In 1864, S.C. Barnum, a New York City dentist, introduced the rubber dam into dentistry. Use of the rubber dam ensures appropriate dryness of the teeth and improves the quality of clinical restorative dentistry. The rubber dam is used to define the operating field by isolating one or more teeth from the oral environment. The dam eliminates saliva from the operating site and retracts the soft tissue. (Ref. Sturdevant’s Art and Science of Operative Dentistry)

In current mindmap the following points are covered.


  1. a dry, clean operating field
  2. improved access and visibility
  3. potentially improved properties of dental materials
  4. protection of the patient and the operator
  5. operating efficiency.


  1. Latex
  2. nonlatex


  1. 5 × 5 inch (12.5 × 12.5 cm)
  2. 6 × 6 inch (15 × 15 cm) sheets


  1. thin (0.006 inch [0.15 mm])
  2. medium (0.008 inch [0.2 mm])
  3. heavy (0.010 inch  [0.25 mm])
  4. extra heavy (0.012 inch [0.30 mm])


  • Light and dark dam materials are available, and darker colors are generally preferred for contrast.
  • Shade selection also should occur prior to placement of a rubber dam, because a desiccated tooth appears whiter than a moist or wet tooth.
  • Rubber dam material has a shiny side and a dull side. Because the dull side is less light reflective, it is generally placed facing the occlusal side of the isolated teeth
  • A thicker dam is more effective in retracting tissue and more resistant to tearing
  • The thinner material has the advantage of passing through the contacts easier, which is particularly helpful when contacts are tight.



MindMap Link

Link to Rubber Dam Mindmap:

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Mahmoud H. Al-Johani

Author Mahmoud H. Al-Johani

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