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Accuracy and dimensional stability of impression

materials have been the traditional goals of researchers and
clinicians. Due to a host of contingencies, many dentists do
not pour their own impressions immediately. Thus impressions
must be stable enough to produce accurate casts over extended
periods of time. This need for a more stable, accurate and
elastic impression material the introduction of elastomers in
dentistry. When liquid polymers are mixed with a suitable
catalyst, they are converted to elastomers.


1) For crown and bridge work.

2) For partial denture prosthetic procedures.

3) Where there are severe undercuts.

4) In patients exhibiting xerostomia.

5) In patients with lesions of the mucosa, such as lichen

planus or pemphigus.

6) For master impression in rigid individual trays.


Polyether elastomeric impression material was introduced in Germany in

the late 1960s. It is a polymer-base polymer that is cured by a reaction
between aziridine ring, which are at the end of branched polymer
molecules. This material was the first elastomer to be developed
primarily to function as an impression material. All of the other materials
were adapted from other uses.

Composition :

The base paste contains a moderately low molecular weight

polyether, containing ethylene imine terminal groups, silica
filler, and a plasticizer such as glycoether pthalate. The
accelerator paste contains 2, 5 dichloro benzene sulfonate as a
cross-linking agent, along with a filler and plasticizer.
Coloring agents may be added to base and accelerator as
desired. A separate tube contains a thinner that includes octyl
pthalate and about 5% methyl cellulose as a thickening agent.

Light-cured polyether urethane dimethacrylate has

visible light-cure photoinitiators, photo accelerators and
silicone dioxide filler which has a refractive index close to
that of the resin in order to provide the translucency necessary
for maximum depth of cure.
Chemistry :

Polyethers base polymer is cured by the reaction between

aziridine rings, which are at the end of branched Polyether
molecules. The main chain is probably a copolymer of
ethylene oxide and tetrahydrofuran. Cross linking and thus
setting is brought about by an aromatic sulfonate ester. This
produces cross-linking by cationic polymerization via the
amine end groups. The setting reaction is slightly more
exothermic than that of other elastomers, with a temperature
rise of about 4C.

Properties :

1) Rheological Properties / Viscosity :

These play an important role in the successful

application of elastomers. Viscosity is a function of time after
the start of mixing. The most rapid increase in viscosity with
time occurred with the silicones and polyethers, with the latter
increasing slightly more rapidly than the former. Attention
must be paid to proper mixing times and times of insertion of
the impression material into the mouth if the materials are to
be used to their best advantage. The viscosity of polyether
mixes can be reduced by using a thinner.

2) Working And Setting Time :

In general, polysulfides have the longest times, followed

by silicones and polyethers. The curing rate of polyethers is
less sensitive to temperature change than is that of addition
silicones. It has the shortest working time among the
elastomers. Polyether impressions should not be stored in
water, since they will slowly absorb water and change

3) Dimensional stability :

Dimensional stability is very good. Curing shrinkage is

low (0.24%). Permanent deformation of polyether is also low
(1-2%). However polyether absorb water and can change
dimension. Should not be stored in water or in humid climates.
Thus the stored impression must be kept in a dry, cool
environment to maintain its accuracy.

4) Hardness :

The high stiffness of polyether is indicated by the low

flexibility of 3% compared with 5% and 7% for condensation
silicone and polysulfide regular bodies types. The low
flexibility may cause problems in the removal of the
impression from the mouth specially removing it from
undercuts, so extra spacing should be given between the tray
and teeth is recommended.

5) Tear Strength :

The tear strength is important because it indicates the

ability of material to withstand tearing in thin interproximal
areas. It would be desirable to have higher tear strengths for
elastomers. One of the problems associated with polyethers is
their lower tear strength but higher stiffness.
6) Detail Reproduction :

In general silicones and polyethers are capable of

registering or reproducing detail better than the polysulfides.

7) Biological Properties :

The aromatic sulfonic acid ester can cause skin irritation

and direct contact with the catalyst should be avoided.
Thorough mixing of the catalyst with the base should be
accomplished to prevent any irritation of the oral tissues.

8) Wettability :

Wettability may be assessed by measuring the advancing

contact angle of water on the surface of the set impression
material. The hydrophilic addition silicones and the polyethers
were wetted the best, and the condensation silicones and
hydrophobic addition silicones the least. The wettability was
directly correlated to the case of pouring high strength stone

Advancing Castability of
Material contact algne of high-strength
water () dental stone (%)

Polysulfide 82 44

98 30
Addition silicone

i) Hydrophobic 98 30

ii) Hydrophilic 53 72

Polyether 49 70

9) Shelf Life

A properly compounded polysulfide or polyether

impression material does not deteriorate appreciably in the
tubes when it is stored under normal environmental conditions
[10 to 27C (65 to 80F)] for 2 years. The shelf life for
silicones is reasonable but is usually shorter than for
polysulfides; thus large quantities should not be purchased or
stored. Although the situation is greatly improved over what it
was some years ago, occasionally the silicone gum may stiffen
in the tube if stored for too long a time.

10) Polysulfide is the most flexible and the polyether the

least. The flatness or parallelism of the curves with respect to
the time axis indicates low permanent deformation and
excellent recovery from deformation during the removal of an
impression material; polysulfides have the poorest recovery
from deformation followed by the condensation silicone and
then the addition silicone and polyether.
Polyethers are supplied as a medium consistency type plus a
thinner or as a low and a high consistency.

The low, medium and high consistencies are supplied as

two pastes labeled bases and accelerator (catalyst) in
collapsible tubes. A few manufacturers of silicones supply the
catalyst as a liquid. They very high consistency is supplied as
a base putty and a catalyst putty or liquid.

i. Shillingburg,Herdert, Fundamentals of fixed

prosthodontics ;3 r d edition Chicago,

ii. Rosenstiel ,land,Fujimoto Contemporary Fixed

prosthodontics 3 r d edition Missouri Mosby

iii. Tylmans Theory and practice of fixed

prosthodontics 8 t h Edition U.S.A M.D.M.I 2001

iv. Bomberg T.J., Hatch R.A., Hofman W.:

Impression material thickness in stock and
custom trays, J. Prosthet. Dent. 54:170,1985.

v. Tjan: Effect of contaminents on addition of

light body silicon to putty silicon in putty-
wash impression technique, J. Prosthet.