Experimental study on the use of spacer foils in two-step putty and wash impression procedures using silicone impression materials

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Statement of problem.

The 2-step putty and wash impression technique is commonly used in fixed prosthodontics. However, cutting sluiceways to allow the light-body material to drain is time-consuming. A solution might be the use of a spacer foil.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of spacer foil on the margin reproduction and dimensional accuracy of 2-step putty and wash impressions.

Material and methods.

Two methods of creating space for the wash material in a 2-step putty and wash impression were compared: the traditional cutout technique and a spacer foil. Eleven commercially available combinations of silicone impression materials were included in the study. The impressions and the cast production were carried out under standardized conditions. All casts were measured with a 3-dimensional (3D) coordinate measuring machine. Preparation margin reproduction and the diameters and spacing of the stone cast dies were measured (α=.05).


The 2 methods showed significant differences (P<.05) in the reproduction of the preparation margins (complete reproduction cutout, 90% to 98%; foil, 74% to 91%). The use of a foil resulted in greater dimensional accuracy of the cast dies compared to the cutout technique. Cast dies from the cutout technique were significantly smaller than the metallic original cast (cutout median, 4.55 mm to 4.61 mm; foil median, 4.61 to 4.64). Spacing between the dies revealed only a few additional significant differences between the techniques.


When spacer foils were used, dies were obtained that better corresponded to the original tooth.

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