Dentists use curing lights to harden composite material used for tooth fillings or bonding. The four different types of curing lights are LED, plasma, laser and halogen. The light waves produced by the curing light initiate a change within the composite and enable it to harden and bond with the tooth. The curing (hardening) process is quick, typically between 10 to 40 seconds, allowing the patient to leave the dentist office without worrying about damaging a filling.
Using a curing light accomplishes two things. In the first place, it makes sure that the resin cures properly and adheres evenly. When applying fillings, this is critical to keep the filling in place in the mouth. For sealants, the curing light limits the risk of cracks and other problems with the sealant. With adhesives for implants and braces, the rapid, even cure is also designed to limit problems in the future.
The dental curing light also increases patient comfort by rapidly curing resins so that the patient is not forced to sit in discomfort while the resin sets. Since the mouth usually needs to be held open wide and may be dry for the procedure, patients usually want the procedure to end as quickly as possible so that they can close their mouths and remoisturize the dried oral membranes. Using a curing light gets patients in and out of the chair quickly so that the experience of irritation and pain is limited.
Why would a dentist want an LED curing light? They have some apparent advantages:
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.
LEDs have some disadvantages as well:
Their technology is new to dentistry, and the concept still is evolving.
Their curing time is slower than that of PAC lights and some enhanced halogen lights.
Their batteries must be recharged.
They cost more than do conventional halogen lights.