Low-level laser therapy for management of TMJ osteoarthritis

Cranio. 2014 Jan;32(1):38-44. doi: 10.1179/0886963413Z.0000000004.


Aims: This study investigated the efficacy of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) for the management of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) osteoarthritis.

Methodology: In a double-blind clinical trial, 20 patients with TMJ osteoarthritis were randomly divided into laser and placebo groups. The patients in the laser group received irradiation from an 810 nm low-level laser (Peak power 80 W, average power 50 mW, 1500 Hz, 1 micro s pulse width, 120 seconds, 6 J, 3.4 J/cm(2) per point), which was applied on four points around the TMJs and on painful muscles three times a week for 4 weeks. In the placebo group, the treatment was the same as that in the laser group, but with laser simulation. The patients were evaluated before laser therapy (T1), after 6 (T2) and 12 (T3) laser applications and 1 month after the last application (T4), and the amount of mouth opening and the pain intensity were recorded.

Results: No significant differences were found in mouth opening either between the study groups or between the different evaluation times in each group (P>0.05). There was no significant difference in pain symptoms of the masticatory muscles and TMJ between the laser and the placebo groups (P>0.05), but some significant within-group improvements were present for Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) scores of the body of the masseter and TMJ in both groups.

Conclusions: LLLT using the present laser parameters was no more effective than the placebo treatment for reducing pain and improving mouth opening in patients with TMJ osteoarthritis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Facial Pain / radiotherapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Male
  • Masticatory Muscles / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / radiotherapy*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / radiotherapy*