Ibuprofen and Low-level Laser Therapy for Pain Control during Fixed Orthodontic Therapy: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials and Meta-analysis

J Contemp Dent Pract. 2017 Jun 1;18(6):527-533. doi: 10.5005/jp-journals-10024-2078.


Introduction: To systematically review high-quality randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and meta-analysis on the effectiveness of use of ibuprofen and low-level laser therapy (LLLT) for pain control during fixed orthodontic appliance therapy.

Materials and methods: A web-based systematic search of PubMed and Medline database using relevant keywords was performed in August 2016 limited to the English language studies. Based on inclusion and exclusion criteria, RCTs utilizing blind approach were selected. The quality of studies was analyzed and only high-quality studies were included. Following data extraction, meta-analysis was performed by standardized mean difference Hedges' (adjusted) g with 95% confidence interval.

Results: A total number of six studies (four ibuprofen and two LLLT) comprising 315 patients were included. Heterogeneity among ibuprofen studies was small, while large heterogeneity was found among LLLT studies. The results showed that both ibuprofen and LLLT could reduce pain intensity during fixed orthodontic therapy and during 17 days follow-up period. However, this reduction was statistically significant only at 6 to 24 hours postoperatively for ibuprofen and 2 hours and 3 to 7 days for LLLT (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: Considering the limitations of the current meta-analysis, ibuprofen could alleviate orthodontic archwire activation pain during the 1st day with relatively high level of evidence. Low-level laser therapy could reduce this pain in the long term with limited evidence. Further well-designed RCTs are required to provide more evidence.

Keywords: Ibuprofen; Low-level laser therapy; Orthodontics; Pain; Randomized controlled trials Review..

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Ibuprofen / therapeutic use*
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Orthodontic Appliances / adverse effects*
  • Pain / prevention & control*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
  • Ibuprofen