Study: Laser therapy eases orthodontic pain

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) appears to be effective in reducing pain associated with orthodontic treatment, according to a study in Angle Orthodontist (July 2013, Vol. 83:4, pp. 611-616).

A team of Korean researchers randomly placed 88 patients into one of three groups: a laser group, a light-emitting diode (LED) placebo group, or a control group. Elastomeric separators were placed on the first molars of each study participant.

In the laser and LED groups, the researchers irradiated the molars with low levels of laser or LED energy for 30 seconds every 12 hours for one week using a portable device. Pain was recorded on a visual analog scale at predetermined intervals.

The researchers found that the pain scores of the laser group were significantly lower than those of the control group up to one day. The pain scores in the LED group were not significantly different from those of the laser group during the first six hours; after that, the pain scores of the LED group were not significantly different from those of the control.

"Frequent LLLT decreased the perception of pain to a nonsignificant level throughout the week after separator placement, compared with pain perception in the placebo and control groups," the study authors concluded.

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