Burning Mouth Syndrome: Study Unveils Instant Relief Through Low Level Laser Therapy

Burning Mouth Syndrome: Study Unveils Instant Relief Through Low Level Laser Therapy
19th March 2024 Moriah Aharon

New study suggests that low-level laser therapy (PBM) offers immediate pain relief for Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS) patients. Over 10 weeks, 30 participants experienced a significant drop in pain scores after each treatment. While efficacy decreased in the following week, a cumulative effect was observed, especially up to the third treatment. The findings highlight the potential of PBM as a promising treatment for BMS, despite some nuances in its effectiveness.

A new study led by Dr Yaron Haviv, Dr Ori Finfter and Professor Doron Aframian and their team from the Oral Medicine Department at the Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Dental Medicine, sheds light on promising developments in the treatment of Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS) through the application of photobiomodulation (PBM), commonly known as low-level laser therapy (LLLT). The 10-week study, conducted with thirty BMS patients, not only underscores the immediate relief offered by PBM but also delves into nuanced aspects of its effectiveness.

Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS) presents a complex and debilitating challenge, characterised by persistent intraoral burning or abnormal sensations, occurring without clinically evident causative lesions upon examination and investigation. This enigmatic disorder primarily impacts the oral cavity, resulting in discomfort and pain, significantly affecting the quality of life for those affected. The elusive nature of its cause complicates both diagnosis and treatment, with millions of individuals worldwide, especially middle-aged and older women, highly connect with depression, grappling with this condition. The daily struggles faced by BMS sufferers underscore the critical need for comprehensive research and effective therapeutic interventions.

The study focused on investigating how PBM influences individuals with Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS). Utilising special lights to stimulate cell function, the 30 BMS patients received intraoral treatment for 10 weeks. Pain assessments were conducted using the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) immediately after each treatment, with a calculation of weekly average VAS aiming to evaluate both the immediate and long-term effects of PBM on alleviating BMS symptoms.

Results from the study revealed a substantial decrease in the initial pain score, as measured by the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), from 7.80 to 2.07 after the treatments (p < 0.001). Although there was a slight increase in the average pain score to 5.73 in the week following the last treatment, it remained significantly lower than the initial score (p = 0.017). Notably, the researchers observed a trend of continued improvement in pain relief with additional treatments, particularly up to the third session. Moreover, the study highlighted that PBM demonstrated enhanced efficacy for male patients or those experiencing pain on only one side of their mouth (p = 0.017, 0.022, respectively).

PBM emerges as a promising avenue for providing immediate pain relief to Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS) patients. While the efficacy diminishes in the week following treatment, the study underscores a notable trend of increased pain relief with repeated sessions, especially up to the third treatment. These findings open new possibilities for understanding and addressing the challenges posed by BMS, offering hope for improved therapeutic interventions in the future.

The paper is titled “Photobiomodulation alleviates Burning Mouth Syndrome pain: Immediate and weekly outcomes explored” and published in Oral Diseases – 

For more information on the Center for Research for Pain 

Ori Finfter1, Layla Kizel2, Rakefet Czerninski1, Shimrit Heiliczer1, Yair Sharav1, Rafael Cohen1, Doron J. Aframian1, Yaron Haviv1

1) Department of Oral Medicine, Sedation and Imaging, Hadassah Medical Center, Faculty of Dental Medicine, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
2) Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Dental Medicine, Jerusalem, Israel

Disclaimer: In these challenging times of war and crisis, Hebrew University of Jerusalem is resolute in its dedication to advancing research and education. We stand in full support of the brave individuals on the frontlines, safeguarding our nation and the well-being of all Israelis, and extend our deepest gratitude and unwavering solidarity to our community and fellow citizens. Together, we shall prevail against the challenges that confront us, and our shared commitment to the well-being of all Israelis and the pursuit of knowledge remains resolute.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is Israel’s premier academic and research institution. With over 25,000 students from 90 countries, it is a hub for advancing scientific knowledge and holds a significant role in Israel’s civilian scientific research output, accounting for nearly 40% of it and has registered over 11,000 patents. The university’s faculty and alumni have earned eight Nobel Prizes and a Fields Medal, underscoring their contributions to ground-breaking discoveries. In the global arena, the Hebrew University ranks 86th according to the Shanghai Ranking. To learn more about the university’s academic programs, research initiatives, and achievements, visit the official website at http://new.huji.ac.il/en