Rubber dam use during operative dentistry procedures has been quantified based on questionnaires completed by dentists. However, based on the knowledge of the authors of the current study, there are no reports based on use during actual clinical procedures other than in dental materials studies and none based on routine care. The objectives of the current study were to: 1) quantify how commonly the rubber dam is used during operative dentistry procedures; 2) test the hypothesis that certain dentist, restoration and patient-level factors are associated with its use. A total of 229 dentist practitioner-investigators in The Dental Practice-Based Research Network (DPBRN) participated. DPBRN comprises 5 regions: Alabama/Mississippi, Florida/Georgia, Minnesota, Permanente Dental Associates; and Scandinavia. Practitioner-investigators collected data on 9,890 consecutive restorations done in previously unrestored tooth surfaces from 5,810 patients. Most dentists (63%) did not use a rubber dam for any restoration in this study. A rubber dam was used for only 12% of restorations, 83% of which were used in 1 DPBRN region. With regions accounted for, no other dentist characteristics were significant. A multi-level multiple logistic regression of rubber dam use was done with restoration and patient-level variables modeled simultaneously. In this multi-variable context, these restoration-level characteristics were statistically significant: tooth-arch type, restoration classification and reason for placing the restoration. These patient-level characteristics were statistically significant: ethnicity, dental insurance, and age. These results, obtained fromactual clinical procedures rather than questionnaires, document a low prevalence of usage of the rubber dam during operative dentistry procedures. Usage varied with certain dentist, restoration, and patient level characteristics.