To perform precision-oriented tasks, such as dental procedures, it is vital that you have the correct lighting. The majority of dental practitioners have to adjust their vision to cope with the contrasting light conditions that is produced by an operation lamp and overhead lighting, throughout working hours. Our eyesight usually deteriorates with age; this complicates matters even more as this means, as we age, our eyes require increasing amount of light to function at the same level. Eyestrain due to poor lighting can speed up optical deterioration and lead to eyestrain. As a result of this headaches, fatigue, and if constantly moving towards a single light source, neck and back strain can occur.
This means that is absolutely essential that your consulting rooms have lighting that reduces the risk of strain while ensuring the best possible view of the patient’s mouth. The correct dental lighting should be at a balance between giving sufficient high intensity lighting in order to boost work precision, particularly when colour matching for restorations and cosmetic work, while, at the same time, minimising the glare and other visual irritants caused by lighting issues such as strobing and flickering.
Preferably, the ratio between the lighting used to illuminate the treatment site and the area surrounding the patient should never be stronger than 1:5. For example, if the working area around the patient’s mouth is 20,000 lux then the lighting in the surrounding environment should be no less than 4,000 lux. This difference can be softened in lighting strength while minimising the shadows, glare and flickering and decrease heat emissions to ensure comfort and accuracy through professional overhead lighting systems. Dental surgery lighting lately has been designed to imitate daylight as closely as possible to guarantee clear and accurate colour matching at all times though having windows are also used to have natural light for shade matching etc.
It is, however, important not to use the same light source throughout your office. Lighting should be selected based on efficient and visual criteria for each space. Many dental offices have 2×4 fluorescent lights in every space and lose any advantages that a mix of lighting can provide. Particularly, a lower-levelled fluorescent light fixture is suitable over a task area (e.g. operatory, lab, sterilisation), but is a bed choice for non task areas in producing ambient appeal in a space. Both staff and patients benefit from changes in lighting throughout the environment.