The OptraGate retractor could be referred to as an assistant to the assistant. It is useful in many procedures including the following: orthodontics, restorative treatments, photography, laser treatments, tooth whitening (bleaching), professional tooth cleaning, dental imaging (optical impressions for CEREC), and impression taking.
OptraGate is entirely latex-free and can therefore be used in patients with latex allergies. Generally, the size of the oral cavity does not compare with the size of the mouth in all individuals therefore a secure fit of OptraGate is not always ensured, particularly in patients with a very flat vestibule. To help with the sizing issue, the OptraGate is available in three sizes, a child size, and two adult sizes. The child size is suitable for patients between 5 and 10 years of age. Size R is designed for adult mouths in the medium to large size range and size S for smaller adult mouths. The highly flexible, evoprene material makes OptraGate comfortable to wear for long periods of time. The individual packaging makes the OptraGate very compact and easy to store in any treatment room. Having a variety pack, which includes all sizes is very beneficial, it allows the assistant to have multiple sizes on hand. Once you have used them, it is simple to select and re-order the size or sizes that are used most often. The first few will be a little tricky to place, but after a slight learning curve, they become very simple to place. If you have trouble, some assistants find that if they allow the patient to place the OptraGate in their own mouth it is much easier and more comfortable. Most patients will happily agree to place the OptraGate in their own mouth. With the addition of the junior size for that extra small adult mouth, and for use in pediatric patients, this has become my product of choice for retraction. The access for doctors and assistance is incredible. It retracts the cheeks and lips effectively, yet still allows the patient to close comfortably to check occlusion. It even offers enough room to insert impression trays for study models when working alone, and really helps the doctor when the assistant is filling the tray for a final impression.
From time to time, a patient may complain that the OptraGate is pinching either the maxillary or the mandibular frenum. If this occurs, simply place a piece of gauze under the retractor in that location and the problem is solved. Overall, we have found much less discomfort with this retractor than any other system I have used