Effect of infection control barriers on the light output from a multi-peak light curing unit

J Dent. 2020 Dec;103:103503. doi: 10.1016/j.jdent.2020.103503. Epub 2020 Oct 19.


Objectives: Curing lights cannot be sterilized and should be covered with an infection control barrier. This study evaluated the effect of barriers when applied correctly and incorrectly on the radiant power (mW), irradiance (mW/cm2), emission spectrum (mW/nm), and beam profile from a multi-peak light-curing unit (LCU).

Methods: Five plastic barriers (VALO Grand, Ultradent; TIDIShield, TIDI Products; Disposa-Shield, Dentsply Sirona; Cure Sleeve, Kerr; Stretch and Seal, Betty Crocker) and one latex-based barrier (Curelastic, Steri-Shield) were tested. The radiant power (mW) and emission spectrum (mW/nm) from one multi-peak LCU (VALO Grand, Ultradent) was measured using an integrating sphere. LCU tip internal diameter (mm) was measured, then the tip area and irradiance (mW/cm2) were calculated. The beam profiles were measured using a laser beam profiler.

Results: When applied correctly, the plastic barriers reduced the radiant power output by 5-8%, and the latex-based barrier by 16%. When the plastic seam or barrier opaque face was positioned over the LCU tip, the power output was reduced by 8-11%. When the plastic barriers were wrinkled, the power output was significantly reduced by 14-26%. The wrinkled latex-based barrier reduced by 28%, and further reduced the violet light. The beam profiles illustrated the importance of correctly barrier use without wrinkles over the tip.

Conclusions: Plastic barriers applied correctly reduced the light output (mW) by 5-8%. The barriers applied incorrectly significantly reduced the light output by 14-26%. The latex-based barrier wrinkled also reduced the amount of violet light.

Clinical relevance: Infection control curing light barriers should be used to prevent cross-infection between patients. However, they must be applied correctly to reduce their negative effects on the light output.

Keywords: Attenuation; Barrier; Beam profile; Infection control; Irradiance; Light curing unit; Power.