How to Choose Your First Loupe Lights

When I first started dental school loupe lights where an unknown. Today nearly every dentist with loupes also has a loupe light. So what makes a good dental loupe light? That depends on what's most important to you. Would you like a light with nearly imperceptible weight or one that has enough power to illuminate the coronal 1/3 of the root canal? Wouldn’t it be nice to have cordless loupe lights? If you’ve ever asked, “What should I look for in a loupe light/dental headlamp?” Here are some answers I’ve given my friends in the dental field. 

-Dr. Ray Nguyen

Snap On Optics Manager


Picking the Right Power Levels for Your Procedures

In most cases, loupe lights with a bigger lens in front put out more light. For example, our High Beam Loupe Light has a 100,000 lux output while smaller the Snap On Loupe Light has 50,000 lux output. The bigger lens in front the more photons the lens can capture and redirect into the patient’s mouth.

Your dental headlamp selection depends on the type of procedures you do in your practice the most(>90%). If you enjoy restorative dentistry then a Snap On Loupe Light with 50,000 lux output should be more than enough power. Most clinicians actually turn the brightness level to medium levels to clearly reveal margins on crown and bridge preps. So go with the smaller light-weight Snap On Loupe Light to keep the weight minimal.

On the other hand, if you are thinking of doing implants or endo later on, the Highbeam Loupe Light would work better for you. This light weighs a bit more but it will give you double the power of the smaller lights. Just remember, a bigger loupe light with a bigger lens can collect more light and sent it forward into the surgical site. With the Highbeam Loupe Light and 4X loupes, you will be able to see into the coronal 1/3 of your root-canal prep. No more feeling around hoping you’ve removed all debris, just see it and clean it. Nice.


Traditional Loupe Light vs. Cordless Head Lamp

Many clinicians are making the migration from corded loupe lights to cordless loupe-lights. Just about everyone who has a cordless loupe light told me they have so much more freedom after switching over to cordless loupe lights. In some cases these same doctors are surprise by the lightweight feel of the cordless headlamps. If you already have 4X-6X loupes it is unlikely you would even feel the weight difference between the light weight corded dental headlights and cordless loupe lights because the prismatic loupes weigh a lot anyways. The weight of a cordless loupe light would just be a drop in the bucket.


Most Common Reasons Clinicians Get a New Light

The last loupe-light stopped working: This is the most common reason clinicians shop for a new loupe light. Just about every piece of dental equipment stops working at some point. The two most common ways your dental headlamp breaks are a worn out light cord or a worn battery. If it’s a cord issue, you will notice a flickering of the light when you move or ben the cord a certain way. This happens because the copper conductors inside your cable has separated has trouble sending power to your light. The solution is to just simply get a new light.  If it’s a worn battery, you may also notice flickering. Sometimes the plug or jack wears from repeated rotation of the L-plug. When this happens, the power becomes intermittently disconnected so your light flashes sometimes.

You may also notice the battery doesn’t last as long as it use to. If this happens, it’s time to replace your battery. The lithium ion chemistry inside your battery has been depleted. When this happens your battery will likely have about three charge cycles left before it becomes un-usable. For this reason all Snap On Optics Products come with a second backup battery.

If you need a replacement light or battery visit our replacement parts page. If you are an returning customer, of-course we will help you. If you have another company’s light kit we will can also help you by providing replacement parts or trade-in you old light for a new one. Sometimes the cost of buying a new battery alone from the other loupe companies turns out to be more than trading in your old light and getting a completely new loupe-light kit from Snap On Optics. At the time of this writing we only charge $365 + tax and SH for trade-ins.

Another advantage of getting a new dental headlight instead of fixing the old one is not having to worry about what will break next. As loupe light systems get old, the jack / plug or cord will wear at the same rate as the lithium ion chemistry in the battery becomes depleted. It is likely that both light and battery will need to be replaced with-in a year of each other. This is why I created the $365 + tax and SH loupe light trade in option.

You got new loupes: When you buy new loupes with more powerful magnification, the loupes may or may not come with its own light. The high the magnification the darker the image becomes. It’s like placing a grey filter in front of your low power 2.5x loupes. So if you get a 4X or above magnification upgrade your loupe light too to get the best usage possible. I recommend High-beam Loupe Lights for all loupes between 4X and 6X. 100,000 lux output would let you see prep margins and MB2’s much more clearly. Just think of how much more you could see of you installed two of the smaller loupe lights on your loupes. That’s what the High-beam Loupe light does best.

Why Loupe Lights Are Better Than Dental Chair Lights and Hand Piece Lights

Uniform and Consistent Lighting in Any Operatory and Any Office:  Every dental chair light and every lighted hand piece has different brightness levels. This makes work difficult because sometimes you don’t have enough light to do your best. To complicate things further the dental chair light drifts over time and gets positioned differently every time which give inconsistent lighting. Loupe lights gives you consistent lighting in any operatory even when there are no dental chair lights such as in missionary clinics abroad. Loupe lights are always positioned perfect in-line with the line of sight of your loupes. You take the light from operatory to operatory so it’s yours to keep. Having your own loupe light means you’re have greater control over your work environment.

In Line of Sight With Your Loupes: In-order to magnify, your loupes narrow your field of vision proportionately to the power of your loupes. For example 4X loupes has a narrower field of view than 2X loupes. Having a light source that projects a beam of light parallel to your line of sight illuminates the occlusal table of every teeth much more effectively than a light source that shines at an angle like the dental chair light. This means every detail of the occlusal table, buccal and lingual surfaces is reviled to you in crisp clear detail.

Light color: Loupe lights have LEDs that produces natural white light. This light has a much more pleasant color tone than the yellow tinted chair lights. Also your crowns and veneers look cleaner and more vibrant when you show your work to the patient for the first time. If there are any imperfections in the restoration, your loupe light reveals this to you during the try-on stage of your final restoration. Good loupe lights makes for happy clinicians and happy patients.