Dentists Struggle to Manage Light Curing Complexities

An examination of 915 curing lights in 422 dental clinics in 18 cities indicated that 30% of curing lights were not capable of delivering even half of the energy dose required the brand and shade of resin composite used. This is important because numerous studies have shown that under-cured resin composites cannot deliver the expected material properties or clinical performance.


The results, gathered using BlueLight Analytics’ checkMARC Service, were presented at the International Association for Dental Research conference in Boston. They confirmed the fact that dentists are struggling to manage the growing complexities associated with the process of light curing. The problem exists because dentists have had no simple way to know the output of their curing light, how long they should cure for, or what specific energy dose is required by the brand and shade of resin composite used. Among the detailed findings were the following:

Curing Lights:

  • 86 different brands of curing lights were being used in the 422 clinics
  • 30% were not operating within the manufacturer’s specification
  • Curing times varied from 3 – 90 seconds
  • Tip irradiance ranged 157 – 12,578 mW/cm2
  • Energy dose delivery ranged from 1.9 – 99.3 J/cm2 (Note: research has shown that dentists need to begin to consider managing heating risks at 18 J/cm2)

Resin Composites:

  • 84 different brands of resin composite were being used
  • Energy dose requirements ranged from 3 – 22 J/cm2
  • Manufacturer directions-for-use were incomplete in 15% of situations

When both the performance of the curing light and the effects of operator technique were considered, 30% of the curing light/composite combinations could not deliver even half of the energy dose required by the resin composite.

Study reference: #340 IADR 2015; Curing Light Outputs, Protocols and Composite Requirements at 422 Dental Offices
C. Felix 1, J. Ferracane 2   1 BlueLight Analytics inc., Halifax, Nova Scotia, CANADA; 2 Restorative Dentistry, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon, UNITED STATES

Jeehan Javed