Buyers Guide: Dental Loupes

Clinical Director



Why Magnification Matters

In the field of dentistry, we work in a small dark hole on even smaller objects that require precision down to the micron level. If that doesn’t sound hard enough, that dark void constantly closes up and fills with liquid, further obscuring your vision. The good news is that we have a tool that can ease the level of difficulty: dental loupes.

Dental Loupes allow for a clinically improved result. You can more easily diagnose any tiny fractures, or better detect an open margin on a crown. Plus using loupes for magnification helps to improve the precision of your preparations, or to better see the calculus that needs to be removed. Loupes also provide a perfect mounting point for lighting. Lightweight, high-powered lights can be mounted right to the frame and illuminate everything in the magnified field of view.

Improved ergonomics are an additional benefit to using loupes. Most loupes allow you to set a focal distance that allows you to sit up straight with full magnification, eliminating the need to bend over to see something better.

What I Need to Know

Flip-Up Vs. Through-The-Lens: Most loupes come fixed into the lens of the glasses. This is known as Through-The Lens or TTL. The convenience here is that it will always be in the right position, but this set up requires you to look over the top of the loupes for a non-magnified peek at things. If you plan on going back and forth regularly, flip up loupes are available and this set up allows your to move the loupes out of your way.

Galilean Vs. Prismatic Loupes: Galilean loupes are fixed at one focus level in the lens, and are usually lower in magnification power. Prismatic loupes allow for higher magnification, and greater clarity.

Field of View:  Choose a loupe that allows you to see everything in the view necessary for the procedure. Each pair of loupes comes with a unique setting of field of view and magnification. 

Depth of Field: This is another area to carefully consider the procedures you perform when choosing your loupes. You may be able to see 4-5 teeth, but how many teeth are in focus? Improved depth of field helps to have more of what you are looking at to be in focus.

Working Length: The manufacturer will help you set up the proper working length for your loupes. This will ensure that the teeth are in perfect focus when your head is in the right position. 

Frames: There are many types of materials and styles available when it comes to the frame itself. These options can range from plastics to titanium to carbon fiber and more. Keep in mind that the most important feature is not necessarily how you look, but how light and comfortable the frame feels when you wear it.

Lens Construction: Simply put, a nicer lens with give you a magnified view that provides a more concise image with better contrast.

Lighting Options: Most loupe manufacturers have a lighting option for their loupes. You also can find third party manufacturers of lighting. Most loupe lights mount in the bridge of the frames between the eyes, and have multiple points of adjustment. Most commonly, there is a cord that either connects to a battery, or plugs into a wall. There are some that have the battery integrated into the frame of the glasses, providing a “wireless” experience at the cost of additional weight on your face.

Questions to Ask

  1. What magnification is most appropriate for the procedures I perform?
  2. What field of view is most appropriate for the procedures I perform?
  3. Does the focal distance allow me to comfortably practice dentistry while wearing the loupes?
  4. Do I need flip up loupes or TTL?
  5. What lighting options are available to me?
  6. What warranty is available on the loupes?
  7. Do these loupes feel comfortable on me?


Angle of Declination – The angle at which the loupes slope down from the frames. This should be set so your neck remains straight while you look through the lenses of the loupes.

Field of View – The area in view and in focus when you are looking through the loupes.

Focal Distance – The distance from the end of the lens to the area in focus while wearing the loupes.