Dental dam as the name suggests, is a rubber dam that is widely used in dentistry but it has become a topic of discussion here on this website is mainly because of its use as a contraceptive during cunnilingus and oral vaginal sex to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted disease. A study concluded that oral sex is one of the major reasons of getting genital herpes. In fact not many know that how Chlamydia and gonorrhea can actually spread to the back of your throat when you are on it.
It is very scary that how many of us consider oral sex completely harm free and the exchange of saliva not a big deal.
Dental damns for sex are seen as awkward and uncomfortable mean to engage in while considered as a barrier method for lesbians and bisexual women who have multiple partners. However, as the risk of sexually transmitted disease isn’t just limited to lesbians or gays. Anybody, who indulges in oral sex or sexual activity of any sort, is at risk. This isn’t to say that one shouldn’t indulge in such intimate act but the idea is to use proper precaution.
Let’s understand dental dam better.
What is a dental dam?
It is also called Kofferdam (German word) and was designed as well as conceptualized by Sanford Christie Barnum in the year 1864. It is mainly used by the practitioner to isolate the operation site so as to prevent saliva interfere with the surgery or endodontic work. It is used during the fixtures of crowns, bridges and general treatments. Saliva can contaminate the procedure of root canal or dental operations, the instruments can damage the mouth or the anesthesia can be swallowed and to prevent this rubber dam is used to isolate the treated part from the rest of mouth.
Understanding Dental Dam Sex:
A dental dam is used for prevention of sexually transmitted disease. Like a condom, it is also a barrier method. Usually available as a square piece of thin rubber, the dental dam is placed over labia or anus during the oral intercourse. Unlike the dental dam used in dentistry, dental dam for sex is thinner and can be found in a general store or at your local nearby pharmacy. The dental dam for sex is available in latex as well as silicone. If one has allergy from latex, one can go for silicone dental dam. One can also use plastic saran wrap as rubber dental dam for sex to reduce transmission of genital warts, HIV and herpes during oral sex.
How to Use a Dental Dam for Oral Sex:
Dental dam, be it in dentistry and during oral sex, is designed to prevent sharing of the bodily fluids. During intercourse, one can use it to lower the risk of sexual transmitted disease. However, one should be careful of not using it again and not to flip it over.
Instructions for Dental Dam Sex:
A water-based lubricant is needed to apply on the area before indulging in the act. Put the dam in the place. The water-based lube increases sensation and reduces the friction to a great extent during the oral intercourse. The dental dam should be as such that it covers the area completely. It is better to mark it so as you don’t end up flipping it over accidentally. It is advised to keep dental dams at a cool pace and in dry condition. Keep them away from direct sunlight as you do with condoms or other preventive method such as pills.
Where can you buy dental dams?
- Sex Shops
- Online Stores
- At Some Major Pharmacies
Please note that dental dams or oral dams aren’t much in trends. The reasons cited for not major players manufacturing them for oral sex is lack of research, lack of awareness, feasibility and lack of funding in this direction.
How to make dental dam from a condom?
- Dental dam / oral dam can be made from a condom. Cut the closed end of a condom and pull the condom’s open end. Cut down the condom by the length. And your latex dental dam is ready, which is as good as a store-bought one.
- However, ensure that you don’t end up making a dam out of a latex condom that is sprayed with a spermicidal because you don’t want to end up licking all of that chemical.
- Super-thin condoms are termed to be very good for making dental dams.
Please note that dental dams were never intended to be used for prevention of STDs during sex. It was mainly intended to isolate the treated side from the rest of mouth. The dental dams were first mentioned in the public space in the year 1980. The New York Times mentioned the usage of dental dams in its article titled, “Women and AIDS: Discussing Precautions.” However, the same publication termed the use of dental dams by monogamous women unimaginable and awkward. An Australian health organization, working for the lesbians and bisexual women, ACON started distributing dental dams for women at parties and other community gathering in the year 2003. However, after distributing 3,000 dental dams and spending $1,500, the organization is able to distribute only 400 dams on a yearly basis.*
It is not that women aren’t inquiring about the product or aren’t aware about dental dam sex, it is just the workability part of using a dam during the oral sex that this prevention method is getting its due attention (which is however, less than the inquiries the said organization receives regarding using condoms) but not the users who would be keen to use it in actual and not just talk about it.
The unpopularity of dental dams in lesbian sex can be understood by the telltale example of New South Wales prisons for women, where the authorities have to stock dental dams in the prisons after the mandate of local court, which cites them to stock on condoms in male prisons. However, the dental dams ended up as mats on the floors in the cells. It was also studied that only 4percent of women were using it in the prisons to prevent transmission of diseases. Meanwhile, a study also suggested that dental dams aren’t much of a prevention method anyway. Though, this study doesn’t rule out its efficacy either. If used correctly and every time when you indulge with your partner, it can reduce the risk of STIs considerably.
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Making Dental Dam from Plastic Wrap:
Kitchen wrap you have been using in your plastic to wrap food can be used to make dental dam. The kitchen wrap can be a good barrier during the sexual act as it is transparent and big. However, it can sometime stick to itself, which can spoil the moment. But if it sticks to the body part, there is nothing like it because then you don’t have anything to worry about being careful about flipping it over accidentally or coming off on its own.
The transparency makes microwave and plastic wraps an option for dental dam however, they aren’t designed as a barrier or to prevent the passing through of bacteria. Hence, don’t expect the same level of protection from as you do from a condom-made dam or professionally made dental-dam you buy from a maker.
Disadvantages of using a Dental Dam:
- If one has allergy to rubber latex, one shouldn’t use it.
- People often complain that dental dams reduce sensitivity and ruin the sexual experience.
Apprehensions regarding using a Dental Dam:
It is obvious to feel awkward and confused with the idea of using dental dam at first. In fact, most of people I know don’t even know about it and those handfuls of them who use it, felt very awkward about bringing it up for the discussion at first. After all, it is not like condom or lubes that are available and the widely-spread notion that it is for women who are attracted towards women, make them quite an outcast in the segment. However, we need to understand that like a condom or a pill that you are on, it is a prevention method.
The Flavors of Dental Dam:
You can find dental dam in various flavors such as strawberry, banana, grape, mint and vanilla.
Things you should know before Using a Dental Dam:
The starch and powder on dental dams can cause fungal infections and hence, it is advised that you wash off it before using it.
Just like condoms, dental dams are prone to manufacturing defects. So, make sure they aren’t torn or past beyond their expiry date. There shouldn’t be any tear. Inspect the dental dam by keeping it in the light. You can also try passing it through the water.
While the use of water-based lube is encouraged before you put dental dam at the place, you shouldn’t use any oil or oil-based lubricant such as Vaseline, olive oil, baby oil or moisturizer. The oil can cause the latex to break or tear.
If you experience problem with dental dam and its placement or it keeps shifting from its place, you can consider buying specially designed belts for dental dams that keep it exactly where it should be. You can get these belts at sex store or you can also buy a garter belt.
Use a dental dam only once. Don’t flip it ever. Mark it for precaution.
Like condoms, dental dams can break with heat, sunlight or friction. It is always recommended to keep them at a cool and dry place.
The Do’s of Dental Dams:
- Use it every time you indulge in oral sex.
- Always keep a check on its shelf life and expiration date.
- It should be intact and has no tear.
- Your partner / you should keep it on until you decide to end the act.
- Water-based lube is okay to use with dental dams.
The Don’ts of Dental Dams
- Just keep the dental dam as it is. Stretching the dam can cause tears.
- Oil-based lubes can cause friction and tear in dental dams.
- Don’t flush them after use. Wrap it in a paper or throw it away in the bin.
Hope this information brings you clarity on the usage of dental dams. The purpose of this write-up isn’t to discourage you from going down on your partner but to encourage you to have healthy and safe sex life. If you don’t want to use any barrier or preventive method for oral sex, it is recommended that you indulge in sexual activity with a person, who has had tests recently and whom you can trust in this department. After all, your health and overall well-being is paramount and nothing should come before it.