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UV Light… Did You Know?

Have you ever been to the dentist or orthodontist and the dental tech shined a purple light in your mouth?  What in the world are they doing?  They’re probably curing (or “drying”) a sealant to bond something to your teeth.  The fancier way to say it is that the UV-A light’s wavelength is causing a photochemical reaction which causes the polymer to harden.  Pretty handy when you’re getting braces on your teeth!

If you’ve ever glimpsed a tray of dental or orthodontic instruments under a light looking like they’re in a tanning bed, you have witnessed another cool use of UV light, but this time it’s UV-C light.  The UV-C rays disintegrate the nucleic acids in the cells of microorganisms which make it perfect for sterilizing equipment.  Simply put, they’re germ blasters.

With the recent Coronavirus crisis, airlines are looking at ways for additional sanitization between flights and some have touted the beneficial effects of UV light in creative ways.  The below device is being tested for just that purpose.  It looks like a crazy beverage cart with UV-C light wings gliding over the seats.

While there are benefits to UV light, there are also downsides.  Our electronic devices (cell phones, laptops, etc.) emit ultraviolet rays that can disrupt our sleep when used too close to bedtime.  This light suppresses the production of melatonin which is our body’s “Hey-it’s-time-to-go-to-sleep!” chemical.

In a world where our cell phones, tablets, and e-readers reign supreme, many of us climb into bed and fire these up and then wonder why we can’t sleep!  If this is happening to you, a little re-training is in order.  Instead of diving into electronic devices at bedtime (including TVs), read an old-fashioned paper book or listen to music.  Dim the lights in your room at least a half hour before getting in bed to help you wind down.

Another important fact about UV light is it can be very damaging to one’s eyes, especially your retina.  Commercial uses in the dental office and for sterilization procedures require special safety protocols when utilizing these lights.  The UV light in everyday electronics is not as damaging to one’s eyes, however prolonged exposure can be damaging.  This is why many glasses are sold with blue blocking features to protect eyes from UV exposure.

There is a time and a place for every UV light, but OUR favorite way to use UV is while putting on braces to give you a Beautiful Smile! Contact us at Smiles Hollywood Orthodontics for Braces or Invisalign at (972) 529-9700.

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