Impression Materials Used in Removable and Fixed Prosthodontics by Guy Deyton DDS ©Tallgrass Dental Seminars The Missouri

Dental Association has expressed permission to publish this for the benefit of its members.

Learning Objectives 1. Understand the definitions of the terms used to describe characteristics of impression materials. 2. Review the types and characteristics of common impression materials suitable for taking impressions for complete dentures, removable partial dentures, crowns and bridges. 3. Understand the appropriate uses for each material. 4. Understand how to identify applications that don’t fit material characteristics and would make it difficult to capture an excellent impression regardless of technique.

Introduction Successful complete dentures, removable partials, crowns and bridges depend to a large extent on accurate impressions. Below are the most common types of impression materials suitable for taking impressions for complete dentures, removable partial dentures, crowns and bridges. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Each, used correctly can be a valuable material. In order to be used properly, one has to know the materials characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages. Each of these materials used in the wrong situation or without an adequate knowledge of their characteristics will yield poor results regardless of how hard you try. For more information on the subject of fixed and removable prosthetic impressions, please refer to available courses on Successful Impression Techniques for Fixed Prosthetics and Successful Impression Techniques for Removable Prosthetics. Philosophy Skilled professionals understand that the first step toward a successful outcome is the selection of the proper material for the appropriate application. When the right material is used with the proper impression technique, an excellent impression can be obtained. Any laboratory technician will tell you that excellent impressions are the hallmark of a master dentist.

An example of a rigid impression material is Permadyne tray material. These materials are able to reproduce details as fine as 20-30 microns. An impression material with a very low ability to tolerate moisture in an impression site and still provides an accurate impression. A material with high rigidity needs less support from a tray to prevent distortion on pouring. even in thin sections. G. Practically. Despite manufacturer claims. Hydrophilic: (water loving) The relative ability of an impression material to tolerate moisture in an impression site and still provide an accurate impression. Rigid impression materials will also be more difficult to remove in a full arch impression of periodontally involved teeth. Dimensional Stability: The ability of an impression material to maintain the accuracy of the impression over time. It has very little desire to stick to itself and would rather run into every nook and cranny. but would be a problem for a tray material. Alginates and methacrylates have a moderate ability to reproduce fine detail. This is a very good characteristic for a syringable material. This is important in capturing an accurate impression of subgingival margins . Detail Reproduction: the ability of an impression material to accurately reproduce small detail. Alginates and hydrocolloids have low dimensional stability. all polyvinyl siloxane materials are inherently hydrophobic. Impression materials with moderate detail reproduction are quite acceptable for removable prosthodontics. Understand the definitions of the terms used to describe characteristics of impression materials. all impression materials listed below have an excellent ability to reproduce details. than flow onto another surface. Low Wetting Angle: Water is the best example of a material with a low wetting angle. makes a good jaw relation material. C. a poor characteristic if it were to be used by itself as a crown and bridge impression material. E. Therefore. 1. High Wetting Angle: Materials like Permadyne tray material have a greater “desire” to stick to themselves. Rigidity: the relative stiffness of the material after setting. A. This is really defined by the materials desire to stick to itself.Methods 1. Permadyne tray material would have a very high wetting angle. F. Hydrophobic: (water fearing). B. Hydrocolloids are the most hydrophilic of the materials listed below. Crown and bridge impression materials require high detail reproduction. 2. D. an impression from a material with high dimensional stability can be poured several weeks later and still produce an accurate model. A material that will tolerate a modest amount of moisture is considered hydrophilic. Wetting Angle: the relative ability of an impression material to flow into small crevices. Polyvinyl siloxanes are the most dimensionally stable of the commonly used materials. Impression materials with moderate detail reproduction are able to reproduce details as fine as 100-150 microns. Tear Strength: the relative ability of a material to resist tearing after setting. a polyether. With the exception of alginates and methacrylates. Rigid impression materials are excellent for implant impressions where removable impression posts must accurately transfer the spacial position of the implant.

+ Detail reproduction: excellent. . Not suitable for triple trays. Cost: Simply put. K. H. Hydrocolloid has low tear strength. I. 2. . Absolutely only one accurate pour per impression.Rigidity: low. Alginates. There are two costs you must consider: initial cost and the cost of retakes. . removable partial dentures. Review the types and characteristics of common impression materials suitable for taking impressions for complete dentures. Will capture a subgingival impression well but has tendency to tear on removal. Easier to capture a perfect full arch impression with than with polyvinyls. Surfactants are available in spray form to lower the contact angle of any impression material. you will understand that the impression material with the least initial cost would be the most expensive if you had to retake a significant number of impressions.Tear strength: low. Polyvinyls are virtually impervious to all disinfection protocols. Polyether has the highest tear strength of the commonly used materials.Dimensional stability: poor. J. ( “+” indicates positive characteristic. “-“ indicates negative characteristic. Must be poured immediately unless stored in K2SO4.) A. + Wetting angle: low. Hydrocolloid (Rubberloid) + Hydrophilic: high. All the materials listed below have relatively low contact angles except polyvinyl siloxane. you want the least expensive impression material that will give you consistently good results. Polyethers. Rubber base and polyether still take “worst of show” in the taste category. If you consider how much chair time is worth in your office. Not as strong as polyethers or polyvinyls. A material with a high contact angle would need more attention to produce an excellent model. Will still capture accurate impression in the presence of a little blood or saliva. Taste: a category that becomes very important to your patients.where the material flows into thin sulcular spaces. +/. Impressions more easy to remove than polyvinyls or polyethers Hydrocolloids must have rigid trays. The relative cost data provided is initial cost. and Methacrylates all have specific disinfection protocols. Hydrocolloids. Contact Angle: the relative ability of the set impression material to have another material (dental stone) flow over its surface. Disinfection: the relative ease that an impression material can be disinfected after setting without risk of distortion. which if not adhered to will cause distortion of the impression. A low contact angle would mean that stone flows easily and bubble free models were relatively easy to produce. Recently Discus Dental has introduced Berry and chocolate flavored polyvinyl siloxane. crowns and bridges.

place in plastic bag. Not as strong as polyethers or polyvinyls. + Comment: Setting reaction not contaminated by latex proteins from rubber gloves. . Alginate (Jeltrate. High risk of distortion from disinfection if not performed correctly. + Taste: neutral. Due to hydrophilic nature. . Not suitable for triple trays. which makes it much better than polyether or polysulfide.Detail reproduction: moderate. High risk of distortion from disinfection if not performed correctly.Disinfection: difficult.Dimensional stability: poor.Comment: requires special equipment and trays. . tend to swell when immersed in water or disinfectant. Will capture an impression well but has tendency to tear on removal. Protocol: spray with Lysol and time for 3 minutes or spray with 2% gluteraldehyde and time for 10 minutes and place in plastic bag. . tend to swell when immersed in water or disinfectant.+ Taste: neutral. + Cost: low range .Comment: will not adhere to itself. + Cost: low . + Wetting angle: low. Impressions more easy to remove than polyvinyls or polyethers. Rinse immediately and pour. Can not be used to border mold and for correctable impression technique. Must be poured immediately.) Absolutely only one accurate pour per impression.Rigidity: low. Protocol: spray with 2% gluteraldehyde. Soak in K2SO4 + Comment: Setting reaction not contaminated by latex proteins from rubber gloves. . Alginates must have rigid trays or they will distort. (Maximum 10-minute delay or distortion will occur. Much better than polyether or polysulfide. and time for 10 minutes. Not accurate enough for crown and bridge. Rinse immediately.Disinfection: difficult. Due to hydrophilic nature. Will still capture accurate impression in the presence of a little blood or saliva. Easier to capture a perfect full arch impression with than with polyvinyls.Comment: will not adhere to itself. . B. Suitable for primary impressions and framework impressions for partial dentures when altered cast technique is employed. . Kromoscop) + Hydrophilic: high.Tear strength: low. Can not be used to border mold and for correctable .

. + Cost: low range . and favorable rigidity characteristics when using heavy and light body dual viscosity technique. Will still capture accurate impression in the presence of a little . Will still capture accurate impression in the presence of a little blood or saliva. Polyether (Impergum. Much better than hydrocolloids. it is virtually impossible to accurately border mold alginate impressions. Can not be used to border mold and for correctable impression technique. + Detail reproduction: excellent. tend to swell when immersed in water or disinfectant. 0 Dimensional stability: fair.Taste: bitter. + Wetting angle: low. and relatively short working time. Permadyne) + Hydrophilic: moderate. Will capture a subgingival impression.Disinfection: difficult. This difficulty is due to the viscosity of the material. +/. better than polyvinyls.impression technique. low wetting angle. Polysufides fall in to the category of ‘You know it has to be good because it tastes so bad’. + Comment: Polysulfides are an encellent choice for subperiosteal implant impressions because of excellent detail reproduction.Comment: although the most frequently used impression material for complete and partial dentures. May allow two pours of accurate casts if no thin subgingival margins present. Rinse and bone dry immediately. + Tear strength: medium. .Comment: will not adhere to itself. Due to hydrophilic nature. Alginate is an excellent primary impression material or a final impression material for partial denture framework. usually without tearing on removal. C. Polysulfide (rubber base) (Permalastic) + Hydrophilic: low to moderate. High risk of distortion from disinfection if not performed correctly.Rigidity: low to moderate depending on viscosity of material selected. D. Polysulfides are not suitable for triple trays. the tendency of stock trays to distort tissues or fail to adequately support impression material.. Protocol: spray with 2% gluteraldehyde and time for 10 minutes. . Easier to capture a perfect full arch impression with than with polyvinyls. Impressions easier to remove than polyethers. + Comment: Setting reaction not contaminated by latex proteins from rubber gloves.

blood or saliva. Splash) + Hydrophobic generally. + Comment: will adhere to itself. Much better than hydrocolloids. . High risk of distortion from disinfection if not performed correctly. Can be used to border mold and for correctable impression technique.Wetting angle: moderately high. . Impressions remove more easily than polyethers. +/. + Tear strength: much better than hydrocolloids.84 / ml . + Detail reproduction: excellent. + Dimensional stability: excellent. Polyethers are very suitable for triple trays. better than polyvinyls. not as good as polyether. Allows multiple pours of accurate casts for several weeks after impression. E. + Comment: Setting reaction not contaminated by latex proteins from rubber gloves.Disinfection: difficult. Rinse and bone dry immediately. (Aquasil slightly hydrophilic.38 -. Protocol: spray with 2% gluteraldehyde and time for 10 minutes.Rigidity: high. polysulfide. Makes polyvinyls more difficult to capture a perfect full arch impression than hydrocolloid. + Dimensional stability: excellent. Due to hydrophilic nature. or polyether. + Rigidity: generally moderate. Polyethers fall in to the category of ‘You know it has to be good because it tastes so bad’. Cinch. tend to swell when immersed in water or disinfectant. Excellent for implant impressions. Aquasil. Allows multiple pours of accurate casts for several weeks after impression. Will capture a subgingival impression without tearing on removal.Taste: bitter.) Any moisture from blood or saliva can prevent an accurate impression . Easier to capture a perfect full arch impression with than with polyvinyls.Cost: high range $. + Detail reproduction: excellent. Some polyvinyls have insufficient rigidity to be suitable for triple trays. Impressions more difficult to remove than polyvinyls. Polyvinyl Addition Silicones (Express. + Tear strength: high. + Wetting angle: low. .

Polyvinyls are virtually impervious to all disinfection protocols.Comment: Contamination by latex proteins from rubber gloves may interfere with setting reaction. Many require 1 to 3 hour de-gassing period before pouring impression or master cast will have surface porosity. Methacrylates must have rigid trays that support to within 3 millimeters of peripheral borders of denture or partial denture or they will distort.41 / ml . Disinfection protocol: 30 minute soak in 2% gluteraldehyde. and Visco-Gel) Polyethyl and polymethyl methacrylates are commonly used as as tissue conditioners. Impressions relatively easy to remove. Absolutely only one accurate pour per impression. Lynol. Hydrocast and Visco-Gel can be used as excellent functional impression materials. Not as strong as polyethers or polyvinyls. Coe Soft.Disinfection: Excellent. F. Very easy to capture a perfect full arch impression. . and functional impression materials for removable prosthodontics. . Must be poured within one hour to insure stability4. most cannot be used to border mold or for correctable impression technique. Hydrocast.Comment: Most will not adhere to itself after set. Cold sterilization protocol: 8 hour soak in 2% gluteraldehyde. Functional impression materials have an extended flow period. + Wetting angle: low. +/. Polyethyl and Polymethyl Methacrylate (Coe Comfort. + Tear strength: low.15-.Pouring: moderate difficulty. + Detail reproduction: moderate. temporary soft-liners. Tissue Conditioners differ from soft liners because they have a ‘flow period’ in which they continue to adapt to tissues after they have reached their set. It is the plasitcizer that makes each unique. Will still capture accurate impression in the presence of a little blood or saliva. Polyvinyls are the only impression materials that may actually be cold sterilized without danger of distortion. Greater tendency to trap air bubbles due to moderately high contact angle. Will capture an impression well but thin areas have a tendency to tear on removal. . All are polyethyl or polymethyl methacrylate materials combined with an alcohol-based plastisizer.+ Taste is generally neutral which makes it much better than polyether or polysulfide. Therefore. Aquasil is an exception. + Cost: moderate range $. . + Hydrophilic: moderate. This means greater care necessary when flowing stone. Addition silicones release hydrogen on setting. Suitable for tissue impressions for complete and partial dentures + Dimensional stability: fair.Rigidity: low.

A skilled dentist will use a variety of impression materials depending on the purpose of the impression and the specific condition of the impression site. However. Hydrocast (Kaysee Dental): is a unique product that has extended flow characteristics for two to four weeks and will retain its resiliency for 2 . the patient wears the prosthesis for one day to two weeks (depending on the product) producing a perfectly molded functional impression.3 months. It trades moldability for longevity. methacrylates will distort easily when exposed to alcohol based disinfectants such as Lysol.38 -. It may be used as a tissue conditioner. It only flows for about 30 minutes. Caulk Lynol: is not a tissue conditioner. due to its alcohol base. . Conclusion The choice of impression material is often a very personal choice base mainly on personal preference and experience.+ Taste: neutral. a soft-liner. Use Lynol for patients who need a cushion for longer than one week. Can be used to border mold and for correctable impression technique. Once relined and trimmed. Coe Soft: also a true tissue conditioner. it is a temporary soft-liner. + Comment: will adhere to itself. It is however important to remember the characteristics of the material. and a final impression for the tissue surface of a complete or partial denture. It will flow for 2 to 4 hours and will need to be replaced in one week. but will need to be replaced every 3 to 4 days. like patients with immediate or transitional dentures. Coe Comfort: a true tissue conditioner. It has longer adaptive flow (1 to 2 days) than Coe Soft. Protocol: soak in 8% hydrogen peroxide for 8 minutes. Visco-Gel: is a product similar to Hydrocast. Its primary disadvantage is that it handles differently than the other 3 temporary soft-liners and there is a learning curve in order to use it successfully. Acrylic additives are available to stabilize extended borders of impression if necessary. However it has a ‘flexible’ life span of about 2 – 3 weeks. It is more resistant to stain and odor than Coe Comfort. Each version is unique due to its plastisizers. + Comment: This is an excellent impression material for reline or rebase of removable prosthetics. .84 / ml . It has a shortened working time as compared to Hydrocast and is slightly less sticky. Methacrylates are sticky in their working phase and there is definitely a learning curve in order to use effectively. Will not distort due to water absorption.Cost: moderate range $. Rinse and dry prior to pouring.Disinfection: moderate. which makes it much better than polyether or polysulfide’. but with modified plastisizers that shorten its flow characteristics to 3 to 7 days and its resilient period to one month.

Functional impressions may be poured multiple times to enable remount procedures used for checking occlusion prior to delivery of the prosthesis. (A). (D). Functional impression materials have an extended flow period after set. E. and (D) only E. A. False 4. (A). Functional impressions are made by allowing the patient to wear a prosthesis lined with a functional impression material. any of the methacrylate materials are good choices for functional impressions for removable prostheses. True B. and (C) only D. Methacrylate impression materials should be disinfected with Lysol for three minutes followed by thorough rinsing and bone drying. Moderate rigidity E. (C). Alginate is an excellent final impression material for complete dentures A. C. A. All of the above B. (A) and (C) only C. (A).EXAM Impression Materials Used in Removable and Fixed Prosthodontics by Guy Deyton DDS © Tallgrass Dental Seminars The Missouri Dental Association has expressed permission to publish this for the benefit of its members. D. It is absolutely essential that impression materials for removable prostheses have high detail reproduction. High wetting angle C. Which of the following statements about functional impression materials are correct? A. True B. All of the following are positive characteristics of a crown and bridge impression material except: A. and (F) only . (C). High detail reproduction D. Functional impressions may be used to impress framework and tissue surfaces for removable partial dentures. If you understand the unique characteristics of the plasticizers. 1. B. False 3. (B). Low contact angle 2. Hydrophilic B. F.

B. (D). and (E) C. Good dimensional stability enables dies to be poured as time allows A. and favorable rigidity characteristics when using heavy and light body dual viscosity technique A. Good tear strength enables excellent subgingival impressions D. polyethyl methacrylate 8. Polysulfides are an excellent choice for subperiosteal implant impressions because of excellent detail reproduction. (C). All of the above are positive characteristics of hydrocolloids making them a good choice for crown and bridge impression materials. Neutral taste F. alginate B. Low cost C. Which material is the safest choice for crown and bridge impressions using a triple tray (no rigid tray walls) ? A. low wetting angle. polyvinyl addition silicone F. Excellent detail reproduction E. polysulfide D. The following impression material would be the best choice for final crown and bridge impressions on an active Hepatitis C patient: A. polyethyl methacrylate . True B. False 6. polysulfide D. polyether E. (C) and (F) E. (A) B.5. Exceptional hydrophilic characteristic makes hydrocolloids more forgiving when slight amounts of moisture or blood is present. 7. (C). All of the following are positive characteristics of Hydrocolloids making them a good choice for crown and bridge impression materials except: A. polyvinyl addition silicone F. (E). hydrocolloid C. alginate B. (D). and (F) D. hydrocolloid C. polyether E.

C. Polyethers are more "forgiving" than polyvinyls when taking multiple unit. The material is more hydrophilic and will more readily capture margins in the presence of slight moisture or blood. Fax completed test to: Melissa Albertson 573-635-0764 Mail completed test to: Melissa Albertson Missouri Dental Association 3340 American Ave Jefferson City MO 65109 MDA Member* Yes No . MDA will contact you for payment information. Polyethers have a higher tear strength than polyvinyls and will be less likely to tear a thin margin on removal of the impression. In order to avoid clinically significant distortion. 10 minutes of the impression D. D. Immediately Name ADA Number E-mail Address Office Address Office Fax *Nonmembers: Upon receiving your answers. Alginate impressions should be poured within: A. All of the above. E. full arch crown and bridge impressions because: A. One hour of the impression B. 10. Polyethers have a lower wetting angle than polyvinyls and will more readily flow into small crevices and subgingival areas. B.9. 30 minutes of the impression C. None of the above.

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