In the search to find new forms of treatment for temporomandibular disorder (TMD), there have been multiple studies suggesting that low-level laser therapy (LLLT) may or may not be an alternative treatment for the jaw disorder.
TMD, or TMJ disorder, occurs when a person’s bite is not aligned properly. Because the jaw muscle is strained due to the misaligned bite, symptoms such as severe migraines, back and neck pain, and inner ear aches plague TMD sufferers. Though there are current treatment options available, researchers continue to investigate alternative methods to alleviate and possibly cure TMD.
LLLT Studies: A New Treatment Option?
During a study in 2003, 35 patients with TMJ disorder were randomly divided into a placebo group and an active treatment group to determine whether LLLT would be effective in treating the disorder. The patients were submitted to a daily exercise program and were treated with fifteen sessions of LLLT. It was found that, while patients from both groups experienced pain reduction, patients in the active treatment group experienced better jaw movement and fewer tender points than did those in the placebo group. It seemed that LLLT might become a new treatment option for TMD.
After a meta-analysis conducted in 2011, however, the possibility of LLLT successfully treating TMD was questionable at best. The meta-analysis involved pulling TMD and LLLT publications from databases, such as Science Direct and PubMed, and analysing the six randomized clinical trials that came of the search. Researchers then calculated the change in TMJ pain from baseline to endpoint from LLLT treatment, finding that the visual measurement was only an average of a 7.77 mm change from the placebo groups, which was not a significant change. It was also found that the maximum mandibular opening was only 4.04 mm different from the placebo group among other similar statistics, and it was determined that LLLT was not effective in the treatment of TMJ disorder.
Though there is not enough evidence to prove LLLT as a likely treatment option for TMD, there are plenty of treatment options available for those suffering from TMJ disorder that have proved successful. If you are suffering from signs and symptoms of TMJ disorder, contact Dr. Kevin Berry online or call (303) 691-0267 today at his dental office today to schedule a consultation and learn about available treatment options.