Dental loupes are the magnifying glasses that dentists wear to enlarge everything that they see in the mouth. There are two basic reasons why these glasses are worn. First and foremost, vision is improved simply because everything in the field of view is so much bigger. Secondly, loupes are worn to allow dentists to have a more “physiologic” posture while working, and thereby minimize the slouching which dentists are historically known to develop.
Why is it important to have an enlarged view of the working area? The most obvious answer is that a better and enlarged view of the treatment site automatically results in more precise dental work. Dentists are better able to see the shapes that they are carving or preparing in the natural teeth as well as in the final restorations which they are providing for their patients. Perhaps even more importantly, dentists are better able to make more accurate and complete diagnoses of what is occurring in each patient’s mouth.
As an example, I was testing out a new product which was touted to assist in better diagnoses of oral cancer. This system required the wearing of colored lenses used in conjunction with a special light. Using this system, I would be unable to wear my loupes. I first examined a patient using this new system without magnification. And then, put on my loupes and re-examined the patient. There was no comparison between the two examinations. Without magnification, even with the special light effect, much more was visible and apparent with magnification.
I began wearing loupes back around 1990 while I was taking advanced classes at the L.D. Pankey Institute in Florida. It was at this time when I truly feel that the quality of the treatment which our office provided moved to an entirely new and higher plateau. Not only was I learning some amazing skills, but also the use of the loupes alone allowed significant improvement in my ability to provide excellent treatment. Since that time, the loupes that I use have gotten increasingly longer and provide more magnification. These glasses are simply addictive to any dentist who is serious about doing his or her absolute best work.
A few years after beginning to wear them, I decided to try a headlight mounted right on the loupes. After the first patient to be seen with this light, and in spite of the discomfort of extra weight on my nose, there was no turning back. The benefits of the light are nearly as significant as those of the loupes themselves. As good as the overhead dental light is, there are still shadows as we lean in as well as from the lips and tongue, etc. Whereas, wearing the loop-mounted headlight, the light shines exactly where I am looking.
I don’t see how any dentist can work without either magnification or head-mounted lights. I believe that dental schools should teach the use of this equipment as mandatory – at least in the final year of dental school. If you’ve ever seen the intraoral photographs that we take for our patients, you’ll know what it’s like to look through loupes with light. It’s just so easy to see!
If you have not had the opportunity to see an intraoral photo of your teeth, please ask us for a demonstration at your next appointment. It will only take a moment and can be quite eye opening. If you have any questions or concerns please visit us online at www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com or call us at 908-359-6655.