True impression material infographic
June 30, 2021
Dr. Barbara Cerny, Global Scientific Affairs Manager, Indirect Solutions

Do You Know the TRUE Dental Impression Material Cost?

Impressions are expensive – especially when they are inaccurate. Which then requires clinicians to spend their precious time on retakes and adjustments. See how they may be avoided.

In trying to identify the true cost of a dental impression, Dental Economics started with the production time required to take an impression. If you were to assume that a doctor billed $2,500 of production time in an 8-hour day — you make your own assumptions based on your practice — every minute of the doctor’s time would be worth $5.21.

Dr. Ronald Perry proposes that retraction set-up to final evaluation of the impression takes 18 minutes, start to finish. Not taking into consideration materials’ various working and setting times or expense, those 18 minutes account for $93.78 of production time.

While working and setting time differences can shave a couple minutes off of your procedure, the impressioning procedure is an upfront time investment that directly informs the quality of your final restoration. It informs what you receive back from your lab and what you are faced with adjusting (or not) at the seating appointment.

The quality of a prosthetic restoration your lab returns to you is subject to the oral conditions present at the time the impression was taken – specifically, the periodontal status and oral hygiene – as well as the degree to which gingival retraction was achieved, moisture was managed, and an appropriate impression technique was observed.

While situational considerations play a role in the ultimate success of your final restoration, so do the properties of your impression material. Excellent materials can help you bridge the gap between an ideal clinical situation and the more common situation where blood and moisture are present.

True impression material infographic

Reliable Impression Material, Reliable Results

Whether $93.78 rings true to you or not – the impressioning procedure can be time intensive, especially when remakes are required. And, as a dentist, your time is your top revenue driver. If you factor in the rate at which you remake an impression with a lower quality material, the price difference between a state-of-the-art material and a lower quality material may evaporate. With a lesser quality material, $93.78 can quickly become $187.56. Further, a hard-won patient who’s tolerating a procedure well can become a patient who’s dreading their return to your chair.

Dr. Perry’s takeaway: “To avoid unnecessary waste on impressioning… first, use a reliable impression material. It’s easy to be tempted by the initial cost savings of generic materials… but just one or two retakes can easily cancel out any material savings with excess costs in your time.”

Ask yourself – are you using the best material available to help you bridge the gap between a realistic and ideal clinical situation? Are you retaking impressions more than you should and sacrificing valuable production time? Is your impression procedure negatively impacting your patients’ overall experience with your practice? Could you be spending less on new patient acquisition and prioritizing patient comfort to maintain your existing patient base? The answers to these questions might make a bigger impact on your practice’s productivity than you think!

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