Question: “I noticed at my last dental appointment that my dentist was wearing unusual “magnifying glasses”. Do you think that he has a problem with his vision?”
Answer: Many dentists use magnification in order to see better into patients’ mouths. I used to think that it was a sign of weakness (or old age) to use these special glasses, so I resisted the temptation to purchase them for several years. I had no idea what I was missing!
I began using magnification “loupes” four years ago, and it has absolutely changed the way that I practice dentistry. I can see things much more clearly, my posture is much better, and they allow me to do better work. Initially, I utilized glasses that magnified teeth by 2.4 times. There was a significant learning curve associated with this new technology, but it got easier to use every day. Within a year, I transitioned to new glasses with 3.3 times magnification. This also improved my visibility and ability to do a good job for my patients.
Two years ago, I purchased loupes with 4.8 times magnification and a bright Xeon light that points at the area being examined or worked on, and the results have been phenomenal! Now, every time I work on a tooth, it looks almost five times as big as it actually is, and it is well-illuminated. This allows me to see more clearly and further refine my work.
It also enables me to be a better diagnostician because conditions that I might have missed previously are now visible. Treatment is generally more conservative because I can more easily remove decay without encroaching into the healthy tooth structure. Microdentistry, or doing minimally invasive procedures, is much easier when dentists have greater visibility.
There are even a handful of dentists practicing dentistry with the use of microscopes. A typical dental microscope will enlarge one’s view up to sixteen times what the naked eye will see. That’s a very exciting development for dentists and patients!
You should be happy that your dentist is using magnification. It means that he can see more clearly and will be more likely to do a great job for you.
Dr. Jim Arnold is a practicing dentist in Chesterton and Valparaiso. He is also a clinical mentor with the Hornbrook Group and serves on the Advisory Board for the Academy of Comprehensive Esthetics as the Fellowship Chairman. You may send questions to his office at 1830 South 11th Street, Chesterton, IN 46304, or email them to drarnold@SmilesByArnold.com. More information on this or any other dental topics can be found at www.SmilesByArnold.com.