A rubber dam, or dental dam, is a thin sheet of nitrile that creates a waterproof barrier between the tooth the dentist is working on and the rest of the mouth. There are an incredible number of advantages to the dentist, the dental assistant, and most importantly, the patient. Some of the advantages are listed below:
- The dentist can better visualize the teeth to be treated.
- If the dentist can fully see the tooth the better the restoration will be.
- Dryness is imperative.
- If the restoration is placed in a dry field it will be more durable and long lasting.
- The dam provides enhanced patient safety.
- The rubber dam helps prevent aspiration of foreign debris and inhalation of materials containing mercury.
- It also helps prevent accidental injury to patients’ lips, tongue, and teeth from dental instruments.
- Procedures can be accomplished more quickly and with superior results.
- Rubber dams promote calming effects.
- Patients tend to relax more and often fall asleep while being treated.
Working with a rubber dam (on the left) is much easier than on the right.