Gloves for use by Dentists

If you work in the dental services industry you probably know that some people have severe anxiety about having dental work done (36% according to a Adult Dental Health Survey from 2009). One thing your patients shouldn’t fear is whether their dentist or hygienist complies with federal requirements regarding glove use. How do you comply with these regulations? We’ll discuss laws to protect your employees and patients, the reasons they need protection and finally we will provide the glove options appropriate for this industry.

The Law:

The new CDC infection control guidelines offer advice as to the best use of gloves. Concerning general glove use, the CDC indicates the following:

(1) Wear medical gloves when a potential exists for contacting blood, saliva, other potential infectious materials (OPIM), or mucous membranes.

(2) Wear sterile surgeons’ gloves when performing oral surgical procedures.

(3) Wear a new pair of medical gloves for each patient, remove them promptly after use, and wash hands immediately to avoid transfer of microorganisms to other patients or the environment.

(4) Remove gloves that are torn, cut, or punctured as soon as feasible and wash hands before regloving.


(5) Do not wash surgeons’ or patient examination gloves before use or wash, disinfect, or sterilize gloves for reuse.

(6) Ensure that appropriate gloves in the correct size are readily accessible.

(7) Use appropriate gloves (eg, puncture- or chemical-resistant utility gloves) when cleaning instruments and performing housekeeping tasks involving contact with blood or OPIM.

(8) Consult with glove manufacturers regarding the chemical compatibility of glove materials with hand hygiene products as well as the dental materials being used.

Gloves are also an important issue for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In its Bloodborne Pathogens Standard OSHA mandates that all healthcare workers wear gloves during patient care activities where contact with blood or OPIM may be anticipated (


The Hazards:

Use of rotary dental and surgical instruments, such as handpieces, ultrasonic scalers, and air-water syringes, generates a spray that primarily contains large-particle droplets of water, saliva, blood, microorganisms, and other debris. Spatter, being relatively heavy, travels short distances and settles down quickly. Dental employees are exposed to spatter; spray may contain aerosols, which are small (< 10 mm). Aerosols can remain airborne for extended periods and can be inhaled.

Additionally, touching soft tissue or teeth in a patient’s mouth results in direct contact with microorganisms with immediate spread from the source. This gives microorganisms an opportunity to penetrate the body through small breaks or cuts in the skin and around the fingernails of ungloved hands. Injuries with contaminated sharps (eg, needlesticks) and contact with contaminated instruments, equipment, surfaces, and hands happen often as well. The latest data from 2019 surrounding needlestick injuries in dentistry reveals that over 50% of dental professionals and students of the profession had suffered at least one serious needlestick injury in the previous 12-month period.

In the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard from OSHA , blood and certain body fluids of all patients are to be considered potentially infectious for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and other bloodborne pathogens.


The Gloves:

Before choosing a glove material think about:


  • the type of procedure planned,
  • the anticipated length of the planned procedure,
  • the stress and wear-and-tear expected,
  • if needed, the possibility of double gloving,
  • reaction (sensitivity) of the practitioner and the patient, and
  • individual preference.


​​Nitrile gloves: These gloves are made of synthetic rubber and they are a perfect alternative to latex gloves that can cause allergies. They are puncture-resistant and have a high level of sensitivity. They can be worn for long hours and deal efficiently with high-risk procedures which comprise working with harmful materials. Legacy Medical Sales provides a variety of nitrile gloves (multiple colors) perfect for dental office employees. Our reps will work with you to find a custom solution in nitrile that is both safe and comfortable.

Vinyl gloves: These dental gloves are latex-free, fit comfortably on the hands and are used for short-term procedures that are less risky. They work best when dealing with non-hazardous elements.  Our vinyl and synthetic vinyl glove options provide effective protection and enough stretch to prevent strain.

Please check out our amazing selection of exam gloves at:


Gloves play a significant role in the dental industry, not only in the fight against the spread of infectious diseases but also to protect the wearer from injury. Legacy Medical Sales has a variety of options to keep your employees safe, your patients healthy, your business operating within the law. Not sure which glove is the best “fit” for your office? Simply contact us at info at or call 800-446-7310 and we will work with you on a custom solution.