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I suggest the handle of a toothbrush as a mouth prop, or simply finding the most relaxed part of the patient's day in an attempt to relieve some of the "fight" involved in effective daily plaque removal.
Use of a mouth prop not only provides protection from the patient suddenly closing their mouth but can improve access and visibility for the dental team.
The part of the mouth prop that is placed between the patient's teeth is made with an 80 Shore A durometer Santoprene TPV from Advanced Elastomer Systems (AES).