Dental Light-Curing Unit Use – an ADA Clinical Evaluators Panel Survey
Objectives: The ability to polymerize light-activated dental materials with dental light-curing units (DLCUs) has revolutionized dentistry. Consequently, DLCUs are essential to ensuring the effectiveness and performance of these materials. Our objective is to evaluate how American Dental Association (ADA) member dentists are using DLCUs in clinical practice.
Methods: We developed an electronic cross-sectional survey in the ADA Qualtrics Research CORE platform including questions about DLCU use, unit type and selection, training, maintenance, technique, and safety measures. After pre-testing, we deployed the survey via an anonymous email link to 809 ADA Clinical Evaluator (ACE) panelists. One week later, email reminders were sent to non-respondents. The cleaned survey data was subjected to descriptive analysis in SAS software.
Results: Of the 349 ACE panelists who completed the survey, most were general practitioners (90%), males (77%), and averaged 59 years old (SD ±11 years). Most respondents use a DLCU in their practice (99%) and light-emitting diode (LED) multi-wave units are used most widely (56%). Dentists use DLCU’s for over half of their appointments each day (mean = 59% ± 22%). Respondents indicated the top three factors they consider when selecting a DCLU include portability, power output, and durability. Regarding technique, respondents reported that they would alter their curing technique based on material thickness (80%), and material type or light tip-to-target distances (61%). Maintenance practices varied, with two-thirds reporting that they periodically check their DLCU’s light output, but, the frequency of these checks varied (71% check ≤ once/month and 21% check it > monthly). A range of staff and patient eye protection methods were reported.
Conclusions: DLCUs are an integral part of a general dentist’s daily practice. Although most dentists use multi-wave LEDs and adjust their curing technique to account for clinical variables, there are inconsistencies in DLCU maintenance and ocular safety strategies among this sample.