Adding a Dental Curing Filter to a Headlight

Dental surgical headlights are extremely useful, but generally very expensive (about $800-$2000).

When I was in dental school, I spent a few years developing my own headlight around the time that Dr. Ron Nguyen made his own (ultralight optics).

After about 10 years of extensive use and testing, I've found the LED Lenser H7 to be way better than my three prototypes. I also prefer it over pretty much anything on the market at any price.

My only gripe is that it can cause white fillings to harden.

Solution? A long throw filter at 520 nm and some sugru.

Step 1: How It Works

Tooth colored filling materials (composites) harden when hit with a light between 380 nm to 518 nm.

This is why you see dentists using blue rayguns to harden your fillings. The blue light will active things.

To prevent light from hardening the filling material, you just need to block everything under 520 nm. A longpass filter off ebay should work perfectly fine at under $20.…/tech-tip-green-longpas...

Here's a link explaining more of the history and science of hardening filling materials:

Step 2: Making It Happen

If you're doing what I'm doing, you'll need the following:

1. Led Lenser H7 headlight

2. 25 mm filter (535 nm or greater frequency)

3. sugru.

Clean the headlight.

Place the filter in place.

Wrap with sugru.

Seriously easy.

Step 3: Why Such an Easy Instructable?

You may look at my instructable and wonder why I bothered to post this.

I mean, it's a headlight with an orange filter stuck around it!? Why bother?

In the dental industry, this would easily cost $1800.

The cheap plastic filter that I used costed $180 from Design for Vision. The cheaper lights on the market from Ultralight Optics would probably cost about $800. More expensive lights from Orascoptics, Design for Vision, Zeiss, or Surgitel would easily cost $1000-2000 without the filter.

Moreover, these fancy lights break all the time. They're intentionally designed to break right at the battery terminal--so that you need another $200 battery back...or a $300 repair of something that should have had proper strain relief. Or the cheap M2 screw used as a retainer has come loose or broken off.

In contrast, the LED LEnser light is cheap, user fixable, and has a 7 year warrenty (no financial affiliation on my part). With a fresh set of eneloops, you have about 8-12 hours of working time. It's maybe $30-50 in cost. It also allows for wide view of focus for oral surgery.

In my eyes, having a good surgical headlight is a massive game changer.

In the jungles of Cambodia or a mobile dental clinic in San Francisco, you don't have the luxury of a well lit surgical suite. Even with a nice dental office, you're not always afforded the benefits of good lighting or a competent dental assistant.

I want this to be available to everyone from the broke dental student, to missionaries working in third world countries.

Moreover, pulling teeth and using white fillings are the two most common services we can offer.

I've enclosed some pictures of a before and after of some work this's on a very cute 13 year old girl.

After thinking about privacy and such, I've decided not to include her picture...just the teeth.

I've since done similar both in my own clinic, in Cambodia, in multiple portable clinics in a gym, and on my friend's sister's deathbed. It's extremely rewarding.

Hopefully, some other dentists can find this useful.



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