Effect of low-level laser stimulation of acupuncture points in pediatric dentistry: a systematic review

Lasers Med Sci. 2023 Jan 24;38(1):52. doi: 10.1007/s10103-023-03720-6.


The biomodulatory potential of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) has prompted investigations of different outcomes in health. One line of research is the stimulation of acupuncture points for the relief of different signs and symptoms related to the stomatognathic system. In dentistry, some studies in pediatric dentistry have demonstrated the benefit of LLLT therapies in the management of dental anxiety in children. This systematic review aimed to analyze previous clinical studies on the application of LLLT at acupoints among pediatric dental patients. This systematic review was conducted according to the Cochrane Collaboration guidelines and the population, intervention, comparison, and outcome strategy. A broad literature search up to June 17, 2022, was performed using four electronic databases (PubMed, Scopus, Embase, and Google Scholar). The risk of bias in randomized clinical trials was assessed using the RoB 2 tool. A total of four studies using LLLT for photobiomodulation were included (n = 4). The most common wavelengths used were in the infrared range (variation between 716 nm and 980 nm). There were little variations in the application time (14 s to 1 min) and exposure dose (1 to 5 joules). LLLT acted positively on different acupuncture points. LLLT provided various benefits and optimized dental practice by reducing the gag reflex during radiography and impression taking, preanesthetic pain, and symptoms of sleep bruxism in the pediatric dental population. Only one of the evaluated studies had a high risk of bias. The LLLT at acupuncture points is associated with positive results on sleep bruxism, preanesthetic pain, and gag reflex in pediatric dentistry. Future research studies should prioritize standardization of the study design and the methods of analysis.

Keywords: Acupuncture; Acupuncture points; Low-level light therapy; Pediatric dentistry.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Points
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Lasers
  • Low-Level Light Therapy* / methods
  • Pain
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Sleep Bruxism*