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Does Er:YAG laser enhance the result of root planing in patients with periodontal disease?

This Systematic Review Summary is adapted from the ADA Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry

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Clinical Question

What is the efficacy of the Er:YAG laser when used as an alternative treatment to scaling and root planing (SRP) in the treatment of patients with chronic periodontitis?

Main Results

Five studies met the inclusion criteria, totaling 105 patients. Researchers evaluated 66 patients at 3 and 6 months; 19 patients at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months; and 20 patients at 1 and 2 years. The review authors judged three of the five studies to have a high risk of bias. The meta-analysis showed no significant difference between laser and mechanical SRP groups for any of the outcomes. A regression asymmetry test did not suggest a publication bias for the selected outcomes. Mean Difference (MD) at 12 months for Clinical Attachment Level was 0.09 [-1.51, 1.68], MD for Probing Depth at 12 months was -0.09 [-1.1, 0.92], and MD for Gingival Recession at 12 months was -0.20 [-0.72, 0.31].


While patients in both groups– the laser and SRP– showed a consistent improvement in the clinical outcomes, this review did not find evidence for the superior effectiveness of the Er:YAG laser when used alone compared to mechanical SRP alone. However, limitations of the evidence suggest that this conclusion be viewed with caution.


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