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Article: Volume 48 Number 8 Page 633 - September 2021

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  Dental Update 492: 633-640

Restorative dentistry:  ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light, but was it enough? A review of modern dental light curing

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Abstract: Light curing, or photopolymerization, is a very common method of effecting the set of resin-containing dental materials. This review summarizes key aspects that influence optimal photopolymerization, and how both a basic knowledge of chemistry and properties of the light-curing device are essential to achieve optimal clinical performance of the material. Tips are offered with respect to both the light-curing units and those materials which are cured by them to ensure best practice when working clinically.

Clinical relevance: A thorough knowledge and understanding of photopolymerization is critical to clinicians given that many dental materials in contemporary use are cured by this means.

Author notes: Stephen J Bonsor, BDS(Hons) MSc FHEA FDS RCPS(Glasg) MDTFEd GDP, The Dental Practice, 21 Rubislaw Terrace, Aberdeen, UK; Senior Clinical Lecturer, Institute of Dentistry, University of Aberdeen, UK; Online Tutor/Clinical Lecturer, University of Edinburgh, UK. William M Palin, BMedSc, MPhil, PhD, FADM, Professor in Biomedical Materials Science, School of Dentistry, Institute of Clinical Sciences, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK. email:

Objective: To update the reader on the physics and chemistry of light curing and how photopolymerization relates to, and underpins, clinical application, thus potentially improving restoration performance and longevity.

S4S Dental_June22