Five Features to Consider when Choosing a Dental Microscope

features to consider when shopping for dental microscope

The dental operating microscope has become an essential tool for providing the highest quality of endodontic treatment. General dentistry practices are increasingly adopting surgical microscopes as well for their improvement in clinical precision, vision, illumination, and ergonomics as compared to loupes. Research studies have demonstrated better clinical outcomes when using a dental microscope compared to treatment without vision enhancement or magnification.

A dental microscope aids practitioners in:

  • Preserving healthy tooth structure
  • Minimizing risks and reducing healing time
  • Finding hidden and accessory canals
  • Locating and removing separated instruments

With many high-quality options available in the marketplace today, we recommend prioritizing these features to help you compare models most suitable for your practice. Check out this video or continue reading to learn more.

#1 Optical Quality

As with many imaging devices used by dentists, higher quality and resolution allows for greater precision in diagnosis and treatment. Evaluating the optical quality of a dental microscope should be based on the following:

  • Resolution
  • Magnification ranges
  • Depth of field
  • Light transmission
  • Accurate color rendition

These features of the microscope’s optics allow you to detect the smallest dental caries and cracks, and then treat them in the most effective yet conservative way. If you have not yet worked with an operating microscope, we would recommend an in-person demonstration in order to fully appreciate what is possible. Your local Global Surgical representative is prepared to work with you throughout this process.

Global Surgical A-Series Microscope

#2 Illumination

When evaluating the illumination capability of a microscope, there are a few factors to consider.

  • Light intensity: A high level of intensity is very desirable during procedures, because in combination with optical quality, having illumination sufficient for any task will directly impact what you will be able to see through the eyepieces.
  • Color temperature: Aesthetic dentistry requires a natural color rendition gained by illuminating with a "daylight" color temperature of between 5,000 and 6,000 Kelvin.
  • The life span of the light source: The life span impacts the cost of ownership, potential downtime, and the environment. 

There are essentially three types of light sources used in operating microscopes, each with its own characteristics. 

Halogen bulbs use a filament much like an older style incandescent bulb. They are typically the least bright of the three types. The color temperature of their light also varies over their lifetime, and whenever their intensity is increased or decreased. These bulbs have a limited life span and often burn out at the least opportune moment.

Xenon bulbs also have a limited lifespan, and are very expensive to change. They are typically quite bright, but they also consume a lot of electricity and run very hot. This usually requires them to be coupled to the microscope using a fiber optic cable, which will also degrade over time and require replacement. Their color temperature is generally in the “daylight” range. One key issue to consider is that every bulb contains a small amount of mercury, and will need special handling in order to be disposed of properly.

The Global A-Series microscope exclusively uses LED illumination. Providing over 115,000 Lux output, it is the brightest LED light source available, while producing unobstructed, coaxial, shadow-free illumination. It maintains a constant color temperature at a nearly ideal 5,500 Kelvin, and is capable of operating at a wide range of intensities. The Light Emitting Diode after which it is named, uses very little power which leads to a very long life. At approximately 50,000 service hours, the need to change your light source virtually disappears. 

#3 Design & Ergonomics

After evaluating optical quality and illumination, the next major considerations for any practitioner who will frequently use a dental microscope are the ergonomics and mounting options for the device. When performing diagnosis and treatments, you often need to assume harsh body positions, and use repetitive movements, which can be a serious strain if the microscope cannot be positioned and manipulated easily to suit your individual body frame and working preference.

When we designed the A-Series microscope, we considered the long-term health benefits to clinicians by assisting the operator in maintaining optimum and balanced posture, so that you can work for longer periods without back and neck pain or fatigue. The use of proper body positioning over the course of a career can add years of productivity. 

Global Surgical Endodontist

Some of the features that provide this flexibility are:

  • Use of a fully adjustable Micro-Surgeon’s Chair with proper support for the lumbar area, and adjustable height and forearm support. These features allow the larger muscles of the shoulders, neck, and arms to relax, and allow the fine motor skills of the hands to predominate.
  • A binocular viewing tube with wide ranging tilt capability, along with the proper amount of extension so that the inclination of your neck can remain in a nearly stress-free horizontal position.
  • A variety of available working distances between the patient and the microscope to allow working space for tools, and provide a comfortable hand-to-eye distance for the operator.
  • A proprietary AXIS Control System to deliver magnification changer, ergonomic handles, and tilt tension controls at one location bilaterally.

#4 Workflow Integration

Your microscope’s design should easily integrate into the practice environment and even improve the workflow, including the positioning within your operatory, and the positions of other essential equipment. The A-Series design has more mounting options than any other brand, including the possibility to move between workspaces with a mobile floor stand, as well as a ceiling mount and high or low wall mount. Global even offers custom mounts to accommodate unique installations.

We also offer a wide range of microscope accessories specifically designed to assist your individual practice needs, including:

  • Multi-Focal Lens: Provides extended focal range of 150mm (6"). User can focus anywhere from 200-350mm (8-14"), all without adjusting the microscope head or the patient. Minimizes learning curve and increases productivity. 
  • Carr Binocular Extender: A 45° wedge that adds additional height and 2.5" (63.5mm) of reach from the microscope head to the user. Helps operator maintain an upright, ergonomic position – alleviating fatigue due to neck and back strain. Great for taller and more robust dentists. 
  • Counterbalance Coupler Arm: Enables accessories to be added while ensuring their weight is counterbalanced. This maintains easy, balanced movement of the microscope head when used with heavier cameras, observation systems, and more.
  • See all available A-Series dental microscope accessories here.

#5 Imaging & Documentation

In the modern dental practice, videos and images can be used to enhance the overall experience from diagnosis to treatment. A-Series microscopes offer camera adapters in both 4K and HD 1080p for creating digital stills from a live video stream. You can easily archive these files from your microscope’s camera to a computer during an exam.

Here are a few ways in which high quality videos and images from your microscope can be used to improve communication and trust between dental professionals, patients, and colleagues.

Entire procedures can be documented electronically, allowing for efficient archiving in the patient record, communication with referring colleagues and insurance companies, and excellent preparation for case presentations and teaching opportunities at schools and conferences. 

The image capture system is compatible with digital radiography systems, allowing for microscope images to be stored alongside x-rays in the patient file.

Allowing your patient to see the smallest problem which would otherwise remain invisible creates buy-in for the selected treatment plan. This often results in treating things earlier and with less loss of healthy dentition.

Live video provided for your assistant improves their engagement and efficiency and can be a powerful post treatment training tool.

BONUS: Support & Warranty

We’ve reviewed the most critical features to consider when shopping for a dental microscope. However, thinking beyond the device itself, practitioners should also consider the manufacturer they will be working with, as they’ll be responsible for maximizing the life-span of your investment. Ask colleagues and read reviews to ensure you’re investing in a company you can trust that will be able to provide reliable support now and in the future.

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.

Don’t just take our word for it, see what our customers have to say: latest customer testimonials.

At Global Surgical, we are committed to your total satisfaction by providing a comprehensive guarantee. We invite you to explore our unbeatable warranty, terms and conditions. As part of our commitment to our customers, we offer a limited lifetime warranty on our scopes (US & Canada customers only).

  • 30-Day Money-back Guarantee: The microscope and microscope accessories you purchase will be unconditionally guaranteed and risk-free. You may return a product to Global in good condition for any reason within 30 days of invoice and receive a full product refund. Custom microscope parts are excluded from this policy.
  • Microscope Limited Lifetime Warranty: Your microscope will include an unprecedented lifetime warranty, including parts and labor, for all optical and support components. Please refer to the detailed Limited Lifetime Warranty below.

Ready to get started? Reach a sales representative at 1-800-861-3585 or fill out an online inquiry here. We can schedule an on-site demo so you can experience our quality first-hand.