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Blue Light to Dentistry, is it harmful?


 

When a dentist puts a white filling (or a sealant, or a light-cured filling material) in your mouth, it is in a liquid or semi-solid state so that the dentist can put it exactly where it needs to go and shape it correctly. In order for the material to harden so that it can withstand the forces of chewing, it needs to be cured. Curing the material is accomplished by shining a blue light on it.  Not just any blue light will do.  It has to be a certain shade of blue.

 
The blue dental curing light emits light at a wavelength of around 450 to 490 nm, a blue light.  You can read more about the visible light spectrum here.
 
What Does The Blue Light Do?
 
The blue light sets fissure sealants, fillings and cement in a matter of seconds.  When fillings are placed in the tooth they are very soft so they can be moulded to the correct shape by the dentist.  When the dentist is happy with the shape of the filling they will set it with this light.  The blue light makes the filling go rock hard and strong enough to chew on.  The blue light is also used when having braces fitted to set the cement which holds the brackets on your teeth.
 
How does blue curing light works ?

It is a gun like machine which have electronic parts inside it. The source of current is the regular 220 volt AC current but a chip inside the machine converts it into much lower DC current and then it supplies it to the light emitting source.( Some guns are battery operated). The light emitting source is a Quartz Halogen Or LED ( Light emitting diode) attached to the head of the gun. LED bulb have the capacity to produce high intensity of light with very effective use of electricity with least heat production as compared to other bulbs. hence a LED is used. (Don't miss judge it with lasers or any other thing) .

What is the blue curing light used for ?

This light is used for setting light activated filling materials.
In Technical Terms- There are dental restorative materials which come in semi solid or powder liquid form when mixed and packed into the cavity they get activated and start setting. Some material are photosensitive- That means setting reaction is initiated after light exposure. Blue curing light is used to cure this kind of dental materials.

Is The Curing Light Dangerous Or Harmful To Look At?

The curing light is a very strong blue light.  It it not a laser or a UV light so it will not cause any damage to your teeth or gums.  The only danger is if you look directly at the light for too long.  Similar to how your eyes will hurt if you look at the sun for too long.  Dentists and assistants are advised not to look at the light for long periods of time. 
 
There are two types of curing lights used by dentists.  There is a halogen curing light and an LED curing light. Most modern curing lights are LED as they do not overheat like the halogen curing lights do.  The only danger with the halogen light is that the heat it produces could potentially hurt the pulp of the tooth or the soft tissues in the mouth.  Although this is possible, it is very unlikely.  The majority of dentists use LED curing lights these days.
 
Some of the current high powered lights are recommended to cure a material within one second. These lights put out a tremendous power (4000 mW/cm2) compared to typical lights that emit either 600 or 1200 mW/cm2 and are recommended to cure a material within 20 seconds. The big difference between these high powered units and the typical units is that the material is forced to set all at once with no heat dissipation during the curing time. This amount of heat build up is sufficient to cause skin burns and tissue damage.
 
 
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