Everything There Is to Know About Dental Loupes
Dental loupes are primarily used by dental therapists, hygienists, and dentists for detailed examinations of the oral cavity and close observation of the teeth, tongue, and gums while performing treatment or diagnostic procedures. They can be useful for many oral health care providers like pedodontists (pediatric), periodontists, oral pathologists (surgeons), prosthodontists, and more.
Their magnification effect is provided by one or more focusing lenses that don't have an attached handle. They are inserted in a cone, opaque cylinder, or often an enclosed housing to shield the lenses from damage while they are not in use.
One of the main advantages of these tools is a considerable decrease in tension and pain in the back, lumbar, and neck that occurs due to the forced posture of the mentioned groups of specialists during the performance of their professional duties.
Generally, most kinds of surgical loupe may also be called dental and can be used by dentistry specialists as well.
This article contains everything you need to know about these tools including the history of development, professional usage examples, specifications, and more.
The magnifying glass was first invented independently and was adapted to work with surgical loupes. The first documented inventor was Roger Bacon. He did it in the year 1250.
The next step in engineering improvements for the magnifying glass happened when users of the device understood that it was more comfortable to hold a magnifying glass by a handle while using it. That was the first serious improvement of the magnifying glass.
In 1727, these developments gave a creative push to an optician from England known as Edward Scarlett and he created the first eyeglasses. A few years prior to this, the first appearance of a monocle was registered in 1720.
The first appearance of the surgical loupes, which dentistry specialists eventually started to use as well, was in 1876. They were simply a pair of loupes attached to a frame.
Following this, the inventor and medical practitioner, Carl von Hess, performed surgery using this device and an optical light source, both of which he wore on his face. That is the point where the most valuable ideas began to develop and why the modern version of the dental loupe was eventually built.
Components of Dental Loupes
Every set consists of a few separated parts that combine into one whole device. There are main parts and additional parts that a practitioner can add and remove according to their needs.
There are many different special parts and unique assets that are provided with the device. Here is a list of the essential parts and some additional options available for today’s dental loupes:
- Essential Parts:
- Rim glasses
- Protective glass lenses (with or without magnification)
- Enlargement apparatus (the loupes themselves)
- Additional parts:
- Lighting component (most common)
- Ultraviolet backlight
- Infrared backlight
- Audio advisor
- Audio reminder
- Video camera
When a dentist uses this device too often or without small breaks, their visual acuity may seriously become negatively impacted. That is the primary purpose of the audio reminder and advisor functions that are inserted into some models.
Why Are They Significant in Practice?
As mentioned above, there are vast benefits that this type of equipment provides for the backs and necks of those involved in dentistry. We need to understand that it is not the only advantage.
The other major benefit of using these tools lies in its ability to detect even the smallest signs of cavities on the surface of the teeth, which can potentially become caries. That allows professionals to begin treatment as soon as possible and not allow the cavity to grow any further.
Another great advantage of this tool is that it helps more accurately determine whether the blemishes a dentist sees are caries or stains. Since stains are not dangerous for oral health, they do not require the same intensive treatment as caries. This is why it is essential to differentiate them.
There are a few significant protective properties that this device grants to any specialist who uses it.
At first, there are plenty of various operations and manipulations that involve significant blood loss for patients undergoing dental surgeries. Small drops of blood can easily land on the specialist’s eyes and cause serious health issues if they lack protective glasses, which is one of the most important aspects of dental loupes.
Secondly, modern teeth treatment often requires the use of special polymers as material for cheap tooth repair, dentures, and fillings. The polymer mass is applied onto the corroded surface and made rigid using a unique dental lamp.
Beams from that lamp are very dangerous for the dentist's eyes, so much so that they may even cause a corneal burn. So, the specific filters, which can be removable or built-in, help save eyes and prevent severe injuries.
Rules for Device Use
Usually, equipment of this kind is interpreted as something that doesn't need much maintenance. On the contrary, most modern devices require everyday care and attention for long and proper work.
At first, it is essential to clean the protective lenses after each use to prevent the transfer of biological fluids from one patient to another. This simple practice helps prevent conditions such as AIDS, Hepatitis, Herpes viral infections, among others.
Secondly, there are vast advantages to the protocol for the disinfection of these devices. The protocol should be performed at the end of each working day and the sterile equipment can be used the next day. This helps prevent bacterial and viral invasions for both doctors and patients.
Also, specialists must pay great attention to the light source to make sure it is working properly and not past its lifespan. They must switch the bulb at least once a year to prevent issues during diagnosis and/or treatment procedures.
A Comparison Between Dental Loupes and Surgical Loupes
The evolution of professions such as surgery and dentistry continues to push the industry to develop new tools, techniques, materials to use, and even uniforms.
Even though modern-day devices are very similar to earlier versions, they have a few nuanced differences. The following three facts are some of the differences:
- The surgical type usually has more advanced and secure mechanisms for focusing
- Devices for dentistry generally have superior light sources
- Typical surgical loupes have greater magnification capabilities
Since these two devices are very similar, the usage of the surgical magnifying tool is pretty common among dentistry specialists.
Those in dentistry who can benefit from the use of dental loupes have titles such as:
- General Dentist
- Oral Surgeon (Pathologist)
- Pediatric Dentist (Pedodontist)
Most Common Specifications
To give you a general idea about the specifications of average tools of this type, we summarize the parameters of the equipment to give you a general idea. They are as follows:
- Magnification: Up to 6.5x
- Field of view: Up to 80 mm
- Depth of field of view: Up to 40 mm
- Battery Life: 6-10 hours, replaceable after expiration
- Light source lifespan: Up to 20,000 hours
- Additional bulbs: up to 6
- Weight: 100 grams (3.5 ounces)
- Frame Materials: metallic, plastic, titanium, aluminum
- Most comfortable working distance: up to 800 mm
It is important to note that different devices have various additional specifications dependent on the attachments supplied with and/or bought for the device.
Not every piece of equipment that you can find on the market nowadays has a great value proposition or quality. Here are a few of the best brands available for dentistry:
- Aries Outlets
These brands are not only the most popular among specialists, but they also have the largest market share for this type of medical equipment.
Magnification and measurement instruments like this are an essential part of every dental specialist’s equipment. The standard magnifying rate varies from 1.5х to 10х, depending on the preferences and needs of the practitioner.
Dental loupes have evolved greatly since the primitive devices they were conceived from in order to provide specialists with highly technical equipment. There are different functions for them, but the main value they provide includes:
- Help during diagnosis and treatment processes.
- Protection for the eyes of the practitioner.
- Magnification of every object the practitioner sees
Nowadays, these tools are one of the most helpful tools in every dentistry specialist’s toolbox. They can be useful for a broad range of positions like general dentists, endodontists, orthodontists, and more.