September 11, 2018
by American Academy of Periodontology
The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), the leading professional organization dedicated to the dental specialty of periodontics, has published its “best evidence consensus” (BEC) panel proceedings on the topic of laser usage. The proceedings are the result of the AAP’s second BEC meeting, a model of scientific inquiry rooted in the best available published research and expert opinion. The BEC meeting on lasers was held in Chicago in February 2017.
The latest BEC meeting brought together a panel of 10 experts to discuss the efficacy of laser usage, either when used alone or as an adjunct to non-surgical and surgical treatment of periodontitis and peri-implantitis. The panel members were selected based on their extensive knowledge of laser therapy and experience in applying lasers to a broad range of clinical situations. The group found that when laser treatment is used in addition to mechanical treatment, similar or slightly better clinical outcomes are observed when compared with laser usage alone. Current evidence suggests that there is no additional benefit to lasers beyond what is seen with traditional periodontal surgery.
“Lasers are a part of a diverse treatment repertoire, and there are countless reported successful outcomes in their use,” says Steven R. Daniel, DDS, president of the AAP. “As the profession advances with the adoption and application of these technologies, the Academy is committed to using existing evidence and thoughtful expertise to bridge knowledge gaps and provide insight for responsible, real-world use.”
The BEC model of inquiry utilizes current, high-quality published literature and the expert opinion of periodontal thought leaders to provide guidance on innovative topics for which there is insufficient evidence to arrive at definitive conclusions.
The complete BEC proceedings appear in the July 2018 issue of the Journal of Periodontology (JOP). Similar to the inaugural BEC report on cone-beam computed tomography published in October 2017, the proceedings on lasers offer a consensus statement, commentary, and systematic reviews related to the usage of lasers.
“I encourage all dental professionals to read the laser BEC proceedings carefully as they underscore how crucial scientific evidence is in influencing clinical recommendations,” Dr. Daniel adds. “The latest findings are not meant to insinuate that laser usage is more or less beneficial over traditional periodontal therapy or to imply an Academy position on its use in patient care. They simply demonstrate that, in the absence of a critical mass of evidence, all practitioners must rely on their judgement and expert training to make the best possible treatment decisions.”
The AAP’s best evidence consensus meeting on lasers was sponsored by J. Morita USA. To access the full BEC proceedings, please visit the Journal of Periodontology on the Wiley Online Library. For more information about the AAP or periodontal disease, visit perio.org.
About the American Academy of Periodontology
The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) represents over 8,000 periodontists—specialists in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of inflammatory diseases affecting the gums and supporting structures of the teeth, and in the placement of dental implants. Periodontics is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association.