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Solving Work Related Pain in Dentistry

How to Select Dental Loupes That Prevent Neck Pain

-Dr. Bethany Valachi-

Imagine spending $1,500 on new loupes, and you suddenly begin to develop neck pain, or, your existing neck pain worsens. This is an all-too-common problem that I frequently encounter in my dental ergonomic consultations.   On the other hand, I have repeatedly seen well-designed ergonomic loupes improve or completely resolve neck pain.

So how do you know if your loupes are improving or worsening your health?

Of all the criteria for selecting loupes (working distance, frame size, scope position, declination angle, co-axial adjustment), declination angle is the most important ergonomic factor that can make or break your health.

Working with the neck flexed forward only 20 degrees or more for 70 percent of the working time has been associated with neck pain.   Therefore, to prevent musculoskeletal injury, loupes should enable you to work with less than 20 degrees of neck flexion.

Vertically adjustable flip-up loupes enable the steepest declination angle which allows the operator to work with a safe head posture.

The angle that your eyes are inclined downward toward the work area is the declination angle. Declination angle should be steep (40+ degrees) enough to help you attain a comfortable working position with minimal forward head posture.  Vertically adjustable flip-up loupes are the only option on the market that I have seen that consistently keeps my dental students  within this safe head posture.

Student was told these TTL loupes would have a 40 degree declination angle. In reality it was only 20 degrees.

Most TTL loupes cannot achieve greater than a 30 degree declination angle, and very often force the operator into unsafe forward head postures.

When assessing loupes, keep in mind that scope position is critical.   If your loupes sit high in relation to your pupil, you will lose much of the ergonomic benefit, since you must lean further forward to look through the scopes.   Therefore, vertical adjustability is an essential feature on flip-up loupes.

How can you be sure your loupes are safe? Do you know:

  • Three strategies to make the TTL loupes you already own more ergonomic?
  • How to select an ergonomic frame?
  • Which manufacturers make vertically adjustable flip-up loupes?
  • How to properly adjust flip-up loupes after you received them?
  • How to properly measure working distance to prevent back pain?
  • Which shield length is best for a neutral posture?

    Click below to watch Dr. Valachi’s NEW VIDEO:

    “Dental Loupes that Prevent Neck Pain”

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Dr. Bethany Valachi

Beat Pain and Extend Your Career

Dr. Bethany Valachi has helped thousands of dental professionals for over 20 years, and is recognized internationally as an expert in dental ergonomics. Let Dr. Valachi help you work pain-free and take back your practice!

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