In this post today, I’ll be talking about the technology which is been present for years in the dental (and medical) industry: loupes. My personal view is that having a dental loupes is critical to successful dentistry for patients and the long term musculoskeletal health of the operator.
So what are loupes?
Loupes (medical and dental) are essentially custom made glasses for the operator to wear with either built in or detached magnifying glasses. The main part of the loupe (the black protruding part which you see are the part of the glasses, is a simple, small magnification device used to see small details more closely.
Why do dentists and doctors use loupes?
Many things which we see as dentists are very small (we measure things in millimeters scale) and most of the diagnosis and treatment which we do in a patient’s mouth is usually at the very back of the mouth: where it is dark, very hard to see with your naked eye on a small cavity and very limited access (and vision).
Therefore what the loupes does is it can magnify on what we can see, typically in 2.5x the normal size or as close as 8.0x the normal size. Letting us view you teeth as if we are watching a high definition video. Combined with a LED light attachment this eliminates any shadowing created by our operating light and let us see those pesky root canals and suture a lot better.
Overall: it allows your dentist to perform at its highly quality and precision by the simple fact that they can SEE what they are doing.
Loupes are custom made and designed for your dentist (mainly due to their working arm length and prescription for the lens) and what forces your dentist to do is to sit with their back straight while maintaining a safe distance from you (instead of putting their eyes in your mouth!)
Why the uptake of dental loupes (still) seems to be slow in the dental industry?
To be very honest I don’t know why. Here are some of the possible reasons why from the top of my head (correct me in the comments section):
- Loupes are pretty expensive pieces of equipment: a very good quality grade can cost $3000AUD+
- It takes some time for the dentist to get used to working with it (some may not be willing to invest in the time to learn it)
- You have to take care of it and maintain the cleanliness of the loupes on a regular basis
- For the LED light you need to charge the Lithium ion battery often
- Some of the manufacturers often make their loupes too heavy and puts a burden on your nose-bridge, making it very uncomfortable to wear.
My view of the loupes
Loupes are the gold standard now days and all dentists should really have it.
- It saves your back from the common backache due to working as a dentist by forcing you to sit straight.
- It allows your patients to receive the best precision care they can ever have in their life.
- You can see what you are doing! (That is pretty important)
It is one of the best investment that you can have in your dental career. I have been wearing loupes ever since I started my clinicals as a dental student and I have not regretted it. In fact I have purchased TWO loupes and upgraded its magnification so that I can do my root canals better for my patients.
Here are some pictures of my loupes:
So for the hesitant dentists: get it. For the dental students: get it now as most company reps give generous student discounts while you are still studying!