Title:
Three-dimensional curing light
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A 3-dimensional curing light that can cure a light curable material, such as a dental restoration, from 3 directions at once.



Inventors:
Cao, Densen (Sandy, UT, US)
Application Number:
11/445498
Publication Date:
12/07/2006
Filing Date:
06/01/2006
Assignee:
Cao Group, Inc.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A61C1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MAI, HAO D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CAO Group, Inc. (West Jordan, UT, US)
Claims:
1. A 3-dimensional curing light comprising: a casing formed to have 3 facets, said facets arranged so that adjoining facets are generally at a 90 degrees with respect to each other, said facets being arranged to form a channel therebetween, a source of curing light located at each facet, said curing light sources emitting light toward said channel so that a material to be cured which is placed in said channel receives curing light from 3 directions simultaneously.

2. A device as recited in claim 1 wherein at least one of said curing light sources is an LED.

3. A device as recited in claim 1 wherein at least one of said curing light sources is a laser.

4. A device as recited in claim 1 wherein each of said light sources includes a primary heat sink.

5. A device as recited in claim 4 further comprising a secondary heat sink in heat communication with said primary heat sink.

6. A device as recited in claim 1 wherein a quantity of heat paste is located between at least one of said light sources and a heat sink.

7. A device as recited in claim 1 wherein said light source is selected from the group consisting of single LED chips, multiple LED chips, and LED arrays.

8. A device as recited in claim 1 wherein said light sources generate light with a wavelength in the range of 280 to 5000 nm.

9. A device as recited in claim 1 wherein said light sources generate power in the range of 50 mW/cm2 to 3000 mW/cm2.

10. A device as recited in claim 1 further comprising a secondary heat sink insulated from said casing to avoid heating up said casing during use.

11. A 3-dimensional curing light comprising: 3 facets forming a channel therebetween, each of said facets having a source of curing light which emits curing light generally toward said channel so that a material to be cured which is placed in said channel receives curing light from 3 directions simultaneously.

Description:

CLAIM FOR PRIORITY

This patent application claims benefit of and priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/686,261 filed on Jun. 1, 2005.

BACKGROUND

Although teeth have a 3-dimensional shape, prior art dental curing lights all emit light that can only be applied to one side of a tooth at a time. Exposing the entire tooth to light emitted by a curing light uses up valuable dentist chair time.

SUMMARY

A 3-dimensional curing light is disclosed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 depicts an example 3-dimensional curing light.

FIG. 2 depicts a cross-sectional view of an example 3-dimensional curing light.

FIG. 3 depicts another cross-sectional view of an example 3-dimensional curing light.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Three-dimensional curing lights are disclosed that can emit light for polymerizing monomers into polymers from 3 sides of a tooth at the same time. This approach can also be used to enhance the properties of the cured dental composite, and to achieve a deeper cure.

FIG. 1 depicts a perspective view of a 3-dimensional curing light. A control box 101 controls operation of the light. It includes a display 102, control buttons 103, 104, and 105 for controlling power, curing mode, and light emitting selections respectively. An electrical cord 106 is attached to the control box 101 to provide electrical power from an AC outlet. A cable 107 transfers electrical power from the control box to a 3-dimensional curing light head 108. The 3D curing light head has 3 facets, 109, 110, and 111. The 3 facets form a 3-dimensional channel. Inside the channel, the light is emitted from the inside of the facets. The light beams 112, 113, and 114 from each facet combine to cover the 3-dimensional space occupied by a tooth. Thus any three dimensional object inside the channel can be cured at once. The light emitted from the 3 facets can be controlled to be emitted together or individually depending on the need.

FIG. 2 depicts a cross-sectional view of a 3-dimensional curing light head using LEDs as a light source. In the light head, there are 3 facets, 201, 202, and 203. Each facet has a similar structure and they are oriented at about 90 degrees to each other. The facets form a channel therebetween into which an object to be cured is placed. Each facet contains an LED light source 204. The LED light source can be a single LED, multiple LEDs, LED arrays, and combinations of different LEDs. The wavelength of the LEDs can range from less than 280 nm to more than 5000 nm depending on application. The power of the LEDs can range from less than 50 to more than 3000 mW/cm2. The LED light source is attached to a heat sink 205 using a fixture 206 with screw 207. There is heat conduction paste 208 located between LED 204 and heat sink 205 to facilitate heat transfer. There is a heat insulation layer 209 within the head housing to create an air gap between the heat sink and the outside casing so that the heat will not conducted to the outside casing. On the light-emitting side of the LEDs, there is a protection cover 210 to cover the LEDs and protect them from damage and contaminants. The cover 210 can be a simple protection cover, or and optical lens to shape or focus a light beam. The LED light source can contain its own heat sink so that heat sink 205 serves as a secondary heat sink for greater heat dissipation. Instead of an LED light source, a semiconductor laser or any other desired light source could be used.

FIG. 3 depicts the curing of a tooth filling using a 3-dimensional curing light. Alight head 301 is on top of a tooth structure 302 with a filling 303 in the tooth. Three LEDs on 3 facets emit light beams 304, 305, and 306 from three sides. This allows the 3 light beams to reach the filling material from 3 directions to cure it into a durable dental restoration. Even though the light beams 305 and 306 need to penetrate the tooth structure to reach the filling material, the resulting dental restoration will be stronger and more durable than a restoration cured from one side only.

While the present invention has been described and illustrated in conjunction with a number of specific embodiments, those skilled in the art will appreciate that variations and modifications may be made without departing from the principles of the invention as herein illustrated, described, and claimed. The present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from its spirit or essential characteristics. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects as only illustrative, and not restrictive. All changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope.





 
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