With the rapid development of laser technology, lasers with a wide range of characteristics are now available and being used in various fields of dentistry. It is known that endodontic quality is low worldwide (on average 30% to 40% of root filled teeth are associated with apical periodontitis). The major reason for endodontic failure is insufficient disinfection/sterilisation of the root canal space. The question is whether there is a role for lasers as physical disinfection of the root canal, alongside or instead of chemical disinfection with irrigants such as sodium hypochlorite. On the basis of present-day scientific literature it is concluded that: (1) bactericidal effects have been demonstrated with lasers; (2) current lasers are to be considered as adjuncts to root canal irrigants; and (3) current lasers cannot yet replace sodium hypochlorite as the gold standard.
Keywords: bactericidal, disinfection, endodontics, laser, root canal