Did you know it’s now a thing for dental students to have a “student doctor” Instagram account? I didn’t either until this summer. When I started dental school in 2002, I had no idea what social media was. A few of these “student doctor” accounts started following me, so I took a look at them. Many of them were freshman starting their dental school journey. Despite the COVID-19 situation, it seems like at least a portion of many schools is being done in person, however distanced. I noticed a few accounts showing a quintessential dental school experience—a loupes fair! It seems like every year, I see dental students on social media trying to figure out which loupes to get. It is one of those shared experiences that enrich the culture of being a dental student and dentist.
I remember choosing my loupes well. In fact, I remember it so well, that I have become a low-key loupes junkie. I have nine sets of loupes now. The most recent set are my current favorites, 4.5x Prisms from Q-Optics.
Q-Optics is a newer name in the field of dental loupes. I got my first set a couple of years ago. They are 3.5x Prisms and have been my primary set since then, because they are light, comfortable, and give me a wide, deep field with clear magnification.
As I get older, though, I have begun to lust for more magnification, so I ordered the 4.5x version. It is perfect for me for most restorative procedures. I can get a very clear, highly magnified view of my finish lines and other restorative margins. With the wide, deep field provided by the prisms, I am not focused in so tight that I can’t administer anesthesia or do an exam. In older loupes with Galilean telescopes, a 4.5x field was too limiting to accommodate things like exams and anesthesia. These new optics really change the game. Of course, as your magnification increases, the field darkens, so a headlamp becomes mandatory.
The Q-Optics loupes design is really great. Not only do they look cool, but they are some of the lightest loupes I have ever worn, which makes them super comfortable. The optics are contained in machined titanium housings with carbon fiber shrouds, all in an effort to reduce their weight as much as possible. If you find yourself having headaches, eye fatigue, or pain on the bridge of your nose at the end of the day, your loupes might be too heavy.
Loupes are one of those things that many clinicians buy once and never think about again. This is something you use all day every day. Get a new set! Get fitted again! Think about what you knew when you bought your first set of loupes versus what you know now. Don’t you think you might make a wiser purchase with all the experience you have now? Triple to the left center field power alley for Q-Optics!
Joshua Austin, DDS, FAGD, FACD, writes the Pearls for Your Practice column in Dental Economics. After graduating from the University of Texas Health Science Center Dental School, Dr. Austin associated for several years. In October of 2009, he opened a solo general practice in a suburban area of San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Austin is involved in all levels of organized dentistry and can be reached at [email protected].