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While the benefits of dental loupes in clinical practice is getting more and more popular nowadays, talks about whether or not using these optical magnifying devices during pre-clinical studies is beneficial for students are still circulating around the dental world. Today, we will discuss some of the studies that determine the primary effects of using student loupes during pre-clinical studies and educational settings.
The idea of using dental hygiene loupes in clinical practice is getting widely accepted nowadays. It is no secret that the dental hygienists and dentists’ work is focused on small objects inside the oral cavity which is quite dark and secluded. Because of this, dental professionals need to exert extra effort just to get a better view of their work area. This would require them to keep their eyes more focused on the area they are working on, and to bend forward and closer to the mouth of their patient. This is why around 80% of dentists and dental hygienists suffer from eyestrain and musculoskeletal pains at some points in their practice.
The use of dental loupes has been proven to help dental professionals get rid of all these health risks. On top of that, the loupes can also help greatly improve the visual acuity of the dental professionals, allowing them to better see their work area within a healthy working distance, without bending forward, and while keeping an upright working position. Improved visual acuity also helps dentists perform dental operations more accurately, quickly, and easily.
Despite the fact that more and more dentists are getting aware of and enjoying the many benefits dental loupes offer, talks about whether or not using these optical magnifying devices during pre-clinical studies is beneficial for students are still circulating around the dental world. To take part in the discussions, we have here some of the effects of using dental loupes for students during pre-clinical studies and educational settings.
Primary types of dental loupes
Before discussing the effects of using student loupes in educational settings, it is important to identify, differentiate, and understand the primary types of dental loupes first.
Dental loupes are classified into three primary types- simple loupes, the Galilean loupe, and the Keplerian loupe. Though all these types of loupes are made with a similar purpose — that is, to provide magnification-, they are different from each other. They are basically classified based on how the magnification is produced, the type of lenses used, and on how the lenses are positioned.
Simple loupe — is the type of loupe that is made with a pair of positive meniscus lenses that are positioned side by side.
Galilean loupe — is a lightweight cone-shaped loupe made with an optic system that is consists of both concave eyepiece lens and convex objective lens. These two types of lenses work together to provide a clearer image and better magnification than the simple loupe. It also offers sufficient width of field and superior depth of field. The Galilean system offers a magnification range of 2.0x to 3.5x.
Keplerian loupe — also referred to as prismatic loupe, is a long, cylindrical-shaped magnifying loupe with a complex internal system that offers greater magnification, greater depth of field, and sharper resolution than the other two types of loupes. It is consists of a series of positive convex lenses and prisms. Due to its length, Keplerian loupes are often heavy. Prismatic loupes offer magnification in the range of 3.5x to 6.0x. Keplerian loupes are available up to 8.0x magnification power.
Of these three types of loupes, the most suitable for student use is the simple loupe or the Galilean loupe with the lowest magnification power. This allows students to easily get used to using loupes.
Primary effects of dental loupes on students during pre-clinical studies
Improved visual acuity
In the research article published in Plos One, entitled “Effect of magnification devices on dental student’s visual acuity” by Danielle Wajngarten, Patricia Petromili, and Nordi Sasso Garcia, it was found out that the use of dental loupes has greatly helped improve the visual acuity of dental students. It was also found out that the effects on the visual acuity of the students vary depending on the magnification device used and the distance. Galilean loupes and Keplerian loupes both offer greater visual acuity when used at a standardized distance while both offer the best visual acuity at a subjectively comfortable distance. Simple loupes, on the other hand, offer different levels of visual acuity when used at comfortable and standardized distances.
Better posture and neck angulation
The result from the same study posted in Plos One revealed that students who used dental magnification loupes displayed better working posture during pre-clinical studies. Using magnification loupes allows students less angulation of the neck.
By allowing students better visual acuity within their working distance, they no longer need to bend forward or closer to the mouth of their patients. This enables them to work more comfortably in a healthy working posture.
Greater overall performance
On the controlled clinical trial entitled “The effect of magnification loupes on the performance of pre-clinical dental students” done by Margrit P. Maggio et al and was published in the National Library of Medicine, it was found out that the dental students who used loupes during the Advanced Simulation Course (AS) training exhibited greater overall performance than those who did not use any magnification.
The study was participated by 232 first-year dental students — 116 of them used magnification loupes and served as the test group while the other 116 students did not use any magnification device and served as the control group. It was done to help assess the effect of using dental loupes on the psychomotor skill acquisition of students during a preclinical operative dentistry course.
The study revealed that students who used magnification loupes were able to work faster per procedure and completed more preparations than those who did not use loupes. The previous also used computer-assisted evaluation less often and for shorter periods than the latter. At the end of the trial, it was also found out that more students are able to accept the idea of using magnification in pre-clinical dental studies.