What Is A Dental Dam?
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!
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Born in Allentown Pennsylvania, into a family of musicians, Rob Pearce grew up studying violin, percussion, jazz arranging and composition. After two years at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, he transfer to the pre-dental program at the University of Miami and later moved to San Francisco where he earned his Doctorate in Dentistry (DDS) from the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in 1990. For the past twenty eight years he has focused his efforts on mastering the art of high quality, long lasting “metal free dentistry,” a concept that was relatively new at the time but over the years has gained powerful momentum.
In 2014 Dr. Pearce became a member of the “Visiting Faculty” of Spear Education, arguably the most prestigious dental continuing education program in the world.
As a Spear Open Wide Foundation Ambassador, Dr. Pearce and his team travel to Guatemala to provide metal free dentistry to those who would otherwise receive no dental treatment at all. Dr. Pearce and Annette Rig were honored, and lucky enough to treat the very first patient at the Foundation’s first clinic in 2012. Since then, with the outpouring of support from our member dentists and American equipment manufacturers, we now have six clinics and have treated over 200,000 patients in need! The foundation’s goals include helping improve the education of Guatemala dentists. In 2015, as a member of the Education Development Committee, Dr. Pearce presented an all day lecture and workshop for the faculty and students at the Galvez School of Dentistry in Guatemala City.