Laser therapy has for many years been a successful treatment approach in several areas of general medicine. A dental laser survey among general dental practitioners and specialists in periodontics in 2008, reported that 53ߙߙ% of dentists and 36ߙߙ% of specialists used lasers in their management of gum diseases. The numbers have to be interpreted with caution; nevertheless, laser therapy appears to be an increasingly common treatment option also in the dental clinic. Having in mind the rather aggressive marketing of lasers in the treatment of periodontal and peri-implant infections, this article aims to describe the mode of action and critically evaluate the merits of laser therapy.
Different types of lasers are available, but presently the Er:YAG laser seems to be most promising in dentistry. The main conclusion is that laser application in non-surgical periodontal and surgical peri-implantitis therapies provides no beneficial effect over traditional treatment procedures. With the wavelengths and power settings used, no major adverse effects have been reported for dental use of the Er:YAG laser. However, there is a need for broader basis of well-designed clinical trials for drawing definite conclusions about the long-term effect of laser treatment.