Ever wonder what that blue light is when you’re sitting in your dentist’s chair? No, probably not. But, if you have, we’re here to give you the scoop and shine some light on that little dental mystery. That blue glow you see emitting from your mouth comes courtesy of a curing light. What is a curing light? Check one out here…
The Concept of a Curing Light
Curing lights were first conceived in the 1970s as a tool used to cure resin composites. These composites are used, primarily, to fill cavities. Curing lights cure or set the composite to your tooth. Although there ended up being four types of curing lights: tungsten halogen, light-emitting diode (LED), plasma arc curing (PAC), and laser, the first two are the most widely used in dental offices today.
The Nuva Light was the first light used to cure composites in the 1970s. Although it was an effective tool, eventually it was phased out due to its reliance on UV light, which we now know proves harmful. By the 1980s, the Nuva Light was officially replaced, thanks to new technology that brought with it the blue light familiar to us today.
Dentists were in need of a curing light that was not only faster, but also cured the composites to a deeper level than any curing light had yet to do. 1998 introduced the plasma arc curing (PAC) light, which used high-intensity light, created by plasma inside a fluorescent bulb. Stronger than its predecessors, this light was rumored to cure resin composite in a flash – three seconds, specifically.
Sounds good, but ultimately was proven inaccurate. Not only did PAC lights take longer than three seconds to cure the composite, they were expensive and not just at the point of purchase, but also with respect to long-term maintenance.
At the same time that PAC lights were developed, LED curing lights were also produced. However, the PAC lights were the preference, at least initially, and so LEDs were left in the dark. But, as soon as dentists experienced the drawbacks of the PAC lights, they were only too happy to give the LED versions a fair shot.
Smart move, considering that LED curing lights are effective at cooler temperatures and, therefore, do not require a fan. Thanks to this, LED curing lights are lighter and smaller than PAC lights, making them easier to wield.
There you have it! A little glimpse into the realm of curing lights. If you haven’t booked an appointment to experience a curing light for yourself (read: get your cavity filled!), what are you waiting for? Follow the light and call Diamond Dental at 781-338-0818.