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Rubber dam techniques in paediatric dentistry

From Volume 49, Issue 7, July 2022 | Pages 606-609


Faye Doughty


Foundation Dentist, Liverpool Scheme

Articles by Faye Doughty

Manas Dave

BSc (Hons), BDS (Hons), MJDF RCS Eng, MFDS RCPSG, PGCert, FHEA, PGCert

NIHR Academic Clinical, Fellow in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, University of Manchester

Articles by Manas Dave

Laura Reynolds


BDS, DCT3, University Dental Hospital of Manchester

Articles by Laura Reynolds

Siobhan Barry

BDS NUI, MFDS, DClin Dent (Paed Dent), MPaed Dent, FDS (Paed Dent), SFHEA

Consultant in Paediatric Dentistry, University of Manchester Dental Hospital, Higher Cambridge Street, Manchester, M15 6HF

Articles by Siobhan Barry


CPD/Clinical Relevance: This Technique Tip describes the applications of rubber dam within paediatric dentistry with tips on behaviour management techniques to improve patient cooperation.


Rubber dam has many applications in paediatric dentistry, yet it is an underused isolation technique in children, particularly within primary care. Rubber dam has obvious advantages in maintaining a dry working field and soft tissue retraction. It protects the airway from foreign bodies, and protects the soft tissues from endodontic irrigation solutions. Disadvantages of rubber dam include difficulties in patient cooperation, lack of operator experience and the perception that it is unnecessary for particular treatments.

This Technique Tip discusses the advantages and disadvantages of rubber dam, behavioural management techniques, useful equipment and examples of rubber dam use in paediatric dentistry. There are numerous isolation techniques in dentistry, with rubber dam being one of the longest established. Its application helps facilitate moisture control, an important consideration when using restorative materials, and mitigates the risk of dental equipment and materials being inhaled or ingested. There are numerous other benefits of rubber dam application listed in Table 1. Use of rubber dam is arguably more important now than it ever has been due to COVID-19. Use of rubber dam reduces the amount of saliva-contaminated aerosol in the environment, thus reducing risk to the dental team.2

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