Studies & Cases

The benefits of lasers in dentistry

To date, mechanical therapy has been the main-stream treatment for plaque-induced periodontal disease. However, complete eradication of bacteria and/or optimal wound healing may not necessarily be achieved with conventional mechanical therapy alone.

Therefore, chemotherapy using antimicrobial agents as an adjunct to mechanical therapy has been advocated to increase bacterial eradication as well as to enhance wound healing/tissue regeneration following debridement.

Mechano-chemotherapy has also been accepted and partly employed for the treatment of aggressive or severely advanced forms of periodontitis. In addition to conventional mechanical therapy and chemotherapy, periodontal phototherapy using lasers/light-emitting diodes has generated attention in periodontology because of various beneficial effects in terms of clinical performance, treatment procedures and reported outcomes. Thus, mechano-chemo-phototherapy is gradually becoming more popular.

This article deals with the outcome of laser therapy, focusing on postoperative wound healing of periodontal and peri-implant tissues following treatment, based on scientific evidence from currently available in vitro, in vivo and clinical studies, as well as case reports.

Periodontal phototherapy

A large number of studies have reported the use of lasers/lights in the field of periodontal therapy (22, 116, 246, 264). The term “phototherapy” basically encompasses treatment modalities that employ lasers or incoherent light at low- or high-energy levels. In particular, laser therapy has been gradually introduced in dentistry and successfully applied clinically since the early 1990s.

Lasers have numerous tissue interactions, such as ablation or vaporization, hemostasis, microbial inhibition and destruction, as well as biological effects, such as biostimulation (photo-bio-modulation), which induce various beneficial therapeutic effects and biological responses. Thus, the use of lasers is considered effective and suitable for treating a variety of inflammatory and infectious conditions, such as periodontal and peri-implant diseases (22, 115, 116, 122, 264). In addition, laser therapy may alleviate a patient’s physical and mental stress as well as intraoperative and postoperative pain.