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Am J Dent. 2008 Jun;21(3):135-42.

Light curing of resin-based composites in the LED era.

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Department of Pediatric Dentistry, University of Dresden, Germany.


This review thoroughly accumulated information regarding new technologies for state-of-the-art light curing of resin composite materials. Visible light cured resin-based composites allow the dentist to navigate the initiation of the polymerization step for each layer being applied. Curing technology was regularly subjected to changes during the last decades, but meanwhile the LED era is fully established. Today, four main polymerization types are available, i.e. halogen bulbs, plasma are lamps, argon ion lasers, and light emitting diodes. Additionally, different curing protocols should help to improve photopolymerization in terms of less stress being generated. Conclusions were: (1) with high-power LED units of the latest generation, curing time of 2 mm thick increments of resin composite can be reduced to 20 seconds to obtain durable results; (2) curing depth is fundamentally dependent on the distance of the resin composite to the light source, but only decisive when exceeding 6 mm; (3) polymerization kinetics can be modified for better marginal adaptation by softstart polymerization; however, in the majority of cavities this may not be the case; (4) adhesives should be light-cured separately for at least 10 seconds when resin composite is applied directly; (5) photocuring through indirect restorations such as ceramics is still a problem, therefore, both dual-cured adhesives and dual-cured composites and resin coating in any way are recommended; and (6) heat generation with high-power photopolymerization units should not be underestimated as a biological problem for both gingival and pulpal tissues.

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