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Making a great impression with 3M’s Imprint 4 material


Why one doctor turns to this line of impression material for all of his needs.

Dr. Adam Hodges, DMD, a general dentist at Hodges and Hodges Comprehensive Dental Medicine in Asheville, North Carolina, doesn’t ask much of his impression material; he just wants enough time to work with it and then for a quick set in his patients’ mouths. To meet that need, he turns to 3M’s Imprint line of impression material, especially the company’s latest formulation: Imprint™ 4 VPS Impression Material.

A natural progression

Moving to Imprint 4 was a natural move, Dr. Hodges says. He was able to get better results while sticking with a product that has proven results.

“Part of it was a natural progression, but another part was that the total set time was a little quicker than the Imprint 3,” Dr. Hodges says. “What I found was that I could get the same results a little bit faster, and that’s always good. The longer it’s in there, the more saliva, the more contamination. And the quicker I can get in and out of the mouth, as long as I can get that accuracy, the better.”

Read more: The 10 golden rules for taking impressions

While the product does set up faster in the patient’s mouth, it’s formulated in such a way that clinicians have a longer time to prepare the material before it sets.

“One of the differences from prior versions is that you have a little longer working time,” Dr. Hodges explains. “Usually, with polyvinyl siloxane, you get a working time and then you get a setting time, which is sort of a gradual hardening over time. With Imprint 4, what you get is a longer working time so that you can work with it, and it is a little more fluid. Then, when you put it in the mouth, it warms up pretty quickly and it sets up pretty quickly. The value of that is that it allows you to work as long as you want, and then once you put it in the mouth, it sets up quickly, giving you a good, predictable result.”

Set times

Imprint 4 is available in two different set times: regular set and super quick set. Dr. Hodges says that the two different versions, while suitable for different cases, still allow him the time that he needs to work.

“The quick set has got a good working time,” Dr. Hodges says. “Because with the quick set, you’re only using it for one or two teeth, so you don’t need a whole long time to be able to do that. I feel that’s about the same or a little bit better than with Imprint 3, but again, that’s not for a full arch. For a full arch, you’re going to want something with a little longer working time than the quick set.”

Imprint 4’s quick set time isn’t only ideal from a standpoint of doctor and patient convenience, but also of necessity. There are some patients, like older adults and children, for whom sitting still is a real challenge. So, the ability to get in, take the impression and get out is crucial.

Additionally, Imprint 4 is available in different colors, allowing the doctor to better read the margins.

“When you take the impression, it allows you to read the margin a little easier, which is kind of nice because that’s an important part of taking an impression - being able to read your margin,” Dr. Hodges says. “Some colors tend to lend themselves to that a little better than others. And that could be incredibly variable for doctors, but for me, I might see one color better.”

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The end result

Handling, set times and different colors are nice features, but the end result is what really matters. And for Dr. Hodges, Imprint 4 delivers.

“I think the end impression is fantastic,” he says. “Another reason I love the Imprint family of products is I just know I’m going to get an end product that’s going to give me a reproducible crown that doesn’t need a lot of adjustment, that’s going to go in the mouth pretty easy and the product is consistent. It’s the same when I use it today as it will be when I use it tomorrow.”

That it comes from 3M is another benefit for Dr. Hodges.

“It’s from a brand we know we can rely on for quality output,” he adds. “One of the reasons I like 3M is that they consistently give me quality products.”

Ultimately, Imprint 4 delivers all of the features Dr. Hodges wants from an impression material.

“In terms of impressions, this is the one that I want on my shelf because it is quick, easy and predictable,” he says.

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