Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dental Curing Lights

What is that blue light you are shining in my child's mouth? Dentists are very gadget oriented. We love the newest gizmos some of which are valuable to our clinical practice and some which are not. One of the advances in modern dentistry is the advent of light cured composite restorative materials (in other words-white fillings). The filling material starts out like a putty like substance you place and contour into the cavity preperation. You shine this blue looking curing light onto the material. This causes a polymerization reaction and makes the material get as hard as a rock (harder really) in just a few seconds.

The light is not an ultraviolet light or a laser. Originally, they were a really bright projector bulbs with a loud cooling fan, cords and everything. Now the newer ones are wireless LED's which do not produce much heat. The light travels down a fiberoptic glass bundle to the tooth. (That's the curved rod looking thing). I think most of the cost of the things is making the fiber-optics. They also have reduced the curing times by adjusting the frequency of the light to match the chemical in the material that initiates the reaction-roughly 470nm. Curing times used to be about 40 seconds. The most recent one claims a 5 second cure. That seems a little too short for me, but we will see. They make the thing beep every 10 seconds or so as a timer, so you might hear a mysterious "beep" noise while in the dental office. For all this fancy technology, I tell the kids it's a flashlight, (which it pretty much is).

Oh, this is a short funny video showing the "flat (dead) battery" feature. Of course, I always dress in a tux in the office:

There are some other cool videos out there for different companies version of these lights, especially if you go deeper into their websites. Ivoclar has a Ivoclar James Bond Theme Video-A License to Cure

Light frequency distribution chart courtesy ADA Professional Products Review Vol. 4 Issue 4 2009.


Anonymous said...

Dr. Dean Brandon,
I am a freshman in college and I dream of becoming a Pediatric Dentist. Now that I think of it I have wanted to be a dentist since I was a little girl.

Since my senior year in High School I have been trying to look up information on how to begin my path to dentistry, unfortuantly all the web sites I have looked at only tell me how much money they make.

I don't care about the money. I really want to be a dentist but I need help figuring out where and how to start.

Right now I am only doing my basics at a Community College in Texas. I think I really need your help. Could you please email me?

Thank You Very Much
Sandy Picasso
Alice, Texas

Dr. Dean Brandon said...

What a great comment Sandy,

Maybe you can find some more information here on the blog. I have a lot of stuff on dental school and becoming a dentist--(don't forget to read the comments too)!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dr. Brandon,
Nice work with your website.
I'm a dentist and I've just been invited to an interview for admission into pediatric dentistry!!
I'm so nervous, it's all I can do to keep googling pediatric dentistry and that's how I came across your website.
Wish me luck!

Dr. Dean Brandon said...

Wishing you luck Christine!

Enjie said...

I found you blog when I searched on UK Dentists - Manchester Dentist. Good job doctor. I always afraid with the dentist before, but after I read you blog, it make me brave to know more about the dentist :). It will be nice if every dentist loves blogging with their customer like you :D

Medizin Ingeneur said...

Dear Dr. Brandon,

Did you experienced with some dental curing light which rouse temperature on the tip of the light guide about 148ºF?

Dr. Dean Brandon said...

The ones we use, if you put your finger on the tip, it is warm but not hot. The duration of cure is usually no more than 30 seconds anyways.

Dental Curing Light said...

Hi Brandon,

In your site, you have provided us some important information about dental care. Lighting is a very useful treatment among them. A curing light is a light which is designed to rapidly cure a resin. Thanks a lot...

Aaron said...

Dr. Dean Brandon,
I am a product designer in my final year in my college course in Dublin, Ireland. I came commenting in the hope that you might has some really useful information on the curing lights. I am in the middle of my research and am finding it difficult to find any statistics on the number or % of patients that have post operative sensitivity due to uneven curing due to the positioning of the unit during operation. Some other information I am trying very hard to find is if it is a common problems for dentists to position these units at the correct 90 degree angle to ensure for a full and even cure. This is important info for my research as I must validate my field and I intent of improving the current units. Any information would be very appreciated.

Many thanks,
Aaron Jennings

Dr. Dean Brandon said...

Aaron, I am sorry I do not have immediate access to scientific studies of the kind you have mentioned regarding dental curing lights.

Perhaps a Journal search at the dental school library or through

Dr. Smilez Dental Center said...

Awesome knowledge about Pediatric dentistry. Keep it up! thanks for your post.