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J Craniofac Surg. 2010 Nov;21(6):1722-8. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0b013e3181f3c76c.

Management of myofascial pain: low-level laser therapy versus occlusal splints.

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Department of Maxillofacial Prosthodontics, University of Istanbul Faculty of Dentistry, Istanbul, Turkey.


The present study was designed to compare the effects of low-level laser with occlusal splints in patients with signs and symptoms of myofascial pain (MP) dysfunction syndrome. A total of 40 (34 women and 6 men, with a mean age of 32.84 [SD, 10.70] years) were selected after the diagnosis of MP according to the Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorder. The patients were randomly divided into 2 groups: study group (n = 20) and control group (n = 20). Low-level laser was applied to patients in the study group 2 times per week, for a total of 10 sessions. Patients in the control group were instructed to wear occlusal splints 24 h/d for 3 months. The functional examination was based on Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorder and pressure pain threshold values were obtained with the aid of an algometer in both groups. Patients' self-report of pain was evaluated with visual analog scale. Comparisons were made within and between the groups before and after treatment. Vertical movements showed statistically significant improvements after the treatments in both groups (P < 0.01), but when the groups were compared with each other, there were no significant difference between the groups. In both groups, tenderness to palpation of the muscles decreased significantly. Pressure pain threshold evaluations and visual analog scale scores revealed similar results, too. This particular type of low-level laser therapy (820 nm, 3 J/cm2, 300-mW output power) is as effective as occlusal splint in pain release and mandibular movement improvement in MP.

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