Intraoral photobiomodulation-induced orthodontic tooth alignment: a preliminary study

Timothy Shaughnessy Alpdogan Kantarci Chung How Kau Darya Skrenes Sanjar Skrenes Dennis Ma
BMC Oral Health 2016;16:3. doi: 10.1186/s12903-015-0159-7. Epub 16 Jan 2016.

Background: Numerous strategies have been proposed to decrease orthodontic treatment time. Photobiomodulation (PBM) has previously been demonstrated to assist in this objective. The aim of this study was to test if intraoral PBM increases the rate of tooth alignment and reduces the time required to resolve anterior dental crowding.

Methods: Nineteen orthodontic subjects with Class I or Class II malocclusion and Little’s Irregularity Index (LII) ≥ 3 mm were selected from a pool of applicants, providing 28 total arches. No cases required extraction. The test group (N = 11, 18 arches, 10 upper, 8 lower) received daily PBM treatment with an intraoral LED device (OrthoPulseTM, Biolux Research Ltd.) during orthodontic treatment, while the control group (N = 8, 10 arches, 3 upper, 7 lower) received only orthodontic treatment. The PBM device exposed the buccal side of the gums to near-infrared light with a continuous 850-nm wavelength, generating an average daily energy density of 9.5 J/cm2. LII was measured at the start (T0) of orthodontic treatment until alignment was reached (T1, where LII ≤ 1 mm). The control group was mostly bonded with 0.018-in slot self-ligating SPEED brackets (Hespeler Orthodontics, Cambridge, ON. Canada), while conventionally-ligating Ormco Mini-Diamond twins were used on the PBM group (Ormco, Glendora, Calif. USA). Both groups progressed through alignment with NiTi arch-wires from 0.014-in through to 0.018-in (Ormco), with identical arch-wire changes. The rate of anterior alignment, in LII mm/week, and total treatment time was collected for both groups. Cox proportional hazards models were used to compare groups and while considering age, sex, ethnicity, arch and degree of crowding.

Results: The mean alignment rate for the PBM group was significantly higher than that of the control group, with an LII change rate of 1.27 mm/week (SD 0.53, 95 % CI ± 0.26) versus 0.44 mm/week (SD 0.20, 95 % CI ± 0.12), respectively (p = 0.0002). The treatment time to alignment was significantly smaller for the PBM group, which achieved alignment in 48 days (SD 39, 95 % CI ± 39), while the control group took 104 days (SD 55, 95 % CI ±19, p = 0.0053) on average. These results demonstrated that intraoral PBM increased the average rate of tooth movement by 2.9-fold, resulting in a 54 % average decrease in alignment duration versus control. The average PBM compliance to daily treatments was 93 % during alignment.

Conclusions: Under the limitations of this study, the findings suggest that intraoral PBM could be used to decrease anterior alignment treatment time, which could consequently decrease full orthodontic treatment time. However, due to its limitations, further research in the form of a large, randomized trial is needed.