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. 2019 Apr;83(4):474-482.
doi: 10.21815/JDE.019.048. Epub 2019 Feb 11.

Dental Dam and Isovac Usage: Factors Influencing Dental Students' Decisions on Isolation Techniques


Dental Dam and Isovac Usage: Factors Influencing Dental Students' Decisions on Isolation Techniques

Terence A Imbery et al. J Dent Educ. .


The Isovac system was introduced into the Virginia Commonwealth University dental curriculum with the intention that it would be used as a substitute when the dental dam could not be placed. The aim of this study was to determine the usage and factors that influenced dental students' decisions to use the dental dam or Isovac. All third-and fourth-year dental students (n=210) were asked in 2017 to complete a 26-item survey. The survey asked about students' operative procedures completed using the dental dam and Isovac, their own and their patients' preferences, basic dental dam knowledge, full-time and adjunct faculty recommendations of method, importance of factors influencing their decisions, and anticipated dental dam use after graduation. Comments were also allowed. A total of 164 students responded to the survey, for a 78% response rate. Of the respondents, 58% said they used the Isovac only when they could not use the dental dam. Among the eight general practice groups in which students are educated in delivery of comprehensive dental care, preference was significantly different for placement of Class II restorations. Overall, the students' dental dam knowledge was low, and the knowledge results were not associated with its use. According to the students, recommendations by full-time and adjunct faculty members were significantly different. Factors ranked by importance from greatest to least for determining which isolation method to use were as follows: moisture control, procedure, patient comfort, application time, ease of placement, and attending faculty. Student comments overwhelmingly favored dental dam usage if a dental assistant was available. This study found that dental dam and Isovac use was not standardized among the general practice groups and faculty. Student education, faculty calibration, and increased use of trained dental assistants are required to ensure education is consistent among all general practice groups.

Keywords: Isovac; clinical skills; dental dam; dental education; operative dentistry.

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