Restorative dental work is a blend of science and art. The success is based on the functional and aesthetic results.

Ever since the introduction and development of the first light-curing resin composites during the 1960s, dental light cure units have changed over time. Whether it is an LED light for dental procedures, recently introduced light curing devices, or the PAC lights that still offer the fastest curing method, dentists are confused about the most appropriate and efficient concept to use.

A dental curing light is one of the main equipment used in restorative dentistry. The device generates bright light, which initiates polymerization of light-cured, resin-based composites. This light is spread over a range of wavelengths and varies for each type of dental device. The global curing light market is expected to continue to grow while more consumers understand the benefits of this equipment.

Here are the three types of light-curing devices used by practitioners:

Tungsten Halogen Curing Lights

Also known as the halogen curing lights, these have been in constant use in dentistry since the late 1970s. Two of the main advantages for halogen curing lights over the other light systems would be their cost and simplicity. They are easy-to-use, relatively non-threatening devices, and they operate via a proven and well-known technology.

Halogen bulbs, however, have a limited lifetime of about 40 to 100 hours only with just 0.7% efficiency.

LED Curing Lights

The latest development in technology is the dental LED curing light. They were developed to overcome the drawbacks of halogen lights. They have a lifetime of about 10,000 hours and 7% of their energy can be used towards composites (10 times that of halogen curing lights). Studies also showed that the LED curing lights were more effective than halogen lights with respect to curing depth and micro-hardness properties.

They emit light in the blue part of the visible spectrum and they generate no heat during the curing process. They are quiet in operation compared to the other light curing units. Initial versions of LED units emitted a lower intensity of light, whereas newer versions cure much faster by incorporating multiple light-emitting diodes to broaden the spectrum of the light intensity and the illumination area. They are also cordless, lightweight, and effective. In fact, several companies have focused on promoting and selling led lights due to their simplicity and size.

Plasma Arc Lights (PAC)

Light curing for dental implants

The curing time for PAC lights averages at three seconds for a typical shade. While the short curing time results in an overall shorter procedure, the higher costs associated with the maintenance and use of these units have limited their widespread use in restorative dentistry. These equipment are also bulkier compared to the others.

You might be worried about having to go through restorative dentistry, especially if it is your first time, but rest assured that dental fillings and other innovative treatments are common these days. The factors playing a major role in the growth of the market for light-curing devices are the increasing demand from dentists and practitioners, the growing use of advanced technology, and the increasing awareness and knowledge of the benefits among consumers.