How to Use a Dental Dam

25 May 2021  |  No Comments

The dentist putting dental dam in the patient's mouth

Ever wondered how dentists protect your teeth from getting infected during a dental procedure? After all, any human mouth is swimming with bacteria, and some dental treatments expose the interior of the tooth. That’s where dental dams come in. Learn more about the techniques Marsfield Dental Clinic uses to keep you safe during your visit to our dental clinic.

Why Are Dental Dams Used?

No matter how thoroughly you think you’re brushing and flossing, your mouth contains hundreds of species of bacteria. While this is normal and doesn’t usually lead to any problems, a dental procedure can expose the interior of your tooth to gums. This creates a chance for bacterial infection, which could lead to further complications such as tooth rot, decay and cavities.
The dentists at Marsfield Dental Clinic use a tool called a rubber dam. We may use this tool if you need a dental filling, fissure sealant, crown, bridges or root canal treatment. This is part of how we keep you safe from bacterial infection, both during and after our treatments.

What Are Dental Dams?

A dental dam is a thin sheet of material, which sits in your mouth, with a structured hole, which is placed over the treatment area. The dental dam is held in place with a clamp onto the crown of your teeth. A frame of metal or plastic is stretched over the dam, to keep it anchored and sealed properly for the duration of the procedure.
In this way, the dental dam keeps the area of operation isolated from the rest of your mouth. Most dental dams are made of latex rubber, but talk with our staff if you are allergic and need an alternative material, such as nitrile.

How Dental Dams Work

Using a dental dam means keeping the area of operation dry, isolated from fluids such as saliva and blood as well as the bacteria they contain. Keeping the operating area dry also has the benefit of making adhesives stronger if any need to be placed on your teeth, such as when bonding dental crowns onto the enamel. Though this is rare, a dental dam also prevents liquid spillages or medical instruments from coming into contact with your oral mucosa or throat.

The specifications of dental dams can aid during the procedure. For example, darker shades create contrast to make the operation easier to discern, while lighter shades are more reflective to brighten the operating area.

Choosing to Use Dental Dams

The use of a dental dam is mandatory for root canal treatments, where blood vessels and nerves are exposed. However, though this isn’t the only treatment where dental dams could play a part, not all dental clinics go to this extra step. Too many dentists think that it’s too time-consuming to place a dental dam, for any treatment less major than a root canal surgery! If you are after dentists who always put your health first, ask Marsfield Dental Clinic about what services we can provide for your next visit.

Disclaimer – This blog article does not constitute health advice from a dental professional. For more specific information, please seek an appointment with a dentist.

"The information in this website may be simplified in nature and does not replace professional advice. Risks and consequences may apply to any treatment. Always seek a second opinion when considering complex treatment. A referral to a specialist may be required in certain situations. Quotations can only be given after proper clinical assessment and so pricing details cannot be given over the phone."

COVID 19 Update - Oct 2021

 All our members of staff - Dentists and supporting assistants - are fully vaccinated. We are a COVID-safe practice and we are open for all general dental treatment needs and services.