Limited available evidence suggests that a one-step impression technique is sufficient for the majority of edentulous patients


Obtaining an accurate impression of the potential denture supporting area is a key stage in the construction of complete dentures.  Traditionally a two-stage procedure has been recommended.  The aim of this review was to assess the effectiveness of different impression materials and techniques used in complete denture construction.

Medline/PubMed and the Cochrane Library were searched together with the reference lists of included studies.  Studies in edentulous patients comparing methods and materials using clinical outcomes in English, German or Scandinavian language were included.

Five relevant randomized controlled trials were identified and a qualitative summary was presented.

The authors concluded

There was no support for the frequent textbook statement that the two-step procedure is necessary and superior to the one-step method. While some special clinical situations may benefit from other combinations of materials and techniques, the results suggest that the simple and inexpensive one-step procedure can serve the needs of the majority of edentulous patients.


This review discusses a number of elements of impression technique for complete denture construction and links it with the evidence identified.  However, few high quality studies are available to support the methods recommended in textbooks, teaching and specialist practice.


Carlsson GE, Ortorp A, Omar R. What is the evidence base for the efficacies of different complete denture impression procedures? A critical review. J Dent. 2012 Dec 3. doi:pii: S0300-5712(12)00317-X. 10.1016/j.jdent.2012.11.015. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 23219617.


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Derek Richards

Derek Richards is a specialist in dental public health, Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Dentistry and Specialist Advisor to the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) Development Team. He is a former editor of the Evidence-Based Dentistry Journal, the chief blogger for the Dental Elf website and a past president of the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry. He has been involved with a wide range of evidence-based initiatives both nationally and internationally since 1994. Retired from the NHS he is currently a part-time senior lecturer at Dundee Dental School.

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