Some Interesting Information on Dental Mirrors:

Amazingly the use of intraoral dental mouth mirrors only began in the 1800s.  Even more amazing is the fact that modern dental mirrors were not available until much later.  As basic as they seem, it took until 1950 with the widespread introduction of the flat, front surface dental mirror before a truly accurate reflected image could be achieved.  Imagine dentists performing complex procedures without the benefit of a non-distorted view.

A patent review reveals numerous dental mirror designs. Nonetheless, all intraoral dental mirrors consist of a handle, stem and head which houses the actual mirror.  Dental mirrors can be classified according to several criteria.  Metal vs plastic, reusable vs disposable, flat vs concave and rear surface reflecting vs front surface reflecting intraoral dental mirrors.

Given todays standards the best image is achieved with a flat, front surface reflecting dental mirror.  Dental intraoral mouth mirrors come in varying sizes. The most commonly used have an 18 mm diameter (#4) or a 20 mm diameter (#5).

Traditionally the three most important functions of the intra oral dental mouth mirror are to provide indirect or reflected vision, reflect light onto a desired surface and to retract soft tissues.

Now let`s look at the newest innovation in dental intraoral mirrors, theFlipMirror®.  This unique dental mirror incorporates the best traditional features of dental mirror plus offers the added benefit of an adjustable hinge.  The hinge allows the mirror to be used to both retract tissues, the same as a traditional mirror, as well as to push tissues, such as the tongue, out of the way.  The adjustable mirror angle allows for easier visualization of hard to see areas such as behind upper molars.   It is reusable and autoclavable (sterilizable).  It is constructed from polypropylene, a high-quality plastic that can withstand heat and pressure and is considered safer than other plastics.  It should be noted, in contrast to metal mouth mirrors, plastic dental mirrors are perceived by patients to be much more comfortable.  TheFlipMirror® is a flat, front surface reflecting, intraoral mirror that allows for minimal distortion and superior imaging.   It is double sided, which allows for improved visualization from different directions. The mirror diameter is 19 mm, halfway between the two most common intraoral mirror sizes, #4-and #5.  Consequently, by combining the best features of intraoral dental mouth mirrors with a doubled sided reflecting surface and an adjustable hinge theFlipMirror® is setting a new standard for dental intraoral mouth mirrors.


Recommended Protocols for Dental Intraoral Mouth Mirrors

Dental Mirrors-Cleaning and Maintenance

Reusable dental mirrors can be maintained for a significant number of sterilization cycles.  Dental mirrors should be replaced once they become scratched or worn to the point of interfering with an accurate reflected image.  Proper care and maintenance will extend a dental mirror`s useful life.  Once used on a patient, dental mirrors should be prewashed to remove any organic debris. Brushes or sponges should be avoided since they tend to scratch the mirror surface.  Use of an ultrasonic bath is recommended.  An ultrasonic enzymatic detergent should be used.  Care should be taken to make sure other instruments, especially pointed ones, do not contact the dental mirror surface to avoid scratches.  In the case of theFlipMirror®, the mirror should be exposed to two ultrasonic cleaning cycles, one in the open and one in the closed position.  This will help ensure the removal of any organic material in the hinge.  Once the mirror is removed from the ultrasonic cleaner it should be rinsed with copious amounts of water until all the detergent residue is removed.  Dry with a lint free cloth or pressurized air and inspect the mirror surface to make sure it is free of residue.  At this point the dental mirror can be bagged in a sterilization pouch and run through an autoclave cycle.  Sterilized intra oral dental mirrors should be stored in a temperature and humidity-controlled environment. They should remain in their intact sterilization pouch until the moment of use to guarantee sterility.



No matter the type of mirror used, surface fogging can be a significant issue when working intraorally.  Condensation occurs when the warm moist supersaturated air in the mouth condenses onto the colder surface of a dental mirror.  Essentially, the temperature of the mirror is below the dew point of the patient`s breath. To compensate for this, one solution is to raise the temperature of the mirror by placing it under warm tap water.  Many clinicians frequently slide the mirror across the patient`s buccal mucosa to warm the surface as well as coat it with saliva.  Other clinicians regularly dip the surface of the mirror in mouthwash or wipe the surface with mouthwash dampened gauze.  There are several commercially prepared solutions which also eliminate fogging.  Periodically wiping the surface of dental mirrors with one of these solutions can significantly help to maintain a clear image.