Most dentists have some stories about buying and trying different types of face shields as we have started to practice again. The challenges of fit, being comfortable and working with loupes are common conversations. I have tried six types to date with more on the way.
I started with “What can we get?” Then I moved on to “What will be the most comfortable and best on our loupes?”
I and my two hygienists wear loupes. I wear a 4.0x power, flip-up loupe. The hygienists wear 1.5x power loupes. In addition to the loupes, we wear a light.
We’ve tried face shields that hang from a visor. This is the kind my assistants love and wear all the time. However, this type of shield does not fit over my loupe. It fits over my hygienists’ loupes but by the end of the day, they have a headache from the pressure of the temple pieces on the visor.
We tried the disposable face shields that hang from a headband with foam padding. They did not fit over loupes.
A third type from Bio-Mask® turned out to be my hygienists’ favorite and the one I wear when I am doing a consult and not wearing my loupe. This type of visor frame has replaceable face shields. It is lightweight and comfortable (due to its weight, adjustable head strap, and foam padding), and it is designed to be worn with loupes. The replaceable shields can be washed with hot soapy water. The shields are designed to protect from splatter and spray that might come over the top of the visor, so you have full-face protection. I can wear it over my loupe by enlarging the headband and resting the front of the visor frame on my light.
Just recently I came across a different face shield designed to wear over dental loupes that I really like. It’s the PRO-TEX® extra-wide 13″x 7″ shield (model FSX). It clips directly onto the frame of my loupe. I wear eyeglasses, a face mask, my loupe with a light, and then clip the face shield to my loupe frame. This is the least pressure on my ears and temples that I have discovered. The shield can be washed between patients with warm soapy water.
I know a lot of people are praising loupe face shields from Ultra Light Optics®. I am looking forward to trying these when they come in because they are designed so you can mount your light outside the shield and not have to reach under the mask to flip down your light.