- Dentists and surgeons experience more neck and lower back pain than any other profession
- 70% of dental students report chronic musculoskeletal pain by their third year of training
- A third of dentists and surgeons retire early due to persistent back pain
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Magnifying loupes assist all types of clinical dentists in producing higher-quality dentistry. Seeing better also means decreasing operating time. Properly fitted loupes can improve posture during operating and reduce muscle pain in the shoulders, neck and back. Clinicians should give strong consideration to adopting the concept. Christensen GJ (2003). Magnification in dentistry. Journal of American Dental Association 134(12): 1647-1650.
The use of magnification in dentistry appears to be of increasing interest Juggins KJ (2006). The bigger the better: can magnification aid orthodontic clinical practice? Journal of Orthodontics 33(1): 62-66.
Most general dentists and specialists use magnifying loupes for operating and find them to be an important adjunct to high quality clinical dentistry. Christensen GJ (2006) High-tech dentistry, what is necessary and what is not. Journal of the American Dental Association 137(11): 1592-1596.
Scores showed a significant improvement in posture when using loupes (p<0.0001), and these improvements were significantly more pronounced for students starting loupes immediately on entering the program compared with students who delayed until the second session (p<0.1). These results suggest a significant postural benefit is realized by requiring students to master the use of magnification loupes as early as possible within the curriculum. Maillet JP, Millar AM, JM Burke, Maillet MA, Maillet WA, Neish NR (2008). Effect of Magnification Loupes on Dental Hygiene Student Posture. Journal of Dental Education 72(1): 33-44
There is a quantifiable change in acceptability of posture for clinicians wearing magnification lenses. Branson BG, Bray KK, Gadbury-Amyot C, Holt LA, Keselyak NT, Mitchell TV, (2004). Effect of magnification lenses on student operator posture. Journal of Dental Education 68(3): 384-389.
Loupes are a vital tool that students should learn how to use. Jennifer R, Thomas FD (2007). Dental hygienists' opinions about loupes in education. Journal of Dental Hygiene 81(4): 82.
Clinical benefits may include improved hard- and-soft tissue evaluation, calculus and periodontal pocket detection, and radiographic interpretation without compromising infection control. Head-band or protective-glass mounted, binocular surgical loupes with flip-up capability and 2 to 2.6x magnification are recommended. Dental hygienists are encouraged to use magnification systems to enhance their musculoskeletal health, improve visual acuity, and continue providing quality patient care. Syme SE, Fried JL, Strassler HE (1997). Enhanced visualization using magnification systems. Journal of Dental Hygiene 71(5): 202-206.
Dentistry requires precise motor skills guided by keen visual acuity. Many options are available to improve visual acuity--from simple loupes to surgical microscopes. Each has inherent advantages and limitations, but they all help improve precision beyond unaided vision. Data suggests that every dental professional is at risk for an occupational musculoskeletal injury. Clearly, there is a correlation between seeing clearly and maintaining good posture. Using the appropriate visual enhancement should be considered for all dental professionals to make the practice of dentistry more precise, easier, and more enjoyable and to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injury. Friedman MJ (2004). Magnification in a restorative dental practice: from loupes to microscopes. Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry 25(1): 48, 50, 53-5.