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.


Comments

Commenter's Profile Image John Carson
September 24th, 2012
So true, I remember starting with 2.5x in dental school, I still have 20/20 vision but have learned over the years what a benefit even higher magnification can be. For me if I am using loupes I prefer my 6.0x however unless I can't visualize the area I need to see with my microscope I prefer it as it provides the best magnification and light and I have a range of magnification from about 2.5 to 14x with it.
Commenter's Profile Image Andrew Arnouk
September 24th, 2012
Hi Gary, Which company makes the 6.0 magnification? Thanks
Commenter's Profile Image Gary DeWood
September 24th, 2012
Designs for Vision
Commenter's Profile Image Sean Mooring
September 29th, 2012
Don't forget to add one of the newer LED lights to your loupes. I found the improved illumination to be just as beneficial as the increased magnification in going from 2.5x to 4.5x loupes. The new lights are not heavy and the battery pack lasts all day even after three years.
Commenter's Profile Image Gary DeWood
September 29th, 2012
Great comment, thank you Sean! The more you magnify, the more light you need!