Seymour Dental – Dedicated personal care
Your friendly Dulwich Hill dentist, Sydney
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Need a Mouth Prop? Part 2 – Mouth Prop

June 15, 2020

This week the use of a mouth prop to prop open the mouth. We are now using the device for the following reasons:

  • Create room to complete certain procedures
  • Create more space than normal to for access
  • Hold the mouth open when the patient is not able to
  • Create room to complete certain procedures

In-surgery bleaching requires the mouth to be open to keep the mouth as a certain amount to keep the person from fully swallowing and allow the bleaching light to shine on both the upper and lower teeth at the same time. The prop also stops the lower jaw from moving around while the bleaching chemicals and light are being used. We are also preventing the bleach chemicals from being smeared onto to the tongue and gums as it is a strong irritant.

Adult bite block showing ribbing where the teeth bite into to hold the jaws apart

Create more space than normal to for access

When we are doing a root canal treatment on back teeth we may need to hold the mouth open more to place a clamp to hold the rubber dam and to access the canals inside the tooth with files. Some of the canals can curve towards the back of the mouth so we literally need more room to fit the dentist hand and file “around the corner”.

This same reason applies to removing teeth especially impacted wisdom teeth.

In children (and even adults) with small mouths we sometimes increase the opening of the mouth just to do normal procedures. So we have a range of mouth prop sizes to suit what the mouth opening we need, within reason of course!

Small child - yellow bite block; Small adult - green bite block; Adult - purple bite block, in sterile pouches

Hold the mouth open when the patient is not able to

This situation especially occurs under sedation where the person in conscious but is unaware of what is going on. The cocktail of medicines used in sedation includes muscle relaxant. So if we do not prop the mouth open before the patient is fully sedated then it becomes very difficult to open the mouth at all!

If we want to swap sides during sedation then we need to place another mouth prop on the opposite side before we remove the prop away to continue treatment on the other side of the mouth. Otherwise good luck opening their mouth!

Other situations where the patient is not in control of their mouth opening are people with a stroke or other muscle disorders.

Medication for sedation placed into the vein. Pulsimeter clipped on the thumb to monitor the pulse.

Need an Appointment?

If you’d like to book an appointment with the dentist at Seymour Dental then call us in Dulwich Hill, Sydney on (02) 9564 2397 or
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Next week

Blog Series - The jaw joint complex of the teeth, muscles and joints