An impression tray is typically made of plastic or metal and is custom-designed to fit comfortably inside a patient’s mouth. It comes in various sizes to accommodate different dental arches and tooth arrangements. The tray has a shallow, tray-like structure with a handle, making it easy for the dentist or dental assistant to handle and manipulate during the impression process.
- Material: Impression trays can be made of rigid plastic or metal. Plastic trays are more commonly used for alginate impressions, while metal trays are often used for more precise and durable materials like silicone-based impression materials.
- Size Options: There are different sizes of impression trays available, ranging from small to extra-large, to match the size of the patient’s mouth and dental arch.
- Perforations: Many impression trays have perforations or holes to allow excess impression material to escape, ensuring better accuracy and minimizing discomfort for the patient.
- Handle: The tray features a handle or grip, making it easy for the dental professional to insert, position, and remove the tray from the patient’s mouth.
Uses: Impression trays are an integral part of various dental procedures, and their primary uses include:
- Crown and Bridge Impressions: The dentist uses impression trays to create an accurate mold of the patient’s teeth and gums, which is then used to fabricate dental crowns, bridges, and other fixed restorations.
- Denture Impressions: For patients requiring dentures, impression trays are used to take detailed impressions of the oral tissues, providing a precise model to create custom-fitted dentures.
- Orthodontic Impressions: Orthodontists use impression trays to obtain molds of a patient’s teeth before starting orthodontic treatment, such as braces or clear aligners like Invisalign.
- Study Models: Dental impressions are used to create study models, which are replica models of a patient’s teeth used for diagnosis, treatment planning, and patient education.
- Nightguards and Splints: Impressions are taken to fabricate nightguards or splints for patients suffering from teeth grinding (bruxism) or temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD).