Why Use a Dental Microscope? 

August 14, 2023 Michelle Lee DDS

We have a buffet of restorative materials to choose from today. Accurate preparations are fulfilling the promise of digital design and precision-based dentistry to deliver the highest level of restorative treatment with efficiency. The microscope has changed the way I personally approach dentistry, and it has heightened my passion for precision dentistry.

The world of dental microscopy has opened my eyes to see and know more. The microscope has allowed me to improve my dentistry through ergonomics, improved illumination, and magnification. I am astonished and, at the same time, feel humbled to be able to see detail and precision at such a high level of magnification.

An Opportunity to Teach Propelled Me

My introduction to using a dental microscope began five years ago through the University of Pennsylvania Dental School where I was invited to teach a novel program introducing the idea of restorative dentistry with the utilization of dental microscopes. The purpose of the program was to introduce concepts of precision-based dentistry in our ever-changing digital dental world. We wanted our students to appreciate the value of details and how marginal gaps and adaptation can be improved with a higher level of thinking and training.

Not owning a microscope at the time, I agreed to explore this idea and accepted the position. I trained, calibrated, and practiced with the dental students to quickly see the value. Within a few short months, I had integrated dental microscopy into my dental practice.

Does the Microscope Replace Loupes?

Other dentists, who have not adopted dental microscopy, often ask me, “What does the microscope replace in your practice, and does it replace your loupes?” The answer is simple. Using a dental microscope doesn’t necessarily replace loupes but higher magnification increases proficiency and precision. I often prepare with my loupes and finish my preparations under higher magnification to improve smoothness, adaptation, and finish lines.

The viewing capabilities of the microscopes provide a range of higher magnification beyond some loupes with no eye muscle strain. Under dental microscopy, I can magnify my viewing field from 4X power to 10X power and sometimes as high as 25X power.

The Microscope Has Changed How I Practice

Utilizing a dental microscope has changed how I practice dentistry, improved my overall health in ergonomics, and is now an invaluable part of my practice as I strive to serve my patients with higher-level dentistry.

Using the microscope, I routinely minimize marginal gaps in my preparations to increase the longevity of restorations for my patients.

The completely upright binocular, parallel vision provides less strain to my posture, my neck, and head position.

My patients can view what I see with the microscope and gain an elevated understanding. Together we can partner better in making collaborative decisions to improve their dental health in the best way possible.

Why I Use a Dental Microscope

I am of the belief that when we see better, we can do better. I want to do my best for my patients. The dental microscope provides an elevated level of magnification, illumination, ergonomics, and patient education so I can deliver the highest care. After adapting to its usage and experiencing its benefits, I recommend it highly to other dentists. If you have access to one to try it–and put in the effort to learn how to use it, I think you’ll rapidly want one of your own.


Discover more on how to build a thriving dental practice with The Essentials Series at Pankey. This comprehensive 4-part course starts with Essentials 1, diving deep into the core principles that will transform your approach to patient care and practice management. 

Related Course

Mastering Aesthetic Restorative Dentistry

DATE: November 20 2025 @ 8:00 am - November 23 2025 @ 12:00 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 32

Dentist Tuition: $ 6300

Single Occupancy with Ensuite Private Bath (per night): $ 345

THIS COURSE IS SOLD OUT! Aesthetic dentistry is where artistic form meets functional restorative dentistry. Where patients, clinicians, specialists and laboratory technicians communicate with each other in an effective way…

Learn More>

About Author

User Image
Michelle Lee DDS

Dr. Michelle Lee is very proud to provide all aspects of general, family, and cosmetic dentistry to the Fleetwood and Berks county areas. Dr. Lee is a 2004 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and completed a one-year General Practice Residency program at Abington Memorial Hospital. Dr. Lee continues to keep herself abreast of dental advancements and takes hundreds and hundreds of hours of advanced dental education from the Pankey Institute and other courses for advanced dental training. She also maintains a faculty and advisor position at the Pankey Institute. Professionally, Dr. Lee is member of the Academy of General Dentistry, American Dental Association, Pennsylvania Dental Association, and serves on a committee of the American Equilibration Society. She also volunteers to treat pediatric patients through her local dental society.

FIND A PANKEY DENTIST OR TECHNICIAN

I AM A
I AM INTERESTED IN

VIEW COURSE CALENDAR

Live and Practice With Intention

April 9, 2018 Michelle Lee DDS

The Pankey Institute has positively changed how I practice dentistry. My work–life ‘flow’ would not be what it is today if I had not integrated the philosophy and dental training. As Dr. LD Pankey said: “A tooth never walked in the door.”

I too have integrated my own personal touch at the practice and have said, “We don’t treat strangers in our practice.” I get a little chuckle from patients at times when I say this. I also get a warm and welcoming look because they can connect with those words. This statement is an invitation that helps them open up.  

Better Cases From a Better Practice Philosophy

My training at Pankey and learning about LD Pankey’s Practice Philosophy has given me insight into how to create, formulate, and execute my own. I strive to live that philosophy with my dental team and my patients. We have created a practice culture that allows me to do many comprehensive cases.

I integrate concepts of restorative dentistry that have resulted in a rewarding outcome for both the patient and dentist. Appreciation and gratitude from the patient along with pride and care from the team have continued to fuel me to deliver the best dentistry with my best self.

It all starts with a comprehensive exam. For the case shown in these pictures, I utilized a thorough examination complete with understanding, listening, and hearing what the patient’s goals were. This was followed by a focus on airway, occlusion, TMJ, and restorative and esthetic goals. Digital photography, mounted study casts, evaluation of occlusion, wax up, and communication with the patient and the laboratory enabled me to create a smile that the patient was very comfortable with both in function and in form.  

Treatment consisted of an occlusal equilibration to improve occlusal interferences, which had caused fremitus on #7 and instability in occlusion and discomfort. I placed a porcelain crown on #8 and veneers on #7, 9, and 10. The patient was also given take home whitening trays.  

The patient’s final comments were: “I love my new smile and my bite is comfortable” and “Oh, did I tell you that since the dental work was completed, my jaw has felt more relaxed and comfortable?”

Related Course

E2: Occlusal Appliances & Equilibration

DATE: March 23 2025 @ 8:00 am - March 27 2025 @ 2:30 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 44

Dentist Tuition: $ 7400

Single Occupancy with Ensuite Private Bath (per night): $ 345

What if you had one tool that increased comprehensive case acceptance, managed patients with moderate to high functional risk, verified centric relation and treated signs and symptoms of TMD? Appliance…

Learn More>

About Author

User Image
Michelle Lee DDS

Dr. Michelle Lee is very proud to provide all aspects of general, family, and cosmetic dentistry to the Fleetwood and Berks county areas. Dr. Lee is a 2004 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and completed a one-year General Practice Residency program at Abington Memorial Hospital. Dr. Lee continues to keep herself abreast of dental advancements and takes hundreds and hundreds of hours of advanced dental education from the Pankey Institute and other courses for advanced dental training. She also maintains a faculty and advisor position at the Pankey Institute. Professionally, Dr. Lee is member of the Academy of General Dentistry, American Dental Association, Pennsylvania Dental Association, and serves on a committee of the American Equilibration Society. She also volunteers to treat pediatric patients through her local dental society.

FIND A PANKEY DENTIST OR TECHNICIAN

I AM A
I AM INTERESTED IN

VIEW COURSE CALENDAR

Treating TMD: Yes or No?

August 20, 2017 Michelle Lee DDS

How Studying and Treating TMD Transformed One Dentist’s Practice for the Better

When Dr. Michelle Lee embarked on her dental career, she felt like there was a missing piece in how she approached dentistry. Discovering the power of TMD ultimately made her work more fulfilling and effective.

Dr. Lee relates her journey of achieving professional balance while attending the Pankey Institute, how treating TMD has transformed her practice, and why she believes career fulfillment is crucial to success.

Dr. Michelle Lee on the Power of TMD and Pankey Learning

Very quickly in my dental career after purchasing my dental practice, I knew I needed to expand my dental learning. I was seeing changes and problems within my patient’s dental health where I didn’t know WHY? Though I could easily tell the patient what we needed to do to fix their problem, I couldn’t necessarily explain the reasoning behind it: why a tooth broke, why wear occurred on one tooth but not the others, why the patient was having pain in their face, why pain was in a tooth for no apparent reason.

Not having these answers wasn’t good enough. I knew I needed to know the WHY. I believed if I figured this out I could partner with my patients and help them before problems like failing restorative dentistry, TMD issues, and myofascial pain started to arise. I decided to go down to the Pankey Institute within the same year I purchased my dental practice.

Dr. L.D. Pankey said, “A tooth never walked in the door.”

Attending the Pankey Institute changed my life both professionally and personally. I received a top notch dental education on comprehensive dentistry that included concepts like occlusion and TMD. The learning was presented from a technical, behavioral, and financial perspective. The Pankey Institute also guided me in creating my own personal and professional philosophy to achieve a work-life balance.

I am passionate about learning how the temporomandibular joint, muscles, and dentistry work together. Treating TMD allows me to deliver truly comprehensive dentistry to my patients. It’s like lifting up the hood of a car and examining the engine.

Learning about the TMD joint and the orofacial muscles helped me see dentistry from a new perspective. I am better able to delivery dentistry that is both protective and preventative. I have created a whole new culture within my practice because I show my patients WHY. This has made my work extremely rewarding.

What continuing education has had the most significant impact on your professional life? Please leave your thoughts in the comments!

Related Course

E2: Occlusal Appliances & Equilibration

DATE: October 20 2024 @ 8:00 am - October 24 2024 @ 2:30 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 44

Dentist Tuition: $ 7200

night with private bath: $ 290

THIS COURSE IS SOLD OUT What if you had one tool that increased comprehensive case acceptance, managed patients with moderate to high functional risk, verified centric relation and treated signs…

Learn More>

About Author

User Image
Michelle Lee DDS

Dr. Michelle Lee is very proud to provide all aspects of general, family, and cosmetic dentistry to the Fleetwood and Berks county areas. Dr. Lee is a 2004 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and completed a one-year General Practice Residency program at Abington Memorial Hospital. Dr. Lee continues to keep herself abreast of dental advancements and takes hundreds and hundreds of hours of advanced dental education from the Pankey Institute and other courses for advanced dental training. She also maintains a faculty and advisor position at the Pankey Institute. Professionally, Dr. Lee is member of the Academy of General Dentistry, American Dental Association, Pennsylvania Dental Association, and serves on a committee of the American Equilibration Society. She also volunteers to treat pediatric patients through her local dental society.

FIND A PANKEY DENTIST OR TECHNICIAN

I AM A
I AM INTERESTED IN

VIEW COURSE CALENDAR