Tools of the trade: Garmer Roll Holder


cotton roll holderby Dr Claire Wilson, Alphington Dental Care, Fairfield, VIC

A Garmer is a stainless-steel device that holds cotton rolls in place in the mouth. I mainly use it with children but it can be used with adults too.

What’s good about it

I like using it with children because their tongues are attracted to anything that’s in their mouth. This device controls their tongue and keeps everything dry. It’s very effective for quick procedures like fissure seals or simple restorations. It’s much quicker and easier than putting on a rubber dam and it still keeps the tooth dry.

It fits snugly without being uncomfortable. Pins fit over teeth and a little cup goes under the chin that holds it in place and keeps everything quite stable. It’s actually much less invasive than a rubber dam. It’s very effective on children under 10 years of age because their tongues can really do some crazy acrobatics.

I work part-time in a community clinic and the dental therapists there recommended the Garmer. They have a lot of experience with children and were very happy with the device as it does what it is supposed to do. I’ve been using them for about five years now.


It’s an effective, re-usable device that doesn’t cost much and makes the procedure much quicker. If you’re aiming for efficiency, it’s certainly the way to go.

What’s not so good

It’s not useful for longer procedures as the cotton rolls get wet. It only works on the bottom teeth. When working on the top teeth I use a DryGuard.

Where did you get it

Henry Schein Halas 

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  1. The Garmer comes from the 1950s/1960s era I believe. Great to use for GIC work when complete moisture control isn’t needed. Questionable to use with resin materials, especially when moist breathing negatively impacts on ability for material to adhere to enamel


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