What is a rubber dam?
When used as a part of root canal treatment:
A rubber dam (also referred to as a “dental dam”) is a sheet of latex that the tooth being treated sticks through.
With most applications, the dam is held in position via the use of a “rubber dam clamp” that firmly grasps around the tooth.
The dam is used for tooth “isolation,” meaning it acts as a barrier that partitions the tooth being treated from the wet, contaminate-laden environment of your mouth.
What purpose does a rubber dam serve during root canal treatment?
1. A dam aids in maintaining an aseptic operating field.
One of the main goals of root canal therapy is cleaning out the interior of the tooth. Placing a dam helps to insure that contaminates from the mouth (saliva, debris, bacteria) aren’t allowed to enter the tooth as the dentist proceeds with this work.
2. Dam placement enhances procedure efficiency.
- Because it retracts the patient’s cheeks and keeps their tongue at bay, the dentist has improve visibility and less encumbered access to the operating field.
- The dry field that a dam provides means that activities related to moisture control (like suctioning) are significantly reduced.
- Procedure efficiency is enhanced because interruptions and conversation originating with the patient are minimized.
3. A rubber dam provides patient protection.
- Performing the root canal procedure involves the use of a number of small instruments (such as root canal files) and several types of medicaments (like the solutions used to periodically flush the interior of the tooth out).
- Without a dental dam in place, if any of these are lost in the patient’s mouth the episode may result in tissue irritation, harm or even damage. This is especially true if the item is aspirated (inhaled) or swallowed.
Courtesy of www.animated-teeth.com