Purpose: To evaluate the comprehensive effects of photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy on teeth after active orthodontic treatment.
Keywords: orthodontic retention, orthodontically induced inflammatory root resorption, photobiomodulation therapy, systematic review
Materials and Methods: This systematic review was conducted according to the PRISMA guidelines. Six databases were electronically searched and screened for eligible human and animal studies published up to August 2020. The risk of bias was assessed based on the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions and Systematic Review Centre for Laboratory Experiment Tool. Two independent reviewers performed all procedures in duplicate. Any disagreement was resolved by discussion or consultation with a third reviewer.
Results: A total of 395 records were identified from the initial search up to August 2020. Following screening, 16 full-text articles were reviewed for eligibility (κ > 0.90), and ultimately 9 studies (3 clinical studies and 6 animal studies) were included in this review. The key outcomes observed were ‘tooth position maintenance’ and ‘root resorption rehabilitation’. Two controlled clinical trials and two animal studies supported the preventive effects of PBM therapy on the relapse of post-orthodontic tooth positions, while the other two animal studies reported opposing findings. Regarding root resorption, all evidence supported the rehabilitation potential using PBM therapy for teeth that had undergone orthodontic tooth movement. There was a high risk of bias among studies, except for one randomised controlled trial. Due to the substantial heterogeneity among studies in terms of their types, participants, designs, PBM therapy settings and variables of interest, it was not possible to conduct a meta-analysis; therefore, a qualitative synthesis is presented.
Conclusion: The quality of evidence for PBM therapy contributing to the maintenance of tooth position or improved dental health after orthodontic treatment remains low. There is considerable controversy over the effects of PBM therapy on orthodontic relapse. However, the use of PBM therapy after orthodontic treatment has promising effects for root resorption rehabilitation and is generally recommended.