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The use of latex and non-latex gloves and dental equipment in UK and Irish dental hospitals

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Aim To identify glove usage within UK and Ireland dental hospitals as well as the use of latex- and non-latex-containing dental equipment.

Method A self-completed questionnaire was disseminated to 16 dental hospitals in the summer of 2017. The survey concerned their current use of latex and non-latex gloves and dental equipment. In addition, information was sought regarding any problems associated with non-latex and latex gloves.

Results The questionnaire response rate was 13/16 (81%), of which 100% reported the use of non-latex examination gloves. The majority were using nitrile gloves. Twelve of the 13 dental hospitals would use examination gloves for simple extractions and 11 would use sterile gloves for minor oral surgery. In ten hospitals (77%), the sterile gloves were always non-latex, and again, the majority were nitrile. Latex-containing dental equipment including orthodontic bands, prophylactic polishing cups and dental dam was still being used within some dental hospitals, but to a much lesser extent than non-latex.

Conclusion All dental hospitals were using latex-free examination gloves and were showing a move towards latex-free dental equipment. This usage is comparable to what has been seen in general dental practice and follows the trend towards latex-free dentistry.

Key points

  • Highlights the trend of latex-free gloves for aspects of clinical dentistry.

  • Describes the movement towards latex-free dental equipment and latex-free dentistry.

  • Examines the use of examination and sterile gloves for simple extraction and minor oral surgery in dental hospitals.

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The authors gratefully acknowledge the time taken by colleagues in the Association of Dental Hospitals in completing and returning the questionnaires

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Correspondence to Emma Critchley.

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Critchley, E., Pemberton, M. The use of latex and non-latex gloves and dental equipment in UK and Irish dental hospitals. Br Dent J (2021).

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