A multicenter randomized, controlled clinical trial comparing the use of displacement cords, an aluminum chloride paste, and a combination of paste and cords for tissue displacement

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Statement of problem.

Gingival recession after soft tissue displacement for impression making in fixed prosthodontics may pose a problem for treatment success in the esthetic areas of the mouth. Knowledge about the soft tissue reaction of common gingival displacement methods is limited.


The purpose of this clinical randomized controlled trial (RCT) was to evaluate changes in the marginal soft tissue height with 3 different gingival tissue displacement techniques for definitive impression making of natural teeth.

Material and methods.

A total of 67 individuals were randomized to 3 groups. In test group 1 (P; n=22), only aluminum chloride paste was used to displace the gingiva. In test group 2 (CP; n=23), a cord was inserted, and aluminum chloride paste was also used. In the control group (C; n=22), 2 cords were used to displace the gingiva (double-cord technique). Clinical measurements of the gingival position were made before treatment began and at 30 ±10 days after prosthesis delivery. Study casts were fabricated at different stages of the treatment, standardized photographs were made, and changes in the buccal gingival position were measured using graphics editing software. In addition, the participants’ perception of the clinical procedure and the technicians’ evaluation of the die preparation were recorded. One-way ANOVA models were applied to compare the response variables among the groups: (a) the position of the gingival margin (millimeters), (b) mean probing pocket depth (millimeters), (c) gingival thickness (millimeters), (d) amount of keratinized tissue (millimeters), and (e) mean changes in gingival margin height (millimeters). Unpaired t tests were also used to compare the mean values between groups. For comparisons between different categories, chi-square tests were performed (α=.05 for all tests).


In the period between impression and delivery, a minor gain in gingival height of 0.058 mm (±0.13 SD) for P and 0.013 mm (±1.19 SD) for CP. However, a minor gingival recession of 0.049 mm (±0.13 SD) was reported for group C. The results for all groups showed that 21% of abutment teeth gained >0.1 mm in gingival height, 58% had stable gingival height (0 ±0.10 mm), 21% showed minor gingival recession (0.1 to 0.5 mm), and no abutment teeth showed moderate or severe gingival recession (>0.5 mm). The incidence of minor gingival recession was 8% in group P, 23% in group CP, and 32% in group C (P=.015). Fifteen participants (24%) experienced some discomfort after the procedure. The differences between the groups were not significant (P>.05). The laboratory technicians found the definitive die preparation significantly more challenging for group P (visual analog scale [VAS], 79) and CP (VAS, 82) than group C (mean VAS, 93; P=.003).


Minor or moderate gingival recession (<1 mm) is more likely to occur when conventional cords are used during impression making. However, the laboratory technicians found the die preparation significantly less challenging when the double-cord technique was used than when impressions were made using the paste displacement technique.

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