There are three standard glove options to choose from, which we’ve previously covered in our blog post Exam Gloves: Nitrile Vs. Latex Vs. Vinyl
Latex gloves, poor things have garnered a bad reputation since their widespread usage began in the early 1980’s. Prior to the emergence of HIV, medical staff weren’t actually required to use gloves of any kind. While most practitioners opted to protect their hands (and the patient’s mouth) during surgery, it wasn’t common for a dentist to wear anything while performing routine check ups.
Plus, non-sterile exam gloves weren’t readily available.
How things have changed.
Imagine cleaning someone’s teeth without gloves. Unheard of!
Natural rubber latex gloves came on the scene with the introduction of hepatitis and HIV and remained the preferred material for gloves. They were cheap, comfortable and provided unparalleled barrier protection. Over time, both dentists and patients started developing allergies to the material. Latex started to fall to the wayside.
But there was one issue.
Latex gloves still offered the best in barrier protection and comfort.
So developers began to experiment. Gloves in the early days were made quickly and contained up to 2,000 micrograms of residual extractable protein per glove. This level of protein triggered aversions among latex-sensitive doctors and patients. Knowing this, a low protein style of latex glove came on the market with levels of 100 micrograms or less. Allergic reactions and sensitivities dropped significantly.
With this new development, many practitioners were able to turn to latex again. Aside from protection and comfort, latex gloves have a unique resealing capability. Tiny punctures are less likely to tear the glove, making it more durable and longer lasting.
As always, it is a personal preference. If a latex-allergy is not a concern but comfort, fit and durability are, check out our shop for your preferred glove option.