Shining a Light for Dentists

University of Utah dental student Clifford Sondrup is using 3D printing to make a new attachment for dental loupe lights. Loupes are used in dentistry for magnification and posture, and a loupe light is used to illuminate the dark surgical field of the oral cavity.

His attachment design is fixed to the face shield using magnets, fitting to the outside where it is out of the way and light does not reflect on the internal surface of the face shield. Additionally, the loupe light can be moved around when outside the shield. The most time-intensive part is getting the measurements correct for each design. Sondrup said, “It takes about 10 iterations to get the right design … once I had figured out the approach for mounting the magnet, I just had to build the front end, where the light attaches.”

Sondrup started in May 2020 working on designs for himself before others in his department asked for some, too. He already has seven different designs for a variety of shields.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, dentists have adopted face shields as indicated by the CDC, in addition to N95 and surgical masks, to better protect themselves and their patients. Another option is just using a PAPR (powered air-purifying respirator). Both are difficult to wear when using a loupe light — which sits high out above the dental loupes — causing both space and glare issues. Sondrup said, “Face shields can be made with sufficient spacing for the loupe and mask, but our department didn’t have those. With the loupe light attachment, many of us were able to get back to work without feeling like something was off or missing.”

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About the Author:

Adam Draheim is a University of Utah student majoring in computer science with an EAE emphasis. His main interest is procedural content generation in games and he enjoys playing chess in his free time. Find him on LinkedIn here.

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