avoid mistakes impression kit

Mistakes to Avoid When Taking Your Impressions

One of the first steps in starting your smile journey with SmileDirectClub is completing your dental impressions. These allow us to create a 3D model of your teeth that’s used when making your smile plan. We want to help you make the best impressions the first time around, so here are a few mistakes to avoid when you’re at home with your impression kit.

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Why do my impressions matter?

SmileDirectClub invisible aligners work by applying gentle pressure at the base of your teeth. In order for them to successfully move your teeth, the aligner has to fit snugly and extend approximately 1.5 mm over your gum line, or about the thickness of a penny. Because we use your impressions to create a model of your mouth to ensure your aligners fit, your impressions should accurately capture both the teeth and the gum line.

Incorrect tray size

This is what it looks like when you take an impression with a tray that’s too small: It doesn’t fully capture the teeth and gum line, either at the sides or at the back, where you can see the molars are missing. Check the fit by placing an empty tray in your mouth. It shouldn’t touch or pinch the outer edges of your teeth, and should cover at least 2 of your molars. Trays come in small, medium, and large sizes, so contact customer care at 800-848-7566 if you need a different size and we’ll overnight a new set to you.

Common Dental Impression Mistakes

Improper putty mixing

Don’t take impressions if your putty looks like this! The base and catalyst (the gray and purple putty) must be fully mixed so it’s one solid color. If there are any swirls of the original putty colors, the putty won’t fully set, so it can’t completely capture your impressions. Always be sure to mix thoroughly until you’ve achieved one solid color.

Mistakes to avoid when taking your SmileDirectClub impressions

Tray movement

Keep your tray steady when taking impressions. Otherwise, you can create a double imprint of your teeth and gums, or your teeth can scrape along the putty, distorting their actual length and shape. Once you feel the putty on your gums and your teeth have come in light contact with the bottom of the tray, don’t move or adjust the tray. Don’t try to talk or laugh. If you need to stabilize the tray, use your thumbs to gently hold the top tray in place.

Avoid these mistakes on your SmileDirectClub dental impressions

Not fully seated

You need to bite deep enough into the putty to fully capture your gum line. It’s not enough to simply capture the tips of your teeth. 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 enveloping your teeth and reaching up to your gums. If you don’t, your impression might look like this.

Mistakes to avoid when taking your SmileDirectClub impressions

Not seated evenly

You’ll want to make sure both the front and back sides of your mouth are captured in the putty by applying enough pressure throughout when you bite down (unlike this sample impression). Your impression should include your back molars in order for us to get a full picture of your mouth. The putty will come out of the back and over the sides of the tray as you bite. You should feel it on your gums at the back of your mouth.

Avoid these mistakes for an accurate dental impressions

Tray not centered, not seated properly

Line up your teeth over the center of the tray before you bite down. It helps to look in a mirror so you can make sure the tray handle is positioned at the center of your smile. If your teeth are too far to one side or too far forward or backward, you’ll have an unusable impression, as you can see at both the top and insides of this sample impression.

How to take a good dental impression with SmileDirectClub - Mistakes to avoid

Removed too early

Be patient, impressions take time! The tray needs to remain in your mouth for at least 3.5 minutes. If you’re worried you haven’t had the tray in long enough, give it a little more time. It’s better to have the tray in your mouth for too long than to remove it too early. If you take it out too early, your teeth will drag along the putty, distorting the length of your teeth and your gum line, like in this sample impression.

Mistakes to avoid when taking your SmileDirectClub dental impressions

Get started today!

Ready to get started on taking your impressions? Check out our helpful impression video or follow along step-by-step with one of our SmileParties.

Prefer to have the assistance of a SmileGuide? We’ve got SmileShops located across the U.S. where you can start your smile journey. Find a location close to you.

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