The influence of the impression tray on the accuracy of impressions for crown and bridge work--an investigation and review

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Objective: To evaluate the accuracy of working casts for crown and bridge restorations made from twin mix putty/wash silicone elastomeric impression materials using different types of stock tray.

Design: A master cast was made from ivorine teeth in a mandibular model. Three teeth were prepared for full crown restorations to simulate a single unit and a three unit bridge. Impressions were taken using four different types of impression tray and two different viscosities of silicone putty, together with a wash. Full metal crowns were constructed and seated on duplicate master casts and measurements made of the marginal discrepancies.

Setting: The work was carried out in a dental technology laboratory in a university department of restorative dentistry in 1995/1996.

Results: Metal and rigid plastic impression trays showed the least discrepancy (about 50 microns), the latter slightly greater with the normal putty than the soft one. Impressions taken with flexible plastic trays produced considerable discrepancy with both putties, approximately 210 microns and 180 microns respectively.

Conclusions: Metal and rigid plastic stock trays give greater accuracy in the putty/wash silicone twin mix impression technique compared with flexible plastic ones for crown and bridge work. Those using the latter should be aware of their shortcoming in this respect

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