Setting Time - Dental Terminology

Watch Dental Video about Setting Time

Setting Time refers the amount of time that a liquid material needs to solidify.

In dental medicine, the setting time plays an important role, especially when it comes to casting materials. After the setting time has elapsed, the pressing pressure can be lifted, e.g., in the case of dental impressions. In most cases, dental materials are subject to volume changes during hardening and because of this, are particularly sensitive to faults. Ill-fitting technical work (e.g., crowns) can sometimes be traced back to non-compliance with setting times, among other factors.

If the impression material is taken out of the patient's mouth too early or if the dental technician pours the plaster for impression too late, volume faults may result, and this can lead to leaking crowns in the patient’s mouth. Secondary caries and/or bleeding/receding gums are the result.

This is why it’s important that the dentist or dental technician adhere to the setting time of the respective material as specified by the manufacturer.

Grafik von einem flüssigen ZahnabdruckmaterialTherefore, a conscientious dentist and/or a dental technician will always work with a stop watch when taking an impression, for example. But it’s not just observing setting times that’s crucial for a good dental prosthesis. Most materials consist of two components that are mixed directly before processing and then begin to harden. In the past, and sometimes even today (for cost saving reasons), self-mixing materials were used. In this process, the exact concentrations are never adhered to precisely and this may lead to a deformation of the impression. Again, a leaking dental prosthesis would be the consequence.

Zahn mit einer undichter Zahnkronebelsky

Here you see a ruptured tooth with a crown; the dark spot at the crown margin is caries. Under magnification, one can clearly recognize the black marginal gap between the tooth and crown margin. The crown didn’t fit properly and bacteria were able to colonize the area, resulting in the formation of secondary caries. Adherence to setting times and using pre-cast cartridges, in which materials are mixed according to specified criteria, will provide optimal results. For you, the patient, this means a tightly-fitting dental prosthesis!

Click here to see the video: Setting Time


This post is also available in: German

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