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How To Avoid Painful Dental Impressions

Posted by Sierra Soleimani on

No Impressions mouth guard

Chances are you’ve had dental impressions. However, if you are one of the 10 million people suffering from orofacial pain, impressions could actually cause you more pain.

A dental impression is an imprint of your mouth which is used to make custom fit appliances like retainers or mouthguards. To make this impression, a dentist will fill a U-shaped tray with a thick liquid material, such as alginate or polyvinyl siloxane, and press it against your teeth to get a good mold.

In order to make an impression, you need to open your mouth wide enough for the impression tray to fit and mold in your mouth. This can be very painful for TMJ and bruxism patients with extreme jaw pain.

After the impressions are taken, they are sent to a lab for your mouthguard to be made. This can take up to a few weeks, leaving your teeth unprotected in the meantime...and still in pain.

If you have bruxism (aka night grinding), there is no doubt that you will need a mouthguard to protect your teeth from the damaging, grinding forces. While dentist made guards are the perfect solution, they are only covered by patient’s insurance once per the patient’s lifetime. You may be reluctant to invest (both money and time) into a night grinding solution that may not turn out perfectly, due to complications with taking impressions.

“TMJ patients generally present with an acute flare up and are looking for immediate relief.” says Dr. Michelle Schoene DDS. “Uncomfortable impressions can be almost impossible for patients with a limited range of motion,” she adds.

A Painless Alternative

Thanks to newly developing technology, there are custom night guards available that don’t require impressions. These mouthguards are a great temporary solution while you are waiting for your night guard to arrive from the dentist or if you have troubles opening your mouth for impressions.

While many over the counter options are both uncomfortable to wear and easy to chew through, this guard can be molded into a true comfortable custom-fit in a matter of minutes, providing maximum comfort and durability without the use of dental impressions.

If your are concerned about the pain with impressions, consult with your dentist about comfortable alternatives.