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Top 6 questions clinicians ask about Ergo loupes

By Forest Rain Marcia

Ergo loupes belong to a relatively new category of loupes: ergonomic loupes, sometimes called refractive or deflection loupes due to the specific optics their oculars utilise. Though deflection loupes were conceptualised more than a decade ago, they did not capture the hearts and minds of dental practitioners until their redesign by Admetec in 2020.

Ergo loupes by Admetec offered, for the first time, the potential for a fully ergonomic working position. Instead of the practitioner bending and contorting to see inside the patient's mouth, the loupes do the work instead of the human - the very definition of an ergonomic tool!

While awareness of ergonomic loupes is swiftly spreading among clinicians, for whom the benefits of a more natural, comfortable working position quickly become clear, some uncertainty still exists about adopting this new technology. This article addresses the top 6 questions asked about Ergo loupes.

1. Are Ergo loupes really better for my posture?

Yes! While the human body is designed to bend and twist, it is not designed to stay in a static, bent, or contorted position for extended periods. Doing so creates stress and strain on joints and ligaments that create micro-traumas (similar to carpal tunnel syndrome or tennis elbow).

These micro-traumas develop faster than the body can heal; the resulting cumulative trauma causes chronic, occupation-specific pain. Adopting a posture that aligns with the body's natural, biomechanical design protects your health over time and reduces the risk of occupational chronic pain. For those who are already in pain, adopting a healthy ergonomic posture helps address the problem at its root cause, allowing the body to heal (or at least not create new trauma).

For those who are not yet in pain, an ergonomic posture is a preventative practice - just like dentists advising patients to maintain their teeth now to avoid cavities and root canals later.

2. Who shouldn't be using Ergo?

In general, we believe everyone who can, should use Ergo loupes. Practitioners invest years learning to help their patients but are taught very little about maintaining their own health and well-being as it relates to their profession. An ergonomic working position and healthy posture are good for everyone.

However, not all practitioners are able to use ergonomic loupes. First and foremost, working with Ergo loupes requires using a mirror. Some dental specialties necessitate holding other tools in the hands, making it impossible to also hold a mirror. For these doctors, Prismatic loupes are preferable. For those practitioners, we recommend taking more care to support their health with increased attention to an ergonomically correct environment and scheduling time to stretch and rest between treatments. Also, those who do not know how to use a mirror or are unwilling to learn will not be able to use Ergo.

3. Will I have trouble getting used to Ergo?

Customers report adjustment periods between one day and four weeks. Just like learning how to drive, new techniques take some level of practice to master. Ergo loupes necessitate an adjustment period because it is a new way of seeing, like beginning to use multifocal glasses. The brain needs to adapt and learn to interpret what it is seeing and how to judge distances between what you see and where your hands are.

Everyone is different; for some people, the adjustment period is faster than for others. For all users, it is recommended to patiently invest the time now and minimize the risk of occupational chronic pain later.

To adjust to Ergo we recommend gradually incorporating their use in your practice. Start off using the loupes only for a few patients and gradually increase their use. Another idea is to practice at home, using the loupes to read, eat a meal, etc. This will provide extra time to get accustomed to the loupes without the pressure of a precision-mandated, time-sensitive operatory setting.

4. What about performing extractions with Ergo?

While it is very common for doctors to perform extractions without using loupes at all, we have found that dentists who have become accustomed to working with Ergo get so comfortable with them that they use them during extractions as well. Most of our customers report performing all procedures with Ergo loupes within 4-6 months of first wearing them.

5. Should my first loupes be conventional Galilean or Ergo?

Students and other first-time loupes users are usually advised to start with conventional, Galilean loupes. This recommendation typically results from one of two scenarios: either the person providing the advice is unfamiliar with ergonomic loupes; or the advisor is simply more familiar with the wide field of view and depth of field offered by Galilean loupes. In other words, Galilean loupes are easier to get used to, because they maintain a focused image even if the wearer moves around (and even if the loupes are not perfectly fitted to the user). Galilean loupes are great, but they cannot provide the added benefit of enabling a healthy working position. Ergo loupes intuitively guide practitioners toward maintaining an ergonomic working posture and developing healthy work habits that will help protect their health and career longevity. In other words, our advice is to start off the way that will most benefit you in the long run - with Ergo loupes.

6. Do I need to use a light with Ergo loupes?

Yes, but this is true for all loupes. Loupes and lights are two parts of the same solution and should be considered together. When you see better, you do better. It's that simple. Using a headlight correctly illuminates your field of view, enabling you to see what you need, in the magnification you choose – the higher the magnification, the more powerful a headlight needed.

Basically, Ergo provides a more focused view than Galilean loupes, which means less light from the surroundings reaches the eyes through the magnifying lenses. The effect is similar to a camera shutter: when wide open, it lets in a large amount of light from the surroundings; when narrowed, less light comes in. In addition, the extra optical elements (lenses, mirror, prism, etc) used in the Ergo loupes act as barriers through which light travels before reaching your pupils. Subsequently, there is some degradation in light intensity. Admetec Ergo comes in the widest range of magnifications in the industry - up to 10x - and each has a different headlight that is suited for working with that magnification.

About the author

Forest Rain Marcia is a Brand Manager at Admetec. Byron Medical is the official distributor of Admetec solutions in Australia.

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