Do you want to get your teeth straightened but are afraid of the discomfort that may result. In truth, for most people the discomfort of braces is relatively minor, short-lived, and controllable with over-the-counter pain medication. However, if you are still afraid or if you’re looking for an alternative treatment for existing discomfort, low-level laser therapy may help, according to a new study.
What Is LLLT?
LLLT uses diode lasers to reduce pain. The exact mechanism is not clearly understood, and it is a controversial treatment to many doctors, who point out that there is not a lot of science underlying its effectiveness.
Nonetheless, it is being used to treat a number of chronic pain conditions, including neuropathy, arthritis, and even TMJ.
In a study published this year in The Angle Orthodontist, investigators looked into whether the treatment might be used to help people who were suffering discomfort due to orthodontic adjustments. They placed elastomeric separators on 88 people, then assigned them randomly to one of four groups: LLLT, light emitting diode (LED), placebo, and control (no treatment). They then asked every subject about their pain at predetermined intervals.
The placebo and control group were not statistically different in their pain perception. For the first six hours, both the LLLT and LED group had significantly lower pain levels than the control group. By one day after treatment, the LED group was no different than control, but the LLLT group had significantly lower pain values for up to a week after treatment. Since that’s often longer than people experience discomfort for after orthodontic adjustments, LLLT could conceivably be used as an effective treatment.
Orthodontic Options and Discomfort
At My Hills Dentist, we offer many options for teeth straightening. We would like to say that some of them are free of discomfort, but it’s a fundamental part of the teeth straightening mechanism that bones have to be stressed so they reshape themselves. However, because of the different ways in which the force is applied among the different orthodontic treatments–, Six Month Smiles, and the Inman Aligner–the type and extent of discomfort may differ, which we can discuss during your consultation to help you find the best braces option for you.
To learn more about your orthodontic options, please contact My Hills Dentist in the Baulkham Hills area of Sydney.