Type to search

Oral Health Research Restorative Dentistry

Effective Use of Dental Curing Lights: A Guide for the Dental Practitioner

Drs. Richard B. Price, Nasser Barghi, Claus-Peter Ernst, Jack L. Ferracane, Frederick A. Rueggeberg, Adrian Shortall, Howard E. Strassler, and David C. Watts

Our sincere thanks go to the American Dental Association for granting access to the full-text of their Professional Product Review. You can find a link to the full-text at the end of this post.

On October 10th 2013, the Government of Canada and 91 other countries signed the Minamata Convention on Mercury that will ultimately end the use of mercury, worldwide. This will mean a phase down in the use of dental amalgam and an increase in the use of alternative restorative materials, such as light cured resins. Thus, our recently published article in the American Dental Association Professional Product Review that reviews the role of the curing light in dentistry is very topical and should be of interest to clinicians. Points covered include:

  1. Light-cured resin based restorations will only function as the manufacturer intends when they have received the required amount of energy at very specific wavelengths.
  2. It is possible that the insufficient clinical performance of many resin based restorations seen daily by dentists may be caused by the initial failure to adequately light cure the resin.
  3. Surveys of curing lights used in dental offices both in Canada and abroad have shown that many of these curing lights do not deliver sufficient irradiance.
  4. Regular testing of the curing light is necessary to allow the clinician to compensate for any decreases in output as the light ages. Exposure times should be increased when an infection control barrier is used to compensate for the decrease in light output.
  5. Claimed benefits of ramped, pulse delay or fast curing modes have yet to be proven clinically.
  6. Heat generated by the curing lights in the tooth and oral tissues must be controlled. Precautions should be taken to protect the eyes from the ‘blue-light hazard’.
  7. Several universities are now using the MARC™ Patient Simulator, (Managing Accurate Resin Curing; BlueLight Analytics Inc., Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada) to teach light effective light curing technique.
  8. Finally, practical tips and guidelines are provided that clinicians can use to optimize their light curing technique.

Watch the video 


Further information can be found here


Do you have any particular question on this topic? Do you have any comments or suggestions? Email us at oasisdiscussions@cda-adc.ca

You are invited to comment on this post and provide further insights by posting in the comment box which you will find by clicking on “Post a reply” below. You are welcome to remain anonymous and your email address will not be posted.   



  1. Brian Barrett November 29, 2013

    Considering the normal longevity of these materials under ideal placement, isolation, no moisture at all, proper etch and bond it surely doesn’t help if they are not fully cured. Every curing light should be tested regularly and if any question as to its efficacy it should be replaced or have the time increased. There is a fairly substantial increase in the fee for these to reimburse the dentist for the extra time and costs to do them “properly” so if that can’t be assured perhaps we should replace them if they fail within a couple of years for a technique or material fault.

    1. larry bursey December 3, 2013

      Maybe bis phenol free amalgam is no so bad afterall

Leave a Comment Brian Barrett Cancel Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *