All dental offices go through hundreds of gloves each and every week. Finding a quality dental supplies manufacturer product that both protects and functions well, should not be difficult. There are more suppliers of gloves on the market than ever before, and most of the selection process comes down to simply trying them out. We all want a solid protective barrier against contamination, but we also need to have enough tactile sense to be able to do the intricate work we do. So we need to find a product that works well for us.
Latex are a staple of most health care providers, and even with the advent of synthetic materials, latex still remains the most elastic and resilient form fitting material on the market today.
The problem with Latex is that an increasing number of individuals are developing highly allergic reactions to natural rubber latex. These allergies are most likely to develop if the gloves are not properly washed and processed to eliminate any latex proteins. In addition, latex is not a great barrier to chemicals, so their use is contraindicated in some situations. And finally, the cost of latex gloves fluctuates with the cost of natural resources. The positive side of all of this is that natural latex is the most biodegradable glove material available to the market.
nitrile gloves are made from a synthetic polymer that has many natural rubber latex characteristics. The best part is that they are free of any latex proteins so they are a great alternative for the allergic patient, or doctor. Nitrile gloves also give a much better chemical and biohazard protection than their latex counterparts. They are much more resistant to punctures and tears compared to natural latex or vinyl, and because they are synthetic, have a much longer shelf life for storage.
The downside to nitrile is that they are not biodegradable. They are also less elastic so you don’t get the same form fitting quality that natural latex has, but they do function very well. Nitrile is a petroleum based product and the price does fluctuate with the price of oil, but with improvements in formulations and manufacturing processes, these gloves are very competitively priced.
Finally, the third option in glove materials is Vinyl. Vinyl is another synthetic non biodegradable material that is also free of the proteins that cause allergic reactions.
On the downside, vinyl gloves offer very little protection against chemical hazards and microorganisms. They fit poorly compared to both latex and nitrile, so they are not conducive to the fine detailed work that we do in dentistry. However, when your patient has a latex allergy, vinyl is a cheap alternative.
Ease of putting them on the hands without ripping tends to be the biggest concern among most health care providers. Because of their disposability, most gloves have minimal thickness, and therefore tend to tear easily when overextended. We can’t help but find ourselves in situations all day long that require us to pick up the pace a little. Donning and removing gloves can be a real hassle at times, but it is currently our best protection for both our patients, and us.