Purpose: This systematic review evaluates the effectiveness of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) to enhance maxillofacial area bone repair.
Methods: A comprehensive search of studies published up to February 2017 and listed in PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, and Cochrane Library databases was performed in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement.
Results: The 15 selected studies evaluated a total of 374 patients (mean age, 28.5years) who were treated with LLLT. Gallium-arsenide (GaAs) and gallium aluminium arsenide (GaAlAs) were the most commonly used devices, and LLLT parameters varied greatly. Wavelengths varied from 500 to 1000nm. Tooth extraction, distraction osteogenesis, maxillary expansion, periodontal defects, orthodontic movement and maxillary cystic defects were evaluated. From the 15 selected studies, six evaluated bone repair (primary outcomes). Of these, four studies showed improvement in bone formation after using LLLT, two demonstrated improved results for only one follow up period, and one showed no additional benefits. The other 9 studies evaluated secondary parameters related to healing (secondary outcomes) in the maxillofacial area after applying LLLT, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and healing accelerator effects, and quality of life related to oral health. There were no adverse or negative effects of LLLT reported.
Conclusion: Within the limitation of this review, a possible improvement in bone density can be found when LLLT is applied postoperatively in maxillofacial bony defects. LLLT also seems to promote anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects and accelerate healing, as well as enhance quality of life related to oral health. However, LLLT use protocols need to be standardized before more specific conclusions can be drawn about this subject.
Keywords: Bone; Bone regeneration; Dentistry; Lasers; Low-level laser therapy; Maxillofacial; Review; Systematic review.
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