Background: Temporomandibular joint disorders are the most common source of pain on the face. There are multiple etiologies, and several types of treatment have been reported. The use of non-invasive and reversible therapies in the treatment of such problems is recommended. The present study evaluated the effect of low level laser (LLL) therapy and transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS) on temporomandibular joint disorders.
Methods: In this single-blind study, 40 patients with temporomandibular disorders were randomly divided into four groups: TENS (TENSTem dental), LLL (diode 810 nm CW), sham-TENS, and sham-LLL. All subjects were examined and data on pain and tenderness in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and masticatory muscles (using the visual analogue scale) and mouth-opening (distance between incisal edges before feeling pain; mm) were collected before baseline (T1), after each session (T2-T5) and one month after the end of the sessions (T6)), and analyzed using repeated measure ANOVA and Boneferronie statistical tests. A p-value < 0.05 was considered significant.
Results: The decrease in pain (p = 0.000), tenderness (p = 0.000) and increase in mouth-opening ability (p = 0.002) was greater in the TENS and LLL groups than in the placebo groups. At the one-month follow-up, significant decrease in pain and tenderness was recorded in the TENS and LLL groups (p = 0.000). There was no significant differences between TENS and LLL and the placebo groups for maximum mouth-opening at the end of the study (p = 0.692).
Conclusion: Using TENS or LLL therapy can improve TMD symptoms at least for the short term. Although the effects of the placebo played a role in improving symptoms, their effects were less important
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