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by Dr Joseph Ryan, Symmetry Dental, Kingston, ACT
I use this laser to treat a range of conditions from mucosal diseases to temporomandibular joint disorders to myofascial pain. Sydney Adventist Hospital uses it for the successful management and prophylactic treatment of oral mucositis, a side effect from various cancer treatments.
What’s good about it
This low-level laser reduces inflammation within the muscles, as well as changes the sensitivity of the muscle. It also helps with cellular respiration, stabilising mitochondria to better use oxygen and reduce the reactive oxygen species they produce. That’s how it creates an anti-inflammatory effect.
It also has a calming effect on neurons, helping to reduce pain. I’ve used it on patients with trigeminal neuralgia and burning mouth syndrome, and it’s worked very well.
I’m the president of the Australian Medical Laser Association and recommend that all dentists do a course on laser therapy, particularly a safety training course prior to using any type of laser. The Thor laser is fairly straightforward and very safe to use. The most difficult component is getting the dosage right. Each patient and each condition require different dosages. This can be ascertained by reading the various clinical trials and following evidenced-based research.
I’ve owned a Thor laser for five years and use it every day in my practice. It’s a very effective tool for a wide range of conditions.
What’s not so good
More evidence needs to be put into standardising the dosages. We need to become more definitive on which wavelengths should be used for each symptom and at what dosage. The Thor laser is an expensive piece of equipment. It has TGA approval in Australia and Thor conducts local training sessions, but it still has to be imported from the USA.