Non-surgical adjunctive interventions for accelerating tooth movement in patients undergoing fixed orthodontic treatment

Ahmed El-Angbawi (Lead / Corresponding author), Grant T. McIntyre, Padhraig S. Fleming, David R. Bearn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)



Accelerating the rate of tooth movement may help to reduce the duration of orthodontic treatment and associated unwanted effects including root resorption and enamel demineralisation. Several methods, including surgical and non-surgical adjuncts, have been advocated to accelerate the rate of tooth movement. Non-surgical techniques include low-intensity laser irradiation, resonance vibration, pulsed electromagnetic fields, electrical currents and pharmacological approaches.

To assess the effect of non-surgical adjunctive interventions on the rate of orthodontic tooth movement and the overall duration of treatment.
Search methods

We searched the following databases on 25 November 2014: the Cochrane Oral Health Group's Trials Register (November 2014), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL; The Cochrane Library 2014, Issue 10), MEDLINE via OVID (1946 to November 2014), EMBASE via OVID (1980 to November 2014), LILACS via BIREME (1980 to November 2014), metaRegister of Controlled Trials (November 2014), the US National Institutes of Health Trials Register (; November 2014) and the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (November 2014). We checked the reference lists of all trials identified for further studies. There were no restrictions regarding language or date of publication in the searches of the electronic databases.
Selection criteria

We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of people receiving orthodontic treatment using fixed appliances along with non-surgical adjunctive interventions to accelerate tooth movement. We excluded non-parallel design studies (for example, split-mouth) as we regarded them as inappropriate for assessment of the effects of this type of intervention.
Data collection and analysis

Two review authors were responsible for study selection, risk of bias assessment and data extraction; they carried out these tasks independently. Any disagreements were resolved by discussion amongst the review team to reach consensus. The review authors contacted the corresponding authors of trials to obtain missing information and data to allow calculation of mean differences (MD), 95% confidence intervals (CI) or risk ratios (RR) when these were not reported.
Main results

We included two studies in this review, which were both assessed as being at high risk of bias. The two studies, involving a total of 111 participants, compared the use of Tooth Masseuse and OrthoAccel with conventional treatment mechanics during orthodontic alignment and canine retraction phases, respectively. Both studies included objective assessment of the amount or rate of tooth movement, but we were not able to meta-analyse this data as they used different outcome measurements at different stages of the orthodontic treatment process. One study measured subjective evaluation of pain and discomfort and the other evaluated adverse effects. The studies did not directly report either the duration of orthodontic treatment or the number of visits during active treatment.

Using the Tooth Masseuse with 111 Hz at 0.06 Newtons (N) for 20 minutes daily resulted in greater reduction in irregularity in the lower incisor region over 10 weeks, assessed using Little's Irregularity Index (LII) with a mean difference (MD) of 0.6 mm (95% confidence interval (CI) -0.94 to 2.34) when compared to the control group. Pain and discomfort increased at six to eight hours after arch wire placement and after seven days, with minimal difference between the intervention and control groups. No statistical tests were provided for either variable and the differences between the two groups were not clinically important.

Using OrthoAccel with 30 Hz at 0.25 N for 20 minutes daily produced a higher rate of maxillary canine distalisation in comparison to the control group (MD 0.37 mm/month; 95% CI -0.07 to 0.81; P = 0.05). Whilst this difference suggested 50% faster tooth movement using the vibrational appliance, the absolute differences were marginal and deemed clinically unimportant. Similar levels of non-serious adverse effects were reported in the intervention and control groups with a risk ratio of 0.96 (95% CI 0.32 to 2.85).

Overall, the quality of the evidence was very low and therefore we cannot rely on the findings.
Authors' conclusions

There is very little clinical research concerning the effectiveness of non-surgical interventions to accelerate orthodontic treatment. The available evidence is of very low quality and so it is not possible to determine if there is a positive effect of non-surgical adjunctive interventions to accelerate tooth movement. Although there have been claims that there may be a positive effect of light vibrational forces, results of the current studies do not reach either statistical or clinical significance. Further well-designed and rigorous RCTs with longer follow-up periods are required to determine whether non-surgical interventions may result in a clinically important reduction in the duration of orthodontic treatment, without any adverse effects.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages33
JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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