SurgiTel Delivered the Magnification I Wanted Without The Pain
Darryl L. Hatchett, DDS
Darryl Hatchett DDS is a graduate of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry. He has been in private practice doing general dentistry for 15 years. Dr. Hatchett lives and works in the Denver area along with his wife and two children.
After using 2.5x loupes in dental school and early in my practice (around 7 years total), I decided to look into higher magnification to see how it could improve things for me. I had initially planned on going up to 3.5x, but after trying out Orascoptic’s 4.8x loupes I was sold on the higher magnification. I recognized these loupes were heavier, but I did not take into account the effects it would have on me in the future.
I used these 4.8x loupes for the following eight years. In the last three years, I developed increasing pain in my anterior neck and shoulder.
I saw a physical therapist for the last two years, with an appointment every two weeks. I was given exercises to help me work on my scalene muscles which had become aggravated with the heavy loupes and an excessive forward head tilt. The exercises would help me through the weekends, but once I was back at work with my loupes on, the pain would start all over again.
Around that time I took a week-long vacation in Playa del Carmen Mexico with my wife and two children. I had constant neck and shoulder pain during the entire trip. Sad to say, this is the first thing that comes to my mind about that vacation. I could not quite enjoy the trip as much as my wife and kids were able to.
I read the Dentaltown forums frequently to gain valuable information on various topics. One day I searched on the topic of neck pain. I saw a post by a physical therapist who focused on dental ergonomics. They wrote about how a poor declination angle on loupes causes neck pain in scalenes, as I was experiencing. After reading more about this, I sent my 4.8x TTL loupes back to Orascoptic to have the declination angle increased. I asked for the maximum increase and they were able to provide 28 degrees. This did help somewhat, but I really desired a steeper angle.
Searching more on the Dentaltown forums I came across a dentist who posted he had a set of SurgiTel flip-up loupes that were very light and the declination angle could be adjusted to very steep angles. I noticed his loupes were 4.5x magnification, very similar to what I was using! I looked up SurgiTel online and got my local representative’s name and number. My rep was Tim Faircloth.
I spoke with Tim over the phone about my situation with my current loupes, my pain, and what I had read on the Dentaltown forums. He told me that he could definitely help me. He immediately set up an appointment with me, which worked out great because I was very eager to get help with the discomfort I was constantly having. Tim came in and showed me the various loupes. He explained that not only could SurgiTel build my loupes with an increased declination angle, but he also showed me how the lenses on the frames had a downward tilt that other competitors do not have, which adds to the declination angle. He took pictures of my posture with my old loupes and with the SurgiTel loupes. I could easily see how much better my posture was with the SurgiTels. It was obvious how much lighter the loupes were, and Tim also showed me how much lighter SurgiTel frames were compared to what I was wearing. Tim was very helpful throughout the entire process. His expertise with the different models of loupes and frames and knowledge in all the areas where I had questions was amazing.
With Tim’s help, I decided on the Micro Prism 4.5x Front-Lens-Mounted loupes. He showed me how to customize my loupes whenever I desired, including adjusting the declination angle. We placed an order and he told me that it was about 3 weeks to build and deliver. Tim asked me to let him know if I had not received them in 3 ½ weeks and he would follow up for me. I actually received them 3 weeks to the day of Tim placing the order.
After the first few days, I finalized the adjustment of my loupes, and of my posture. It only took about a week for me to notice a decrease in the pain in my anterior neck and shoulder. I feel that this is not only due to the increase in declination angle, but the weight of the SurgiTel FLM’s being lighter than my old Orascoptic TTL’s. I measured the declination angle of my loupes to compare. My SurgiTel’s are at 47 degrees and my Orascoptic’s, even after they were returned, were only 28 degrees. Tim had also told me that I could easily change end caps on the loupes to either increase or decrease the working distance if I so desired; yet another great feature.
I am very happy with my new SurgiTel FLM loupes. The pain in my neck and shoulder has reduced tremendously and is continuing to get better. I feel that SurgiTel is way ahead of the game compared to their competitors in ergonomic features. The extremely lightweight and easily customizable features are much better than other brands in the overall comfort of the practitioner. At different times in the past 3 years, I have wondered if I would have to change careers due to too much pain. Thanks to SurgiTel I no longer have to worry. My physical therapist constantly calls now to see how I am doing. I am sure it is strange for him not to see me on a regular basis anymore! And it is a nice change to not have to include a physical therapy appointment on the calendar every time I have a day off. This is thanks to SurgiTel.
Darryl L Hatchett, DDS
Denver, North Carolina