The dental curing light: A potential health risk

Richard B T Price, Daniel Labrie, Ellen M. Bruzell, David H. Sliney, Howard E. Strassler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Powerful blue-light emitting dental curing lights are used in dental offices to photocure resins in the mouth. In addition, many dental personnel use magnification loupes. This study measured the effect of magnification loupes on the “blue light hazard” when the light from a dental curing light was reflected off a human tooth. Loupes with 3.5x magnification (Design for Vision, Carl Zeiss, and Quality Aspirator) and 2.5x magnification (Design for Vision and Quality Aspirator) were placed at the entrance of an integrating sphere connected to a spectrometer (USB 4000, Ocean Optics). A model with human teeth was placed 40 cm away and in line with this sphere. The light guide tip of a broad-spectrum Sapphire Plus (Den-Mat) curing light was positioned at a 45° angle from the facial surface of the central incisor. The spectral radiant power reflected from the teeth was recorded five times with the loupes over the entrance into the sphere. The maximum permissible cumulative exposure times in an 8-hr day were calculated using guidelines set by the ACGIH. It was concluded that at a 40 cm distance, the maximum permissible cumulative daily exposure time to light reflected from the tooth was approximately 11 min without loupes. The weighted blue irradiance values were significantly different for each brand of loupe (Fisher's PLSD p <0.05) and were up to eight times greater at the pupil than when loupes were not used. However, since the linear dimensions of the resulting images would be 2.5 to 3.5x larger on the retina, the image area was increased by the square of the magnification and the effective blue light hazard was reduced compared to without the loupes. Thus, although using magnification loupes increased the irradiance received at the pupil, the maximum cumulative daily exposure time to reflected light was increased up to 28 min. Further studies are required to determine the ocular hazards of a focused stare when using magnification loupes and the effects of other curing lights used in the dental office.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)639-646
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD)
  • blue-light hazard
  • curing light
  • light-emitting diode
  • occupational hazard

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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  • Cite this

    Price, R. B. T., Labrie, D., Bruzell, E. M., Sliney, D. H., & Strassler, H. E. (2016). The dental curing light: A potential health risk. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 13(8), 639-646.