Unlike most dentists, we almost always use a rubber dam. We feel that it is an essential part of cosmetic dentistry. A rubber dam is a thin sheet of latex that is placed around the area to be worked on. It allows us to isolate the impaired tooth or teeth during procedures giving us better visibility and moisture control.
It has many benefits including putting our patients at ease because they know that they have no risk of swallowing or breathing in dental materials during a procedure. I have had patients who had always thought of themselves as a difficult patient. This was probably branded into their brain by other dentists who found themselves battling a large tongue or a limited opening. But these are genetic problems out of the patient’s control. When patients think of themselves this way, they avoid seeing the dentist and this can lead to problems. These patients, when they see me, begin to think of themselves as good dental patients. It’s up to the dentist through the use of rubber dam to make the dental procedure easier for all (the patient, the assistant, and the dentist).
A rubber dam also ensures that modern adhesive dentistry, which is very technique-sensitive, is done without contamination from saliva. Some of my procedures, I even control for oxygen contamination so I can fully cure my resin adhesives. This is done by curing the resins through a clear gel over the rubber dam- isolated tooth.