What's a dental dam?
A dental dam is a small, square piece of latex or a similar material. The material is thin, but tight enough to block liquids and germs from getting through.
Dentists use dental dams to keep a part of the mouth dry or free of germs while they work on it. For example, a dentist might put a dental dam around a tooth to keep saliva (spit) from getting on it during a dental procedure. Some dentists use dental dams to stop small pieces of tooth, water, or other liquids from going down a person's throat. After the dentist has finished working, he or she takes out the dental dam.
Because dental dams are made from a material that's similar to condoms, lots of people use them during oral sex to block body fluids and help prevent the spread of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases). You can buy dental dams at some drugstores as well as clinics like Planned Parenthood.
Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: May 2015
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
|Planned Parenthood Federation of America Planned Parenthood offers information on sexually transmitted diseases, birth control methods, and other issues of sexual health.|
|GYT - Get Yourself Talking and Get Yourself Tested This media campaign designed to get young people to talk with their health care providers and partners about the importance of getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases.|
|Condom Before you consider having sex, you need to know how to protect yourself. Read this article to find out how condoms work - and how well they protect against pregnancy and STDs.|
|Birth Control Methods: How Well Do They Work? Some birth control methods work better than others. This chart compares how well different birth control methods work.|
|5 Myths About STDs There's lots of misinformation out there about STDs. We set the record straight on 5 of the most common myths.|
|About Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) You've probably heard lots of discouraging news about sexually transmitted diseases. The good news is that STDs can be prevented. Find out how to protect yourself.|
|Can You Get an Infection From Fingering or Oral Sex? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Can Someone Get HIV Through Oral Sex? Find out what the experts have to say.|
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