Low-Level Light Therapy (LLLT) is an emerging therapeutic modality in dental practices across the US, with over 2000 published papers on the subject.
Clinically proven and long-celebrated for its positive outcomes in Europe and Asia, LLLT uses light to penetrate tissue for increased blood flow and accelerated healing. While high-level laser light is used to cut tissue, low-level light helps heal tissue.
Low-level therapy is indicated for treatment associated with:
- chronic pain management
- acute pain management
- wound healing
- minor nerve damage
- post surgery
- dentinal hypersensitivity
- cold sores
- canker sores
- denture sores
- trigeminal neuralgia
- myofacial pain
- temporomandibular dysfunction
To dental industry leaders, forward-thinkers, entrepreneurs, and scholars, the laser’s capabilities are seemingly endless. According to the American Dental Association, applications for and research on lasers in dentistry continues to expand since their introduction to the dental profession. Here are a few examples of published studies and their outcomes.
LLLT is a successful treatment option for TMD cases. According to a study in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation, “LLLT significantly improved the functional outcomes of patients with TMDs.”
“Use of LLLT on the masticatory muscle or joint capsule for TMJ pain had a moderate analgesic effect” according to another study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science.
The successful reduction of postoperative pain after mandibular third molar extraction is also of great significance. A recent study published in Lasers in Medical Science concluded that “The superiority of LLLT persists and intraoral combined with extraoral irradiation reduced facial swelling significantly.
It is the position of the American Dental Association that practitioners obtain proper training on the use of dental lasers. The Academy of Laser Dentistry’s curriculum guidelines are available online and the World Clinical Laser Institute is dedicated to teaching dentists and their staff how to successfully integrate laser technology into their practices.
Chronic conditions can be managed non-invasively and non-pharmacologically. Clinical experience has shown improvement in both pain relief and return to function. Low-level therapy is a compelling and complementary treatment option for dental practitioners who desire complete case management for their patients.