This article was originally published on Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry. Dr. Glenn van As, is one of our long-time Global Surgical microscope users. He began using the dental operating microscope in 1997 for his dentistry practice. He has travelled throughout North America and Internationally, lecturing and publishing about the benefits and challenges of incorporating microscopes into daily dental practice.
Glenn A. van As, DMD, began working with dental operating microscopes more than 20 years ago and in that time has become recognized as a leader in digital photography and videography captured with a microscope. Also an active member of the Academy of Laser Dentistry, he is experienced working with dental lasers, holding a mastership in lasers from the Academy. He understands how the combination of high levels of magnification and the various wavelengths available in laser dentistry can greatly benefit both patient and clinician.
“For many years magnification was reserved for older practitioners with failing vision, but today it is understood that magnification can yield benefits, such as improvements in precision, ergonomics, and treatment outcomes, in many areas in dentistry,” says van As, who runs a private practice in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. For example, periodontists can use a dental microscope to minimize the size of a surgical site, reducing patient discomfort and healing time. Further, for endodontists it improves visualization of fracture patterns, including the coronal aspect of the tooth, the chamber, and into the root structure.
The benefits of microscopic dentistry, van As asserts, extend beyond specialists to general practitioners and laboratory technicians. Many clinicians, he says, are replacing their entry-level 2.5X power magnification loupes with loupes ranging from 3X to 6X magnification, often with a headlight for illumination. “Some general dentists who realize the value of magnification purchase operating microscopes with multiple magnifications ranging from 2X to 20X and with coaxial illumination to improve the precision of their clinical dentistry.”
Recently, he began working with the latest release from Global Surgical Corp., the A-Series™ Dental Microscope. Featuring a sleek, modern style and available in 3-, 4-, and 6-steps of magnification, this microscope is designed to provide the clinician intuitive control while improving visualization to help achieve earlier diagnosis. “After 20 years, I am still amazed at the impact that microscopes from Global Surgical have had on the precision of my dentistry, as well as my documentation and communication capabilities,” van As states.
Laser dentistry is an area that can benefit tremendously from the use of a microscope, he suggests. “Careful evaluation of the laser tissue interaction is necessary to avoid dragging the tip through tissue or excessively charring the tissue,” he explains. “With some lasers, such as the erbium lasers and the newer all-tissue-cutting CO2 lasers, the clinician must be in non-contact with the tip or handpiece to effectively ablate the tooth, bone, or other hard tissues. When used at levels of 8X to 13X magnification, the operating microscope can provide 16X to 42X the level of visual resolution that is possible with 2X power loupes.” This increase in visual information, combined with shadow-free lighting made possible by the microscope, allows for highly precise laser dentistry.
In addition, a microscope allows the clinician to sit comfortably in an ergonomic position, improving posture and reducing pain in the neck and lower back. This is especially true of the A-Series, which offers multiple mounting options, including a mobile floor stand, ceiling mount, and high or low wall mount.
With lasers becoming more prevalent in dental practices, laser safety is more important than ever. Laser safety can be integrated into some microscopes, such as the A-Series, with specific laser filter modules that protect the vision of the operator, independent of the wavelength being used. “The use of lasers with the dental operating microscope provides a remarkable symbiosis that can both improve the treatment results for patients and provide improved efficiency, all while helping the bottom line for the practice,” van As notes.
He recommends that any practitioners using a laser in their practice look into the advantages that a dental operating microscope offers. “The microscope might just change the way you view your laser dentistry cases,” he concludes.
Volume 39, Issue 6