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How to get a good fit when taking dental impressions

If you are in the market for dentures or need another kind of dental fitting it is imperative to make sure you have a great dental impression to have the best outcome. Impressions are used for many different dental pieces and can be difficult if the mouth you are working with has many challenges or the material isn't right, among other potential issues you should be aware of. Sometimes, impressions are not the best and it is important a patient follows the technician's instructions when the impression tray is placed in the mouth.

The dental technician needs to make sure they are prepping the tray, seeing where placement is needed, prepping the mixture at the right viscosity level, placing just right and doing it in a timely fashion—all while trying to keep the patient at ease during the process so it won't need to be repeated!

Here are some of the challenges that come with the territory of taking dental impressions. The objective is getting it right the first time.

Potential challenges when taking dental impressions:

1. Always check packaging dates of trays and mixture product materials

Sometimes trays and other materials you have may be expired. This means you may have an impression that could be off, due to the tray bent or sagging or another issue. Also, the materials you mix with for the actual impression might be expired; always check inventory. So, even if you mix it correctly, the product might not work well. This is very important and should be looked at prior to starting impressions for dentures or other items for the day.

2. Having the right kind of impression material is essential

When you choose the best quality impression material, you can have better success making great dental impressions. When you have a quality material, you can have more predictable and accurate results for your clients. When the material is more hydrophilic it can assist you with dealing with difficult areas.

3. Make sure the margins are clear

The margins need to be kept clear so your impression is accurate. If the patient is bleeding a lot while having an impression done, sometimes the technician may use a hemostasis agent. They can also use a retraction paste to help the margins stay dry and ready for the impression.

4. Potential tears in material can happen

When the impression material isn't strong enough, sometimes this can happen. Many times it can be due to the manufacturer having a lower viscosity material. The material may be too thin. So, when the tray is ready to be pulled, you must make sure you do it well because the material could rip or tear. If tearing happening, you must redo the impression for your dentures. You might need to look into purchasing a better quality material to improve your impression.

5. Tray size is important and makes all the difference

Each person's mouth size is different. There is no one size fits all for trays to take impressions. It is crucial to have and try different tray sizes before choosing the right one for your client and prepping it for an impression.

6. Bubbles can happen in your mixture and once in patients mouth

Another potential issue while taking a denture impression is bubbles could form in the mixture. This will ruin your impression and it will need to be redone. This can happen when any blood, moisture, saliva, or water can cause a space to be filled in the mixture. The issue can be less of an occurrence if you can achieve hemostasis. You don't want to overuse an amount of material in the tray, which can also cause bubbles to form in the material.

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7. Keep your patient calm and still, remember, some people may gag

When prepping the tray always be mindful of too much paste in the tray. Not only can it cause bubbles to ruin your impression, but it can make some people gag. Because it's not a normal feeling to have an impression done, some patients could gag as the flavor or feeling can cause a gag reflex to happen. Always tell your patients to sit up straight in a chair or sometimes having them stand is best. You can also tell them to focus on slower breathing or breathing through their nose and try and remain calm.

Also, you may want to come up with other ways to make your patient be at ease and distract themselves during an impression, so it doesn't have to be done a second time. It is best to talk to the patient and make them feel at ease. Impressions aren't easy for most people, but they tend to be easier than other kinds of dental work like fillings, tooth extractions and implants (even though these are under local anesthesia).

8. Timing needs to be right for a quality impression

When you time your impressions right, you can achieve a proper impression. Follow the directions from the manufacturer for your mixture which will also help you have correct timing. You can always contact customer service at the manufacturer's location if you have other questions about the mixture. It is best to learn correctly, so your patients can have peace of mind that they can get a great fit with their dentures! You don't want to waste your time or your patients' so having the mixture and other impression steps down, will make it a smooth fitting in a timely manner!

When you are doing or having an impression done for dentures, a retainer, an aligner, crowns, implants crowns, flippers or other pieces, patience is the ultimate key to success!

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