Have you ever noticed your dentist putting a rubber material in your mouth during a dental procedure and wondered what exactly that was? It was likely a rubber dam, sometimes referred to as a dental dam.
These latex sheets are especially useful during a root canal, but your dentist might also use them if you are getting tooth-colored fillings put into place.
It acts as a raincoat for your teeth, and there are a variety of reasons that your dentist might be using one:
It will prevent bacteria in your saliva from getting onto the tooth that your dentist is working on. This is especially important for root canal treatments, as bacteria can re-contaminate your tooth.
It will keep your tooth out of the way during the procedure, potentially preventing an injury.
The tooth will stay dry, which is crucial because many of the materials used to repair your tooth need a dry and clean environment for proper bonding.
You won't get water, bleach, or any other solution that your dentist is using down your throat.
You won't need to worry about swallowing any type of debris, which is especially concerning when your dentist is using the drill or air abrasion.
It will keep your cheeks and lips out of the way to protect them.
The rubber dam shouldn't have any negative effect on you throughout the procedure. Many people are concerned that they won't be able to breathe or swallow with it in place, but fortunately, there is a lot of room around the edges, so breathing through your mouth is still a possibility.
However, if you are worried about not being able to breathe, make sure to contact our office. This is especially important if you have dental anxiety, as your dentist can take steps to keep you comfortable.