In the field of dentistry, impression materials are used to create negative replicas of the patient’s teeth. This replica is later filled with plaster in order to provide the technician with an exact model of the patient’s teeth. On the basis of these models, the technician can fabricate the required prosthesis.
The requirements for impression materials are good fluidity and moisture tolerance. This allows for exact replication of the required structures. Well-defined borders are important for achieving a precise fit. Furthermore, the material needs to harden quickly at a defined time point, but must remain malleable long enough to be worked on.
Most materials are made up of two components that are mixed together immediately before usage, following which they begin to harden. In the past self-mixing materials activated by water were used for cost-saving reasons. It is almost impossible to achieve the correct concentrations while using this material.
Inaccurate concentrations can cause distortion of the impression, ultimately resulting in the fabrication of a leaking prosthesis. Good quality impressions are achieved with preproduced cartridges. Although material usage is higher, the materials are mixed at specifically defined rates. The technician obtains a precise impression and the patient receives a tight, well-fitting prosthesis.
A possible remedy to this method could be digital dental impressions. Whilst these are ready for the market, the machines are still extremely expensive and one mustn’t forget: at the end of the day it’s you who pays for all this investment.
However, correct mixing and usage of appropriate materials are not the only important factors: packaging and transport of the impression is just as important, as is the amount of time the impression spends in the patient’s mouth.
All of these steps should be carried out in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications in order to avoid any distortions. Long transportation times (e.g., to a technician in a distant country) will rarely result in high quality work.Impression Materials