I Can See Clearly Now
If you are like me (read that as old, or rather, mature) you went all the way through dental school without magnification. I don’t know how widespread the use of magnification in dental school is today, but my daughter Katie, a third year student at Midwestern University in Glendale, Ariz., was required to purchase magnification as part of her first year “kit.”
She used that 2.5 magnification throughout her pre-clinical training and has taken those loupes with her into the clinic with patients. The increased vizualization will absolutely lead to better clinical results—you can always do better when you can see better. I’m already talking to her about bumping the magnification up for some parts of some procedures.
The 2.5 power loupes are equal to 20/10 vision, and lucky dentists begin their careers with that high level of visual acuity (I was lucky). For them the difference between their eyes and those expensive loupes may seem to be a small one, and many of them will decide not to magnify their vision after looking through the test 2.5 power loupes at a meeting. I have a friend who did that. He and I both discovered that just as it does with cards, luck runs out.
Today I NEED the increased visualization my 3.5, and 6.0 power loupes provide, and I enjoy the even higher magnification the operatory microscope gives me. I wear my 3.5 power loupes for pretty much everything from examinations to complex dentistry, including gross reduction of preparations. They give me a “mouth view.”
I switch to my 6.0 power loupes for moving preparation margins to their final position and finishing them. They give me a “tooth view.” Finally, I use the microscope at 8 to 10 power to refine the smoothness and crispness of the margins. The microscope gives me a “part of the margin view” of the tooth so I can polish them to a crisp, sharp edge. This system has made my preps better than ever, and my ceramist loves me.
Obviously, not every practice situation permits the addition of a microscope, and we often get questions after participants have experienced the microscope In our Restorative Design and Anterior Restorative Dentistry workshops about what can be done when it’s just not a possibility. Simply put, magnify as much as you can.
If you are using 2.5 power, add 4.5 to 6.0 power to finish your preparations and margins. That simple step can completely change your results. Don’t think you have to use the higher magnification for everything; use it when precision is needed and magnify as high as your situation permits. When excellence is the goal, seeing is the requirement.