Purpose: Surgical loupes and headlights are becoming standard equipment for dental professionals and students. Students often purchase these relatively expensive instruments with limited knowledge of which features will affect their satisfaction with use. The purpose of this study was to measure levels of satisfaction with loupes and headlights amongst dental and dental hygiene students after 1, 2 and 3 years of use, and use those findings to guide first-year students in making better purchasing decisions. Methods: An electronic survey was sent to all second, third and fourth year dental students as well as second-year dental hygiene students at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) in October 2018. The survey asked students to respond to multiple questions with a 5-level Likert scale measurement of satisfaction and provide open-ended responses to questions about their loupes and headlights. Results: Ninety-three percent of eligible students responded. Overall, 68% of students were very satisfied with their loupes and 56% were very satisfied with their headlights. Sixty-seven percent of dental students chose 3.5× magnification or higher and 96% of dental hygiene students chose 2.5×. Conclusions: Of all characteristics evaluated for loupes, customer service and sales representatives received the lowest satisfaction ratings. For headlights, battery-related factors (battery life in hours, rate of recharging, size or weight and on/off controls) received the lowest satisfaction scores. Information collected and reported in this way can help future students make better decisions when selecting products, vendors and features that will best meet their needs.
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