No Gag Dental Impressions

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Lance Timmerman DMD is known for many different services, but it is his customer SERVICE that sets him apart. Any dentist can offer dental care, but it is not common to offer no gag dental impressions when dental impressions are needed. Many patients have a heightened gag response, so even the most basic dental treatment can be a challenge.

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When reproducing the shape of the teeth, models to study or fabricate restorations, trays filled with soft and gooey material (historically alginate but more common today is polyvinyl siloxane) are inserted in the mouth and removed after setting. Plaster can then be poured into these impressions and after fully set a perfect reproduction is created. It is during the GOOEY stage that exists the problem. The more “runny” the material, the more detail is captured; however, gravity tends to allow this material to run down the throat and induce a gag or tendency to vomit. This leads to an unpleasant dental experience.

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The more advanced and modern dental practices use digital impressions. Dr Timmerman uses the iTero machine, a device that stitches together several images, or pictures, of the teeth and allows this file to be sent to a lab for fabrication of the dental models. These “impressions” are both more easily tolerated by patients AND more accurate than the tray method. There is no downside.

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The most accurate impression is one that does not distort in any way. However, the “perfect” material would then be impossible to remove from the mouth, so dental materials have a certain “give” to them, making them soft. This allows the trays to be removed and the material returns to the shape of the tooth. This “give” has a bit of distortion and is compensated when poured up in stone. A little expansion on one end, a little contraction on the other. The hope is when added together, the result is “zero” or neutral.

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Since a digital impression does not need to worry about expansion or contraction, the iTero model can be fabricated to the EXACT dimensions desired. This allows the dental restorations to fit PRECISELY. Dental restorations that FIT require no adjustments, which means the cement used works better, the bite is more comfortable and the restoration lasts longer.

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