Technology in dental sciences is advancing swiftly, especially in past few decades. Treatment success rates are raising many folds in various specialties, all thanks to the advancements in equipment and material used in Dentistry.
Out of diverse range of products, Magnification in dentistry emerged as a boon to the dental surgeons across the globe. Micro-surgeries documented in dentistry can be traced back to the year 1986 when they were exclusively used in endodontic practice.
In today’s scenario magnification is used in almost every specialty of dentistry. Equipment used for magnification is mainly Dental Microscopes and Dental Loupes.
In this article we will be discussing about loupes used in dentistry.
Factors affecting the quality of dental loupes
Various factors are involved in producing an image which enhances clinical visualization by magnification equipment:
Initial equipment cost/ Investment.
Field of view.
Some specific qualities to look for while buying dental loupes are
Weight (light weight loupes decreases fatigue)
Magnification (Most commonly used 2.5x-3.5x but higher power are also available)
Light Source/Illumination (loupes with a light source attached produces better quality image)
Field of view
How much to spend on dental loupes?
A wide range of loupes can be seen across the market, generic set with LED starts around $150 while one from a reputed company can cost $1000-2000 depending upon the choice of clinician.
We recommend everyone to invest in a good quality set from a reputed company as the generic variants are seen to be of much lower quality which would compromise your performance while using them.
Are dental loupes just another useless fancy piece of equipment?
They are definitely fancy looking but incorporation of loupes proves to be promising. It is not just personal experience but scientific data too.
Scientific Data on dental loupes suggest significant improvement of success rate of various procedures in dentistry and after looking at various studies in scientific literature it can be rightly said “You can only treat what you see”.
Scope of dental loupes
Magnification has shown encouraging results in following aspects of dentistry:
Restorative Dentistry – Magnified view of the operating field enables a more conservative approach and reduces the excess loss of tissues. Loupes are commonly used in procedures like anterior aesthetic restorations, Posterior aesthetic restoration and cavity preparation.
Endodontics – Magnification aids in smallest possible access cavity preparation without removal of unnecessary tooth material and finding of root canal orifice and hidden/extra canals.
Prosthetic Dentistry: Preparation of crowns to receive a permanent partial or full veneer crown requires reduction of tooth material A.K.A tooth preparation, it is seen that tooth preparation done with dental loupes is more conservative than with naked eye.
Surgical dentistry Its use in endodontic surgeries is a boon to surgical endodontic practice. Micro-vascular surgeries, perio-plastic surgeries and various other sophisticated surgical approaches are now showing promising results with introduction of magnification aids.
Dental Loupes cannot be sterilized; they should be disinfected after every patient.
Most common protocol for disinfection is –
Cleaning using mild soap/detergent.
Disinfection using quaternary ammonium compound.
“Two sides of the same coin”
Is there anything bad about these loupes?
It is true that uses of dental loupes are a boon to dental practice but it comes with its own set of disadvantages as well:
Disorientation – Our mind and eyes are well-coordinated but sudden decrease in field of view causes a little disorientation while wearing them, however this is temporary experience, new user or upgrade of power requires a small time period to adjust the hand eye coordination.
Fatigue – Use of dental loupes for a long duration causes fatigue to the operator which is unavoidable.
Cost – Loupes are expensive ( approx. $1000-2000)
Increase in appointment duration – Some clinicians claim that a procedure done without magnification takes less time when compared with the same done with loupes/microscope.
I started using loupes after I left dental school, at first I was reluctant to use them but my passion towards dentistry made me go through the initial phase of difficulty to adapt and with practice I was able to become a much better clinician than I was without loupes, I then understood the importance of adaptation and acceptance of new technology to serve my patients better.
Best time to buy loupes – As students or clinician?
Answer: As soon as possible. Yes, no matter if you are student or clinician, more you practice and earlier you practice with magnification, better the outcome will be.
There is a learning curve when it comes to using magnification, so earlier you start better for you.
After a thorough review of literature, personal experience and my observation on clinicians using magnification I would like to conclude by saying that Magnification aids are changing dental practice for good.
Dr. Navneet Kaur
Currently working as Research Intern in Oral Biology Department at Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, New Jersey.
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