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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.

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.  There is only one style of loupe that I have found consistently keeps my dental operators within a safe head posture.

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 at the wrong height in relation to your pupil, you will lose much of the ergonomic benefit.

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 high the scope should be in relation to your pupil?
  • How to select an ergonomic frame?
  • Which manufacturers make truly ergonomic loupes?
  • How to properly measure working distance to prevent back pain?
  • Which shield length is best for a neutral posture?

    Learn all of these answers and much more in

    Dr. Valachi’s NEW VIDEO:

    “Ergonomic Guidelines for Loupes Selection”

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