Utility gloves: Why do we hate wearing them?

Thick, puncture-resistant utility gloves are not meant to annoy you or make your job harder.


Try these suggestions on how to wear these gloves more easily to protect yourself from injury.



There is a lot of noncompliance surrounding the use of utility gloves in dentistry. Even though these gloves are great for cleaning and disinfecting, people find them difficult to use. This is a problem because the federal guidelines mandate that dental health-care professionals (DHCPs) wear them for safety and health.


In a dental practice, it's common to see several types of gloves:


  • Exam gloves: single-use disposable gloves used for examining the patient’s mouth

  • Surgical/sterile gloves: single-use gloves used in sterile environments for surgical procedures. The dentist or staff can wear nitrile gloves if they or the patient is allergic to latex.

  • Overgloves: gloves worn over other gloves to allow DHCPs to touch surfaces or objects without contaminating the gloves underneath or other areas touched (cross-contamination)

  • Utility gloves: reusable, heavy-duty, chemical- and puncture-resistant gloves for cleaning, sterilizing, and disinfecting treatment rooms and equipment. These are also helpful when moving, washing, or packing tools or other hazardous materials.