smile direct club how to impression kit at home

How to Take Good, Quality Dental Impressions at Home

If you’re considering buying clear braces online, you’ll need to take your dental impressions at home. These tips should help you get the good, clear impressions you need to be on your way to a more beautiful smile.

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Why do good dental impressions matter?

Before you take your dental impressions, it helps to understand how they’ll be used. SmileDirectClub Invisible Aligners work by applying pressure at the base of your teeth. The aligner has to fit snugly over your teeth and extend approximately 1.5mm—or the thickness of a penny—over your gum line. Your dental impressions are used to create a 3D model of your mouth to ensure aligner fit, which means they must accurately capture both your teeth and your gum line.

1. Check your tray size.

Tips for making dental impressions at home

If your tray is too small when you take your dental impressions, it won’t be able to fully capture your teeth and gum line. Your teeth will rub up against the edges of the tray, distorting your impression. To check the fit, place the tray inside your mouth without any putty in it. The tray shouldn’t touch or pinch the outer edges of your teeth. If you need a different tray size, don’t make your impressions. Instead, call customer care to have new trays sent to you!

2. Mix your putty fully.

SmileDirectClub uses vinyl polysiloxane (VPS) impression material, which is designed to be highly accurate and resistant to temperature extremes. In order to activate these properties, the base and catalyst must be fully mixed. The mixed putty should be one solid color, without any swirls of the original putty colors. If you don’t mix it thoroughly, the putty won’t capture your impressions. Remember to wear the nitrile gloves we provided—do NOT use latex gloves!

3. Center your impression tray.

How to make good dental impressions

Center your teeth evenly in the tray to allow for a proper capture of your teeth and gum lines. You don’t want your teeth positioned too far to one side of the tray, as this distorts the impression. Line up your teeth over the center of the tray before you bite down. It helps to look in a mirror so you can make sure the tray handle is positioned at the center of your smile.

4. Bite through the putty.

You need to bite deep enough into the putty to fully capture your gum line. Gently bite all the way down until you feel your teeth come in light contact with the bottom of the tray. You should feel the putty push up out of the tray, enveloping your teeth and reaching up to your gums. For upper impressions, you’ll also feel a little bit of putty on the roof of your mouth behind your teeth. For your bottom tray, it helps to stick your tongue over the top of the tray while taking your dental impressions.

5. Create even pressure from all of your teeth.

Tips for taking good dental impressions

You’ll want to make sure both the front and back sides of your mouth are captured in the putty. If you’re taking the impression correctly, the putty will come out of the back and over the sides of the tray as you bite down. You should feel it on your gums at the back of your mouth. For your upper teeth, press your thumbs into the tray at the back of the mouth when you first insert the tray. Once the tray is seated, you can hold it in place by gently resting your thumbs under the tray. For your lower teeth, press down on the back of the tray with your peace-sign fingers.

6. Keep your tray steady.

Once your tray is fully seated—you feel the putty on your gums and your teeth have come in light contact with the bottom of the tray—don’t move or adjust the tray until it’s time to remove it. Try not to laugh, sneeze or wiggle, and don’t hold on to the tray handle. If you need to stabilize the tray, use your thumbs to gently hold the top tray in place.

7. Be patient; dental impressions take time.

Steps for a good dental impression

Once the putty is mixed and you’ve inserted the trays in your mouth, the putty needs time to harden to fully capture your smile. The tray needs to remain in your mouth for at least 2 minutes and 30 seconds. The putty is designed so that it won’t get stuck in your teeth and should be easy to remove once your impressions are complete. If you’re worried you haven’t had the tray in long enough, give it a little more time. It’s better to have the tray in your mouth for too long than to remove it too early.

Get started today!

If you have any questions about taking your dental impressions, don’t hesitate to give our customer care team a call at 800-848-7566. To get started with SmileDirectClub, take our free smile assessment today!

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