Ocean Optics Spectrometer Helps Dentists Use Curing Lights More Effectively

New OEM system just what the doctor ordered for Canadian-based BlueLight analytics inc.
Dunedin, Florida (July 13, 2010) – A spectroradiometrically calibrated USB4000 Spectrometer from Ocean Optics is helping dentists to use curing lights more effectively to harden the white resin composites used to fill cavities. The spectrometer is a key component of the Managing Accurate Resin Curing (MARC) system developed by Dr. Richard Price and researchers at Dalhousie University (Halifax, Nova Scotia) and commercialized through BlueLight analytics inc. (www.curingresin.com). Dr. Price has used Ocean Optics equipment in his laboratory since 2002 to measure the output from dental curing lights.  The results of his research have been published in 15 papers internationally.

BlueLight’s MARC system uses an Ocean Optics USB4000 spectrometer to accurately measure the output from dental curing lights.

BlueLight’s MARC system uses an Ocean Optics USB4000 spectrometer to accurately measure the output from dental curing lights.

MARC measures the useful energy a simulated resin restoration receives from a dental curing light, a procedure that is affected by the location of the tooth, the type of resin used, the output of the curing light and the accuracy of the practitioner. Too much or too little exposure of the curing light to the restoration can lessen the lifetime of the filling and potentially damage the tooth.  With the MARC system, which includes a laboratory-grade NIST-referenced USB4000 Spectrometer, dental researchers, educators, manufacturers and clinicians can more accurately measure the irradiance (in mW/cm2) and energy per unit area (in J/cm2) delivered by various curing lights in the hands of different dental professionals.

Slightly larger than a mobile phone, the miniature fiber optic USB4000 Spectrometer uses a 3648-element Toshiba linear CCD array detector and high speed electronics. For the MARC system, the spectrometer has been spectroradiometrically calibrated using Ocean Optics’ NIST-traceable light source (300-1050 nm). MARC also uses the CC3-UV Cosine Corrector to collect radiation over 180º field of view. This collection device helps mitigate the effects of optical interference associated with light collection sampling geometry – for example, the distance of the light to the restoration.

According to Colin Deacon, president and CEO of BlueLight, the potential impact of MARC is great, with 130 million restorations performed each year in the U.S. alone. Selection of the optimum spectrometer manufacturer for the project was critical. “We chose Ocean Optics because of its superior products and customer service,” said Deacon. “We tried some other manufacturers, but there is no question why Ocean Optics is the most widely used and respected manufacturer of miniature spectrometers in the industry.”

In developing MARC, BlueLight worked closely with Ocean Optics’ OEM Engineering Team, which helps OEM customers bring products to market faster and better optimized to commercial requirements. The team offers complete system design capability for OEMs from supply of fiber assemblies and light sources to sensor coatings and sample holders. Ocean Optics is ISO 9001:2008 certified and can support both integrated system and sub-system manufacturing needs. Additional information about the team’s capabilities is available at www.OceanOEM.com.

3 Responses to “Ocean Optics Spectrometer Helps Dentists Use Curing Lights More Effectively”

  1. I hate to be negative – not least as a london dentist, so the flow and angle was isn’t what I was looking for, the second part was a bit misleading tbh – what do readers reckon?

  2. Christine says:

    Forgive my ignorance, but why do dentists need an expensive device like MARC? I thought that when curing light went beep, it told the dentist that my white filling was done (cured?).

  3. Rob Morris says:


    That’s the same thought I had when I first learned about this product that our customer has developed. So I consulted with BlueLight analytics about your question and they offered this:

    “The beep only tells the dentist that the light has been used for the desired amount of time — not how much energy has been delivered to the resin, or whether that energy is at the required wavelengths, or whether the amount and type of energy delivered by the light is what the resin actually requires to be adequately polymerized. Even within one brand of resin, the energy requirements are very different depending on the shade selected. There can be as much as a five-fold variance between the energy requirements of different shades of resin within one brand.

    “Dentists have no practical means by which to manage the four variables that determine intra-oral energy delivery: the light itself, which can vary greatly depending on manufacturer; the operator’s technique; the position and nature of the filling and the angle at which the energy is delivered; and the resin selected.

    “MARC helps dental researchers, manufacturers and educators to help dentists to have the information and skills necessary to ensure that every filling is adequately cured. Under-cured resin does not deliver the manufacturers intended physical properties and is not biocompatible. With proper curing, fillings could last up to 3x as long as they do now.”

    That’s probably a little more detail than you expected, but I hope that gives you a better idea of why BlueLight is so keen on its technology. I’m no expert on dentistry, but I have seen customers in our industries that use LED lighting for curing run into similar issues with monitoring of the LED output energy. That’s why a device like a spectrometer, which is what we provide, can be so useful as a quality control tool.

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