The Missing Link
In my years in clinical practice I had the opportunity to visit many labs, both commercial and private. I am always amazed how little attention is given to study models…our missing link! The study model for me is the key to success. I would never start a large fixed or removable case with it. Think of the information a study model provides by accurately mounted casts. Size and shape are obvious. Casts can be duplicated and diagnostic wax-ups can be shown to the patient to discuss restorative possibilities. This communication is invaluable to make sure the doctor and patient are on the same page regarding final expectations.
Once all parties agree on the overall design of the case, temporaries can be made from the wax ups. This allows the patient to see the anticipated result in the mouth. The doctor will be able to analyze esthetics and function, making the delivery of the final prosthesis without problem. Duplicating the wax up in hard stone and a vacuum matrix can provide you a temporary shell and/or preparation guide. When you have all this information from the beginning of a case you will eliminate many variables that can go wrong and provide yourself a road map to success!
My technical tip is to have a clean, bubble free study cast. If you use alginate, make sure the impression is poured before any distortion takes place. Make sure you have an accurate bite. Several manufacturers make an alginate replacement that is distortion free, which can also be repoured. If you would like a list of those products, send me an email and I will get back to you. Also, feel free to contact me with any questions.