Oral Dis. 1998 Jun; 4(2): 100-4.
The use of acupuncture in dentistry: a review of the scientific validity of published papers.
Sheffield University, UK.
OBJECTIVE: To review the scientific validity of published papers on the efficacy of acupuncture in dentistry based on predefined methodological criteria. MATERIALS: A literature search performed by the Royal Society of Medicine and the University Library, Copenhagen, Denmark was able to identify 74 papers written in English, German, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Italian, French and Russian published between 1966 and 1996. The search words were: acupuncture and electro-acupuncture, randomised controlled trials (RCT), dental pain, postoperative dental pain, painrelieving in dentistry, and dental analgesia. Among the 74 listed papers, 48 papers were reviewed in the following languages: English, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian and German. Fifteen papers were excluded because they were written in French, Italian or Russian; 11 papers were excluded because the abstract clearly indicated the paper was not a RCT or the paper was of a general nature without relevance to acupuncture. METHODS: To assess the methodological quality of the included papers, all papers were scored on the basis of predefined criteria. A total of 92 points could be achieved and on the basis of this scale papers were rated as: Excellent (85-100%), Good (70-84%), Fair (60-69%) and Bad (< 60%). MAIN OUTCOME: Fifteen out of 48 papers met the inclusion criteria. RESULTS: Only one study met the criteria with more than 85%. Five studies met the criteria with 70-84%. Three studies met the criteria with 60-69%. Six studies did not meet the criteria. Acupuncture in 11 out of 15 studies proved effective in the treatment of temperomandibular dysfunction (TMD) and as analgesia. Four studies showed no effect of acupuncture. CONCLUSION: The value of acupuncture as an analgesic must be questioned. The effect of acupuncture in treating TMD and facial pain seems real and acupuncture could be a valuable alternative to orthodox treatment.