Endless Possibilities – the Microscope in Dentistry
When making a decision either prior to, or during treatment, the amount a dentist can see is of huge importance to their clinical evaluation. In cases where the treatment area is in an especially hard to reach location, or where access is impeded, diagnosing and treating the problem can prove particularly difficult.
Since its inception mid-way through the twentieth century, the surgical microscope has become well established across a broad range of clinical applications. In general medicine the microscope has been responsible for a whole wave of major medical advances, and it would be hard to imagine a modern lab without one. It’s not just medicine that has benefited from the microscope. In dentistry the microscope has all but redefined the concept of visualisation, where products such as world-renowned Carl Zeiss dental microscopes are constantly pushing the boundaries of what can be readily achieved in the treatment room, and are raising the bar on the quality of care that can be delivered.
In the field of endodontics especially, the dental microscope is now generally recognised as an essential tool at the endodontist’s disposal, and has become part of the basic academic curriculum in endodontics across the world. It is not just endodontics that has benefited from the dental microscope. An increasing number of General Dental Practitioners (GDPs) are now turning their attention to a microscope to enhance the quality of their work and to provide enhanced aesthetic outcomes. Many procedures for example are simplified and accelerated greatly due to the enhanced visibility a microscope brings. This in turn means treatment results become more predictable. By allowing dental professionals to differentiate easily between the smallest structures magnification also gives clinicians the ability to spot potential problems “before they happen” – or before they get worse.
Once a dentist has taken that first step into the world of dental microscopes, there will almost certainly be no going back. One of the most obvious advantages of a microscope is the fantastic image clarity it can provide. A high performance dental microscope such as the Carl Zeiss OPMI Pico can provide such crisp, high quality images that many practitioners will wonder what they ever did without it.
As a further benefit, many modern dental microscopes will also offer the option to add on accessories such as HD video or digital SLR cameras. These can then be used to display images onto a screen for patients to see, downloaded directly into the patient’s notes and can also be linked to a printer for a hard copy of the case and treatment situation. Innovations such as these have dramatic consequences for dentists and patients alike as they help demystify treatment options for patients and so help improve patients’ acceptance and understanding of their treatment. This in turn has positive consequences for patients’ oral health and they engagement with oral health issues. By seeing high-resolution images of their own mouths they will be better able to appreciate the importance of their oral health and the effects their lifestyle habits can have on their teeth.
For assistants too, dental microscopes can bring a number of significant benefits. One of the most interesting positives here is the option to include a co-observation system (either optical or digital) to allow the assistant to share the dentist’s view of the treatment.
While there are undoubtedly numerous great attributes to the dental microscope, one of the most significant, yet often underrated benefits is that of ergonomics. Dentistry is without question one of the most physically and mentally demanding healthcare professions, with many practitioners suffering greatly as a consequence of poor posture and the constant need to stoop. A dental microscope is a great remedy to many symptoms related to bad posture. A fully-adjustable microscope designed with ergonomics in mind will allow the practitioner to operate from a comfortable upright, anatomical nuetral position, and, with the advantage of an inclinable microscope head in conjunction with the MORA interface, will not even need to turn his or her head to gain a full clear view of the treatment site.
Such has been the impact of the dental microscope over the past few years in particular, it is no wonder it has fast become an essential tool at the modern dentist’s disposal. Clinicians can, after all, only treat what they can see, and with a high performance dental microscope, dentists will find they are able to see and treat far more than they ever were before. The possibilities really are endless!