Dental loupes: what are they and what are they for?

Many of you will have been surprised to see some of the members of the Vélez and Lozano with a special glassesthat seem more like something out of a science fiction film. Today we are going to discuss what these devices are and what their main advantages are.

The reality is that working in the mouth of the patient can sometimes be somewhat complicatedThere are many nooks and crannies that are difficult to reach, as well as the saliva, the tongue, the lack of light, and sometimes even openings that are not very large, which can be difficult to reach. hinder treatment with quality.

The magnifying loupes o magnifying loupesThe magnifying glasses, also known as dental loupes, do just that, they allow us to see everything much bigger, which makes it easier to increase the precision and quality of treatment. If you would like to try something similar at home, you can try to get a pair of 3x magnification pharmacy glasses and look directly at the fingerprint on your finger.

Why are these glasses not used in dentistry? Because of the so-called working or operating distance, which is the distance needed to focus on an object. With 'pharmacy glasses' we would need to be too close to the patient's mouth to focus clearly, which would be uncomfortable for both parties: for the dentist in terms of posture, but also for the patients, who would see their personal space invaded even more, if possible. The working distance of magnifying loupes ranges between 420 mm y 640 mmThis allows us to maintain a proper posture while performing the treatments, as we can see in this example:

Example of a bad position.
Example of a good position.

Another factor to take into account is the increase or the magnification. This usually moves in a range between "..." and "...".2x" y "6x"(it would increase the size of the tooth we are looking at by 2 or 6 respectively). The higher the magnification, the heavier the loupes will be, so sometimes, for too many magnifications, we change the glasses for a helmet, in order to distribute the weight better, as after a few hours, it can become uncomfortable. There are some glasses up to 10xbut the weight is excessive, and the residual tremor also, so in cases where we need further increases, we use the dental microscopewhich will be discussed later.

As we go up the increases, very important factors decrease: the field breadth o operative field, the depth of field and the light entry. I show you what they mean.

Field breadth

The field breadth o operative field is the amount of surface we can observe. The higher the magnification, the less surface area you will see.

As you can see, by enlarging one of the teeth, we miss the rest. 

Depth of field

The depth of field is the number of teeth or surfaces that appear in focus. The higher the magnification, the less focus there is on areas behind and before the main area we are looking at, so we can focus on that tooth or surface. In other words, it is the measurement of the distance between two planes, the farthest and the closest, that our system is able to focus on simultaneously. That is why glasses with excessive increase (10-12x) will have a very shallow depth of field and the slightest movement (even the professional's heartbeat) can blur the tooth to be treated and become annoying. The solution for those cases in which we need a high magnification would be to use the dental microscope. This whole depth of field thing can be understood with a photographic example. 

Here all elements are in the same depth of field.
Here the elements are in different depth of field.

Light input 

The light entry is undoubtedly a decisive factor. Unfortunately, the higher the magnification, the less light we get, and therefore, despite the annoying illumination of the dental chair itself, we are forced to include in our magnification systems a very powerful light that will allow us to see even in the darkest corners.

At Vélez and Lozano we use these magnifying systems because they allow us to improve our position, maintaining the most ergonomic posture possible, but above all they allow us to carry out treatments of the highest quality. high precision, with good finishes and at high levels almost imperceptible to the human eye, for the more we see, the more we see, the more fine y retailers we are, and the fact is that good dentistry, it must be quality dentistry.

"Quality means doing things right even when no one is watching."

- Henry Ford-

However, when our basic magnification systems fall short and we need to see much farther, we can turn to the dental microscopeThis can be up to 20x (20x magnification) and is worth a separate entry in our blog.