Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain is symptomatic of TMJ disease. Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is often frequently in the clinical treatment of TMJ pain. The objective of this study was to review the effective parameters of LLLT for TMJ pain. This study was a systematic review in which electronic databases were searched for the period of January 2005 to January 2010. Reports of randomized controlled trials and calculated the effect size (ES) of the pain relief to evaluate the effect of LLLT were selected. Seven reports were found to meet the inclusion criteria and discussed. Based on the calculation results, the pooled ES was -0.6, indicating a moderate effect of pain relief. In addition, the dosages and treatments with wavelengths of 780 and 830 nm can cause moderate and large pain relief effects.
Use of LLLT on the masticatory muscle or joint capsule for TMJ pain had a moderate analgesic effect. The ideal parameters for LLLT to treat TMJ pain have not been confirmed. However, these results can be a vital clinical reference for clinical physicians in treatment of persons with TMJ pain.