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Laura Dorr is the former executive editor of DPR's Modern Dental Network and a regular contributing author.
We asked Dr. Daniel Etheridge and his assistant, Shannon Pace Brinker, CDA, CDD, of Greenbrier Dental Center in Chesapeake, Va., about their use of 3M™ ESPE™ Imprint™ 4 Preliminary Impression Material, 3M™ ESPE™ Imprint™ 4 VPS Impression Material and 3M™ ESPE™ Protemp™ Plus Temporization Material.
What the dentist, Dr. Daniel Etheridge, thinks about Imprint 4 VPS Impression Material:
While Shannon is the one who works more often with preliminary impressions and temporization, taking final impressions is a big part of my work, and I’ve found Imprint 4 VPS impression material gives me the ease of use, fast setting time and fine detail reproduction I need. The material has a consistency that is neither too thick nor too runny, so it stays where I put it. This is important for patients who are gaggers or who have a lot of saliva production. The working and set times mean you can get the impression in and out quickly, and the details are excellent. We take a lot of impressions for Invisalign, which has very meticulous requirements for impressions, and the putty and wash materials of Imprint 4 do a great job.
In my more than 30 years of practice, I’ve found that when I start using a 3M ESPE product, I don’t go back, and this is certainly the case with Imprint 4 impression materials.
What the assistant, Shannon Pace Brinker, says about Imprint 4 impression materials and Protemp Plus Temporization Material:
Dental assistants look for a list of qualities in a preliminary impression material:
1. Easy to read so you can see an impression has the proper detail
2. Easy to mix and extrude so availability in a gun or cartridge is important
3. Provides extended stability, which also gives more flexibility when being poured up
Alginate impression materials can be frustrating for assistants for several reasons. There is pressure to pour impressions within 20 minutes or risk distortion. This means that time cannot be wasted in the procedure-the dentist must be very fast at prepping teeth in a multiple-unit case, otherwise you might lose the detail you need. Losing detail means extra time for the assistant on trimming and refining provisionals. Alginates cannot be poured more than once, and its powder-to-liquid ratio adds an extra challenge for time-pressed assistants.
Imprint 4 Preliminary Impression Material gives assistants a mix consistency that is very difficult to achieve with hand-mixed alginates and enables more efficiency. Sometimes dentists say it’s “so much more expensive” to use a VPS material versus an alginate, but, when you really look at the numbers, you might spend 40 cents more per impression and in turn have the ability to pour it multiple times without having to worry about hurrying up-and that is well worth it.
When it comes to the temporization step, I rely on Protemp Plus temporization material. It gives me predictable shading-if it says A1, it is A1. The esthetics of anterior provisionals are important so a reliable match gives the patient confidence that the final restoration will have strong esthetics. Anterior provisionals are really an art and serve as the blueprint for the lab so a material that is esthetic and lifelike is important. Protemp Plus polishes beautifully and has a chameleon effect. I’ve even heard from my lab technician, “Shannon, you make your provisionals look too good. You’re really forcing me to do my best work!”