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J Esthet Restor Dent. 2005;17(4):244-54; discussion 254-5.

Effect of light dispersion of LED curing lights on resin composite polymerization.

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Dental Materials and Testing, USAF Dental Investigation Service, Great Lakes, IL 60088, USA.



This study evaluated the effect of light dispersion of halogen and LED curing lights on resin composite polymerization.


One halogen (Optilux 501, SDS/Kerr, Orange, CA, USA) and five light-emitting diode (LED) curing lights (SmartLite iQ, Dentsply Caulk, Milford, DE, USA; LEDemetron 1, SDS/Kerr; FLASHlite 1001, Discus Dental, Culver City, CA, USA; UltraLume LED 5, Ultradent Products, South Jordan, UT, USA; Allegro, Den-Mat, Santa Maria, CA, USA) were used in this study. Specimens (8 mm diameter by 2 mm thick) were made in polytetrafluoroethylene molds using hybrid (Z100, 3M ESPE, St. Paul, MN, USA) and microfill (A110, 3M ESPE) composite resins. The top surface was polymerized for 5 seconds with the curing light guide tip positioned at a distance of 1 and 5 mm. Degree of conversion (DC) of the composite specimens was analyzed on the bottom surface using micro-Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy (Perkin-Elmer FTIR Spectrometer, Wellesley, PA, USA) 10 minutes after light activation. DC at the bottom of the 2 mm specimen was expressed as a percentage of the mean maximum DC. Five specimens were created per curing light and composite type (n=5). Percent mean DC ratios and SDs were calculated for each light under each testing condition. Data were analyzed by analysis of variance (ANOVA)/Tukey's test (alpha = .05). A beam analyzer (LBA-700, Spiricon, Logan, UT, USA) was used to record the emitted light from the curing lights at 0 and 5 mm distances (n=5). A Top Hat factor was used to compare the quality of the emitted beam profile (LBA/PC, Spiricon). The divergence angle from vertical was also determined in the x- and y-axes (LBA/PC). Mean values and SDs were calculated for each light under each testing condition (0 and 5 mm, x- and y-axes) and analyzed by a two-way ANOVA/Tukey's test (alpha = .05).


For DC ratios, significant differences were found based on curing light and curing distance (p < .05). At 1 mm, Optilux 501 and FLASHlite 1001 produced significantly higher DC ratios with the hybrid resin composite. No differences were found among lights with the microfill at 1 mm. At 5 mm, SmartLite iQ, FLASHlite 1001, LEDemetron 1, and UltraLume LED 5 produced significantly higher DC ratios with the hybrid resin composite, whereas LEDemetron 1 and SmartLite iQ produced significantly higher DC ratios with the microfill resin composite. The UltraLume LED 5, Allegro, and Optilux 501 had significant reductions in mean DC ratios at curing distances of 1 and 5 mm with both resin composite types. For dispersion of light, significant differences were found in Top Hat factor and divergence angle (p < .001). SmartLite iQ had overall the highest Top Hat factor and lowest divergence angle of tested lights. A linear regression analysis relating pooled DC with pooled Top Hat factors and divergence angles found a very good correlation (r2 = .86) between dispersion of light over distance and the ability to polymerize resin composite.


The latest generation of LED curing lights provides DC ratios similar to or better than the halogen curing light at a curing distance of 5 mm. Dispersion of light plays a significant role in the DC of resin composite. To maximize curing effectiveness, light guides should be maintained in close proximity to the surface of the light-activated restorative material.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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