Laser therapy eases TMD pain

Diode laser treatment significantly decreases the painful symptoms experienced by patients suffering from temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD) due to its analgesic and/or a placebo effect, according to a study in the Brazilian Journal of Otorhinolaryngology (May/June 2010, Vol. 76:3, pp. 294-299).

To evaluate the effectiveness of laser therapy in treating temporomandibular disorders and determine its analgesic effect, researchers from the University of Pernambuco divided 50 volunteers with temporomandibular disorders into two groups (control and experimental) and treated them with a 40-mW diode laser. The laser was applied for 16 seconds to four selected points (80 J/cm²) during a single session, with reassessment after one week. Amplitudes of mandibular movements were recorded before and after laser application.

"Laser therapy increased the mean amplitude of mandibular movements (p = 0.0317) and decreased significantly (43.6%) the pain intensity measured by the visual analog scale," the researchers noted.

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