More Evidence of the Need for the Soft BiteBlock®

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Last year, Richmond Dental and Medical introduced a complete family of sizes for one of its newest product lines, the Soft BiteBlock®.

For years, anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists have used DIY, hand-rolled gauze to solve multiple problems in the operating room. Almost one in four of all post-anesthesia health insurance claims are related to dental damage.  Now with the Soft BiteBlock® , medical professionals finally have a legitimate supply option that offers consistent compression performance and arrives at their facility in bulk or in individually packaged.

Many patients clench their jaws, biting suddenly and hard, as they wake up. According to CRNA Diana Roloff, inventor of the Soft BiteBlock® this phenomenon can cause multiple problems like breaking teeth, biting the tongue, and hypoxia (oxygen deprivation).


Dental Trauma

Perhaps the most documented problem related to surgeries and associated anesthesia is dental trauma. A large percentage of health insurance claims for dental damage arise from intubation, as patients emerge from general anesthesia.

When patients receive anesthesia during surgery, they must have their breathing assisted through an endotracheal tube, laryngeal mask airway, or similar device. As they emerge from general anesthesia, these devices must have uninterrupted service to preserve the health and safety of the patient.

Many factors can cause dental damage during anesthesia, according to the Medical Protection Society, a trade organization aimed at protecting the interests of medical professionals. Among these factors are the use of laryngoscopes, oropharyngeal airways, jaw clamping during light anesthesia, hard bite blocks, oropharyngeal suction devices, and dental props/mouth gags. While soft bite blocks won’t prevent every instance of dental damage, they can go a long way to lowering the risk of dental trauma by replacing or safely complementing the aforementioned devices and techniques.

Research has shown that correct placement of soft bite blocks, along with measuring risk of each patient’s dental health, can prevent many incidences of teeth breaking from sudden clinches of the patient’s jaws. Furthermore, doctors specifically recommend bite blocks over the commonly used oropharyngeal airways for prevention of post-anesthesia dental trauma.


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Tongue Injury

Another potential problem addressed by Richmond’s Soft BiteBlock® is protecting the tongue from injury.

The Royal College of Anesthetists has determined that while damage to the teeth occurs at a rate of one in every 4,500 applications of general anesthesia, minor damage to the tongue and lips are far more common. These injuries are so common, in fact, that they occur in one out of every 20 general anesthetics applied.

Surgeons and anesthesiologists have determined that correct placement of soft bite blocks can help, along with other measures, to prevent patient injuries from tongue biting.


Protecting Airway Devices

As mentioned above by Diana Roloff, one of the main threats to safe surgical procedures is damage to airway devices used to assist the patient in breathing until they emerge completely from general anesthesia.

Teeth clamping has been known to puncture or collapse endotracheal tubes and laryngeal mask airways. Hard bite blocks and even hand-rolled soft bite blocks cannot consistently solve this problem, due to their failure to prevent patients from compromising airway devices.

Richmond’s Soft BiteBlocks®, on the other hand, are specifically engineered to absorb the tremendous pressure that the teeth can place on any object in the mouth, by proper placement  between the molars. This placement prevents any clamping of the front teeth or on any part of the airway device, thereby preventing patient breathing trauma and costly replacement of equipment.

The Soft BiteBlock®, first released by Richmond Dental and Medical in 2016, is growing in popularity. Surgeons and anesthesia professionals are seeing time after time that these critical supplies are preventing multiple traumas, including dental damage, injuries to the tongue and lips, and damaging airway equipment that’s crucial to preserving a patient’s breathing during the controlled unconsciousness of general anesthesia.

As more evidence of the Soft BiteBlock’s® ability to solve problems in the operating room emerges, demand will continue to grow. For more information on Richmond’s Soft BiteBlock®, the convenient, reliable, and safe alternative to DIY, hand-rolled gauze, please visit

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