Thursday, November 21, 2019

Evaluation of CheckUp from BlueLight Analytics

 
Dentistry is a continually evolving field and one of the major parts of it is the branch referred to as “restorative”.  This is science of taking the existing teeth and “restoring” them to state of health when they are broken, decayed, etc.
As far as actual time spent, the average dentist spends more of their time performing restorative procedures than anything else.  Restorative has evolved and changed greatly in the last 10-15 years.  Today the majority of fillings that are placed in the U.S. and Europe and “white fillings” which are done using a composite resin material.  While studies have failed to prove that silver amalgam fillings are detrimental to patient health, they do have the negatives of polluting the environment and not being aesthetically pleasing.  Composites, on the other hand, don’t contain any mercury and are tooth colored. One of the other big positives for composite is that it chemically bonds to tooth structure which means that less tooth structure needs to be removed during restorative procedures.
However, everything has plusses and minuses… advantages and disadvantages.  For composite, the minus is mainly due to the fact that it is technique sensitive which means a dentists needs to be pretty meticulous while performing the procedures.  Paying close attention to details such as eliminating contamination and not over-drying are easy to replicate.  Yet since their invention over 30 years ago there has been one problem that has been difficult to overcome because it couldn’t be evaluated.
That one step is what it referred to as “photo polymerization”.  Composites contain a chemical which, when exposed to a certain wavelength of light, causes the material to rapidly polymerize or harden.  The advantages of this are obvious since patients can leave the office and eat on the fillings immediately without worrying about damaging them.  Yet, the process of polymerization was impossible to measure in a clinical environment because it was impossible to measure the output of the the light that causes the reaction. 
Measuring the light output precisely requires a rather expensive piece of hardware called a radiometer and they really haven’t been available for use in a clinical setting.
Now, however, that is all about to change thanks to a company named BlueLight Analytics and their product called CheckUp.  Now, for the first time, a doctor has the capacity to test their curing lights on a state of the art device that can provide the data necessary to ensure your curing light is operating properly.  The CheckUp device is a combination of a small piece of hardware (the CheckUp device) and an app that runs on your smartphone.  When the app is downloaded your phone will connect to the CheckUp hardware via a BlueTooth connection.  The app allows the user to select which curing lights they are using as well as what composites are in the office inventory.
In addition to CheckUp providing a digital readout of the intensity of the light, it also provides information on the composites being used by the doctor.  One of the amazing and problematic things about composites is that different materials (and even different shades of the *same* material) will absorb the photons of the light differently.  This means that even though your light may be incredibly bright you cannot use an approach of “one cure fits all”.  For example, a very light shade such as B-1 might only take 5 seconds whereas a much darker shade such as A-3.5 might require a 20 second cure.  But how would you know this?
Utilizing the CheckUp database of curing lights as well as the database of materials, the app tells you specifically the output of the light being tested and the recommended curing times of each brand and shade of composite.
CheckUp is now on the market and I really think you need to take a good look at it.  You can got all the info you need by following this link.  
I have been using the device for about 60 days now and have been very impressed with what I’ve learned from it.  I’ll be reporting back here in future posts with more info.  .  This is truly the only way to be able to ensure the light is performing as it should.

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