Tips for purchasing magnification and illumination devices in the dental hygiene operatory
On various dental hygiene social media groups, questions about loupes are often posed. Who wears loupes? Which brands of loupes are best? What power is best? What headlamp is best?
I usually am one of the first to respond to these posts, as I am a firm believer in the use of loupes, illumination and the purchasing of your own equipment. I began my profession with no loupes, illumination, goggles, masks or gloves. How in the world I ever worked for 20+ years without protective wear is beyond my comprehension! This will not be an article of which brand is best (although I do have my favorite), or which power is best. The objective with this article is to make you an educated consumer.
Your own pair
My first suggestion to these posts is buy your own equipment. If and when you leave your current employer, this enables you to take your loupes with you to the next facility you work. I do volunteer work and take my loupes with me to the location in which I am volunteering. A few manufacturers sell directly to hygienists—seek them out. When attending either your local or national convention, go to the vendors. When reps come into your office, ask them questions. They want to talk to hygienists! Companies selling loupes may have a payment plan—ask!
Many factors are considered when purchasing loupes, including cost. Don’t let cost be the deciding factor. Remember, you get what you pay for! The other factors are: resolution, field width, field depth, weight, magnification power and the angle of declination. These are fancy terms, but they are terms you should make yourself familiar with:
- Resolution enables us to visualize small structures, and is set by the quality of the optical design and a clinician’s use of loupes.