Exquisite Alginate Impressions

August 26, 2017 Jeff Baggett DDS

Improving the quality of alginate impressions for diagnostic models requires a fine-tuned technique based on specific materials. These materials are used in conjunction with clever steps that lead to a minimization of voids and bubbles.

Dr. Baggett explains his exact procedure for achieving drastically improved alginate impressions. With these recommendations, you’ll find your confidence and efficiency soaring. Impressions are one part of the treatment puzzle that must be as precise as possible to avoid problems down the road.

How to Improve Alginate Impressions for Diagnostic Models

At my practice, we still use alginate impressions as our main impression material for diagnostic models. I generally take them. A very helpful tip to improve the quality of your impressions is to use a 35 ml monoject plastic syringe (from your local dental supplier) and Ivoclar Accudent XD Pre-Sure Tip applicators (Ivoclar Reorder number 67891 Soft Flex Tips).  

By placing the flexible tips on the end of the 35 ml plastic syringes, you are able to squirt excess alginate loaded into the syringe onto the teeth at a 90 degree angle starting at the distals of the second molars. You can do this instead of wiping alginate on the teeth with your fingers before you seat the alginate loaded tray.

This technique results in a lot less bubbles and minimizes the chance for voids distal to the most posterior teeth. The flexible tips are autoclavable, the monoject syringes can be cold sterilized, and petroleum jelly can be applied to the rubber plungers so they can be used again.   

This tip – combined with the use of 1-inch medical tape along the posteriors of our maxillary trays as a post-dam seal – has improved the impressions taken at my practice tremendously.

What aspect of impressions do you find the most challenging and why? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!


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Jeff Baggett DDS

Dr. Jeff D. Baggett attended Oklahoma State University where he received his undergraduate degree and attended professional school at the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry. After obtaining his Doctorate of Dental Surgery degree, Dr. Baggett received postgraduate training at the L.D. Pankey Institute, recognized worldwide for its excellence in advanced technical dentistry. He was accredited as a Pankey Scholar. Practicing for over 30 years, Dr. Baggett is also a visiting faculty member at the L.D. Pankey Institute. He lectures various dental study clubs and dental meetings. He is a guest speaker of the Victim's Impact Panel Against Drunk Driving. A published author, Dr. Baggett wrote sections in the book Photoshop CS3 and PowerPoint 2007 for the Dental Professional. Dr. Baggett is also the team dentist for the Oklahoma City Thunder with his partner, Dr. Lembke. An esteemed member of the dental community, Dr. Baggett is a member of many professional organizations including the American Dental Association, the Oklahoma Dental Association, the Oklahoma County Dental Society, the Southwest Academy of Restorative Dentistry, the McGarry Study Club, the University Oklahoma College of Dentistry Alumni Association and the Oklahoma State University Alumni Association. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma County Dental Society.

2 thoughts on “Exquisite Alginate Impressions

  1. Hi Dr. Baggett. I showed your article to the other residents here and we’ve been trying to figure out how to use the medical tape as a post dam seal. Thank you for the article!

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