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04/04/2015 The Dental Operating Microscope

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04/02/2015

The Dental Operating Microscope – a whole world of opportunity

Modern dentistry is a far different profession to that of the last century. Not only must practice teams contend with the ever-present burden of regulation, but they must also face the fact that in this, the age of the internet, patients are more demanding than ever, and are more than prepared to vote with their feet if they think they might be able to receive a better service somewhere else.

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With the economy still in the grips of recession, competition between dental practices is stronger than it’s ever been. Practices must therefore do their utmost to not only attract new patients, but also keep their existing patient list at a steady level. It is important then that practices be able to demonstrate their commitment to quality of care, while also embracing modern technology to the benefit of all their patients.

One of the best investments any modern dental practice can make is in a dental operating microscope (DOM). Not only does the light and magnification of the DOM significantly enhance the standard of care the practitioner can provide, but a DOM can also prove useful tool for obtaining consent and can have a profoundly reassuring effect on patients.

From a clinical perspective, work at a higher level of magnification encourages the dentist to maintain precision and accuracy across all treatments. Indeed such is the stark contrast between a ‘naked eye’ view of a treatment site, and that provided by a high quality dental microscope that many practitioners adopt DOM use as part of their standard routine.

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A major factor behind this shift towards great visualisation is the old adage ‘you can only treat what you can see’. By using a DOM as a regular part of all treatments, practitioners are far better able to spot abnormalities or potential issues that they may have otherwise missed. This gives a great advantage to diagnosis, and can also mean treatments themselves are provided to a far higher standard. As such it is easy to see how a powerful dental microscope can fast become an integral part of any high-quality practice philosophy.

But there are other advantages as well, besides those of a strictly clinical nature. Ergonomics is one of the major deciding factors behind many dentists initially investing in a DOM, as dentistry is a profession notoriously hard on dentists’ backs, hands and eyes. Constantly stooping over patients means many older dentists particularly suffer from back pains and joint problems – all of which can be alleviated significantly by use of a DOM that allows for correct upright posture, that can be adjusted to meet the angle of the patient’s mouth.

Though naturally, use of a DOM requires some small amount of adjustment on the part of the practitioner and assistant, once this adaption phase has been completed, practice teams will notice a distinct increase in workflow, which in turn makes for a shaper improvement in overall productivity.

Indeed, some practitioners even find that use of a dental operating microscope makes dentistry more fun. Thanks to the enhanced visualisation that DOMs bring about (and the fact the assistant can also become a part of the process through use of an optional co-observation tube), many dentists feel more motivated by the work they do and take a far greater interest in the quality of the work they carry out. This in turn can have a positive knock-on effect for dentists’ careers as a DOM can enhance that instinctive motivation to ‘get better at what you do’. Indeed, many practitioners often take adopting regular use of a dental microscope as part of their overall development as dentists, and will choose to take on associated learning courses to enhance the standard of care they can provide.

This standard of care can be improved even further still with use of a video or stills camera used directly in conjunction with the microscope. By collecting images of the treatment site dentists can provide patients with a practical demonstration of any treatment plan they hope to provide. This of course aids significantly in terms of patient consent, but is also useful for educational purposes as well, as patients receive a very clear and detailed image of what’s going on inside their mouths. These images may be presented on a computer monitor, or may even be printed out should the patient or dentist so wish, and can also be used for training purposes as well.

In the competitive environment of modern dentistry, the dental operating microscope provides the practitioner with a great many significant benefits that can both improve their daily working lives, and also significantly enhance the quality of treatments they can provide. In a world where patients are more savvy than ever, a DOM can prove a powerful tool in demonstrating your commitment to high standards of care, and can mark your practice out as a centre for excellence in dentistry. With so many benefits, it is little wonder that many dentists claim their microscope is the most important piece of equipment in their practice.

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