It is imperative to be very careful about using gloves in dentistry. In a medical practice where the doctor has to deal with body fluids such as saliva, pus, and blood, gloves are vital. Not only does the Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) ensure an uninfected treatment for the patient, but it also protects the dentist. Several parameters must be taken into consideration.
About dental gloves
- Practitioners and all clinic staff must recognize that wearing gloves should not be a compromise to washing hands. If your hand has germs, they will permeate to the gloves, infecting the patient. Wash your hand thoroughly and wipe it in a disposable towel before you put on the gloves.
The dentist should clean their nails, remove rings, bracelets, and wristwatches and dry their hands thoroughly before putting on the gloves. You may be washing the hands in a manual faucet. Make sure to use a towel to turn it off because the faucet head can transfer infections to your clean hands.
- Choosing the right gloves size is crucial. Tight gloves can contribute to musculoskeletal disorders for the dentist. Paradoxically, loose gloves also hold the same risk because then the dentist has to apply additional pressure to work wearing the gloves.
- Consult with the manufacturers to choose the right kind of gloves. However, you will always have to do a personal check on its fitting. The dentist should first stand with the hands at rest on the sides. Then, they must don the gloves and see if they fit well without tightening or loosening.
- Washing the gloves before wearing them is not recommended. The washing materials such as alcohol, chlorhexidine, and plain soap can cause ‘micro-punctures’ by ‘wicking’ the gloves.
- Consult with the manufacturer regarding the compatibility of the gloves with different dental practice chemicals. A wide range of chemical substances such as chloroform, hydrogen peroxide, glutaraldehyde, and acid etch are put to use in the treatments.
- Dental instruments are sharp and they can cause puncture in the gloves. Once punctured, they must be replaced immediately.
- Keep multiple pairs of gloves handy when you are administering an extensive treatment. Change it mid-procedure when it is covered with blood or pus. The same should be observed in lengthy procedures because the protective effectiveness of the gloves decreases with time.
- You can also wear two pairs of gloves during extensive procedures.
- Doctors with latex sensitivity should choose appropriate non-latex gloves.
- Gloves are one-use disposable equipment. Take them off properly, and dispose of them safely so that infection does not spread via discarded gloves.
Specific instructions on using dental gloves are available from both CDC (Center for Disease Control) and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). Patients need to confirm whether the clinic adheres diligently with all guidelines to avoid the chances of infection. Do not hesitate to clarify anything you think necessary.