New Formulations Save Time, Lower Costs, Reduce Steps, and Offer Scannability
Sabiha Bunek, DDS
Despite the rise of digital impression technology, traditional impressions continue to be widely used. The preferred elastomeric impression systems on the market utilize vinyl polysiloxane (VPS) and polyether materials. Polyether materials are known for their hydrophilic properties and their ability to flow well, but they exhibit low tear strength and are considered by many to be too rigid. VPS materials, although hydrophobic in nature, are known for their excellent elasticity, tear strength, and stability.
Over the last decade, there have been very few advances in the area of impression materials. However, in recent years, we have seen development trends in VPS materials directed at saving time, lowering cost, and reducing the steps needed in the impression-taking process, which can seem daunting to some. Centrix recently released NoCord™ VPS, a material formulated to eliminate the need for hemostatic agents and cord, and Dentalree developed the MiTi Impression System, which leverages a unique fluid displacing technology. In addition, 3M has introduced a snap-set VPS called Imprint™ 4, which has a chemically accelerated set time in the mouth; Dentsply Sirona recently released a new battery-powered device, the digit Power® Dispenser, which provides clinicians more control when delivering light body material into the sulcus; and Kulzer's Flexitime® Fast&Scan and DMP's Bonascan represent a trend in powder-free, scannable impression materials. Scannable impression materials provide clinicians with a way to enter the digital arena without needing to invest in an intraoral scanner and without changing their traditional impression workflow. Scannable materials can be sent to a lab directly or used with a desktop digital scanner to produce a digital record, essentially bridging the gap between traditional and digital dentistry.
It's clear that modern impression materials have improved throughout the years; however, there are many other factors involved in achieving an accurate impression. Regardless of the impression material used, a proper technique is critical. Properly preparing the teeth, managing the soft tissue, ensuring a homogeneous material mix, and being conscientious of working and setting times all affect the outcome and success of the final impression.
Sabiha Bunek, DDS, is the editor-in-chief and chief executive officer of Dental Advisor, where she leads a team of researchers in reporting evidence-based data. A published author, she is passionate about education and frequently lectures about topics related to adhesives, ceramics, cementation, and CAD/CAM technology. She was nationally recognized by Dental Products Report as one of the top 25 women in dentistry in the areas of research and education. In addition to serving on the executive board of the Society for Color and Appearance in Dentistry, she is a visiting faculty member at the Dawson Academy and maintains a private practice in Ann Arbor, Michigan, that focuses on esthetic and restorative dentistry.