Light-curing dental resin-based composites: How it works and how you can make it work

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Aim: Clinicians may become quite familiar with the rapid transformation of composite pastes to rigid solids, as a routine phenomenon in operative dentistry. But they may still lack scientific understanding of how and why this happens. Efforts to learn scientifically about the interaction between light beams and resin-composites can significantly promote effective clinical placement of restorations. Neglect of such study can result in practical procedures of light-curing that are inadequate or even seriously defective.

Method: This review addresses the underlying science and technology to elucidate how light curing works, for dental resin-based composites, including—but not limited to—bulk fill types. This involves questions concerning: (a) the particle-wave understanding of light; (b) how photons can penetrate sufficiently deeply into bulk fill composites; (c) the necessary technology of LED light-curing units (LCUs); (d) the criteria for absorption of photons by photo initiators to initiate free-radical addition polymerisation.

Conclusions: The implications for clinical practice are surveyed. These include design variables and selection criteria for LED-LCUs and guidelines on their use. This is to guide practitioners towards safe and effective light-curing procedures so that they can achieve optimal result for their patients.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Dental Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2023


  • bulk fill
  • curing protocol
  • irradience
  • light-curing units
  • photo-initiator
  • phot-polymerisation
  • reciprocity hypothesis
  • resin-composite


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