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Patient attitudes to glove use by dentists


Objective: To evaluate the attitudes of patients on the importance of glove wearing by dentists.

Design: A patient survey using a self-completed patient questionnaire.

Setting: Ireland.

Subjects and methods: 164 consecutive patients attending a dental accident and emergency department were asked to participate. All the patients were aged 16 years or over. Of the surveyed patients, 157 completed a questionnaire designed to elucidate the patients' attitudes to the wearing of gloves by dentists.

Results: Most patients (93.6%; n = 147) considered that dentists should routinely wear gloves, while 1.9% (n = 3) thought the wearing of gloves was unnecessary. 94.9% (n = 149) considered that gloves were worn to protect both the dentist and the patient, with 1.9% (n = 3) feeling that only the dentist was protected. 72% of patients (n = 113) would not attend a dentist who did not wear gloves. 87.2% (n = 138) of patients thought that the dentist should change gloves between patients, while 1.3% (n = 2) considered glove washing to be sufficient. The remaining 11.4% (n = 17) felt that this decision should be left to the dentist.

Conclusion: The majority of surveyed individuals indicated that dentists should wear gloves while treating patients. The results suggest that many patients refuse to have dental treatment carried out by a dentist who does not wear gloves


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Kearns, H., Burke, F. & McCartan, B. Patient attitudes to glove use by dentists. Br Dent J 185, 87–89 (1998).

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