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Rubber Dam Technique: A Guide For Dental Patients

07 Oct 2021

5 min read


The “rubber dam” technique is quite popular and extremely effective.

It basically involves a rubber sheet that sits on your tooth to keep it dry.

It is used to isolate the teeth that need to be treated.

Rubber dam for fillings

So if, for example, the patient was having a white filling, we would put the rubber sheet on first to stop the saliva getting in.

This has the added benefit that it’s more comfortable for the patients because it helps to disassociate things for them.

It feels less like someone has put their hands in your mouth.

How does a dental rubber dam work?

In most restorative treatments, it is used to as a barrier to block saliva and bleeding from the gums.

Restorative treatments include filling, crowns, dental bridges and dental implants.

The technique can significantly reduce the formulation of contaminated aerosols.


The rubber dam technique also has the benefit of stopping the spread of asymptomatic Covid.

The aerosol from the drilling creates the problem but, if we put the sheet on, it stops the viral load at the back of the throat being spread out.

So you are essentially drilling the rubber sheet, which means there’s very little, if any, virus that would be in there.

In the case of a root canal treatment, for example, the rubber sheet stops the bacteria reinfecting the tooth.

It also stops the patient from swallowing chemicals that we use to disinfect the area.

Why do dentists use rubber dam?

In summary, key reasons why dentists isolate teeth when they are being restored include:

  • To help to reduce the aerosols that are produced during dental treatments
  • To keep saliva away from the operative site, which can affect the bonding of the materials used by the dentist
  • To stop instruments, liquids and materials being used in the procedure from being swallowed by the patient or from damaging the patient’s mouth.


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