Comparative effectiveness of Low Level Laser therapy and Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation on Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

J Lasers Med Sci. 2017 Summer;8(Suppl 1):S27-S31. doi: 10.15171/jlms.2017.s6. Epub 2017 Aug 29.


Introduction: Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMDs) are the most common source of pain on the face. There are multiple etiologies, and several types of treatment have been reported. The use of non-invasive and reversible therapies in the treatment of such problems is recommended. The present study evaluated the effect of low-level laser (LLL) therapy and transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS) on TMDs. Methods: In this single-blind study, 40 patients with temporomandibular disorders were randomly divided into four groups: TENS (TENSTem dental), LLL (diode 810 nm CW), shamTENS, and sham-LLL. All subjects were examined and data on pain and tenderness in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and masticatory muscles (using the visual analogue scale) and mouth-opening (distance between incisal edges before feeling pain; mm) were collected before baseline (T1), after each session (T2-T5) and one month after the end of the sessions (T6)), and analyzed using repeated measure analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Bonferroni statistical tests. A P value < 0.05 was considered significant. Results: The decrease in pain (P=0.000), tenderness (P=0.000) and increase in mouth-opening ability (P=0.002) was greater in the TENS and LLL groups than in the placebo groups. At the one-month follow-up, significant decrease in pain and tenderness was recorded in the TENS and LLL groups (P=0.000). There was no significant differences between TENS and LLL and the placebo groups for maximum mouth-opening at the end of the study (P=0.692). Conclusion: Using TENS or LLL therapy can improve TMD symptoms at least for the short term. Although the effects of the placebo played a role in improving symptoms, their effects were less important.

Keywords: Low-level laser therapy; Temporomandibular disorders; Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.