The aim of this systematic review was to compare the effectiveness of laser therapy with that of topical desensitising agents in treating dentine hypersensitivity. A secondary objective was to determine the safety of laser application according to the relevant studies. A systematic search was performed in the MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, the National Research Register, the Cochrane Oral Health Group's Trials Register database to retrieve all articles that were about randomised controlled trials involving the application of laser desensitising procedures and topical desensitising agents in the treatment of dentine hypersensitivity. A total of eight trials that met all inclusion criteria involving 234 participants were reviewed. Based upon the 'quality' of evidence, one study was classified as A level, five as B level and two as C level. Owing to the heterogeneity of the studies, a meta-analysis was not performed. Half of the included studies compared GaALAS laser with topical desensitising agents, but the findings were conflicting. The remaining studies involved Nd:YAG laser, Er:YAG laser and CO2 laser, and all showed that the three types of lasers were superior to topical desensitising agents, but the superiority was slight. A systematic review of the literature indicates the likelihood that laser therapy has a slight clinical advantage over topical medicaments in the treatment of dentine hypersensitivity. More large sample-sized, long-term, high-quality randomised controlled clinical trials are needed before definitive conclusions were made.