Low-Level Lasers (LLLT), also known as soft lasers or cold lasers, have been used therapeutically for a variety of sports medicine injuries for their proposed anti-inflammatory and pain reducing characteristics. Many studies have examined the use of LLLT for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, tendon injuries, and low back pain. However, a group of researchers out of Harvard Univeristy recently started to examine the deeper underlying cellular effects of low-level lasers, more specifically its effects on stem cells.
The researchers discovered that when human dental stem cells were struck with the low powered lasers, they were actually triggered to form dentin, one of the major components of teeth. These preliminary results suggest that there may be a way to mobilize the native stem cells towards the areas that need healing and trigger them to regenerate damaged or diseased tissue. If this research is proven to be true, it could potentially lead to stem cell treatment without having to remove the stem cells from the body and replant them.
The head of the Harvard bioengineering research team, David Mooney Phd, believes the applications of Low-level Lasers extend well beyond the scope of dentistry, to areas such as bone and wound healing. Although extensive research is needed to prove these early results, Jonathan Garlick, M.D., director of the Center for Integrated Tissue Engineering at the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, described the research as, “a powerful proof-of-concept, and that the technique, once fully developed and found to be safe, could be widely used.”
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