The effect of low-level laser therapy during orthodontic movement: a preliminary study

Lasers Med Sci. 2008 Jan;23(1):27-33. doi: 10.1007/s10103-007-0449-7. Epub 2007 Mar 15.


It has been emphasized that one of the most valuable treatment objectives in dental practice is to afford the patient a pain-free treatment. By the evolution of the laser applications, the dental committee aimed to achieve this goal without analgesic drugs and painful methods. Orthodontic treatment is one of these concerns, that one of the major components of patient to reject this treatment is the pain accompanied during the different treatment phases. Another great concern of the patient is not to get through prolonged periods of treatment. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of the low-level (GaAlAs) diode laser (809 nm, 100 mW) on the canine retraction during an orthodontic movement and to assess pain level during this treatment. A group of 15 adult patients with age ranging from 14 to 23 years attended the orthodontic department at Dental School, Damascus University. The treatment plan for these patients included extraction of the upper and lower first premolars because there was not enough space for a complete alignment or presence of biprotrusion. For each patient, this diagnosis was based on a standard orthodontic documentation with photographs, model casts, cephalometric, panorama, and superior premolar periapical radiographies. The orthodontic treatment was initiated 14 days after the premolar extraction with a standard 18 slot edgewise brackets [Rocky Mountain Company (RMO)]. The canine retraction was accomplished by using prefabricated Ricketts springs (RMO), in both upper and lower jaws. The right side of the upper and lower jaw was chosen to be irradiated with the laser, whereas the left side was considered the control without laser irradiation. The laser was applied with 0-, 3-, 7-, and 14-day intervals. The retraction spring was reactivated on day 21 for all sides. The amount of canine retraction was measured at this stage with a digital electronic caliper (Myoto, Japan) and compared each side of the relative jaw (i.e., upper left canine with upper right canine and lower left canine with lower right canine). The pain level was prompted by a patient questionnaire. The velocity of canine movement was significantly greater in the lased group than in the control group. The pain intensity was also at lower level in the lased group than in the control group throughout the retraction period. Our findings suggest that low-level laser therapy can highly accelerate tooth movement during orthodontic treatment and can also effectively reduce pain level.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Male
  • Orthodontic Brackets
  • Orthodontic Space Closure / instrumentation*
  • Orthodontic Space Closure / methods
  • Pain Measurement
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Tooth Movement Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Tooth Movement Techniques / methods