Young scientists develop improved dental operating light

By Dental Tribune International

MARBURG, Germany: Jugend forscht is a German youth competition that encourages and supports talented achievers in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It seeks to inspire young people to pursue careers in these areas and, after the contest, supports them in this regard. This year, three dental students were awarded first prize for their lamp that prevents the premature hardening of restorative material.

To apply layers of light-curing composite accurately, the patient’s mouth must be well illuminated, for example with the light from white light-emitting diodes (LEDs) present in average dental operating lights. However, this light makes the material on the surface difficult to shape and brittle after 1–2 minutes—a problem for a durable and high-quality result. To address this issue, Albrecht von Bülow, Flavio Krug and Saeed Mohamad from Marburg in Germany developed a lamp with yellow and turquoise LEDs that emit light that appears white to the human eye, but allow a longer processing time for composites.

For their project, titled “Stress-free placement of composite fillings—It’s all a question of lighting”, the team won the Jugend forscht prize in the work environment category. In explaining their decision, the jury said they were particularly impressed by the systematic procedure, extensive preliminary tests and successful initial implementation. The panel expressed their best wishes to the young researchers for success in the further development of their project.

The research team was supervised by Prof. Michael Gente from the University of Marburg. Since 2009, he has regularly supported students in the department of dental propaedeutics and maxillofacial prosthetics taking part in Jugend forscht. He explained that the contest gives first-semester students the opportunity to become familiar with research and to present their work to a jury. “The current success is the result of the perfect collaboration of a diligent and skilful team,” applauded Gente.