Dental Dam? What Does It Do?
A dental dam is one of the standard supplies we use in dentistry, but one with which patients might not be familiar. It’s a device that seems so basic and yet is an essential part of doing our job. A dental dam is simply a thin latex sheet used during certain dental procedures to isolate the treatment area and protect the rest of the mouth from potential contaminants.
In many instances, proper treatment requires a controlled environment. (Not always easily achieved in the mouth.) Sometimes, saliva gets in the way when we need your teeth to remain dry. Other times, even if you’re trying your best to avoid it, your tongue may accidentally get in the way. Instead, the dental dam does its job by isolating the treatment area and keeping your tongue and saliva at bay.
Furthermore, when we remove tooth material with a dental drill, replace old fillings, or do other extensive repairs, the dental dam keeps stray materials from entering the rest of your mouth. Otherwise, they could prove hazardous to your other teeth or even pose a choking hazard.
Safety measures such as this are so commonplace to us dentists that they become second nature and just part of the job. But if you have any questions about the materials we use or the purpose of anything we do in the course of treatment, please feel free to ask! We always enjoy it when patients take an interest in dentistry. So we would be happy to explain more about our tools and procedures in person.
We look forward to seeing you soon!