What is a Curing Light?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A curing light is a light which is designed to rapidly cure a resin. Curing lights are used primarily in the dental industry, where they are used in fillings, sealants, and adhesives for various dental procedures. Other versions of the curing light can be seen in use in manufacturing, where rapid and even curing can be an important part of the manufacturing process. A number of companies produce curing lights which have been custom designed for particular applications, ranging from electronics to dentistry.

Curing light is most commonly used during various dental procedures.
Curing light is most commonly used during various dental procedures.

In the dental field, a curing light can use ultraviolet or visible light, depending on what it is designed for. Both dentist and patient need to wear eye protection to limit damage to the retina for even the 20 seconds to a minute that the light is in use during rapid curing, and the light needs to be well maintained so that it will work properly and effectively. It's also important to use the right curing light for the right resin product; many lights are designed to handle a range of resins safety.

Manufacturers of dental curing lights make models which are designed to be sterilized between patients.
Manufacturers of dental curing lights make models which are designed to be sterilized between patients.

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.

Manufacturers of dental curing lights make models which are designed to be sterilized between patients, with controls which allow the dentist to adjust focus and intensity. Replacement bulbs, special filters, and other fixtures are usually available through dental supply catalogs. When purchasing a curing light, it is advisable to go through reviews in trade publications and to talk to practicing dentists to get product recommendations and performance ratings.

For fillings to succeed, resins must cure properly and adhere evenly.
For fillings to succeed, resins must cure properly and adhere evenly.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

anon240873

Is it possible to feel heat and get burned by one of these curing lights?

anon130670

a dentist put the curing light in my eye and my vision is now cloudy and i have a floater. what do i do?

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