Everything you need to know about dental gloves

dental gloves

Gloves are very important for the dental practice. Gloves are important in dentistry because during treatment the hands of the dentist come in contact with the blood and saliva of the patients' which is breeding grounds for illnesses and infections. Therefore, gloves are used, because they keep the dentist as well as the patient safe from infections, bloodborne illnesses as well as cross-contamination. It is estimated that dentists have to wear gloves for more than 40 hours or more per week, while they are at their jobs. 

Thus, it is very important for dentists to wear the right kind of gloves while they are at their jobs. Dentists sometimes have to use antiseptic solutions during treatment and the right kind of dental gloves serve as the right kind of barrier from them. Dental gloves have been part of the dentistry profession ever since the 1980s.

What are the different types of dental gloves available in the market?

Let's have a look at some of the most popular options in dental gloves, in today's day and age!
  • Latex gloves: - Latex gloves used to be the first choice for dentists for a very long time and for very valid reasons so.  Latex gloves are biodegradable and they fit like a second skin given their high elasticity. These gloves used to be the gold standard in the dentistry profession for several decades before latex allergies forced a definite shift to nitrile gloves. Since dentists often have to touch the cheeks, lips, and chin of the patient during treatment, patients sensitive or allergic to latex, can end up having a reaction to latex very quickly. Another key drawback of latex gloves is that it can be very hard to detect punctures and small tears in them, which poses a lot of risks for both the patient as well as the dentist. Latex also breaks down very easily and has limited chemical protection which means that while it may be the best option for some professions, it isn't necessarily the best option for dentists given the risks associated with it.
  • Nitrile gloves: - The current gold standard in the industry is nitrile gloves. They are a natural alternative for anyone who is sensitive or allergic to latex.  Nitrile is the best option for dental gloves because it resolutely stands up to different chemicals and solvents. Further, it is very easy to detect punctures and small tears in nitrile gloves, which ensures that the safety of the dentist or the patient isn't compromised in any way whatsoever. Most variants of nitrile gloves have to undergo a series of tests conducted by the FDA if the manufacturers intend to market these gloves as medical grade. Another key reason for opting for these gloves is that they have a much longer shelf life than latex gloves. Further, they are available in a wide range of colors which allows for a lot of customization.
  • Vinyl Gloves: - Latex and nitrile may be the dominant and the most popular choices available in the market, but there are also some other types of gloves, which are worthy of consideration. This brings us to vinyl gloves which are very popular for being synthetic alternatives to latex gloves. They may not be the best option for surgical procedures but they are pretty effective for routine check-ups. These gloves are free from allergies and thus they are actively used by people who suffer from latex allergies and insensitivities. They provide a very good fit, aren't affected in any way by ozone or UV light, and are a lot cheaper than other, alternatives and variants available in the market. Their inferior durability and poor tear and puncture resistance are some of its main drawbacks, why don't make it the best possible option as dental gloves.

What to choose, powder or powder-free?

When it comes to dental gloves, they are available in two major variants: - powder and powder-free. When the gloves are powdered, it gets very easy to put them on and take them off.  It is also very easy to keep the powder gloves separated when they are packaged. You aren't advised to go for the powdered variants if you are allergic to the powder. This is because trace amounts on the gloves can end up causing reactions and allergies. Both latex and nitrile gloves can be coated in powder but given the rising instances of powder allergies, the powder is increasingly being seen as a less effective option, by all parties concerned. Now nitrile gloves are being coated in a polymer solution which makes it very easy to put on and taken while eliminating all the allergic reactions associated with the powder. This is an excellent option which dental offices around the world are opting for and you are advised to do the same as it ensures your safety and protection from the powder coating in gloves.

How to pick the colors?

The color of the dental gloves is actually a lot more important to a dentist's office than you might think it is. During lab tests, it is very important to keep substances apart, or else there can be cases of cross-contamination. In such situations, the color of the gloves can help in identifying what is being worked with and this can alert the employees into taking necessary precautions. If you want to add another layer of protection then you can try double gloving with different colors as that will help in easily revealing punctures and tears. Dentists often end up buying dental gloves in different colors which helps them in effortlessly color-coordinating their gloves with their scrubs and exam rooms, thereby, helping them in staying a lot more organized.

The Bottom Line

There you go. There was everything you needed to know about dental gloves. It is imperative for dentists to choose the right kind of gloves which can efficiently aid them in treating their patients. No matter what type of gloves you select or what variant of gloves you select or what color of gloves you select, it is very important to get the right 'fit' of the gloves. Don't buy anything too loose or too tight as these gloves can end up being too inconvenient for comfort. Gloves that are too small can cause hand fatigue while gloves that are too large can end up resulting in adverse dexterity.

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