July/August 2011, Volume 32, Issue 6
Published by AEGIS Communications
CAO Group Developing New Technology for Curing Lights
The trend in curing lights has moved dramatically away from halogen and towards LED, according to Robert Nordquist, Vice President of Marketing and Sales for CAO Group, Inc. “Ten years ago perhaps 95% of curing lights used were halogen. Today it has reversed with over 90% of curing lights being LED,” he says. According to Nordquist, CAO Group has been at the forefront of this wave: the company owns patents on important LED technology, and today virtually all of the dental light manufacturers are licensing this technology from CAO Group for use in their own lights.
The move to LED lights was driven by user requirements. As halogen lights became more powerful, they also grew larger. This led to curing lights that generated too much heat. As Nordquist explains, “If you didn’t cool it effectively, either the unit became uncomfortably warm in the operator’s hand, or more significantly, the outside of the unit became very warm. If it touched the patient’s cheek, there was potential for burning.”
The LED is more efficient in consumption of energy, and because it generates less heat than its halogen counterpart, there is no risk of burning the patient. The LED can also be sleeker in design because it does not require large fans to disseminate that heat. Nordquist elaborates, “With the LED curing lights, we’re able to put a slim head into the mouth, and can cure occlusal surfaces on the second or third molars with less opening on the part of the patient. This is important because many patients, particularly older patients, are not able to open their mouths as wide as the operator would like in order to perform a procedure.”
Another significant trend in curing lights is the move from corded to cordless units while maintaining a similar output. However, a common concern with a cordless light is that the battery will run down during a procedure, resulting in reduced light output and, therefore, less effective curing.
CAO Group addresses this concern with its insightful technology, Nordquist says. “Our lights use a battery technology that’s either all or nothing—it’s either operating at 100% or the light will shut off, so there’s no reduced light output that results in a less effective cure. CAO Group battery technology is also now providing enough stored power to give several days’ worth of use before recharging.”
The greater convenience of the cordless curing light is boosting its popularity with clinicians. “The purchasing of LED lights now is probably 75% cordless,” Nordquist says. “That trend will continue to grow, particularly as battery technology improves, allowing us to decrease weight and bulk, while increasing battery life.”
One of the most recent product developments from CAO Group is the ability of its curing light wands to rotate 360°. As a result of this innovative design, the clinician is able to rotate the position of the light source so that his or her hand stays in the most comfortable position while operating the light.
There are other conveniences in CAO Group’s curing lights as well, Nordquist says. “The newest of the CAO Group cordless lights are being designed so they fit in the delivery unit handpiece holders, so that clinicians can place the light along with the rest of their dynamic instrumentation. The charging station can now be more conveniently located in the back room, out of the operatory.” Therefore, these items are out of the line of potential contamination when they’re not in use, and they do not have to be included in the surface disinfection and infection control processes of the operatory.
Nordquist adds, “The charging stations are also designed so that they charge multiple lights at one time. The clinician can buy a light with the charging station, and then acquire additional lights individually at a more reasonable cost to the dental office.”
CAO Group’s cordless curing light, the Ascent PX, offers all these features and state-of-the-art technologies. It can be operated either corded or cordless. It features four operating modes with a light output of 2,000 mW/cm2 focused on an 11-mm curing area.
So what does the future hold for CAO Group? Nordquist says, “With advances of solid state light sources and electronics, we look forward to a number of advancements in the next generation of curing light: 1) faster, deeper, larger-area curing; 2) smaller sizes with more ergonomic designs; 3) long-life battery operation; 4) long-life light source; 5) compatibility with all dental materials and the ability to maintain or even improve the properties of dental materials after curing.”
Whatever it develops, CAO Group believes that the more widely it makes its technologies available, the more companies can be partnered with, and the more the dental office will ultimately benefit. Rather than narrowly guarding its technology and restricting what can come to the marketplace, CAO Group is choosing to share its expertise freely. The company's mission is to offer dentistry easier, faster, better products in coming years. CAO Group will continue to innovate and help improve dental care worldwide.