Lasers in Medical Science

, Volume 34, Issue 7, pp 1305–1316 | Cite as

Efficacy of low-level laser therapy in pain management after root canal treatment or retreatment: a systematic review

  • Y. Chen
  • X. L. Chen
  • X. L. Zou
  • S. Z. Chen
  • J. Zou
  • Y. WangEmail author
Review Article


The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) for pain management after root canal treatment or retreatment. An electronic search for randomized controlled trials was conducted prior to November 2018, through PubMed, EMBASE, the Cochrane library (CENTRAL), and Web of Science. After filtering, seven articles were included, five related to root canal therapy (RCT) and two related to root canal retreatment (RCR). Six of the included studies presented a moderate risk of bias and a one low risk of bias, based on the Cochrane tool of risk of bias evaluation. The laser treatment included diode laser and indium–gallium–aluminum laser. LLLT was compared with placebo, blank, and ibuprofen treatment. Clinical outcome variables included the prevalence of pain, pain intensity, and need for analgesics after treatment. Three studies showed LLLT could reduce the prevalence of pain significantly after RCT or RCR. Although the effect of LLLT on pain intensity varied at different observation time points and among different studies, most of them found patients had lower pain intensity in the LLLT group. Of the three studies that assessed the need for analgesics after treatment, two studies showed significant benefits. Based on the current evidence, the use of LLLT for pain control in postendodontic therapy may be promising. However, solid conclusions should not be drawn definitely, given that more high-quality randomized controlled trials are required to further evaluate the efficacy of LLLT for pain management after RCT and RCR.


Low-level laser therapy Pain Root canal treatment Root canal retreatment Systematic review 



The work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (81600864) and Scientific Research Foundation for Young Teachers of Sichuan University (2017SCU11007).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

For this type of study, formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Oral Diseases, National Clinical Research Center for Oral Diseases, West China Hospital of StomatologySichuan UniversityChengduChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Oral Diseases, National Clinical Research Center for Oral Diseases and Department of Pediatric Dentistry, West China Hospital of StomatologySichuan UniversityChengduChina

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