Technology in Focus – Dental Microscopes a Closer Look
Ten Reasons to Buy a Dental Microscope
Thanks to recent advances in optical technology, the dental microscope has helped to change the way 21st century dentistry is practiced. No longer simply confined to specialist areas such as endodontics – where it still plays a crucial role in enabling practitioners to precisely place restorations and see clearly down root canals – the dental microscope has also helped to enhance the way that tooth preparation, periodontal treatment and microsurgical procedures are performed within general dentistry. Furthermore, the dental microscope has also helped to improve ergonomics and posture for many a fatigued clinician whilst also revolutionising the world of clinical imaging and case presentations, thanks to the integration of imaging equipment into the viewing mechanism.
Although still a significant investment, with costs varying depending on chosen specification, which can include options such as motorised zoom, auto focus and video or still camera interfaces, the dental microscope can actually serve to save you money in the long run by cutting down on costly mistakes and the incidence of treatment failure due to the high level of precision it affords. In real terms, is not as expensive as you may think.
Below is a list of ten reasons to buy a dental microscope and why you might want to consider incorporating a microscope into your dental practice:
1. Improves Posture, reduces back and eye strain
It is no secret that back and neck pain, and eyestrain are some of the occupational hazards of practising dentistry. Here, the dental microscope, with the help of clever design as well as features such as angled optics and the MORA interface on the OPMI® Pico from Carl Zeiss allow clinicians to remain in an upright, comfortable working position during long procedures whilst still enjoying unmatched visual access to the treatment area, no matter how small or difficult to reach.
“I found that the extra comfort from being able to sit upright with good posture was something I hadn’t expected,” says Colin Borland of Green Banks, Swindon. “No more leaning forward, or tilting of the neck.”
Many practitioners are amazed at the standard and quality of microscope optics, as well as the incredible illumination they can get from using a high specification dental microscope, all of which stand to significantly improve the standard of their work, as well as simplifying complicated procedures, all of which stands to increase the level of job satisfaction. Clinicians can only treat what they see, and this depends entirely on the level of magnification they have at their disposal.
A good microscope will come with at least a 5-stage magnification changer, apochromatic lens systems, inclinable binocular, lateral output port and the options of ceiling, wall or floor mounting to ensure smooth and efficient articulation and ergonomic working practices. Electronic movement clutch systems such as the OPMI PROergo further simplify the microscope head positioning process
Most high specification dental microscopes will have the option of a range of working distances, as well as give you the option of including widefield eyepieces with diopter settings – suitable for prescription spectacle wearers.
3. Shadowless Ilumination
Dental microscopes such as the Zeiss OPMI Pico and PROergo offer shadowless co-axial illumination with a choice of halogen or xenon twin lamp formats, shedding crisp, clear backlighting precisely where you need it – even in difficult to reach areas such as down obscure root canals, leading to more accurate diagnoses and more effective treatment.
“The addition of the xenon light provides great clarity,” says Dr Joseph Masih practices at Dental Specialists MK in Milton Keynes, “helping identify fractures and invaluable in re-treatment cases.”
Choosing a dental microscope with the best optics money can buy is definitely worth the outlay, especially for endodontic specialists. Good contrast and depth perception are key in identifying phenomena such as fine hairline cracks that might otherwise not be visible with alternative equipment, whilst also making light work of irrigating canals because of the ability to see down and along each canal pathway more clearly.
5. Superior photo Image quality
These days, visualisation has become a key part of patient education, and here, having the option of adding an integrated digital stills or video camera connected to a monitor or PC via USB or HDMI, takes clinical photography to a whole new level. The high definition images and video feed can also be captured and stored, allowing them to be used for training and professional publication purposes, as well as simplifying the consent documentation process.
Dr Dermot McNulty of Bath Spa Dentistry uses his microscope, camera and full projection equipment on a daily basis. “It is an amazing piece of technology that I use for my work with dental implants. The high definition still shots and videos are invaluable for training purposes.”
6. Helps educate patients and include the dental nurse more actively in procedures
The integrated video or still camera option can also add a whole new dimension to practitioner-patient communication, acting as a clear visual aid when explaining pathological findings and offering treatment recommendations, thus helping to ensure treatment acceptance.
Furthermore, set-ups such as the Zeiss HD Integrated Camera also enable the dental assistant to work in a four handed manner and provide more targeted assistance when required.
Many endodontics specialists will tell you that the dental microscope has completely changed the way they practise restorative dentistry. The enhanced visual precision of superior magnification allows them to see down obscure root canals, place MTA at the apex of a root or remove old root treatments or broken-off roots. Some would say that their surgical debridements were also more certain. Put simply – this is the one area where the dental microscope truly extends the scope of what is possible, both diagnostically and surgically.
“Endodontic and surgical debridements are so much more certain” – Dr Richard Colebourne of Evesham Dental Health Team in Worcestershire
“The microscope simply allows me to do endodontics in a way I never thought possible – I can now identify and see down obscure root canals and do things such as place MTA at the apex or remove old root treatments – tasks that are more difficult, if not impossible without a microscope.” – John Withers, Whitehouse and Partners in Kidderminster
8. Improves treatment quality and accuracy
Within general and cosmetic dentistry, the dental microscope can take diagnostic accuracy and treatment levels to the next level, allowing practitioners to assess things like crown preparation margins far more precisely, as well as providing a way to appraise impressions and laboratory manufactured prostheses for accuracy and pristine condition before placement.
9. New standards in innovative diagnosis and therapy in dentistry
Treatment failure can be costly to rectify, often at the clinician’s expense, so being able to provide more accurate prognoses and detect cracks, splits and failing margins can be a real boon. Once again, the dental microscope helps to prevent mistakes and reduce the likelihood of delays and setbacks – music to the news of any conscientious clinician!
“The magnification helps in diagnosis and improves our ability to provide more accurate prognoses. Cracks and splits failing margins are easily detected. Mistakes and delays, which are becoming increasingly more expensive to rectify, should be reduced. I have more confidence in my work, and so do the patients.” – David Ash, practice principal, Coronation Road Dental Surgery in Bristol
10. Outstanding service and aftercare.
It is wise to choose what is often a lifetime investment with care, and making sure you get a specialist supplier that can really understand your clinical needs and ergonomic requirements offering a good training and aftercare package, is essential.
Good suppliers such as Nuview offer things like a full needs assessment, and fully functional showroom with microscopes set up in situ, helping to ensure that you are given every opportunity to identify all your needs and narrow you’re your ideal specification.
“Nuview’s service is fantastic and efficient,” says Dr Colebourne. “One of the main factors that made the OPMI Pico right for me was the service. Also, with Zeiss lenses, you know that you have a quality product.” – Dr Richard Colebourne of Evesham Dental Health Team