Monday, July 26, 2021

My Experiences with AMD's New Monet Handheld Curing Laser

Curing is an interesting subject. In some ways, in its history curing has changed a lot… and in some ways it's changed very little. Let me give you an example of what I mean.

In the early days of light curing we used actual light bulbs to produce enough of the proper wavelength of light needed for polymerization.   These were replaced by “high speed curing lights” that used powerful halogen bulbs to create stronger beams with greater curing potential.  However, even though they were more powerful, halogen bulbs still required long curing times.  Back then 40-60 seconds per increment was not unheard of.  That’s because those light bulbs put out all kinds of different wavelengths of light and it took time for enough of them to cause photopolymerization.  It was akin to throwing spaghetti against the wall and hoping enough would stick.  

The industry’s ‘Holy Grail’ became the sub thirty second cure.  Companies tried tips that better focused the energy (called Turbo Tips) and there was even a type of light referred to as a PAC Light which stood for Plasma Arc Curing that could give a fast cure, but they were expensive and bulky.

Then in 2000-2001 the LED curing light took the market by storm.  Suddenly dental curing lights were powerful and small.  Within five years, curing lights using bulbs were practically off the market; replaced by smaller and more reliable LED systems that provided amazing results in adhesive dentistry.

Here’s a little bit of dental trivia that you probably don’t know.  Every time you use a LED curing light, you should thank its inventor, Densen Cao, PhD.  He’s the man who invented this amazing device.  Now why would I mention Dr. Cao in a discussion of a new curing light?  It’s because he is also the inventor of the handheld curing laser.

And who better to stand the world of curing lights on its collective head than the man who has already done it once?  Welcome to another game changing piece of hardware from the fertile mind of Densen Cao.

Over the past twenty years we have seen tremendous strides made in our curing lights.  Intensity has increased and power needs have decreased.  Today lights can cure an increment in 5 seconds and are cordless, going days without needing a charge.  So where do we go from here?

The next generational jump in curing is the Monet curing laser.  There has never before been a curing laser that fits in the palm of your hand.  The Monet takes over with properties only a laser can bring… the most important being collimation.  

With any light other than a laser, photons spread out in all directions as they leave the source.  However with a laser they all move in a tight beam that basically forms a column of photons (hence the term collimation) .  This means that every photon produced strikes the target.  Why is this important?  It gives the laser more power and greater depth of cure.  Simply put, there is very little waste of curing energy from a laser.

There is also a terrific advantage to laser cured restorations.  With “normal” curing lights it is imperative to be as close to the restoration as possible. If an LED light moves even 2 or 3mm away from the restoration, the amount of curing power that the light delivers decreases exponentially.  Lasers, due to their collimation, can properly cure a composite even if it is several millimeters from the target.  This means that you get a properly cured restoration every time.  

I’ve spent a lot of time in dental offices in my career and there is one mistake that I’ve noticed time and again.  An assistant puts the curing light close to the target and then looks away, in an effort to protect their eyes.  However the simple act of looking away often means the light moves away from the target and the LED beam intensity drops.  The material cures on the surface, but doesn’t receive sufficient depth of cure.  The result is what i call “candy composites” which are “crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside”.  This creates all kinds of problems later, as we all know.  That same situation would never happen with the Monet as the beam intensity is sufficient for a properly cured composite even if the device isn’t next to the target.

The collimation also means better depth of cure.  When using a laser, every photon that is produced hits the target.  This creates an incredibly strong restoration because the strength of the beam penetrates deep into the material.  AMD’s in-house measurements have found a depth of cure of up to 8mm.  Think about that for a moment.  Now, for argument's sake let’s say that number is actually 6mm.  Given the stat that over 80% of class 2 restorations are 5mm or less, that means the Monet has just changed 80% of your restorations to bulk fill even if the material is not designed to be bulk fill.  And that means your efficiency just took a really big boost.

It has always been popular for a curing device to have a variety of settings for intensity and time.  The Monet completely changes that concept.  It has one button that produces one three second curing cycle.  That’s all there is because that is all you need. 

The curing head can rotate 360 degrees so the user can position it with ease.  It also comes with 2 interchangeable batteries to insure the Monet is always ready.  The device also comes with laser protective eye glasses which should always be worn when using the device.  Lasers have a strong beam and eye protection is a must when using one.

The Monet provides intensity that makes composites stronger, increases efficiency, and is competitively priced.

If you are in the market for a curing light, you owe it to your patients to check out the Monet.  It will take your curing to a whole new level!

Disclaimer:  I received a very early prototype of the Monet that gave me the opportunity to work with it before it was available for sale.  This spring after the product launch, AMD Lasers asked Dental Products Report if I would do a "Product Test Drive" on the Monet.  This article is part of that project and I was compensated for the work involved with that product evaluation.

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