smile direct club how to impression kit at home

How to take good-quality dental impressions at home

Why do good dental impressions matter? And how do you take good dental impressions?

If you’re ready to buy clear braces online from SmileDirectClub, you could get started by taking your dental impressions at home. 

SmileDirectClub invisible aligners work by applying pressure at the base of your teeth, so the aligners have to fit snugly over your teeth. 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 gumline.

Get your impression kit

Follow the easy steps below, and you’ll be well on your way to making a good impression. Bright lights and a mirror will come in handy, so the bathroom might be the best place to start. Make sure your impression materials are at room temperature before you begin. Before you start, get a timer ready, have a towel handy, brush and floss your teeth, and wash and dry your hands before putting on your nitrile gloves. Let’s begin, shall we?

smile direct club start impression kit

1. Check your tray size.

Grab one of the trays and check the size by putting it in your mouth. If it’s too snug on your teeth or doesn’t cover up 2 of your back molars, call us right away at 800-397-4597 and we’ll rush out a better-fitting set. Don’t worry about the trays not covering your wisdom teeth.

2. Mix the putty.

smile direct club impression mix putty

To make the mold, put your nitrile gloves on and mix the gray putty with the purple putty until they are one solid color. The mixed putty shouldn’t have 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.

It may be tempting to roll, but don’t. The proper way to mix putty is to fold them both over and over again with your fingertips, like you’re folding 2 pieces of paper. This should take about 20 seconds.

3. Mold the putty.

Once you mix the putties together, the mixture will begin to set in 60 seconds. So be sure to roll it out, put it in the tray, and insert it in your mouth within a minute. Roll the blended putty between your hands to create a uniform cylinder that is 4 inches long. This should take about 20 seconds.

4. Place the putty roll into the tray.

smile direct club mold putty impression

Place the putty roll into the tray, filling the entire U-shape (all the way to the back). Do not apply pressure to push the putty in. And this is important: You only have 1 minute to go from step 2 to step 4. The putty starts to set after 1 minute.

5. Make a good impression.

As far as your smile goes, the next 3½ minutes are going to be very exciting. So just relax and enjoy the impression ride. You got this.

smile direct club good impression

Once the putty is fully mixed and in the tray, inspect it quickly. Then place the tray in your mouth and use your fingers to press the tray onto your upper teeth. Bite down gently, stopping once your teeth lightly hit the tray. Pull your lip over the tray and hold the tray in place for 3½ minutes to let the putty harden. (Don’t worry: It’s okay to swallow any excess saliva while making your impression.)

Tip: 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. You’ll also feel a little bit of putty on the roof of your mouth behind your teeth. For your lower impressions, it helps to stick your tongue over the top of the tray while taking your dental impressions.

Once your tray is fully seated, 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. For your lower teeth, press down on the back of the tray with your peace-sign fingers.

Use the tab to remove the tray.

6. Repeat.

Now you’ll repeat once more for your upper teeth and twice more for your lower teeth. We need all 4 impressions, even if they have defects.

Tip: 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 past 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.

Great job! Now without removing the putty from the trays, simply put the impression trays in the box. Do not pack the box with anything else (paper towels, packing peanuts, etc.). It’s okay if the impressions rattle around in the box. We promise they’ll be safe. Throw away (or recycle) the putty buckets and the rest of the contents. The return shipping label is already on the bottom of the box, so just drop it in any mailbox, and you’re well on your way to your new smile.

Am I a candidate?

Previous Article
Getting started

The SmileBus experience

Next Article
Teeth whitening

Get a smile as bright as your new engagement ring

Join the Club

Get started now with our free and easy smile assessment.

Let's do this