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A dental impression forms the basis for the dental laboratory to work on. Here's how to survive a dental impression procedure.

How to Survive a Dental Impression Procedure

A dental impression forms the basis for the dental laboratory to work on. Here's how to survive a dental impression procedure.

Dental impressions aren’t the best thing in the world. And that’s putting things lightly, according to the majority. For some, even, it’s the reason why they wouldn’t go to the dentist. It’s not precisely the best-tasting thing, for one. And because of its semi-liquid nature, there’s a tendency for it to flow backward, causing you to feel a choking or gagging sensation. How, then, can you survive the dental impression procedure?

For one, you might want to know what you’re getting into. Mainly if it’s your first time getting a dental impression. Once you’ve steeled yourself for all the possible pitfalls, you can ready yourself a little better when the time comes. But even those who’ve been through the wringer might find themselves out their depth on their subsequent impression sessions. In these cases, it might be a little more helpful to provide a rundown of what to do during the worst of the dental impression procedure.

That said, how can you make an impression that’ll just take one trip to the dental laboratory? And be a little less unpleasant? Keep these things in mind:

  1. Learn more about the procedure
    Of course, if you’ve already been through a dental impression, you already know what’s to come. But even if you’re familiar with the procedure, it can still feel just as strange and new the second time around. It’s not easy, after all, to feel comfortable when you feel a bit of putty crawling down your throat.

    Whether you’re a first-timer or someone who’s been there before, you might benefit from knowing the hows and whys of the dental impression procedure. Ultimately, a dental impression is made to serve as a basis for any restorations or orthodontic appliances you’ll be needing for treatment. Before it gets to the dental laboratory, however, you’ll need to suffer somewhere between 30 seconds to a minute and a half for the mold to harden. Your dentist will ask you to bite down on a dental tray with alginate, a seaweed-based substance that forms the shell. You then bite down until the mold hardens, then it is taken off.

    The problem with the alginate is it can spread to the back of the mouth instead of the sides. When this happens, it can cause patients to gag. And because of alginate’s composition, it isn’t exactly pleasant to taste.

  2. Take control of your gag reflex
    Because of how a dental impression procedure is done, that gag-inducing feeling is somewhat inevitable. There are a lucky few who don’t get that problem when they get their impressions taken, but for the rest of us, learning how to control that desire to barf is commonplace.

    Fortunately, it doesn’t always have to be the case. The feeling usually comes up when you rely solely on your mouth to breathe, so redirecting your airflow can make the feeling go away. Aside from that, some distraction techniques can take your mind off the sensation.

  3. Talk to your dentist about your concerns
    Finally, if getting a dental impression procedure is somewhat traumatic for you, don’t be afraid to talk to your dentist about your concerns. Frequently, the desire to gag isn’t so prevalent when the mold is appropriately placed, so you could mention this before the procedure. Your dentist, after all, wants what’s best for you, so airing your concerns would be highly appreciated.  After all, getting a good impression doesn’t just prevent further trips to the dental laboratory. It also puts you at ease.
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