Effect of Lithium on Orthodontic Tooth Movement: a Systematic Review of Animal Studies

Turk J Orthod. 2024 Mar 28;37(1):63-71. doi: 10.4274/TurkJOrthod.2023.2022.149.


Objective: This study aimed to systematically review the effect of lithium on orthodontic tooth movement (OTM).

Methods: The focus question was "does lithium have an effect on OTM?" A systematic search was conducted using indexed databases and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines were followed. The quality assessment of the selected studies was performed according to the systematic review center for laboratory animal experimentation.

Results: Five of the initially identified 656 articles fulfilled the eligibility criteria and were selected for this review. The studies reported that lithium administration lowered the rate of OTM by inducing a reduction in the number of osteoclasts and possibly inhibiting osteoclastogenesis. These studies further showed an increase in bone density and bone volume by promoting the Wnt/ß-catenin signaling pathway and osteoblastogenesis. It was also noted that lithium reduced orthodontically induced root resorption during experimental OTM. Further, standardized studies are warranted to understand the impact of lithium in OTM. Overall, the risk of bias for 3 studies was very high, high in 1 study, and moderate in 1 study.

Conclusion: On an experimental level in animals, lithium decreased the rate of OTM during the active treatment phase by increasing bone density and bone volume and reducing root resorption. In addition, lithium may enhance alveolar bone formation during orthodontic retention. Clinically, this may impact the orthodontic treatment duration in patients receiving lithium, and further studies are needed to understand the true impact of lithium on OTM.

Keywords: Lithium; orthodontic tooth movement; systematic review.