Study: Loupes should be used more in dental hygiene school

While the advantages of loupes are generally acknowledged, U.S. educational programs in dental hygiene seem slow to adopt and require the use of loupes, according to a study in the Journal of Dental Hygiene (August 27, 2012).

To determine policies and practices regarding magnification loupes among faculty and students in accredited dental hygiene programs, researchers from the Division of Dental Hygiene at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry emailed a 31-item, self-designed questionnaire to 303 entry-level hygiene programs via Survey Monkey.

With an overall response rate of 75%, the results revealed that the majority of these programs do not require loupes for faculty or students, only 23% of responding schools require students to purchase loupes, and only 8% require faculty to use loupes.

Almost two-thirds of respondents reported loupes instruction as a curriculum component, although most respondents spent two or fewer hours teaching in this area, according to the study authors. While 90% of the programs do not plan to require students to purchase loupes in the future, the majority believe proper use of loupes should be integrated in the curriculum.

"Most respondents see advantages to loupes, but clinical policies on loupes do not appear to correlate with beliefs," the researchers wrote. "Current clinical polices on loupes should be reviewed to ensure graduates experience the potential ergonomic benefits magnification brings to clinical practice during their education."

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