How To Make Dental Impressions At Home - A Comprehensive Guide

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How To Make Dental Impressions At Home - A Comprehensive Guide

Steps to make impressions at home

The initial step to start your ALIGNERCO treatment plan is to make dental impressions of your teeth. It is something that you can easily do at your home with our impressions kit. When you order your impression kit, we’ll mail it to you at your doorstep, and after taking your impressions, you can mail them back to us by using the prepaid return label included in the impression kit. It’s important to understand the process so that you can take accurate impressions, and we can create a treatment plan (Before & After) that works for you.

Use this guide to take your impressions the right way so you can receive your treatment plan.

Keep Track of Time

Before you take your impressions, make sure you’ve something that can be used to keep track of time. You need to take your impressions quickly, so it’s important to make sure you’re not taking too long. Your phone or a watch will be ideal; you just need something that you can use to count seconds and minutes.

Clean Your Hands and Brush Your Teeth

First, clean your hands thoroughly and get ready to take your impressions. This is important to ensure a hygienic process and to prevent anything from getting into the putty you will use. You should also brush your teeth so that they’re clean and ready to make neat impressions.

Check that the Impression Trays Fit

It’s necessary to check that the impression trays fit your mouth before taking any impressions. If they don’t fit, you can contact us, and we will send smaller or larger trays that are suitable. Without putting anything in the trays, insert them into your mouth by aiming the center of the tray and checking that they are not too loose/tight in your mouth. The walls of the tray must not scratch your teeth. The tray must cover all of your teeth including your back molars. Check both the lower and upper trays and email if you need different sizes.

Blend and Shape the Impression Putties

Now your phone or watch will come in handy as a timer. Your impression kit contains white putty and colored putty, which need to be mixed. Mix a jar of white putty with one of the colored putties until they are completely blended. You should try to do this in less than 30 seconds. Once there are no streaks, and you have a solid color, shape the putty into a sausage shape by rolling it between your palms. It needs to be long enough to reach both ends of the impression tray. Fix the sausage into the tray, making sure it covers the whole tray and its edges. You should do this in no more than 15 seconds.

Take Impressions

To take an impression, place the tray in your mouth and aim at the center of the tray. Use your fingers to press the tray into your teeth, making sure that the putty reaches your gums. You should wait for four and a half minutes and then pull the tray straight off. Leave the impression in the plastic tray.

You then need to repeat this process until you have two impressions of your upper arch and two of your lower arch OR read the instructions provided by the smile specialist.

Send Photos with different angles for Approval

Before you mail your impressions to ALIGNERCO, email photos of your dental impressions with different angles so that they can be approved. Wait to receive approval for your impressions before you do anything else.

To make sure your impressions get approved, check that:

  • You don’t remove the tray too early
  • You mix the putty properly
  • The impression area is covered by the putty, with no tray showing
  • The impression is evenly pressed throughout
  • The entire area of the teeth is captured, including back molars
  • You have only pressed once into the putty

Mail Your Impressions

Once you receive approval for your impressions, place them into the impressions kit box. Use the prepaid return shipping label to ship your impressions back to ALIGNERCO.

Send Photos of Your Teeth

You will also need to send us photos of your teeth to help us create your treatment plan. To do this, use the cheek retractor to take the required five pictures.

You should have photos of

  • A front view with teeth clenched
  • Right-side view
  • Left side view
  • Upper occlusal
  • Lower occlusal

Receive Your Treatment Plan and Aligners

After your impressions have been received by mail, it will be about 10 business days before you receive your prescribed treatment plan by email.The next step is to approve your treatment plan, and it will take around 14 to 17 business days to fabricate your customized aligners.

Note: Do not remove your impressions from the trays. If you do so, no matter how good the impressions are, they simply will not be workable.

How to Make Dental Putty at Home

Creating Dental Putty: A Step-by-Step Guide

While it's possible to make a form of dental putty at home, it's important to note that homemade putties may not offer the same level of accuracy and quality as professional-grade materials provided in kits like ALIGNERCO’s. However, for educational purposes, here’s a basic guide:

Gather Materials: You’ll need alginate, a dental impression material which can be purchased online, and water.

Mixing: Measure the alginate and water according to the manufacturer's instructions. Typically, it's a ratio of one part alginate to one part water.

Blending: Quickly mix the alginate and water until you get a thick, paste-like consistency. The mixture should be uniform and free of lumps.

Timing is Key: The homemade putty has a short working time, so it needs to be used immediately after mixing.

Application: Place the putty into a dental tray and apply it to your teeth, ensuring it covers all areas.

Considerations for DIY Dental Putty:

Accuracy: Homemade putties may not capture the fine details required for precise dental impressions.

Quality: The quality of materials and consistency of the mix can vary, affecting the outcome.

Practicality: Considering the potential for errors and the importance of precision, it’s often more practical and reliable to order a professional impression kit.

How Long Do Dental Impressions Take

Understanding the Time Investment for Dental Impressions

Taking dental impressions, whether at home or in a professional setting, is a time-sensitive process. Here’s what you need to know about the timing:

  1. Preparation Time: Before you start, ensure you have all materials ready. This includes cleaning your hands, brushing your teeth, and preparing the impression material.
  2. Mixing Time: The putty needs to be mixed quickly and efficiently, usually within 30 seconds to ensure it doesn't start setting before application.
  3. Application Time: Once applied, the dental impression material typically takes about 2-5 minutes to set properly. It's crucial not to disturb the material during this setting time.
  4. Total Duration: The entire process, including preparation, mixing, and setting, can take approximately 10-15 minutes per dental arch.

Factors Influencing Time:

  • Material Type: Different impression materials might have varying setting times.
  • Experience: First-timers might take a bit longer as they get accustomed to the process. You can schedule a call with ALIGNERCO experts for detailed guidance.
  • Efficiency Tip: While learning how to make impressions can be interesting, ordering a pre-made kit like ALIGNERCO’s can save time and ensure accuracy, which is crucial for effective dental treatment.

Yet to order your kit? Order ALIGNERCO’s impression kit today!


Is making a dental impression at home accurate?

The accuracy of the impression depends on the quality of the material used and your ability to follow the instructions carefully. Home dental impressions may not be as accurate as those taken by a dental professional, but they can still be useful for certain purposes.

How long does it take for the dental impression material to set?

The setting time for dental impression material varies, but typically it takes about 2-5 minutes. It is important to follow the instructions carefully and not to disturb the material while it is setting.

Can I reuse the dental impression material if I make a mistake?

No, once the dental impression material has been mixed, it cannot be reused. You will need to start over with a new batch of material if you make a mistake.

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