One therapy that some recommend for TMJ is low level laser therapy (LLLT). It promises to offer many benefits, such as reduced pain, reduced swelling, healing, and nerve regeneration. But does it really work?

The Theory of LLLT

LLLT uses low level lasers or sometimes diode light that shines on your skin. The theory is that this can modulate the healing and immune responses from your body, resulting in the production of hormones and cells that can speed your healing of TMJ-related damage to your muscles, nerves, and bones.

Proponents of LLLT claim that it stimulates endorphins, which are natural compounds that can work to relieve jaw pain. They say it also stimulates fibroblasts, cells that repair your soft tissue to work on muscles, cartilage, blood vessels, and nerves. It also stimulates osteoblasts that work on your bones, increasing the healing of bone.

Another potential effect of LLLT is increasing circulation, which helps remove toxic compounds from the area and bring in vital nutrients for healing.

But Does It Work?

There are many anecdotal reports (personal accounts) by people and doctors who say that LLLT works for them or their patients. As far as the clinical evidence, that is a much more difficult question.

One study has shown an actual benefit comparing LLLT with placebo. That is, people actually saw more benefit using LLLT compared to a fake treatment. However, perhaps a dozen studies or so have shown some degree of success. Although these studies often have significant limitations and the authors urge caution, there is some basis for saying that LLLT might actually work, although we must await further evidence before we can be really sure.

TMJ Treatments That Work

If you are looking for treatment of your TMJ that can lead to reliable results, Smile Columbia Dentistry can help. We can talk to you about all your treatment options and help you identify the TMJ treatment best suited for your condition, your treatment goals, and your unique TMJ.

To learn more, please contact Smile Columbia Dentistry in Columbia, SC today.