, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 661-673
Date: 07 May 2011

Efficacy of Er:YAG laser in the treatment of chronic periodontitis: systematic review and meta-analysis

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Scaling root planing (SRP) has been proven efficacious as the traditional treatment approach for chronic periodontitis. However, important limitations such as difficult access in deep pockets, grooves, and furcations have led to the development of new therapeutic strategies. The erbium-doped:yttrium-aluminium-garnet (Er:YAG) laser is one of the most promising laser types for periodontal therapy. Its efficacy in radicular debris removal and root smoothing has been proven in vitro. However, the clinical effectiveness of the Er:YAG laser remains controversial. The aim of the present systematic review was to systemically assess the scientific evidence for the effectiveness of Er:YAG laser compared to SRP in the treatment of chronic periodontitis. Electronic database searches of MEDLINE, Cochrane Controlled Clinical Trial Register, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, CINAHL, Science Direct, ISI Web of Science, and SCOPUS were performed, as well as hand-searching of relevant journals through December 23, 2010. Quality assessment was made according to the CONSORT guidelines. The systematic review was performed according to the QUOROM statement and Cochrane Collaboration recommendations. Meta-analyses of the clinical attachment level gain, probing depth reduction, and changes in gingival recession were performed using weighted mean differences for continuous data with 95% confidence intervals, nested in a random effect model. No statistically significant differences were found in any of the investigated clinical parameters among the five random controlled trials (RCTs) entered into the study, indicating that there was no evidence of effectiveness. However, significant heterogeneity, a high risk of bias in three of the five included studies, and methodological shortcomings indicate that the results should be considered with caution. Future long-term, well-designed RCTs are needed to assess the scientific evidence of Er:YAG laser efficacy as an alternative treatment strategy to SRP.