The setting reactions of a large number of dental materials are activated upon exposure to visible blue light emitted from a curing unit. Although the wavelength (lambda) from such devices is principally in the visible spectrum (lambda > 400 nm) a small amount of ultraviolet radiation (UV) is also present. Little attention has been paid to the consequences of such exposure upon the skin of dental surgeons' fingers. This investigation studied the level of UVA I (lambda = 340–400 nm) emitted by three commonly used polymerisation sources and assessed the level of protection afforded by six brands of surgical glove. The integrated irradiances of the Translux, Topaz T100 and Heliomat units in the UVA I range were 15861, 3611 and 305 mW/m2 respectively. For all gloves the mean % transmission, at lambda = 400 nm, was less than 4% with the exception of one brand where, in the stretched state, the level of transmission was 7%. It is concluded that the risk of initiating adverse dermatological consequences as a result of exposure to UVA I, emitted by light polymerisation units, is minimal in normal usage. The combined effects of exposure to radiation of this type and contamination of the fingers with quantities of irritant chemicals, such as found in many dental materials, are unknown. Due to the ability of the gloves to shield the skin from both chemicals and UVA I it is recommended that gloves are routinely worn for all light curing procedures.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Dentistry