Efficacy of adjuvant laser therapy in reducing postsurgical complications after the removal of impacted mandibular third molars
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BACKGROUND: The authors updated a previously published systematic review to assess the effects of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) on reducing complications after the removal of impacted mandibular third molars. TYPES OF STUDIES REVIEWED: The authors searched for randomized clinical trials in which the investigators evaluated the efficacy of LLLT compared with that of placebo or no treatment. Two reviewers independently screened studies, extracted data, and assessed risk of bias. The authors used random effects model meta-analysis and the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation approach to rate the certainty of evidence. RESULTS: The authors included 21 studies. There was low-certainty evidence that LLLT results in less pain at 2 days after surgery (mean difference [MD], -1.42 on a 10 point scale; 95% confidence interval [CI], -2.18 to -0.67) and moderate certainty that it results in negligibly less pain at 7 days (MD, -0.59; 95% CI, -0.96 to -0.22); moderate-certainty evidence that LLLT has a negligible benefit on reducing trismus at 2 days (MD, -3.42 millimeters; 95% CI, -5.34 to -1.50) and at 7 days after surgery (MD, -2.30 mm; 95% CI, -3.96 to -0.64); lastly, there was moderate-certainty evidence that LLLT results in less postoperative swelling at 2 days (standardized MD, -0.82; 95% CI, -1.28 to -0.35) and low-certainty evidence that LLLT results in negligibly less postoperative swelling at 7 days after surgery (standardized MD, -0.17; 95% CI, -0.4 to 0.07). Low-quality evidence suggests that LLLT will not cause adverse effects. CONCLUSIONS AND PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: LLLT probably has negligible benefits but may not result in adverse events. Evidence does not support the use of LLLT in clinical practice to reduce complications after impacted mandibular third-molar surgical extractions.
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