What are Dental Impressions and What Are Their Purpose?

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wNo one eagerly anticipates a trip to the dentist’s office, as it can be an unpleasant experience. However, not all dental procedures are painful. For example, having a dental impression made is easy, fast, and most importantly, painless.

Making an Impression

A dental impression is the technical term for a model of a patient’s mouth. Dental impressions are used to create a “blueprint” of teeth, measuring their size, the distance between them, how well they fit together, and how straight they are. Just like fingerprints, everybody’s mouths are slightly different, and a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for correcting dental problems. An impression precisely measures and charts your mouth, allowing a dentist to ensure a perfect fit for you.
If you’re having an impression made, it likely means you’re preparing for a crown, bridges, dentures, a mouthguard, a retainer, a nightguard, implants, or some other modification to your existing dental structure. Getting an impression is the first step in ensuring a proper fit for your upcoming procedure. It’s a small investment in time and effort that can save you a great deal of trouble down the road.

Types of Dental Impressions

  1. Preliminary impressions:
    These are made in the dentist’s office for diagnostic purposes, determining the necessary corrections and modifications to your teeth.
  2. Final impressions:
    Constructed in a dental lab, these impressions are made to the specifications provided by the preliminary impressions, and they serve as the basis for bridges, crowns, implants, dentures, etc.
  3. Bite registration impressions:
    Made to measure how the upper and lower teeth align properly when they come together.

Dental impression, what is the procedure like?

Having an impression made is a straightforward process. It typically takes no longer than a routine dental cleaning or exam and is conducted in the comfort of a dentist’s chair. Once you’re settled in the chair, your dental team is ready to begin:

  1. They start by giving your teeth a quick cleaning to ensure that the surface is clear, as any debris can distort your impression.
  2. Next, your technician will pour a putty-like substance onto a tray, which is then gently inserted into your mouth and held securely over your teeth for a few short minutes. The putty is made of FDA-approved materials, usually hydrocolloids like alginate (a type of brown seaweed) or a silicone gel. Your role at this point is simply to relax.
  3. While briefly in your mouth, the putty will harden on the tray, not on your teeth, and the technician will then remove it. What you’ll see is a personalized model of all your teeth, created in just a few minutes!

Your dentist’s office will send the tray with your impressions to a dental lab, where your prosthetic will be crafted. In the meantime, you’re finished!
Shortly after your appointment, your prosthetic will be ready, and you’ll be called back to your dentist’s office for the procedure you’re awaiting.

Is There Anything Unpleasant About Having an Impression Made?

The vast majority of patients say no. Some people with sensitive gag reflexes may have a moment of discomfort when they feel like they’re gagging, but it’s just a sensation, as there’s nothing to actually gag on. However, if it’s really disagreeable, your dental technician may administer a numbing spray or even a mild sedation, such as laughing gas, to make the process easier. You should tell your dentist in advance if you tend to gag easily.

Dental Impressions and Technology

If the thought of having a tray of goop put in your mouth is really distasteful (no pun intended), there’s a new technique that’s becoming popular: Digital impression-making.

Digital imaging achieves the same result—a precise representation of your mouth—but is created from scans made by a wand that takes pictures of what it sees. The technician simply scans your teeth with the wand, and the impression is made digitally. It’s the perfect solution if you’re prone to gagging. Discuss with your dentist what options are best for you.

Bringing The Best Dental Care to You

Maintaining good oral health is essential for your overall well-being, and the Dental District is here to ensure you receive the care you need.

Located in Tijuana’s New City Medical Plaza, Dental District dental clinic in Tijuana is only minutes away from the California border and offers a full range of dental services. From cosmetic procedures such as veneers and teeth whitening to reconstructive dentistry like bone grafts, dental crowns in Tijuana, dental implants in Mexico, dental bone graft Mexico or root canal in Mexico, our dentist in Tijuana makes your dental health its priority, and at a cost much less than you’d find in the U. S. Get in touch today for a free initial consultation to see how we can help your teeth be their best!

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