If you are in the process of purchasing curing lights for your dental practice, you will want to read this comprehensive consumer guide for detailed instructions on choosing the best for your needs.
Curing lights are an important component to your dental practice. These devices are instrumental in ensuring polymerization for resin-based dental materials that require curing. Nearly all dental adhesives, adhesive-based cements, and composites composed of resin require the use of light energy to complete the polymerization process.
Failure to complete this process could result in the long-term failure of the dental procedures performed. This is why it is imperative to avoid taking light curing for granted. Doing so could result in your patients experiencing complications.
Examples include increased levels of sensitivity, fractures in their restorations, discoloration, and issues with de-bonding. Curing lights are a necessity in today’s dental practices.
Curing Light Technology
The curing lights used in your dental practice are designed to provide light energy associated with an emission spectrum. Specially-designed photo-initiators engage in the process of absorbing the light energy and initiate the chemical-based reactions necessary for composite materials to be polymerized. Professionals refer to this process as “photo-polymerization”.
When opting for a curing light for your dental practice, you must first consider the light intensity – which is referred to as the “irradiance” – as well as the type of dental applications that the light will be used.
Irradiance is measured by taking the power output (milliwatts) and measuring it up against the surface area of the actual curing light. To effectively polymerize a composite made of resin, the light must have an irradiance of 400 milliwatts over cm2.
If your dental practice does ceramic restorations and composites, it could have an impact on the irradiance. In order to choose the best curing light, you must take all of the procedures that you perform into consideration. To get the best product for your needs, it is best to opt for those lights that have an irradiance of at least 1,000 milliwatts.
Common Curing Light Options
While there are many types of curing lights available on the market, the most common types are the quartz tungsten halogen and the light emitting diode. Below, you will find information about both:
- Quartz Tungsten Halogen – The light is a quartz bulb and the filament is tungsten. These emit white light and UV light. These are capable of curing all the different types of composites.
- Light Emitting Diode – The light is LED and does not require a special type of filter. They are often associated with long curing times; however, there are high-powered LEDs available that aid in increasing the speed of the cure. Most prefer these due to long life spans, power intensity, reduced heat levels, and the fact that they are quiet.
There are numerous features associated with curing lights. The main focus should be on light output that aids in curing composites. Many dental practitioners opt for Clear Blue LED curing lights.