Intraoral vision in dentistry

Tony Beale describes two new simple products that can improve intraoral vision for dental operatives.

In order to achieve optimum results in all dental procedures, whether these are routine examinations, or complex surgical operations, the prime concern of the operator must be to maximise quality of vision.

As it is impossible to arrest the onward march of time and the inevitable deterioration of human eyesight through aging, much reliance has to be placed on the use of loupes and microscopes to enhance the visual abilities of dental operatives.

Figure 1
Figure 1

However, when looking at the humble, but very essential mouth mirror, which is perhaps the most used instrument in the clinician’s armamentarium, it will be seen that they can present challenges to the user through various failings such as a lack of clarity, fogging of the glass, and in the case of metal mirrors, a tendency to rust or corrode through continual cleaning and sterilising procedures. Operatives can also experience the annoying problem of having to continually de-mist the instrument in order to maintain an acceptable quality of vision, and until now a solution to this issue was not possible.

Seeing in HD

Zirc has now developed the Crystal HD mouth mirror that offers dental operatives an alternative to the conventional Rhodium metal mouth mirror, and this product is now available in the UK from Optident.

Zirc Crystal HD brings a brilliance of view and ergonomics to the user. This simple, yet completely practical plastic instrument brings considerable improvements to the operator’s vision, together with comfort and a reduced risk of eye strain, fatigue or headaches, contributing significantly to the quality of resultant dental procedures.

Zirc states that the Crystal HD mouth mirror reflects colour with 99% accuracy when compared with a standard Rhodium mirror that reflects colour with only 75% accuracy (Figure 1).

This statement is reinforced by Dr Andrew Goldsmith, of Texas, USA, a recent convert to the Zirc Crystal HD mirror, who said: ‘Considering that caries is often in the brown/orange wavelength, diagnosis of decay using the standard Rhodium mouth mirror is more difficult when compared to the exceptional colour accuracy of the Crystal HD lens, and that with the Crystal HD mirror you can more precisely determine shades of enamel and dentine in restorative procedures.’

Figure 2

Having now used the Zirc HD mouth mirrors for some time, Dr Alastair MacDonald, respected UK-based endodontist, declared: ‘The reflection is noticeably brighter and colours are definitely truer and this is quite significant when looking at the pulpal floor for subtle changes.’ He also stated that he did not realise what he was missing by not using the Zirc Crystal HD lens, or knowing that an improvement to such a simple instrument could make such an impact on his practice. Now he cannot imagine practicing without it. He also added: ‘I have always taken for granted the Rhodium mirrors we have used, and did not realise the significant improvement that could be made. I would like to return my old mirrors, as they appear dull in comparison to Crystal HD mirrors.’

The false impression of plastic

Common words associated with plastic products are ‘cheap’ and ‘poor quality’. However, the Zirc philosophy rejects this conception, and they believe that in order to produce the ideal mouth mirror, plastic has to be the material of choice. They realise that many dental instruments have to be made from metal in order for them to fulfil their intended purpose, but this is not so for the mouth mirror. Scientific and engineering advances, particularly those in polymer technology have enabled the development of high-grade plastics, making them ideal for certain applications. A plastic mirror will last as long as one made using stainless steel and will also present a more contemporary and patient friendly appearance (Figure 2).

Figure 3

The Zirc Crystal HD plastic mouth mirror has the added advantage of a ‘no-gap’ construction around its edges, thus eliminating debris and rust build-up commonly found on stainless steel mirrors (Figure 3), therefore contributing to a reduction in cleaning processes.

A further advantage of the plastic Crystal HD mirrors is that they are available in a variety of colours, offering the opportunity to east identification and allocation to specific procedures, and possibly to show ownership of particular mirrors.

Mirror magic

Having developed the Crystal HD mouth mirror, Zirc has also developed a solution to those problems associated with moisture build-up and ‘fogging’ of mouth mirrors, when used intraorally.

Mirror Magic is an anti-fogging liquid that can be applied to the mirror lens. This is done by applying three-five drops of Mirror Magic solution onto a self-adhesive, absorbent pad that can be stuck to the back of the operator’s protective glove, or to a patient bib. The mirror lens can then be easily wiped over to prevent fogging, create a clear field of vision and to remove any debris. By using Mirror Magic, optimum vision can be assured. The product can be used on all types of mouth mirrors, and together with the Zirc Crystal HD plastic mouth mirror they will contribute to increased chairside efficiency.

Crystal HD mouth mirrors and Mirror Magic are both available from Optident, International Development Centre, Valley Drive, Ilkley, LS29 8AL.

Tel: 01943 605050, email: [email protected], web:

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