient-related outcome measures (PROMS).

Conclusions: In untreated periodontitis patients, laser monotherapy does not yield superior clinical benefits compared with non-surgical mechanical instrumentation alone.

Clinical relevance: In untreated periodontitis patients, mechanical instrumentation with hand and/or ultrasonic instruments remains the standard of care.

Keywords: Laser; Laser monotherapy; Monotherapy; Non-surgical periodontal treatment; Periodontitis; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Dental Scaling
  • Humans
  • Lasers
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Periodontitis* / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome