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A Whitehead gag is a medical device used to hold its wearer’s mouth open. While commonly used for dental and surgical procedures, this gag has also been re-purposed by members of the BDSM community.
A Whitehead gag is a type of spreader gag. It was developed in 1877 by British surgeon Walter Whitehead.
A Whitehead gag locks into place behind the wearer’s teeth, forcing the mouth wide open. It may be used by medical professionals during dental surgery or a procedure when a patient is unable to hold the mouth open, due to a dislocated jaw for example. A BDSM couple may similarly use a Whitehead gag for medical play or for any scene where it’s preferable for the submissive’s mouth to remain open, such as during simulated-forced fellatio. Two rachets, one on either side of the frame, make the gag fully adjustable.
As Whitehead gags are used for medical procedures, they are readily available from medical supply stores. Some stores specializing in BDSM paraphernalia and medical fetish goods also sell Whitehead gags. These often have a strap attached to hold them in place on the submissive heads. Whitehead gags sold for medical purpose do not have a strap, but one can be attached.
Whitehead gags are made from medical-grade stainless steel. This gives them an imposing appearance and durability. Some are dipped in rubber to protect the wearer’s teeth. People using Whitehead gags without rubber should exercise caution, to ensure their teeth don’t chip or lose their enamel.
In addition, couples using Whitehead gags should observe the same precautions recommended when working with any gag. These include implementing a safe action, rather than a safe word, as the wearer will be unable to speak clearly. Breathing can also be compromised while wearing a Whitehead gag, so the wearer should be closely monitored and never left alone.