According to this article in AreaDentist, there are over 200,000 practicing dentists in the United States today —and that number is growing by the year. While each practice is unique, they all have at least one thing in common; the regular use of disposable gloves.
Disposable gloves are an essential part of any dentistry setting, both for the dentists and their hygienists. These handy items create a much-needed barrier to protect patients and medical professionals from bacterial contamination. This is why it’s so important for every dental office to have the right kind of disposable gloves; gloves that can be relied upon to stay intact throughout dental procedures and to provide the best user experience for all parties.
Here are some tips on how to make the best decision when choosing disposable gloves for your dental practice.
A side note on general hand hygiene
While glove material and quality are important, they are no substitute for broader hand hygiene. As Dentistry IQ notes, this is why it is essential for every dental professional to have the supplies they need to wash their hands thoroughly before every patient interaction. To facilitate effective routine hand washing, make sure your office is well stocked with antiseptic hand wash, hand rub or surgical antisepsis. Where possible, also strive to have automatic faucets that do not require staff to manually turn them off. This will significantly reduce the risk of bacterial contamination.
Choosing the right glove type
When deciding on a glove for your dental practice, there are three key factors to consider.
- • First is their level of sterility. Disposable gloves needn’t be sterile for general procedures and check-ups but must be sterile for any procedure classified as surgical.
- • The next factor is how loosely or tightly they fit. Generally speaking, disposable gloves should fit as snugly as possible without compromising finger mobility. If the gloves are too tight, they may cause painful musculoskeletal disorders over time; if they are too loose, they risk requiring excessive pressure during procedures, which can also lead to complications.
- • The third factor to consider is what the gloves are made of. There are three primary materials for disposable gloves: vinyl, latex, and nitrile. We’ve written a full article outlining the differences between the three, which you can access here. For a dental health professional, latex is usually the best choice in terms of comfort and flexibility, while nitrile offers superior dexterity and is an essential choice for anyone with latex allergies. Note that even if a dentist or hygienist does not have a latex allergy, the practice should always have latex alternatives on hand in case the patient does.
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