Laser therapy eases discomfort after third-molar surgery

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) can help ease pain, swelling, and trismus associated with surgical removal of impacted lower third molars, according to a study in Lasers in Medical Science (July 28, 2012).

Researchers from the department of oral dental diseases at the University of Chieti in Italy randomized 30 patients into two treatment groups, each with 15 patients: a test group (LLLT) and a control group (no LLLT). All were told to avoid any analgesics 12 hours before their surgery.

For the test group, 980-nm diode-laser energy was applied intraorally (lingual and vestibular) 1 cm from the involved area and extraorally at the insertion point of the masseter muscle immediately after surgery and at 24 hours after surgery. The group control received only routine management.

The test group showed improvement in the interincisal opening and "remarkable" reduction of trismus, swelling, and intensity of pain on the first and the seventh postoperative days, the study authors reported.

"This study has demonstrated that LLLT ... is useful for the reduction of postoperative discomfort after third-molar surgery," they concluded.

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