Without question, light-curing is desirable, but practitioners are confused about the most appropriate light-curing concept to use in their practices. Because of this confusion, some practitioners have continued to use older lights in spite of the advantages offered by some of the newer ones. The light-emitting diode, or LED, concept is challenging more established modes of curing, and some dentists are buying LED lights. And many practitioners who have purchased the even faster plasma arc curing, or PAC, lights are not willing to go back to the slower LED light-curing method.
Since the late 1970s, halogen lights (such as the Optilux 500, Kerr, a Division of Sybron Dental Specialties, Orange, Calif.) have been in constant use in dentistry. They have served the profession well, they are a known entity and they are easy-to-use, relatively reliable devices.
The advantages of conventional halogen curing lights:
– Some cost less than other light systems.
– They are based on a simple technology.
– They generate little or no heat.
– Their technology is well-known and nonthreatening.
In the last few years, there has been an emphasis on enhanced conventional curing lights to provide greater curing intensity and faster cure. The most obvious way this has been accomplished is by the use of light guides that diminish in size as they exit from the curing light. The Turbo Tip (Kerr) exemplifies this concept. Numerous enhanced halogen curing lights (such as the Optilux 501, Kerr) are on the market, and they have been popular choices for practitioners.
The advantages of enhanced halogen lights:
– They offer a faster resin cure.
– They operate via a known, proven technology.
Recently, a new concept to dentistry, the LED, has entered the market. There have been significant sales promotions from the several companies selling LED lights. As a result of the promotions, dentists appear to be more confused than before.
The advantages of LED curing light:
– LED lights are cordless, small and lightweight.
– Diodes are long-lasting without the need for frequent replacement.
– They generate no heat during curing.
– They offer a moderate curing time of about 10 to 20 seconds.
– They are quiet in operation.
Some practitioners have reported that the rapid cure afforded by PAC lights causes damage to both resin-based composite restorations and the tooth preparations. Although this subject has been debated for several years, current clinical usage, as well as research, have disproved the allegations of damage caused by the faster lights.
The advantages of PAC Lights:
– Curing time averages three seconds for a typical shade A2 resin-based composite restoration.
– The time savings observed with PAC lights amounts to a significant sum of money over a year’s use.
– Short curing time makes overall procedures shorter and more Dental Products,Dental Supplies integrated.
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