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An innovative new approach to mouth prop design


  Posted by: The Probe      20th November 2019

Ralph Day BDS(Hons) originally qualified as a dentist, however, after gaining significant clinical experience, he decided to follow his other passion – to explore the world of medical device design which has been his career for over 30 years.

While working on several related new product development projects, Dr Day began to progress his long-held ideas about the need to re-engineer traditional mouth prop designs. Here he outlines his new concept: “

Dental mouth props have proved an extremely useful tool for maintaining access to the mouth and pharynx during diagnostic and surgical procedures. They are used as a spacer between the upper and lower teeth; and they help keep the teeth apart when the clinician needs greater access to the oral cavity, or when the patient experiences oromuscular

“However, there are a number of clinical and technical problems associated with their use. Most dental mouth props used in practice today are based on designs dating back as far as 1940, and thus, by ignoring the possibilities offered by modern materials, might involve a number of outdated features such as crevices, hinges and chains, which make them extremely difficult to clean effectively”.

“Although these are designed as reusable items their outmoded manufacture makes them very difficult to decontaminate before re-sterilisation”

“The most commonly used reusable mouth prop is manufactured from a rubber compound which can develop an unpleasant odour after repeated sterilisation cycles. I believe such devices have no place in today’s dental surgery.”

Dr Day continued: “Added to my cross infection worries I also have deep concerns that current product options are neither comfortable for the patient nor clinician friendly. They are awkward for paediatric procedures and can exacerbate treatment trauma for dento-phobic adults. For all these good reasons, I was determined to develop an innovative, alternative product solution.”Several years R&D and consultation with clinical and design engineering colleagues has culminated in the launch of a new, single use sterile intraoral mouth prop, the Instrapac Manta®. Dr Day explains the features and benefits his team has incorporated into the device.

“The new mouth prop is the result of a radical rethink, designed to sweep away previous failings while also creating a unique product full of innovative clinical features that effectively address my infection prevention concerns. Because it is a single use medical device the Instrapac Manta is always clean and sterile – meaning no decontamination issues – and is totally odour free”. “The device has been manufactured from an extremely strong and comfortable high-performance latex free polymer, and, in a unique world first, has been assembled with an integral tether for ease of removal – which has also been pre-curved for easier clinician access.Thanks to its central aperture, placing an aspiration device while the prop is in place has never been easier”. “For greater patient comfort the traditional chains and hinges have been discarded in exchange for a much simpler profile, meaning its smooth ergonomic and anatomical design – including its soft bite platform and external surfaces – make it gentle on dental tissues and existing restorations, while also ensuring comfort during insertion and removal.”

Dr Day added: “We recognise that every patient presents with different needs and challenges, and so, because we understand that ‘one size does not fit all’ Instrapac Manta comes in three colour coded sizes, small, medium and large, to comfortably meet the needs of every patient anatomy. “In conclusion, we set out to create a modern, effective, clean, odour free and comfortable mouth prop that not only works for any patient but also provides ease of use for the clinician, and we are proud to say we have succeeded.The Instrapac Manta is the comfortable solution patients expect, and dental professionals deserve.”

Instrapac Manta is currently indicated for the following clinical applications: oral surgery; maxillofacial surgery; paediatric and adult restorative dentistry.

For more information, or to request a product sample, visit

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