A dental impression of your teeth is often one of the first steps when preparing to get braces.
Your orthodontist will take impressions to guarantee that the apparatus or helpful material squeezes into your mouth and adjusts around your teeth. These impressions make a careful form of your teeth for an ideal braces fit.
So, if you’re preparing to get impressions before braces, you’re probably wondering what they are and what the process is like.
What Are Braces Impressions?
Molds are taken two times throughout braces treatment. The first one happens before treatment starts to find the best fit for your mouth. The subsequent impressions come after treatment to ensure your retainer fits well.
Braces impressions are plates that fit over your teeth. The plate is full of alginate, a soft material that takes a mold of your teeth. The plate loosely resembles a mouthguard.
The makeup of the alginate is powder and water that blend to the consistency of cake batter. More specifically, seaweed and kelp makeup alginate’s ingredients.
Sometimes, a material called vinyl polysiloxane (VPS) is used for these impressions. VPS is a silicone-based material that takes 2-5 minutes to set correctly. Orthodontists might also use polyethers to create an impression.
What Can I Expect While Getting a Braces Impression?
The alginate is set into the plate and afterward positioned into the patient’s mouth. The lower impression comes first, followed by the upper one.
When the alginate solidifies, it will have engravings with the patients’ gums and teeth. The doctor will then empty stone or mortar into the engravings so that they can use the mod of your teeth for assessments and to create an apparatus.
What Are the Steps for Getting Braces Impressions?
First, the orthodontist will start by washing and drying the tooth or group of teeth in question. For example, assuming that you are getting a facade on the entirety of your teeth, each one of your teeth will be washed.
Assuming you are simply getting a crown on one tooth, they will only wash that single tooth. Still, the impression material will cover all your upper or lower teeth. For a braces impression, expect the entirety of your teeth to be covered.
Second, your orthodontist will blend the kelp-based powder, alginate, with water until it is the consistency of clay or cake batter. As previously mentioned, your orthodontist may also use VSP during this step.
Third, the orthodontist will put the clay in a u-formed mouth plate that follows the bend of your upper and lower teeth. Assuming that impressions of your upper and lower teeth are required, an impression of your lower teeth gets made first. If you’re only getting braces on the top or bottom half of your teeth, you will only need a braces impression for the respective half.
Fourth, the plate will set immovably against your teeth and gums, where it stays for a few minutes. At the point when the plate gets taken out, you will see that the clay no longer looks fluid. The impression will appear firm and rubbery.
Your orthodontist will then empty mortar into the impression to make the shape used for your braces.
Do Braces Impressions Hurt?
No, braces impressions do not hurt. However, it is common to wonder if they will hurt. One of the first questions doctors hear when telling patients they need a braces impression is if the process will hurt.
The two most significant causes of concern while getting an impression taken are the flavor and discomfort from the alginate material and the risk of setting off of your gag reflex.
The material they use for the impression usually doesn’t have any flavor, but when it does, the taste stays for as long as the impression remains inside your mouth. Go ahead and request your dental expert for water or antibacterial mouthwash after it comes out.
Most people worry about their gag reflex while getting braces impressions. Many individuals are apprehensive about getting an impression because they don’t like the idea of an unfamiliar material sitting inside their mouth even if it’s only temporary.
What Should I Do While Getting a Braces Impression?
If you have a weak gag reflex, you can take steps to prevent gagging. A topical anesthetic called cetacaine numbs the soft palate and comes in a spray form that sprays in the back of your mouth. A patient’s mouth will be numb and ready for the impression within a few minutes.
However, be warned that the anesthetic does not taste good.
While you’re at the orthodontist preparing for a braces impression, tell your doctor if you have a hyper gag reflex. While you’re receiving the impression, do not swallow a lot. It’s better to drool on a napkin since swallowing will cause gagging.
Try to breathe with your nose instead of your mouth, and do not be nervous. Relax, and do not remove the impression tray either. If you remove the tray, you will probably create a big mess. Additionally, if the tray comes out too early, it ruins the braces impression, and you’ll have to endure another one.
Tips to Prevent Gagging While Getting Braces Impressions
Throughout the whole process, breathe through your nose rather than your mouth. If you do breathe through your mouth, you will likely gag.
The first tip is to try not to swallow. If you swallow, your gag reflex will trigger. When spit develops in your mouth, spit it out onto a napkin or something else.
Instead of laying straight back throughout the braces impression process, sit forward. This will help prevent your gag reflex from getting triggered. By sitting forward, your head will tilt forward. This way, the impression plate and other materials will not slide back towards your throat, triggering your gag reflex.
Try thinking about something else, something that makes you happy, while you get your braces impression. Focus on a great time you had with your family or friends or one of your favorite movies. When you think about something else, you’ll be happy and focus less on the impression process.
Similar to thinking about something else, have your orthodontist talk to you while you have the impression plate in your mouth. If you listen to someone else talk to you or tell you a story, you will be less focused on what is happening and the possibility of gagging.
You may also ask your doctor to tell you the step-by-step process of braces impressions in real-time. For example, ask them to tell you what they are doing and what will come next. You can even have your doctor give you a time estimate.
Braces impressions are easy and necessary for a proper fit. These impressions will make an accurate form of your teeth for rebuilding efforts, orthodontic machines, or prosthodontic treatment.
Regardless of how awkward or unexpected it is to get an impression, the ultimate objective of a full-aligned smile will be worth the effort and temporary discomfort.