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Dental Impression - Definition of Dental Impression


Updated June 25, 2014


Dental impressions produce a replica of your teeth and oral tissue. A metal or plastic "horseshoe" shaped tray is chosen to fit either the upper or lower teeth and gums comfortably. A thick liquid materials such as alginate or polyvinyl siloxane is dispensed into the tray. It is then placed onto either the upper or lower teeth so it covers the entire dental arch including the roof of the mouth for an upper impression, and the floor of the mouth and under the tongue for lower impression. After a preset amount of time, the material sets and become a solid rubber mass. The tray is removed from the mouth and is then sent to the clinic laboratory or dental laboratory for further processing. Stone is poured into the hardened impression and when set a dental cast is produced.

Impressions are commonly used in dentistry for making:

  • Custom mouthguards
  • Custom take-home whitening trays
  • Custom dental trays used for precise impression taking
  • Crowns, bridges, and veneers
  • Dentures
  • Custom abutments for dental implants
  • Models for diagnostic study
  • Model for permanent dental record before and after dental treatment

Also Known As:

Alginate Impressions


Dental Mold

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