The potential for improving the occupational health of dental clinicians has expanded as increasingly sophisticated equipment enters the marketplace, yet there has been little improvement to the ergonomics with which dental hygienists operate. The use of surgical magnification has great potential to increase the quality of dental hygiene clinical care and to support the musculoskeletal health of dental hygienists. Although the research evidence to support a relationship between the use of surgical magnification and increased quality of dental hygiene care is extrapolated from parallel studies in dentistry, specific dental hygiene studies suggest that the integration of surgical magnification would be helpful in reducing the incidence of musculoskeletal symptoms experienced by dental hygienists. This is not to suggest that the integration of surgical magnification is a panacea for the musculoskeletal problems experienced by dental hygienists. In fact, improperly selected or adjusted surgical magnification systems can promote positions that place clinicians at increased risk for such problems. Clinicians must first determine the optimal working position that supports their musculoskeletal health and then select magnification systems that will support that position. The working distance, depth of field and optical declination angle of the chosen system must correspond to the musculoskeletal needs of the clinician.