Impression Techniques Used for Single-Unit Crowns: Findings from the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network

J Prosthodont. 2018 Oct;27(8):722-732. doi: 10.1111/jopr.12577. Epub 2017 Jan 11.


Purpose: To: (1) determine which impression and gingival displacement techniques practitioners use for single-unit crowns on natural teeth; and (2) test whether certain dentist and practice characteristics are significantly associated with the use of these techniques.

Materials and methods: Dentists participating in the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network were eligible for this survey study. The study used a questionnaire developed by clinicians, statisticians, laboratory technicians, and survey experts. The questionnaire was pretested via cognitive interviewing with a regionally diverse group of practitioners. The survey included questions regarding gingival displacement and impression techniques. Survey responses were compared by dentist and practice characteristics using ANOVA.

Results: The response rate was 1777 of 2132 eligible dentists (83%). Regarding gingival displacement, most clinicians reported using either a single cord (35%) or dual cord (35%) technique. About 16% of respondents preferred an injectable retraction technique. For making impressions, the most frequently used techniques and materials are: poly(vinyl siloxane), 77%; polyether, 12%; optical/digital, 9%. A dental auxiliary or assistant made the final impression 2% of the time. Regarding dual-arch impression trays, 23% of practitioners report they typically use a metal frame tray, 60% use a plastic frame, and 16% do not use a dual-arch tray. Clinicians using optical impression techniques were more likely to be private practice owners or associates.

Conclusions: This study documents current techniques for gingival displacement and making impressions for crowns. Certain dentist and practice characteristics are significantly associated with these techniques.

Keywords: Dentistry; crowns; gingival displacement; impressions; prosthodontics.

MeSH terms

  • Crowns*
  • Dental Impression Technique / statistics & numerical data*
  • Dental Prosthesis Design / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Practice Patterns, Dentists' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States