The use of low-level laser therapy for controlling the gag reflex in children during intraoral radiography

ELBAY M., Tak O., ŞERMET ELBAY Ü., Kaya C., Eryilmaz K.

LASERS IN MEDICAL SCIENCE, vol.31, no.2, pp.355-361, 2016 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 31 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10103-016-1869-z
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.355-361
  • Keywords: Gagging, Low-level laser therapy, Intraoral radiography, GAGGING REFLEX, ACUPUNCTURE, STIMULATION, MANAGEMENT, POINT
  • Kocaeli University Affiliated: Yes


The current literature suggests that low-level laser stimulation of the PC 6 acupuncture points may prevent gagging. This study aimed to determine if low-level laser therapy (LLLT) can reduce the gag reflex in children undergoing intraoral maxillary radiography. This randomized, controlled, double-blind clinical trial was conducted with 25 children with moderate-to-very severe gag reflexes who required bilateral periapical radiographic examination of the maxillary molar region. Children's anxiety levels were initially evaluated using Corah's Dental Anxiety Scale (DAS) to identify any possible relationship between gagging and anxiety. A control radiograph was taken of one randomly selected side in each patient after simulated laser application so that the patient was blinded to the experimental conditions (control group). Laser stimulation was then performed for the experimental side. A laser probe was placed on the Pericardium 6 (PC 6) acupuncture point on each wrist, and laser energy was delivered for 14 s (300 mW, energy density 4 J/cm(2)) at a distance of 1 cm from the target tissue. Following laser stimulation, the experimental radiograph was taken (experimental group). Gagging responses were measured using the Gagging Severity Criteria for each group. Data were analyzed using Spearman's rho correlations and Mann-Whitney U tests. Both mean and median gagging scores were higher in the control group than in the experimental group. Patients who were unable to tolerate the intraoral control radiography were able to tolerate the procedure after LLLT. Differences between gagging scores of the control and experimental groups were statistically significant (P = .000). There was no significant correlation between gagging severity and anxiety score (P > .05). A negative correlation was found between age and gagging score in the control group (P E, .05). Within the limitations of this study, LLLT of the PC 6 acupuncture points appears to be a useful technique for controlling the gag reflex in children during maxillary radiography.