In December 2002 we installed our first dental operating microscope. Microscope enhanced dentistry is an incredible asset to our practice and has become commonplace in many of the dental procedures performed. Not only has the microscope been a logical addition to our commitment to excellence in dentistry, it helps improve the accuracy and efficiency for procedures. In short, the dental care we provide using the microscope is unique and consistent with our commitment to excellence.
It has been commonly acknowledged that loupes (eyewear with magnification) have revolutionized dentistry. To be able to magnify an image 2 - 3 x with standard loupes is clearly an asset. Although my loupes are routinely used initially in every procedure, over time they feel heavy and lend to eye fatigue that is often caused by the converging vision they provide. In contrast, the dental operating microscope has a 54mm diameter lens, a 250mm focal (working) distance and magnifications ranging from 3.2 - 12.84 x. The image magnification is achieved using parallel vision, which allows working in an upright and ergonomic position without fatigue. In short, the microscope provides better vision of the operating field with much less strain on the operator.
It has been said… "A picture is worth a thousand words." We believe this and feel that visualization through photography generally improves the understanding and awareness of dental needs.
When not using the microscope to enhance imaging, we capture photos to the computer using a wand-like camera and imaging software at approximately 400,000 pixels. This is amazing to most and is a great educational tool used routinely.
During treatment, a digital camera as well as a 7-inch monitor is attached to the microscope and is used for viewing and capturing images at up to 4-megapixels. What that means for our patients is an enlightened visualization and understanding of treatment in addition to accurate diagnosis and documentation. One of my personal goals continues to be reinforcing patient confidence in the excellent care they are receiving in the office.
The microscope can be used on multiple levels in dentistry. These include:
The microscope has enhanced all aspects of dentistry for me. When first introduced to the scope in 2000 it was initially awkward. With persistence and time I moved from reserving the microscope for observation, exam and diagnosis, to maximizing its use for virtually every tooth preparation.
The obvious benefit of improved sight and precision had an immediate impact on my dentistry and practice. When the microscope was coupled with a camera it became a powerful tool for education and communication which both my team and patients appreciated. From an ergonomics standpoint... it improved my posture and continues to preserve the health of my back...
I enjoy providing excellent treatment with predictable results. It is exciting to provide care with a tool that so dramatically raises the standard of treatment patients can expect from our profession. I cannot imagine practicing dentistry without it.
- Jill E. Hansen, DDS