Analysis of optical transmission by 400-500 nm visible light into aesthetic dental biomaterials

D. C. Watts, A. J. Cash

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    The penetration of visible light into dental biomaterials is an essential factor in photoinitiation of setting reactions and in the optical aspects of dental aesthetics. Light of visible blue wavelengths, 400-500 nm, has been applied at normal angles to 0.2-5.0 mm sections of human dentine and representative ceramic, polymerceramic composites and hybrid glass-.polyalkenoate materials. The integrated optical transmission has been determined for each material section. The data have been converted to absorbance values and analysed to check for mathematical conformity to the Beer-Lambert Law. It is found that conformity (typically, P <0.01) to the linear Beer-Lambert Law is only attained by making a substantial correction for the intensity of light reflected from the surface of aesthetic biomaterials. This is otherwise expressed by distinguishing between true and apparent absorbance. From linear regression of apparent absorbance with section thickness, the intercept depends upon the logarithm of the surface-reflection ratio. This factor ranges from 30% to 90% in the materials investigated. It follows that there is a high degree of inefficency in the transmission of visible light into and through aesthetic biomaterials for the purposes of photoactivation using existing technology. Means by which this limitation and inefficiency may be reduced are discussed. While the reflectivity of aesthetic biomaterials has been perceived by dental practitioners, the magnitude of this effect and its implications in connection with light-cured materials have not been analysed and emphasized hitherto. © 1994.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)112-117
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of Dentistry
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 1994


    • Ceramics
    • Dentine
    • Glass polyalkenoate (ionomer) cements
    • Optical transmission
    • Resin composites


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