Visible Light Curing Devices - Irradiance and Use in 302 German Dental Offices

J Adhes Dent. 2018;20(1):41-55. doi: 10.3290/j.jad.a39881.


Purpose: To determine the irradiance delivered by visible-light curing (VLC) units and obtain information about the exposure times and the maintenance protocols used by dentists.

Materials and methods: The irradiance (mW/cm2) delivered by 526 VLCs from 302 dental offices from the Rhine-Main area, Germany, was measured using an integrating sphere (IS) and a MARC patient simulator (M-PS); additional information was gathered using a survey.

Results: Irradiance was measured from 117 standard quartz-tungsten-halogen (QTH), 5 high-power QTH, 2 LED 1st-generation, 333 LED 2nd-generation, 61 LED 3rd-generation, and 8 plasma-arc curing (PAC) units. Depending on the measurement method, 8% (IS) or 11% (M-PS) of the VLCs delivered < 400 mW/cm2. Depending on the VLC, the shortest exposure times required to deliver a radiant exposure of 16 J/cm2 ranged from 7 to 294 s. The number of exposure cycles used by dentists when light curing a restoration ranged from 1 to 14. The shortest total exposure time used by dentists on a restoration was 5 s, the maximum was 200 s, and the median was 20 s. Of the 526 VLCs, 41% had intact, undamaged light tips. Only half of the dental offices checked the irradiance from their VLCs regularly, 97% disinfected the VLC, and 86% used eye protection.

Conclusion: Approximately 10% of the VLCs delivered < 400 mW/cm2 and 14% of the dental offices used no form of eye protection. To achieve sufficient light curing of RBC restorations, more awareness about the VLCs used in the dental office is required.

MeSH terms

  • Composite Resins*
  • Curing Lights, Dental*
  • Dental Offices
  • Dental Restoration, Permanent
  • Humans
  • Quartz


  • Composite Resins
  • Quartz