Thursday, February 4, 2021

Dental Accessories Magnification Evaluation


One day in December 2020, I logged onto Facebook.  Almost immediately I saw an ad for dental magnification and I was pleasantly surprised by the cost.

The ad was from a company called Dental Accessories and they were selling dental surgical scopes (many call them "loupes" but I prefer the true term "surgical scopes or telescopes") for an amazingly low price.  Over my career as Technology Evangelist I've helped design and test many of the scope designs on the market today.  Because of that, I was fascinated by a company that was offering 3.5x magnification for less than $200.

I figured that at the offered price, lots of folks in the industry would be ordering them so I felt compelled to get some and see how they performed.

I ordered the highest magnification offered, which was 3.5x.  I also ordered the 5W LED light which is the brightest light the company offers.  My thought process was 2 fold.  First I'm a firm believer in high magnification and a well lit field.  If I am treating a patient I want to see things as "up close" as possible and the field needs to be well lit.  A couple of days after my initial order, I was nosing around their website and I saw that they also offered an "Aluminum Hard Case" for $14.95 and I decided to get one of those as well.  I'm a firm believer in keeping my gear as pristine as possible and that especially applies to my scopes.

I wasn't familiar with the company so I had no preconceived notions as to how things would go.  My one concern was that the Facebook ad I had used to ordered also had an area for questions and there were 3 or 4 individuals who were wondering about the status of their orders.

For me, the process was easy and progressed exactly as expected.  My first order went through and was processed as expected.  Shortly after the order was placed, I received an email confirming my order and letting me know I would be contacted when the order shipped.  This process repeated itself when I ordered the Aluminum Hard Case.

2 days later I received an email from  a member of the "Customer Support Team".  It informed me that my order had been processed and was ready to ship, that the shipping company had been contacted, and that the order was expected to ship within a few hours.  Just a few minutes later I received another email telling me my order had shipped.

The next day I placed the order for the "Aluminum Hard Case" and the email process repeated itself.  I was doubly impressed on this one as I ordered at midday on a Sunday and the order was shipped to me at 02:14 on Tuesday.

Both orders arrived in perfect condition and right on time.

The light had to be mounted to the glasses which was no big deal for me as I have a knack for figuring things out and fixing things.  There were instructions which I thought could have been a bit better, but overall everything was useful and once setup, the light was well mounted and worked well.

The light is powered by a battery that is about the size of a credit card and its thickness is about a stack of 5-10 credit cards.  It is light weight and the cord is long enough to put it in a pocket... even a pants pocket. The light comes with a charger that plugs into the battery.  One of the things I really like about the battery is the rheostat.  There is a small knob on the end of the battery that allows you to turn it to dim & brighten the battery.  Because its a simple rotating knob, it gives you an incredible variety of lighting intensities.  Sometimes staring at a brightly lit operating field can create eye fatigue and decrease your eyes acuity.  By giving the user the choice of "dialing in" whatever illumination they require, it's a tremendous benefit.

The glasses themselves have a sporty sort of Oakley look, but they are definitely NOT Oakley frames.  However I think they are sturdy enough.  The mag is a flip-up type which doesn't provide the same degree of accuracy as scopes that are custom drilled to your IPD, but the mag works fine.  These are a type of "old school" telescopes.  You do not get prismatic tubes and you don't get a wide field of view.

The rule here is you get what you pay for.  If you want state of the art magnification you are going to need to spend over $2000.  If you don't need all the bells & whistles, these will work just fine.  I think if you would like a pair to perform hygiene exams, if you are a hygienist, or if you want a backup pair of scopes... these are for you.

Most of us that use magnification quickly become hooked on it.  However the systems are expensive and very few people want to spend twice as much to have a backup pair that you purchase for a worst case scenario when you need to send you everyday set out to the factory for repair.  However, with these scopes you could have that back-up pair for limited use for around $200 and I think THAT is well worth it.  I've been using mine for lab work, doing wax-ups, that sort of thing and have been very happy with them.

Before Dental Accessories came along, I was unaware of a company that made affordable magnification.  Now you can get Economy Class mag and not have to spend a tidy sum to get that.  If you want a basic telescope setup that can provide you with basic magnification, this is a company you should check out.

While I'm still doing dentistry with my 5.0 or 5.5x custom drilled TTL setup from Orascoptic, I think these basic setups from Dental Accessories have a definite niche in the industry.  As long as you realize that you are not getting top of the line for a low price, I rate these as *highly recommended*.

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