I can see for miles

March 1, 2003
In my September, 2001 column ("Doctor My Eyes"), I discussed magnification loupes and headlights. I am happy to report that my fears of using the 2.5x have disappeared.

Paul Feuerstein, DMD

In my September, 2001 column ("Doctor My Eyes"), I discussed magnification loupes and headlights. I am happy to report that my fears of using the 2.5x have disappeared. Margins and finish lines no longer worry me, although I have yet to make the jump to 3-plus magnification. Many of my colleagues have suggested going even higher, which is something I will investigate at this year's meetings. Several fine companies have extremely informative booths with simulated setups that allow attendees to get a realistic trial.

Using this headlight has made a remarkable difference to both my assistant and me, and it is a wonderful supplement to my fiberoptic handpieces. I use a tethered fiberoptic because it seems brighter to me than the battery driven bulbs. Many practitioners prefer the portability of battery-powered units. I've found that refining crown margins and packing cord also have become much easier and more predictable. However, the most notable improvement for me is during scaling and exams. I can actually see the tip of the scaler. The optics also force me to sit more erect, which puts less strain on my battered back. As tempted as I am to bend in for a closer look, I can't when I'm wearing the loupes. This impact on posture and back health has been well documented by several of the popular dental magnification companies.

I still do not have clinical experience with microscopes, though I have tried them at several dental meetings. All of my endodontic colleagues use this technology and have saved many of the patients I refer from futile procedures. Their apicos are also pretty spectacular. I keep getting encouragement from Glenn Van As, my microscope resource in Vancouver, BC. He shows me amazing images from his treatment in the "scope."

My research in new designs has brought two interesting products to my attention. High Q Dental from Scottsdale, Ariz. has put a small video camera on a headband that allows dentists to project the treatment field on a monitor or TV screen. The live and/or recorded images can be very instructional for patients. Instructing other dental professionals is another likely scenario. Colleagues can see what you are doing from your vantage point, which is especially helpful when doing live demonstration. Manu-facturers also have used this system in creating product demos. Information is available at www.highqdental.com; look for their booth at most major dental meetings.

Dentalview offers the DV2 endoscope, the amazing perioscopy system. This device looks like a perio probe with an illuminated tip. Did you ever wonder if you got out all of the calculus? You can actually look into pockets and see structures and problems that previously were not visible without flapping tissue at 24-28x. Not only can you look at residual calculus, but you also can inspect roots for fractures or subgingival caries. In addition, you can observe furcations, subgingival crown margins, post perforations, or even see how far down the anatomical root grooves go. You may find cement, calculus, or even openings at the crown margins. This is an exciting adjunct to magnification. More information is available on their Web site. www.dentalview.com.

All of this reminds me of Raquel Welch in Fantastic Voyage (1966) and a Saturday Night Live sketch with Bill Murray as Captain Steve McCloud, Microdentist. (Every-body over the age 35 should know what I'm referring to!). If you go to rfnorika.com you will see a video of this voyage. The Norika3 is a little capsule; patients swallow it and the camera broadcasts the "voyage" through the GI system. It uses advanced wireless transmission to send video images of the tract to a monitor and is controlled by an operator with a video game-like system. This company also makes several wireless dental products.

Think of these unique products as you sail through dental meetings. Take a look at the booths that you are unfamiliar with and look for little gems that might have a special place in your practice. If you find something new, let me know, and I'll report on these ideas right here to our peers.

Dr. Paul Feuerstein installed one of dentistry's first computers when he placed a system in his office in 1978, and he has been fascinated by technology ever since. For more than 20 years, he has taught courses on technology throughout the country. He is a mainstay at technology sessions in New England, including annual appearances at the Yankee.Dental Congress, and has been a part of the ADA's Technology Day since its inception. A general practitioner in North Billerica, Mass., since 1973, Dr. Feuerstein maintains a Web site (www.computersinden tistry.com) and can be reached by email at [email protected].

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