Shine A Light

Oct. 1, 2010
I have been using loupes for a while, but to be honest, there are many times I do things in the office without them.

Paul Feuerstein, DMD

For more on this topic, go to www.dentaleconomics.com and search using the following key words: loupes, fiberoptic, LEDs, magnification, overhead light, Dr. Paul Feuerstein.

I have been using loupes for a while, but to be honest, there are many times I do things in the office without them. One of the nice features that appears as an option is the bright light that attaches over the nose.

Most of the companies now have remarkably bright LEDs that are attached to a small power pack. This beats being tethered to the big box with a long, fragile, fiberoptic bundle. There was a time when these held the foot-candle advantage, but no more. If you already have loupes, each of the companies has a retrofit with an appropriate clip. If you buy them new, it is a cleaner custom attachment.

So what about those times when I am not wearing the loupes but want to see brightly in the mouth, or perhaps when I am making the denture repair, or for that matter the edentulous oral exam?

As I reported last year, overhead dental lights are undergoing a change. First to do so was Pelton & Crane with the Helios 5000, a focused, bright LED. Other features include no heat, long-lasting bulb, varying intensity, and built-in composite filters.

This year we have the DentalEZ EverLight unit. Although using a different shape and focus system, it also yields an incredible light in the patient's oral cavity and has similar functions as the Helios. In addition, these lights use less energy, thus leading to a "greener" dental office.

There are often situations when I am not wearing loupes but want the focused headlight. A few new light options have appeared from the always inventive High Q company (the EOS), and a new company, Ultralight Optics (Feather Light) and Dentlight (Nano Loupe).

These lights can be attached to any protective glasses or loupes. But more important for me, they can be attached to my regular glasses with no installation – easy on, easy off.

Of course, there are many other LED lights, but these are the smallest and lightest so far. The High Q EOS comes in at 0.4 ounces (11 grams), and emits 4,500 foot candles. The battery pack weighs about five ounces. The unit is supplied with either a headband or a clip that attaches to my glasses. There is also a flip-down orange filter to prevent composites from setting.

Andy Cooper, a fixture for years at dental exhibitions, along with his brother and his team are continuously working on new innovations. A look at his Web site (highqdental.com) will show you the range of products available.

Ultralight is an interesting story. Ron Nguyen developed this light while a dental student at USC. He somehow made it through school while selling at trade shows with amazing enthusiasm, along with an enthusiastic staff that included his brother. You now can see Ron in a white coat that proudly displays his DDS degree.

What is remarkable about this light is the size and weight. At 0.13 ounces (four grams), I believe it is the lightest and smallest on the market. It is also quite robust. Ron shows this at meetings by banging the light with great force on a table.

There are clips for regular glasses, and an array of attachments for almost all of the loupe manufacturers. In fairness, I did find that larger LED lights for loupes (including the EOS) to be a bit brighter at 3,600 foot candles. But the tiny size and clever heat distribution make Ultralight attractive. It also has a composite filter that can be put in place with a flick of the head. More information about this and other innovative products can be found at ultralightoptics.com.

Another new entry that deserves a look is the Dentlight Nano (dentlight.com) that comes in at six grams with 4,300 foot candles. The company also has a unique cordless curing light.

I have found these lights to work well and easily attach to my glasses. Many of us run to do hygiene exams and know the look in a hygienist's eyes when we start moving the overhead light and chair. These lights save much anguish as we sit or stand doing the exam without touching the light.

Almost all loupe companies have LEDs that are cleanly integrated. Although perhaps a bit heavier than the new options, this is not an issue due to their balance, along with the telescopes already on the units. The new lights are not a substitute but are easily disconnected and mobile while loupe lights, by nature, are fixed.

If I mentioned every light and magnification company here, this column would never end. Many new products appear often so I have tried to discuss, in my estimation, just a few of the clever new ones. Please scour the journals and the exhibit floors to open your eyes even wider.

Dr. Paul Feuerstein installed one of dentistry's first computers in 1978. For more than 20 years, he has taught technology courses. He was named "Clinician of the Year" at the 2010 Yankee Dental Congress. A general practitioner in North Billerica, Mass., since 1973, Dr. Feuerstein maintains a Web site (www.computersindentistry.com) and can be reached by e-mail at [email protected].

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