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Prim Dent Care. 2005 Apr;12(2):61-7.

The effect of infection-control barriers on the light intensity of light-cure units and depth of cure of composite.

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Department of Primary Dental Care, GKT Dental Institute, London SE5 9RW, UK.



Dental curing lights are vulnerable to contamination with oral fluids during routine intra-oral use. This controlled study aimed to evaluate whether or not disposable transparent barriers placed over the light-guide tip would affect light output intensity or the subsequent depth of cure of a composite restoration.


The impact on light intensity emitted from high-, medium- and low-output light-cure units in the presence of two commercially available disposable infection-control barriers was evaluated against a no-barrier control. Power density measurements from the three intensity light-cure units were recorded with a radiometer, then converted to a digital image using an intra-oral camera and values determined using a commercial computer program. For each curing unit, the measurements were repeated on ten separate occasions with each barrier and the control. Depth of cure was evaluated using a scrape test in a natural tooth model.


At each level of light output, the two disposable barriers produced a significant reduction in the mean power density readings compared to the no-barrier control (P<0.005). The cure sleeve inhibited light output to a greater extent than either the cling film or the control (P<0.005). Only composite restorations light-activated by the high level unit demonstrated a small but significant decrease in the depth of cure compared to the control (P<0.05).


Placing disposable barriers over the light-guide tip reduced the light intensity from all three curing lights. There was no impact on depth of cure except for the high-output light, where a small decrease in cure depth was noted but this was not considered clinically significant. Disposable barriers can be recommended for use with light-cure lights.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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