Since lasers were introduced for the treatment of oral diseases, there has been considerable advancement in technology. As a result, numerous laser systems are currently available for oral use. Neodymium:Yttrium-Aluminum:Garnet (Nd:YAG), carbon dioxide (CO(2)) laser and the semiconductor Diode lasers have already been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for soft tissue treatment in oral cavity. The Erbium:YAG (Er:YAG) laser was approved in 1997 for hard tissue treatment in dentistry and recent studies have reported positive results. This suggests that the Er:YAG laser system is a promising apparatus, which will be able to revolutionize and improve dental practice, in particular periodontal treatment. In this mini-review, we would like to describe the positive characteristics of the Er:YAG laser which indicate its potential as a new treatment modality in periodontics. Recent findings are summarized briefly to evaluate the potential of the Er:YAG laser for clinical application in periodontics. The Er:YAG laser possesses suitable characteristics for oral soft and hard tissue ablation. Recently, it has been applied for effective elimination of granulation tissue, gingival melanin pigmentation and gingival discoloration. Contouring and cutting of bone with minimal damage and even or faster healing can also be performed with this laser. In addition, irradiation with the Er:YAG laser has a bactericidal effect with reduction of lipopolysaccharide, high ability of plaque and calculus removal, with the effect limited to a very thin layer of the surface and is effective for implant maintenance. The Er:YAG laser seems to be an effective tool for periodontal therapy, however, further clinical and basic investigations are required to confirm its clinical application.