Does Your Rubber Dam Leak?

Article courtesy of Dr. Douglas Harvey

Critical to the success of every root canal treatment is establishing and maintaining a clean, dry, isolated field. Preventing the introduction of oral bacteria into the root canal space cannot be over-emphasized. The use of a rubber dam is the standard of care, however, maintaining a complete seal around the tooth can often be a challenge, especially with a badly broken down tooth. The result could be saliva contamination of the access cavity and/or the leakage of root canal irrigants, such as sodium hypochlorite, into the oral cavity with disastrous consequences.

Two products which are invaluable in maintaining a contaminant-free environment are
OraSeal™ Caulking and Putty and OpalDam™ Light-Cured Resin Barrier by Ultradent.

OraSeal dam
Use of OraSeal Caulking
to seal rubber dam

OraSeal is a material made from soft white Hectorite clay in a cellulose base. As such, it can be applied to wet surfaces and easily manipulated. The appropriately named OraSeal caulking material is applied like any caulking material around the rubber dam clamp for a moisture-free barrier.


OpalDam was originally introduced as a light-cured resin barrier used to protect soft tissue during bleaching procedures, but has been adapted for use in working field isolation around a rubber dam clamp. It is easily syringed into the area around the clamp, flowing nicely into any gaps, and sets passively when light-cured.

Tooth isolated with DermaDam rubber dam
Application of OpalDam
OpalDam is light-cured
Tooth isolated with impervious seal

OraSeal and OpalDam (available in white or green) are easily removed with an instrument; however, care should be taken not to suction the OraSeal material.

Douglas Harvey.jpg

Dr. Douglas Harvey is a consultant in Clinical Affairs with Clinician’s Choice Dental Products in Canada. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology (’84) and a Doctor of Dental Surgery (’88), both from the University of Western Ontario. He served as a dental officer at the Canadian National Defence headquarters before enjoying a career in solo general practice until 2015. Dr. Harvey has been a long-standing member of the International Dental Study Club, and has served in organized dentistry at the local and provincial levels.

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