Everything you need to know to get them just right.
Taking good impressions is a crucial step of your Smilelove journey. The impressions you take allow our dental team to thoroughly examine your teeth and build a custom straightening plan just for you, so it's important to get them just right. But don't stress, by the time you read through this step-by-step guide, you’ll be an impressions taking pro. If you still have questions or need help completing this step, we've got you covered. Just reach out to our Customer Service team via chat or video call to walk you through it.
Nobody's perfect. However, there are a few things to focus on to get your impressions close to perfection.
Even Pressure - Make sure to apply even pressure to your molars and your front teeth to capture both your teeth and gum line. It’s easiest to place your thumbs on your back teeth initially and move them to your canines when applying pressure.
Visible Gum Line - Push the impression tray far enough up on your teeth to get to your gums so that your gum line shows in the impression when you pull it off.
The Most Common Mistakes (And how to avoid them)
Before you start, here are some of our most common impression-making mistakes.
Improper Putty Mixture- Make sure to completely mix the putty until it is one solid color. Just remember you only have 40 seconds to mix the putty.
Biting Through Trays - Depending on where your teeth fit into the tray before using the putty, you may want to adjust the putty in the tray to compensate. In other words, if your teeth are more towards the outside of the tray, compensate with the putty by pushing it a bit more towards the outside of the tray than the inside. If the tray doesn't fit, contact us via text or online chat.
Missing Full Gum Line- We need to see the gums all the way around. In the photo example below, this person would have needed to press their front teeth deeper in order to capture the gums.
Wait! Before You Start
Now that you know how to get a perfect impression, set yourself up for success by following these pro tips:
Stay focused, impressions are time sensitive
Use a stopwatch to time yourself
Take impressions in front of a mirror
Use a well lit room
Have a towel handy, some drooling may occur
Don’t forget to relax--you got this!
Let's Do This!
Step 1: Practice
Practice makes perfect! That’s why we include practice putty in your impression kit. Practice until you feel confident you can get an impression with an apparent gum line, clearly captured teeth and even pressure. Once you’ve got it down, move on to the next step. If you have any questions about whether it’s a good impression or not, send a picture to our customer service team via text or online chat to get real-time feedback.
Mon.-Fri. 8:00am-7:00pm PST, Sat 9:00am-5:00pm PST, Closed Sunday
Step 2: Take Your Impressions
Grab your stopwatch, it’s time to impress yourself. This process should only take about 4 minutes and 30 seconds per impression.
Mix It Up - Take one color of each putty out of their cups and start your timer. You should mix the putty for 30-40 seconds. Combine the putty in your hands until the entire thing is one solid color. You will notice that this putty is softer and easier to mold than the practice putty.
Perform Rolling - Roll the putty into a snake-like shape about the width of your palm. This should take about 10 seconds.
Place In Tray - Place the snake-shaped putty into one of your empty trays. Make sure to use your thumbs to evenly distribute the putty throughout the tray. This should take about 15 seconds.
Impression Time - While looking in the mirror, place the tray in your mouth. Make sure your teeth are as close to the middle of the putty as possible. Once you feel good about the placement, use both thumbs to push evenly on both sides of your molars and move to the front of your teeth for a firm, even press. Push (do not bite) the tray onto your teeth until you can feel the putty on your gums on all sides. This will ensure a visible gum line and clear imprints for all of your teeth. Repeat this process for your remaining 3 impressions.
We know these impressions can be tricky, if you don’t get it right the first time, we're happy to send you another kit. Contact us via text or online chat for a replacement.
Step 3: Photo Time
Get ready for your closeup. Grab the mouth spreader from your kit and put it into your mouth. Use it to move your lips away from your teeth so that you can take the five close-up shots our dental team needs to properly align your teeth and bite. Here are some tips for getting the perfect photos.
Take photos in a room with lots of light
Bite down naturally in the photos
Take photos from all five angles
We’ll need a photo from each of these five angles:
Biting Down from the Front - Bite down on your back teeth. Look forward and take photo straight on.
Biting Down from the Right - Bite down on your back teeth and take photo of the right side of your teeth.
Biting Down from the Left - Bite down on your back teeth and take photo of the left side of your teeth.
Lower Teeth from Above - Open your mouth and look down. Make sure we can see your back molars and take photo.
Upper Teeth from Below - Open your mouth and look up. Make sure we can see your back molars and take photo.
Biting Down from the Front
Biting Down from the Right
Biting Down from the Left
Lower Teeth from Above
Upper Teeth from Below
Once you’ve taken photos from these five angles, submit them using the email link you were sent. We can't create a preview or move forward with production without having these images sent back to us. If you never received a link, contact our Customer Service: email@example.com
Step 4: Mail Impressions Back
Congratulations! Now all that’s left to do is to place your four molds back into the rectangular box where your impression trays were located. We've already placed a prepaid label on there for you. Use the included sticker to seal the box closed.
Throw that in your mailbox, put your little flag up, and keep an eye out for a confirmation email from the Smilelove Team.