Learning from clinical phenotypes: Low-dose biophotonics therapies in oral diseases

Oral Dis. 2018 Mar;24(1-2):261-276. doi: 10.1111/odi.12796.


This narrative review on the use of biophotonics therapies for management of oral diseases is written as a tribute to Prof. Crispian Scully. His seminal contributions to the field are highlighted by the detailed, comprehensive description of clinical presentations of oral diseases. This has enabled a more thorough, fundamental understanding of many of these pathologies by research from his group as well as inspired mechanistic investigations in many groups globally. In the same vein, a major emphasis of this narrative review is to focus on the evidence from human case reports rather than in vitro or in vivo animal studies that showcases the growing and broad impact of biophotonics therapies. The similarities and differences between two distinct forms of low-dose biophotonics treatments namely photodynamic therapy and photobiomodulation therapy are discussed. As evident in this review, a majority of these reports provide promising evidence for their clinical efficacy. However, a lack of adequate technical details, precise biological rationale, and limited outcome measures limits the current utility of these treatments. Future investigations should attempt to address these shortcomings and develop better designed, rigorous, controlled studies to fully harness the tremendous potential of low-dose biophotonics therapies.

Keywords: anti-microbial; inflammation; low level light/laser therapy; oral diseases; photobiomodulation therapy; photodynamic therapy; wound healing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy*
  • Bacterial Infections / prevention & control
  • Biofilms
  • Endodontics
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy
  • Learning
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Mouth Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Mouth Diseases / radiotherapy*
  • Optics and Photonics
  • Phenotype
  • Photochemotherapy*
  • Photons / therapeutic use*