The Medical Power of Light: Pain Management

It’s all about Photobiomodulation (PBM), or Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) that uses natural wavelengths to stimulate cells to naturally heal, relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

The process creates three key mechanisms of action:

  • PBM energy is absorbed by cytochrome c oxidase in mitochondria in the cell and results in an increase in ATP, a natural fuel for cell activity and metabolism.
  • The process creates mild oxidants (ROS), which leads to gene transcription and cellular repair and healing.
  • PBM therapy helps to dilate blood vessels and improves blood circulation through the action of the signaling molecule Nitric Oxide.

Dentin Hypersensitivity/Endodontics
PBM will reduce the pain and inflammation after endodontic procedures and surgery, treat pulp hyperemia, help diagnose irreversible pulpitis and reduce the need to post-operative analgesics. Further, laser irradiation is very effective in treating dentine hypersensitivity.

Soft Tissue Lesions
Soft tissue lesions, such as herpes lesions, denture sores, angular cheilitis and lichen planus, respond very well to PBM. Research has indicated that laser irradiation can prevent cold sores from erupting if treated in the prodromal stage (when the tingling starts) and speed the healing in cases where the sore has erupted. More recently PBM has been shown to be an excellent modality in treating or preventing mucositis which is often a debilitating side effect of chemotherapy. Patients present with sores (similar to herpes lesions) along the lips, mucosa, palate and pharynx, making eating and drinking incredibly painful. Medicine has not found a satisfactory treatment for this debilitating condition and it is one of the two major complications that lead to stopping or postponing chemotherapy treatments.

Nerve Regeneration
PBM has been demonstrated to be a very effective modality in stimulating the regeneration and healing of damaged nerves. Clinical successes have been demonstrated in cases of nerve damage following wisdom tooth removal, orthognathic surgery and injection complications.

Is PBM Safe?
In several thousand studies done on Photobiomodulation, no clinical side effects have been reported. Photobiomodulation merely restores ATP levels in the mitochondria to normal levels, so it is the body’s normal healing mechanisms which deliver the clinical result.

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