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March 2016
Volume 37, Issue 3

Aquasil Ultra: Exceptional Tear Strength and Wettability De-Stress Impression-Taking

Many clinicians report that taking an impression can be a highly stressful experience, says Alan A. Boghosian, DDS. Concerns about controlling bleeding, salivary contamination, and seating the tray prior to exhausting the working time after syringing are all causes of stress.

“Whether they are taking an impression on one tooth or eight, doctors often feel like they’re playing ‘beat the clock,’” he comments.

According to Boghosian, Aquasil Ultra products from DENTSPLY take a multifaceted approach that greatly eases the critical task of creating accurate impressions, which are vital to restorations fitting well. Aquasil Ultra impression material is available in a range of setting times and viscosities to fit the clinical need, and B4® Pre-Impression Surface Optimizer is a conditioner that enables impression material to flow into tight subgingival areas.

Boghosian, who is Associate Professor, Clinical Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Division of Dentistry, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, has been active in tear strength evaluation of impression materials for well over a decade. He says Aquasil Ultra’s tear strength was exceptional when first introduced in 2002. “Prior to the introduction of Aquasil Ultra, the tear strength of all vinyl polysiloxane (VPS) materials was about the same. Therefore, our group was impressed when we tested a material that was significantly stronger than all the others.”1

Tear strength is particularly important, Boghosian emphasizes, in clinical situations when the thickness of the impression materials is greatly reduced, especially around subgingival margins when flow is increased using B4. Furthermore, the thickness of marginal areas when using the Aquasil Ultra Cordless Tissue Managing Impression System, he says, can be especially thin; thus, an impression material’s ability to resist tearing upon removal is critical in obtaining an accurate impression.2

Boghosian recalls the efforts of many manufacturers as far back as the 1980s to overcome the inherent hydrophobic properties of VPS impression materials, which were problematic for working in the moist oral environment. DENTSPLY, he says, was at the forefront of developing VPS materials with hydrophilic properties using added surfactants better adapted to the oral environment.

“Difficulties all impression materials can face, however, are challenging conditions of subgingival cases,” he says. “Although manufacturers were very focused on making their materials more wettable, it was still clinically difficult to syringe subgingival cases without having voids and bubbles at the margins.”

The solution, B4 Pre-Impression Surface Optimizer, which is now bundled with Aquasil Ultra, creates a hydrophilic surface on the tooth equal to that of Aquasil Ultra. By breaking the inherent surface tension of the tooth (or implant impression coping), a very high degree of flow significantly reduces the occurrence of voids and permits faster syringing, Boghosian says.

Choosing the proper working/setting time is critical to achieve well-fitting restorations, Boghosian points out. “Aquasil Ultra is available in several working/setting time options. Fast or SuperFast Aquasil Ultra can be used to take an impression on one to two teeth; regular set materials are ideal for three to five teeth; and Aquasil Ultra Xtra permits syringing time up to 105 seconds, which is ideal for large cases.”

Considering all of the various options available with Aquasil Ultra, predictability can be achieved in any clinical case, Boghosian suggests. “This reduces remakes and lowers the clinician’s stress level.”


1. Boghosian A, Lautenschlager EP. Tear strength of low-viscosity elastomeric impression materials [abstract]. J Dent Res. 2003; 81:0137.

2. Boghosian A, Le LT, Monaghan P. Simulated sulcular performance of current commercial elastomers [abstract]. J Dent Res. 2014;93 (spec iss A):0281.

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