Effectiveness of biologic methods of inhibiting orthodontic tooth movement in animal studies

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A number of biologic methods leading to decreased rates of orthodontic tooth movement (OTM) can be found in the recent literature. The aim of this systematic review was to provide an overview of biologic methods and their effects on OTM inhibition.


An electronic search was performed up to January 2016. Two researchers independently selected the studies (kappa index, 0.8) using the selection criteria established in the PRISMA statement. The methodologic quality of the articles was assessed objectively according to the Methodological Index for Non-Randomized Studies scale.


We retrieved 861 articles in the initial electronic search, and 57 were finally analyzed. Three biologic techniques were identified as reducing the rate of OTM: chemical methods, low-level laser therapy, and gene therapy. When the experimental objective was to slow down OTM, pharmacologic modulation was the most frequently described method (53 articles). Rats were the most frequent model (38 of 57 articles), followed by mice (9 of 57), rabbits (4 of 57), guinea pigs (2 of 57), dogs (2 of 57), cats (1 of 57), and monkeys (1 of 57). The sample sizes seldom exceeded 25 subjects per group (6 of 57 articles). The application protocols, quality, and effectiveness of the different biologic methods in reducing OTM varied widely.


OTM inhibition was experimentally tested with various biologic methods that were notably effective at bench scale, although their clinical applicability to humans was rarely tested further. Rigorous randomized clinical trials are therefore needed to allow the orthodontist to improve the effect of translating them from bench to clinic.

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