Basic Curing Guidelines – Dental Curing Light Tips

While the trend to shorten curing times seems to be unstoppable, our results and those from other researchers point toward some inevitable conclusions:

1. With all the various types of lights and materials on the market, it is virtually impossible to come up with one protocol, especially one featuring reduced curing times, across the board.

2. It is still prudent to limit the thickness of your increments to 2mm unless you are using a deep-curing core material.

3. With hybrids, flowables, and packables, 20 seconds with a halogen (Swiss Master is an exception) or LED curing light seems to be the reasonable compromise between speedy 10 seconds and sluggish but optimally effective 40 seconds. This is due to the fact that an adequate depth-of-cure may not be achieved in 10 seconds with all shades and applications. A 20-second cure gives you a measure of safety. With a plasma arc, 5 seconds may suffice for noncritical situations, such as curing a provisional restoration, but 10 seconds is better for any definitive restoration. However, if you are curing a deep restoration, reverting to 40 seconds, at least for the first increment, seems prudent when using a halogen or LED.

4. With microfills, rapid curing appears to be very risky. Our results point toward no less than 40 seconds with a halogen (Swiss Master is an exception) or LED and 20 seconds with a plasma arc. However, be aware of heat generation with plasma arcs – 20 seconds of contact with a tooth may cause pulpal injury.

5. Don’t cure right up to the edge of your tip. Make sure your tip overlaps the margins of the restoration.

6. Even though some studies show alternate curing modes to be helpful, our tests suggest straight curing is still the mode of choice.

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