A medical gag or dental gag is a piece of medical equipment for holding the mouth open. The commonest types are the Jennings gag, the spider gag and the Whitehead gag.
A Jennings gag is a medical device deigned to keep the patient's mouth open during procedures. It has become a popular form of gag used in BDSM scenes and imagery. The gag consists of a hinged rod, shaped so that it will slip under the front teeth, two thumb presses open the gag and a ratchet prevents the gag from from closing once in place.
While the gag looks good in use, there are a number of design problems which limit its use in a BDSM context. The main problem is the gag can have a tendency to fall out of the mouth. The way to limit this problem is to force the mouth open as far as it will go but this in turn will strain the jaw and can cause problems for the wearer after more than a few minutes. A number of companies have produced modifications to the design which incorporate a strap that goes around the back of the head helping to hold the gag in place. The article on the Whitehead gag (which is very simmilar in design to the Jennings gag) shows a gag modified in this manner. A second problem is that they do not have any form of padding on the part that comes into contact with the teeth (as this would make sterilisation difficult) this can be uncomfortable for the wearer and could in extreme cases chip or damage the teeth.
As with most SM equipment common sense is needed when using a Jennings gag, do not try to open them too far or leave them in the subs mouth too long. Remember, these items were designed as medical/dental devices. They cannot be expected to function as a secure gags (although, depending on the size and shape of an individual's jaw and teeth, they might be effective in some cases). It is generally possible to push them out of the mouth with a bit of effort.
A spider gag is a variation on the basic ring gag. It consists of a steel ring which fits in the mouth; welded to the ring are two loops of steel rod bent to look like the legs of a spider (where the name comes from). When in place, the steel loops come out of the side of the mouth and back along the cheek. Rope or strapping is then tied through the loops and behind the head to hold the gag in place. The design of the gag makes in almost impossible for the victim to remove when fitted correctly.
This type of gag was widely used by the industrial bondage site Insex.
Despite their effectiveness they are not widely available in the marketplace.
- extremerestraints.com a supplier of spider gags.