Wide-Spectrum LED – Yes. Halogen – No more.
For many years, I was happy with my halogen curing light. But, it did annoy me that I had to regularly measure the light output and replace expensive bulbs when they either burned out or dropped below 600 mw/cm2. And, when LED curing lights first came out, I was reluctant because they were limited in the types of composites they could cure. Halogens would cure any type of composite, so I stuck with my trusty Demetron 501 for many good years.
Destination: South Jordan, Utah
About a year ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Ultradent in Utah along with about 100 other “Townies” (denizens of Dentaltown.com). We spent two full days learning about Ultradent as a company and got a personal introduction to some of their products. The Ultradent facility is truly amazing. Everything is made right there in Utah. And, the techno-nerd in me was mesmerized when I got to watch robots manufacturing some of the products.
Valo Curing Light
One of the demonstrations we got was seeing the Valo curing light actually being manufactured. And, then we got a hands-on demonstration using at the clinical workstations in the conference center. Of course, I bought one and have been using it for a year now.
First, I can tell you that the Valo is nearly indestructible. The “chassis” of this curing light is milled from solid billet aircraft aluminum. Many of us have cringed when a traditional curing light is dropped by an assistant. I’m fairly certain that in a 3-foot radius around dental assistants there exists a sort of hyper-gravity that causes dental equipment to smash against the floor as if it’s been shot out of a rail-gun. Things just get dropped, don’t they? With the Valo, you won’t have to worry about that.
You can literally swing it by the cord “rock star style” and then whack it on the hard floor, and it will not break. They actually did this right in front of us at the Utah meeeting. Turns out the cord has Kevlar strands in it. It really IS bullet-proof! Yes, it is corded. And, I know the general trend is cordless. But, a cordless light has the disadvantage of having heavy batteries inside of it. I find cordless lights a bit ungainly, while I find the featherweight 2.65-oz (75-grams) Valo to be very comfortable to use. By comparison, a popular cordless light weighs 1-1/2 lb (almost 700-grams) – about 9 times more!! That’s a huge difference! And, of course, you’ll never have to replace any batteries with the Valo.
The Valo light is shaped like a handpiece and comes with a handpiece bracket holder to put on your dental unit.
The Valo has multiple LED light sources, covering the wavelengths 395nm – 480nm, designed to cure any type of composite on the market. The light beam diameter at the curing surface is a wide 10.5-mm. And judging by my eyeball-ometer, it puts out some SERIOUS light!
There are three versatile curing modes (with adjustable curing times) to choose from:
- Standard – 1000mW/cm2 (5 – 20 seconds in 5-second increments)
- High – 1400 mW/cm2 (1 – 4 seconds in 1-second increments)
- Plasma Emulation – 3200 mW/cm2 (fixed at 3 seconds)
I believe the U.S. Navy is researching the Valo Plasma Emulation mode to knock inbound enemy missiles out of the sky.
I once used the Plasma Emulation mode to break into a safe!
Another nice feature is that you can buy extra power cords (~$30) and mounting brackets (~$6) to put in each operatory, if you want to buy just one light (and move it room to room). You can also get a variety of accessories such as spot-curing attachments to tack in veneers.
Retailing at $1199, the Valo Curing Light is a worthy piece of equipment in the Dental Warrior arsenal. Contact your Ultradent rep or order online, and tell them The Dental Warrior sent you. (I have no financial interest in this recommendation.) You’ll feel like a “Jedi Knight” wielding a dental light sabre!
The Townie “field trip” to Ultradent culminated with a Utah-style cookout at Ultradent founder Dr. Dan Fischer’s beautiful home.