The use of lasers is by no means new to dentistry. They were introduced into dentistry well over 20 years ago when I was new to dentistry. In fact studies were first conducted with teeth in the mid 1960’s. Since their inception, they really haven’t caught on as a widely used “tool of the trade.” Without going into all the science regarding their use and effectiveness or lack there of, I’m providing you with some statements and excerpts made by not only the American Dental Association (ADA) but also the American Association of Periodontology (AAP), which were provided in an article written by two periodontists on the subject in a December 2015 dental journal.
Regarding the technique of lasers used for your “deep cleanings” the ADA provided their most current statement, “The dental literature indicates that when used as an adjunct to meticulous root planing (with dental scalers/instruments), mechanical or chemical curettage, lasers offer no consistent benefit beyond scaling and root planing alone with respect to gain of the periodontal attachment.”
I called a few of the periodontists I have come to know and respect over the last couple of decades of practice and not one of them advocates the use of lasers for the treatment of periodontal disease, a disease we all are susceptible to as we age. The ADA statements go on to suggest that “lasers, as a group, have inconsistently demonstrated the ability to reduce microorganisms within a periodontal pocket. It appears from the literature that mechanical root debridement remains a priority to attain improvements in clinical attachment levels.” The statements also notes that the council “considers the application of laser energy purely for the purpose of improved wound healing to be controversial and not well supported by clinical studies.”
The AAP statements on the issue are consistent with the ADA’s position on the matter. The AAP found that “current evidence shows lasers, as a group, to be unpredictable and inconsistent in their ability to reduce sub gingival microbial loads beyond that achieved by scaling and root planing alone.”
At this time, neither the ADA or the AAP feel there is sufficient clinical evidence to support the use of lasers as monotherapy for treating periodontal disease.
For these reasons, we have elected, like the majority of dental offices, to stick with what works consistently for treating gum disease for our clients