A user report by dental hygienist Lene Holm

As a dental hygienist, I generally work by myself, without any assistance at the chair. After testing the Umbrella retractor from Ultradent Products—a brand new variation on the traditional lip and cheek retractor that also keeps the tongue away from the working environment­­—a lot of my tasks have suddenly gotten easier to perform. The Umbrella retractor gives me a larger and more visible working environment in the patient’s mouth without it becoming uncomfortable for the patient.

The Umbrella retractor is very easy to place in the patient’s mouth. It’s very flexible and easy to put in place without pulling on the corners of the patient’s mouth or on their cheeks. The patient’s tongue rests behind the tongue guard. As a consequence, it’s much easier to maintain a dry working environment and, in particular, to keep the tongue in a convenient place; this is often quite a challenge because it frequently ends up in the working area and the hygienist has to use a mirror to push it out of the way. Working alone is difficult for hygienists because we don’t have a third hand to assist us—the Umbrella retractor fills out that role!




It’s relaxing for the patient when I use the Umbrella retractor. The patient’s mouth stays open more easily. I don’t need to use a bite block, something which is often uncomfortable for the patient and awkward for hygienists as we have to move the bite block from side to side to maintain a working area that is easy to access and see properly. As the Umbrella retractor is so flexible, it’s possible for patients to close their mouth if I, for instance, need to check the bite after an occlusal composite restoration. That reduces the time it takes to do the treatment.



On the whole, it’s more comfortable for the patient if I use the Umbrella retractor instead of forcing their tongue out of the way with a mirror, for example, when performing root planning on molars.

It also gives me a better view, for instance when I scale lingually in the front lower jaw with curettes. I can now get rid of saliva, use the mirror exclusively for looking in, and no longer have to fight the tongue for space, constantly having to force it away from the lower incisors with the mirror. It saves time and makes my work easier, simply because I can see my saliva-free working area better. Thus, using the Umbrella retractor makes a periodontal scaling a more positive and comfortable experience for the patient.

Brief summary of the benefits for the hygienist: Easy to use and gives me a good view of my working area. I can keep my working area dry. I don’t have to fight the tongue for space. I don’t need to pull as much on the patient’s cheeks. The patient is calmer during treatment, which often means the treatment doesn’t take as long—which in turn makes it less stressful for both of us when I can see that I’m working on a completely relaxed patient.

Brief summary of the benefits for the patient: the Umbrella retractor distributes the working area between the lips, cheeks and tongue in a comfortable way. Relaxing for the jaws when a bite block is not used, because there’s no pulling and tugging at the corners of the mouth, lips, cheeks, or tongue. In many patients, the Umbrella retractor inhibits the gag reflex—largely because the tongue stays in place when resting on the tongue guard.

The Umbrella retractor is so flexible and well designed that it can be used for virtually all anatomies of the oral cavity. And thus can be used successfully first time on nearly every patient. In some patients, however, the Umbrella retractor does require some habituation. The Umbrella retractor is manufactured from a flexible material with rounded edges, thus avoiding causing any injury to the mucous membranes when it is inserted and removed. The Umbrella retractor is hygienic because it is a single-use product and it can be used in conjunction with a rubber dam.

I am very satisfied with the use of the Umbrella retractor during periodontal treatments, for ordinary scaling, and for enamel microabrasion. I can only recommend other dental hygienists to give the Umbrella retractor a try—it could well be the “third hand” we’ve long been wishing for.


About the author

Lene Holm-1

Lene Holm works as dental hygienist in the private practice Beringhus Dentists in Horsens and Vamdrup, Denmark. Additionally, she is a speaker for dental courses around esthetic treatments concepts, tooth whitening, enamel micro- abrasion techniques and professional tooth cleaning.