Making a Bad Impression: A Step-by-Step Guide for Traditional Impressions

If you’re an avid reader of the blog, you’re sure to know the benefits of intraoral scanners and digital impressions. Intraoral scanners are less messy than traditional impressions; require fewer consumables; provide a more comfortable experience for patients; help practices build better relationships with labs; and result in faster turnaround from scan to appliance or restoration. But, in the spirit of being balanced, we’ve decided to focus on how to take traditional impressions for a change…

  1. Keep your patient waiting as you gather numerous impression materials.
  2. Annoy patient while you try-in different sized trays—settle on a less than perfect fit and pay for it later with a less-than-accurate impression.
  3. Mix materials, try not to make too much of a mess. Make a mess; remember to come back later to clean up mess. Repeat as necessary
  4. Wrestle with gagging patient to seat trays. Repeat as necessary.
  5. Wait.
  6. Schedule disheveled patient for return visit in a week…or more. Whenever you receive the appliance or restoration back from the lab. Who knows?
  7. Disinfect impressions.
  8. Pour model. Repeat as necessary
  9. Wait.
  10. Trim model. Repeat as necessary
  11. Package models extra carefully to send to the lab, you wouldn’t want them breaking in transit.
  12. Wait.
  13. Receive phone call from the lab: the models broke in transit.
  14. Call angry patient to schedule an appointment to retake impressions.
  15. Repeats Steps 1-12 and hope for better results this time.

Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be your reality—digital intraoral scanners cut the process and the hassle of taking traditional impressions in half. Consider taking your impression process digital and go from this:

To this:


Do you have any traditional impression horror stories? Share them in the comments below.

Author: Carestream Dental Blog Administrator

Carestream Dental provides industry-leading imaging, CAD/CAM, software and practice management solutions for dental and oral health professionals. With more than 100 years of industry experience, Carestream Dental products are used by seven out of 10 practitioners globally and deliver more precise diagnoses, improved workflows and superior patient care. For more information visit