Comparative clinical study of light analgesic effect on temporomandibular disorder (TMD) using red and infrared led therapy

Lasers Med Sci. 2015 Feb;30(2):815-22. doi: 10.1007/s10103-013-1444-9. Epub 2013 Oct 3.


Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) has been widely applied in pain relief in several clinical situations, including temporomandibular disorders (TMD). However, the effects of LED therapy on TMD has not been investigated. This study aims to evaluate the effects of red and infrared LEDs on: (1) tissue temperature in ex vivo and (2) pain relief and mandibular range of motion in patients with TMD. Thirty patients between 18 and 40 years old were included and randomly assigned to three groups. The two experimental groups were: the red LED (630 ± 10 nm) group and the infrared LED (850 ± 10 nm) group. The irradiation parameters were 150 mW, 300 mW/cm(2), 18 J/cm(2), and 9 J/point. The positive control group received an infrared laser (780 nm) with 70 mW, 1.7 W/cm(2), 105 J/cm(2), and 4.2 J/point. LED and laser therapies were applied bilaterally to the face for 60 s/point. Five points were irradiated: three points around the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), one point for the temporalis, and one near the masseter. Eight sessions of phototherapy were performed, twice a week for 4 weeks. Pain induced by palpating the masseter muscle and mandibular range of motion (maximum oral aperture) were measured at baseline, immediately after treatment, 7 days after treatment, and 30 days after treatment. There was an increase in tissue temperature during both the red and the infrared LED irradiation in ex vivo. There was a significant reduction of pain and increase of the maximum oral aperture for all groups (p ≥ 0.05). There was no significant difference in pain scores and maximum oral aperture between groups at baseline or any periods after treatment (p ≥ 0.05). The current study showed that red and infrared LED therapy can be useful in improving outcomes related to pain relief and orofacial function for TMD patients. We conclude that LED devices constitute an attractive alternative for LLLT.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analgesics
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Face
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infrared Rays
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Male
  • Mandible
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Pain Measurement / methods*
  • Phototherapy / methods*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Temperature
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / surgery*
  • Young Adult


  • Analgesics