By Marc M. Gottlieb, DDSEvery year dental products are produced and released that are engineered to make our job faster, easier, and more productive. The 5th. hand lip and cheek retractor is a simple product designed by dentists for dentists. The 5th. hand is easily placed inside the upper or lower lip to allow easy placement of the impression tray or retraction for digital photographs.One of the most common flaws or problems with dental impressions is the patient’s lip catching the inside of the tray and limiting the seating of the tray over the teeth as shown in Fig. 1. Fig. 2 shows a separated impression taken with the 5th hand retractor in place. As you can see, the entire fold is captured in the impression.
Fig. 2Another challenge is holding the lip out of the way while syringing light or regular body impression material bilaterally against the teeth. Once the 5th. hand is in place, the impression material can be placed along or around the teeth and then the loaded tray seated over the dental arch. In utilizing the 5th hand, the lip cannot fall back against the teeth. Fig. 3 and Fig. 4 illustrate the steps in taking a final polyether impression for a no-prep veneer case.
Fig. 4A regular challenge in taking an impression for immediate or partial dentures is to capture the labial fold. With the 5th hand in place, impression material can be placed onto the retractor and the tray sandwiched onto it. The retractor is removed before the impression material sets and the lips manipulated into function to contour the material and capture the muscle pulls. Figs. 5, 6, and 7 utilize alginate material to take an impression for an orthodontic impression.
Fig. 7Specialized lip and cheek retractors have been around for decades. Utilizing an extra dental assistant to hold the cheeks out of the way requires extra resources and can be expensive. The 5th hand lip and cheek retractor is a simple, inexpensive, disposable tool to take accurate impressions and retract the lips and cheeks for digital photographs.Author bioDr. Marc M. Gottlieb was born and raised on Long Island, attended Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., and then shuffled off to Buffalo for dental school. While at the University of Buffalo, he received many academic scholarships, awards, and fellowships. After graduation from dental school, Dr. Gottlieb went on to a two-year postgraduate residency program at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. This unique opportunity provided advanced training in anesthesiology and all the specialties of dentistry. Dr. Gottlieb is currently on staff at Stony Brook University Hospital, maintains a full-time private practice, lectures all over the country, and has authored more than a dozen dental articles. You can reach Dr. Gottlieb at [email protected] or (800) 666-9008.