I find that I don’t have enough hands when I work on anterior teeth.I need one hand to hold my handpiece, another for the mirror, and that leaves me with no way to retract the patient’s lips. For year I would cradle my mirror hand, so a few fingers worked as retractors and two were left to position the mirror.
Recently I started to use a product called OptraGate by Ivoclar. I will admit, the first few times I felt like we were wrestling with it and the lips to get it in place. I kept at it though, because once positioned, it is incredibly effective at retracting the lips and creating a clear field of view to work in. I also, played being the patient, and had my assistant place one on me. The OptraGate is remarkably comfortable, and I could still move my lips around a close a bit to get more comfortable.
We have learned the trick to placing quickly and easily. You pinch the OptraGate together, compressing it. With the patient opened wide, roll it in and position against one commissure. Next begin to release the pressure holding the frame together and ease it into the other commissure with your index finger. Prior to placement, we lubricate the patient’s lips with petroleum jelly to help with positioning and comfort.