Ask a Dentist

April 19, 2024

Why Does My Dentist Use a Rubber Dam for Restorations?

A dentist working on a patient's mouth using a rubber dam

Your mouth is a bustling hub of 500 to 1,000 types of bacteria, making dental cleanliness a continual battle! Normally, the bacteria in your mouth aren't an issue. However, during dental treatments that expose the inside of your teeth, there's a risk of bacteria entering these areas.

But don’t worry, there is a very simple solution to these types of procedures: rubber dams. Although it might feel odd, this flexible little piece is pivotal in safeguarding against infection during dental treatments.

What Is a Rubber Dam?

A rubber dam, or dental dam, is a slim square sheet, often made of latex (with non-latex versions available for allergy concerns), that isolates the treatment area in your mouth. It has a hole through which the dentist can access and work on the affected tooth, ensuring the area is clean and isolated from the rest of your mouth.

When Are Rubber Dams Used?

Dental dams find their place in various dental procedures, particularly in endodontics for root canals, as well as in prosthodontics for crowns and bridges, veneer placements, and other restorative works. Their usage varies among dental practitioners; while some use them regularly, others may opt for them only during specific treatments.

The Benefits of Using Rubber Dams

The primary goal of using a dental dam is to prevent oral bacteria from contaminating the treatment area, particularly during intricate procedures like root canals. They help maintain a sterile environment, allow dentists to focus on the affected tooth, and prevent the patient from swallowing or inhaling dental materials.

The Challenges with Dental Dams

Despite their benefits, the adoption of dental dams is not universal. Some dentists find them challenging to place and costly, while others may lack proper training. Patient comfort is also a concern. However, studies suggest that frequent use and experience can overcome these hurdles, debunking myths and promoting better comfort for both dentist and patient.

Now that we've covered the basics about rubber dams, you can approach your next dental procedure with confidence, understanding the importance of ensuring safe and effective treatment.  

And always remember, if you have questions or concerns, your dentist is there to make your experience as comfortable as possible.

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Maybe it's time for your and your family's regular checkup and cleaning, you have a toothache or you need to get your treatment plan going - whatever the reason, we're here to help you get your confident smile. Whether you're a new patient or a returning friend, we can't wait to see you at your next appointment at either of our Winnipeg clinics!

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