Dental Microscope How-to Guide: Counterbalancing Your Dental Microscope

how to counterbalance dental microscope

For over 25 years, we’ve worked closely with doctors to help them maximize the value they see from a dental microscope, including giving customers the best possible experience with high-quality products as well as service. And, as part of our commitment, we’ve collected considerable feedback to help us maintain a high standard of excellence. You’ll see this today with both our product and accessory designs, as well as the training, manuals and articles we produce to help new customers get up and running on their scope as efficiently as possible.

As part of this effort, we launched a collection  of the most requested reference materials from doctors we work with – our “Dental Microscope How-to Guides”. Each article in this series will include easy-to-follow steps to help reduce the number of training hours on specific areas most commonly referenced by doctors we work with. 

If you’re new to this series, here’s what you may have missed:

Part 1: How to Focus Your Dental Microscope. In this article, we explained the steps for parfocal adjustment in coarse and fine focus, as well as the use of a multifocal lens attachment. Understanding how to focus your scope is an essential skill for microscopy because every time you switch magnification levels or reposition your patient, you’ll need to adjust your lens to see clearly.

Part 2: Dental Microscope Integration & Positioning Guide. Mastering the use of a dental microscope requires getting comfortable with indirect vision. This means, while your vision is enhanced through the binoculars of the scope, you also need to acclimate your hands and body for using your dental instruments as you would with direct vision.

Today, we’re covering one of the most common support requests from our customer service team: counterbalancing the spring arm of your dental microscope.

The following information can found with greater detail beginning in Section 5.3 of the Global Surgical A-Series Owners Manual.

What is counterbalancing? And when do I need it?

Counterbalancing is the adjustment of the spring arm* assembly to match the weight of the microscope and its accessories (including cameras, lenses, etc). This should be done immediately at installation, as well as every time accessories are added, or when tension seems unbalanced.

Most doctors know pretty quickly that they have a balancing issue when their spring arm either falls to the floor or rises to the ceiling uncontrollably. Counterbalancing is done to ensure the microscope head moves with very little pressure. This is an important step in ensuring its stability and ease of use during dental procedures. Thus, the point of counterbalancing is to reduce the strain on your arms and wrists by allowing the microscope to move and adjust easily.

*Dental microscope manufacturers and users refer to the lift assembly of the scope as the spring arm. Please note that in modern designs of a dental microscope, tension is actually achieved using a gas piston rather than springs. It is still commonly referred to in manuals and by customer service reps as the spring arm.

Steps to counterbalancing your Global microscope

Most doctors and/or staff can counterbalance their own equipment without requiring a certified technician or professional.

If this is your first time, don’t worry! Some doctors we speak with express hesitation about handling this themselves, as a microscope is a significant investment for their practice, but know the fastest and most immediate long-term solution is to get familiar with counterbalancing at your own practice. Counterbalancing is designed to be user-friendly with minimal risk of damage to your scope.

If you’ve referred to your owner’s manual and followed instructions below, and are still having issues – please reach out to our Customer Support team by calling 800-861-3610.

Before getting started with an adjustment of any kind, it’s worth a quick review of the individual location of controls on your scope. For a Global A-Series microscope, below is a map of these controls with labels.

Global A-Series dental microscope

PRO TIP: Before adjusting the counterbalance, ensure that all accessories are installed on the microscope and the spring arm tension adjustment knob is loose.

Step 1: Loosen the spring arm tension adjustment knob turn the knob clockwise. Insert the 3/16” hex wrench into the center hex-socket screw (located under the end of the spring arm assembly that attaches to the horizontal arm) and turn the tool to the right (clockwise) if the microscope falls when released, or turn the tool to the left (counterclockwise) if the microscope rises when released.

Global Dental Microscope Counterbalancing

PRO TIP: Resting the spring arm on your shoulder or slightly lifting it while making the piston adjustment will allow the adjustment to be made easier.

Step 2: Adjust the spring tension to the appropriate level. The spring tension can be adjusted using a tension knob, which is located on the microscope arm.* The tension should be set so that the microscope is easy to move and adjust, but not so loose that it moves too easily or too much.

*On a Global A-Series microscope, the tension knob is on the bottom of the spring arm. There are 3 knobs in total in contact with the sprint arm, so it’s important to locate the correct adjustment.

Step 3: To test the counterbalancing of the microscope, the operator should move it to various positions and angles to ensure that it stays in place and does not require excessive force to adjust. If the microscope does not stay in place or requires excessive force to adjust, the spring tension and weight should be readjusted until the desired balance is achieved.

Overall, counterbalancing a dental microscope is an important step in ensuring its stability and ease of use during dental procedures. By properly adjusting tension and weight, the microscope can be easily moved and adjusted without requiring excessive force or effort, helping maintain good ergonomics with your arms and wrists.

Questions? Reach Out!

If you’re still having issues with counterbalancing after installing your scope or adding accessories, or any other issues, reach out to our Customer Support team. We’ve been in the dental microscopy business for over 25 years, and we consistently bring our expertise to our customers with five-star technical services. Let us know if we can help you, please reach out to our Customer Support team by calling 800-861-3610.

If you’re just considering adding a microscope to your practice and are looking for advice on integration, we are here to help!

For over 25 years, we’ve been in the business of helping dental practices maximize their investment in microscopy. Not only have we worked with some of the most influential doctors in microscopy, we have numerous resources and recommendations for formal training sessions coming up in your region.

We’re proud to be based in the US, with manufacturing and assembly facilities in St. Louis, MO. This helps us give our customers the best service, domestically and internationally. And, as part of our commitment to our customers, we offer a limited lifetime warranty on our scopes (US & Canada customers only).

Please feel free to reach out at 800-861-3585 or by clicking the button below.