Magnification enhances endodontic motor skills

Magnification -- whether from an operating microscope or dental loupes -- enhances the execution of fine motor skills used in endodontics by enabling more precise placement of the instruments within an operating field, according to a study in the Journal of Endodontics (July 2010, Vol. 36:7, pp. 1135-1138).

Researchers from Baylor College of Dentistry used a novel manual dexterity test to quantitatively investigate the effect of magnification on fine motor skills used in endodontics. An 8x operating microscope and 2.5x dental loupes were used for the magnification tests.

Forty subjects, 20 with microscope experience and 20 without, participated in the study. Performance on the test was evaluated by using an accuracy scoring system, and the time needed to complete the test was recorded for each subject.

The researchers found a significant increase in accuracy score with each level of magnification (p ≥ 0.05). Accuracy scores increased 17.5% with 2.5x loupes and 57.7% with the 8x operating microscope compared with unaided vision.

However, the use of operating microscope significantly increased the time needed to complete the test among subjects with less than three years of microscope experience. Subjects with more than three years of microscope experience performed the microscope test 32.1% faster than those without microscope experience (p ≥ 0.05).

"In this study, the accuracy score was increased with the use of operating microscope at the expense of time; it took significantly longer to complete the test by using the operating microscope among subjects without microscope experience," the researchers wrote. "However, this difference diminished within the group with more than 3 years of experience."

Within the parameters of the study, the use of magnification was shown to enhance the fine motor skills typically required in endodontic treatment, reinforcing the previously untested benefits that have been credited to microscopic dentistry, the authors concluded.

Copyright © 2010

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