VALO Cordless LED Curing Light—Critical Step to Restoration Success
Recently, I’ve been intrigued by attitudes toward light curing. I often think of GEICO’s old tagline, “So easy, a cave man can do it.” For me, the advances in adhesion and light curing have revolutionized adhesive resin restorative dentistry, providing quick techniques for long-lasting restorations. But, don’t take your curing light for granted. As Indiana Jones was told when he asked which cup was the Holy Grail, “Choose wisely.”
LED, quartz halogen, and plasma arc (PAC) lights all work well, as long as the practitioner understands that resin and adhesives light cure because of the energy the lights deliver. I’ve used many different lights because they have served a specific purpose in my practice.
Recently, my workhorse light for routine dentistry has been an LED curing light. These lights are usually battery powered (and rechargeable) and don’t need an outlet.
Choosing a Curing Light
So what do I prefer now? I have been using Ultradent’s VALO LED (corded model) for the past year. I just received VALO Cordless. VALO has a high-intensity LED pack with 3 blue chips and 1 violet LED chip offering multiple wavelengths (395-480 nm) for extended spectral light curing of all resins. The power output ranges from 1000 to 3200 mW/ cm2, depending on the mode.
With a consistent beam profile, the light focuses an ideally collimated beam of light to optimize light energy delivery within the cavity preparation. In addition, it prevents hot/cold spots and is virtually unbreakable. I no longer need the PAC light because VALO Cordless (all VALOs, in fact) has 3 power settings—Standard, High-Power, and Xtra Power (Plasma Emulation).
Most lights include “ergonomic” in their description, but I’ve found VALO Cordless to be especially agile, weighing 6 ounces and offering freedom of movement without a cord. More importantly, I have direct access to all tooth surfaces. This is another reason VALO stands out. Its compact head provides access at right angles and improved light energy delivery to even the most posterior teeth.
8 Steps to Successful Light Curing
Success with light curing is more than just the curing light. There are important steps to ensure better light curing.
1. For safety, wear “blue blocking” glasses or use orange shields.
2. Position the patient for easy visualization of the restoration and correct positioning of the light guide.
3. Position yourself so the light can be stabilized with little movement, which can compromise light energy.
4. Inspect the light guide tip for any contaminants or damage to the surface.
5. The light guide must be as close as possible to the prep and at right angles to it.
6. Air-cool between each curing cycle.
7. Increase curing time for gingival margins of proximal boxes.
8. To reap the most benefits for restorative success, follow proper curing technique and use a curing light designed to provide consistent energy despite the location of the restoration.