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Laser Therapy AAP Consensus Report

To Laser or Not to Laser….

Posted: January 15, 2019

Feeling a need to jump on the laser bandwagon? If it is clinically relevant therapeutic improvements you are looking for, perhaps it’s okay if you have not done so.

The July 2018 issue of the Journal of Periodontology shines a light on the best evidence regarding the efficacy of lasers used alone or as an adjunct to non-surgical and surgical treatment of periodontitis and peri-implantitis.

Easy to read and quite to the point, the American Academy of Periodontology developed its best evidence consensus statement on the subject. Click here to download a copy of the full article.

Fast Take Summary of the Consensus Statement Conclusions

“Current evidence fails to demonstrate a beneficial long-term (> 48 months) effect of laser treatment used as an adjunctive therapy to non-surgical treatment in providing a more maintainable environment.”

“When using a laser as an adjunct to periodontal surgery, most current evidence suggests no additional benefit beyond that seen with surgery alone.”

“When lasers are used to treat peri-implantitis surgically, most studies show a reduction in bleeding on probing; however, short-term data demonstrate inconsistency with regard to pocket depth reduction, clinical attachment level gains, and bone fill.”

Laser treatment used with a photosensitizer (antimicrobial photodynamic therapy, or aPDT is intended to reduce periodontal pathogenic bacteria. Although “current evidence supports that aPDT may provide improvements in probing depth and clinical attachment level compared with conventional periodontal therapy for patients with periodontitis or peri-implantitis”, “comparative differences in clinical outcome are modest (< 1 mm) and the clinical significance is open to question.”

George K. Merijohn, DDS

San Francisco periodontist George K. Merijohn practiced 28 years and is associate professor in postdoctoral periodontics at UC San Francisco and U Washington. He is appointed special expert to the California Dental Board; serves as a consultant to dental schools, clinicians, and the legal profession; and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Evidence-Based Dental Practice. Dr. Merijohn leads seminars and workshops at major dental conferences and is published in peer-reviewed journals with articles on mucogingival clinical decision-making, risk assessment, and the evidence-based approach. More about George >