Dental curing lights are used primarily in the dental industry, where they are used in fillings, sealants, and adhesives for various dental procedures. It is used for the polymerization of light-cured resin-based materials. In the contemporary world of dentistry, curing lights have become an integral part of all specialties and dental practices.
In the dental field, a curing light can use ultraviolet or visible light, depending on what it is designed for. Both dentist and patient need to wear eye protection to limit damage to the retina for even the 20 seconds to a minute that the light is in use during rapid curing, and the light needs to be well maintained so that it will work properly and effectively. It’s also important to use the right curing light for the right resin product; many lights are designed to handle a range of resins safety.
Today, almost all resin composites, dental adhesives and adhesive cements utilize light energy for complete polymerization, which further determines the long-term clinical success of a procedure. While much attention has been given to the details of diagnosis, preparation and the development of improved adhesives and resins, light curing is often taken for granted. It’s a well-accepted fact that inadequate polymerization of the materials can lead to clinical failures, such as sensitivity, marginal discoloration, fractured restorations and de-bonding issues, making it critical to select an ideal curing light.
Manufacturers of dental curing lights make models which are designed to be sterilized between patients, with controls which allow the dentist to adjust focus and intensity. Replacement bulbs, special filters, and other fixtures are usually available through dental supply catalogs. When purchasing a curing light, it is advisable to go through reviews in trade publications and to talk to practicing dentists to get product recommendations and performance ratings.
Curing lights allow us to initiate the polymerization reaction “on demand” for a vast array of materials. However, there is, perhaps, more misinformation and hype regarding this type of equipment compared to just about anything else we use on a daily basis. Most of these controversies center on how long you have to cure specific types of restorations as well as how deep you can cure specific types of materials.
Manufacturers continue to make outlandish claims of their curing capabilities, most of which fall into the “too good to be true” category. An example is the claim that a new light can accomplish a “5mm depth of cure in 3 seconds”. Please don’t be fooled by these ads – you absolutely, positively cannot cure a composite in three seconds.
There are numerous manufacturers in providing some type of hardness disc to verify that a curing light will polymerize a specific thickness of composite in a specified amount of time. Most of these discs have a small hole in the center. For this test, you fill the hole in the disc with the composite, cure it for a specified time period, and then turn over the disk to check whether the bottom surface of the cured composite “feels” like the disc when scratched with an explorer or other sharp instrument. If it does, then this presumably indicates the composite is adequately cured for intraoral use( intraoral camera usb ).