Dental Impression Kit Instructions

The foundation of a custom mouthguard is a good impression.

This process is extremely important and should be executed with extreme focus and attention to detail. If your impression does not meet our requirements, we cannot use it. Our impression requirements are much more strict than other companies. This is because our #1 goal is for you to have the very best mouthguard possible!

This instructional page must be read thoroughly, and both videos below must be watched. The key to taking a good impression is executing each step precisely. Failing just 1 step could result in the impression being rejected, and neither of us want that.

Taking your own impression at home may seem complicated, but it can be done. About 60-70% of our customers take a good impression on the first try, so the odds are in your favor. Take your time, focus, and do not rush through this process.

DISCLAIMER: Impression Kits & Putty are non-refundable.

Brush & floss your teeth before taking your impression. The restroom is the best place to take your impression because you will need a mirror, plus it has as a sink in case you start to drool or gag. This process does not hurt or taste bad, but it can be very uncomfortable for some people. You will have a mouthful of putty for about 3 1/2 minutes!

For safety purposes, we recommend that somebody is there with you at your home while you take your impression, as opposed to being completely alone. However, you don’t want any distractions during the impression process.

For kids 16 and under, a parent will need to help with this process. Give us a call and we will give you some special tips on how to take an impression for a child, as it is a little different than taking an impression on yourself. Taking your impression kit to a local dentist is not recommended! 

Pro Tip #1: Focus on executing each individual step by itself, as opposed to focusing on the entire process as a whole.

Pro Tip #2: Practice going through the motions, the same way a baseball player takes practice swings before stepping into the batter's box.

Pro Tip #3: Take your impression on an empty stomach.

Step-by-step guide:

1-a) Find the Correct Size Tray

You’re looking for a loose, sloppy fit, so you want to use the largest tray possible. You need at least a 1/4” gap between your back molars and each side of the tray. You do not want a snug, "perfect size" fit. This is not like shopping for a pair of shoes! In fact, a tray that seems too big is usually the correct size.

TIP: Using a tray that’s a little too big is better than using a tray that’s a little too small.

Open your mouth by lowering your bottom jaw as much as you can while keeping your lips & cheeks relaxed, loose and flexible. Do not stretch your mouth open as wide as possible. Insert the tray at an angle, allowing 1 corner of the tray to enter first. Rotate the tray inward and use the tray itself to push your lip aside, allowing the opposite corner of the tray to enter the mouth. Allow your upper lip to rest over the front wall of the tray.

Once the tray is in the mouth, keep your lips and cheeks relaxed and wiggle the tray from side to side. Remember, you want a loose, sloppy fit, so you must have plenty of free space (wiggle room) between your back teeth and the sides of the tray. If the largest tray (X1) does not give you a loose, sloppy fit, give us a call and we will guide you on how to modify the tray.

Be sure to watch the Impression Tray Sizing Guide video below for a live demonstration on how to find the correct size tray!

Most Common Tray Applications (situations may vary):

#3 (M) #1 (L) #X1 (XL)

Kids under 13 & Shorter Adult Females

Most Teens & Some Adults

Teens & Adults with a Large Smile, Jaw or Head

1-b) Prepare & Refrigerate impression putty

Once you selected the correct size impression tray, find the correct amount of putty that is required for that size tray. You must use the correct amount of putty that is required for each size tray. 

#3 (M) requires 2 putty packs

#1 (L) requires 2.5 putty packs (split 1 purple in half and 1 white in half)

#X1 (XL) requires 3 putty packs

Always use equal parts; 1 putty pack = 1 purple + 1 white. 

Open the putty packs and combine all the required purple putty together, then wash your hands and combine all the required white putty together. You will now have one large ball of purple putty and one large ball of white putty. Do not allow the purple putty and the white putty to come in contact with each other. Place the 2 separate balls of putty on a small/medium plate and set in the refrigerator for at least one hour. 

TIP: While the putty is sitting in the fridge, practice going through the motions of taking your impression.

2-a) mix impression putty

Get a timer ready. You will start the timer at 0:00, and will count up until it reaches 5 minutes and 30 seconds. This is the total time required from when you start mixing the putty to when you can remove the impression from your mouth. Remove the putty from the fridge and get ready to take your impression!

TIP: From this point on, move very quickly in everything you do...it’s a race against the clock! 

Hit start on your timer as you begin mixing the purple and white putty together. Knead the putty using only your fingertips, folding and squishing it into itself like Play-Doh, as shown in photos 1 & 2 below. Mix the putty for exactly 45 seconds, making sure there are no purple or white swirls. The putty must be mixed to a uniform color as shown in photo 3 below. You have exactly 45 seconds to mix the putty, so mix quickly!

If you get the putty fully mixed to a uniform color before 45 seconds, continue mixing until the full 45 seconds is up. Be advised that if you mix the putty for too long, it will begin to harden before you get the impression into the mouth.

Mix the putty for exactly 45 seconds; no more, no less.

2-b) load impression tray

Roll the putty into a 4" to 5" cigar shape, as shown in photos 4 & 5 below. Lay the ‘cigar’ into the tray and use your thumbs to make sure you have an even amount of putty across the entire arch of the tray, as shown in photo 6 below. Do not allow excess putty to hang off the back of the tray. The ‘cigar’ should extend to the very back edge of the tray; no more, no less.

Use your thumbs to push the putty in the front teeth area towards the front wall of the tray, so that the ‘cigar’ is taller/thicker here, as shown in photo 7 below. This is where your teeth and gums are the tallest, so you must have the impression material built up taller/thicker in this area.

Remember, it’s a race against the clock, so move quickly!

Using a butter knife, make a small indentation into the putty 1/4" behind the front wall of the tray, as shown in photo 8 below. 

Loading the tray and preparing the ‘cigar’ should take you 45 seconds.

At this point, the timer should read 1:30.

3-a) position the tray in the mouth

Insert the tray in your mouth while keeping your lips and cheeks relaxed, as explained above in Step 1-A. Using the mirror, make sure the tray is centered in your mouth from left to right by lining up the middle of your two front teeth with the center of the tray. Now line up the edges of your two front teeth with the indentation you created in Step 4. You do not want the tray too far forward, too far back, too far left, or too far right. Correct tray position is a must.

After getting the tray in position, you must allow your upper lip to rest over the front wall of the tray. You may use your fingers to place your lip over the front wall of the tray if needed.

Positioning the tray in the mouth should take you 15 seconds.

At this point, the timer should read 1:45.

3-b) push the tray up

Place your thumbs on the bottom of each side of the tray, just behind your canine teeth. Using both thumbs, push the tray all the way up as hard as you can. You want the tray to elevate evenly, so push up in one smooth, steady motion, applying even pressure with both thumbs. Be sure to push the tray straight up, and do not allow it to “slide” from its position as you’re pushing it up. Keep your lips and cheeks loose and relaxed as you push the tray up into its final position. Do not allow your head to raise up while you are pushing the tray up.

You want the chewing surface of your upper teeth to hit the bottom floor of the tray, so push the tray all the way up as hard as you can. This is how you force putty high up into the gums above the teeth, as shown in photo 9 below. If you execute this step correctly, you should see and feel your lips and cheeks fill up with putty. This is the goal!

TIP: Practice pushing the empty tray all the way up until the chewing surface of your upper teeth hits the bottom floor of the tray.

Do not bite down on the tray! You are using your thumbs to push the tray up, not your lower teeth. Once you've pushed the tray up, use your thumbs to make sure that all sections of the tray (front teeth and back teeth) are all the way up and cannot go any higher.

Pushing the tray up into is final position should take you 15 seconds.

At this point, the timer should read 2:00.

4-a) Hold tRay in final position

Do not allow the tray to move position or drop down at all. Keep applying firm, steady pressure with your thumbs, holding the tray in position.

TIP: If you gently bite down on your thumbs (thumbnails, to be more specific), this will help you keep firm pressure on the tray without exhausting your hands. Your lower teeth should be hitting your thumbnails. 

Just relax, take slow deep breaths through your nose, and try not to focus on the fact that you have a mouthful of putty. If you begin to drool or gag, just tilt your head forward over the sink. You can also use the tip of your tongue to block putty from going down the back of your throat, although this is very rare and is usually just mental.

Once the timer hits 4:30, you can let go with your thumbs, but do not remove the impression from the mouth until your timer hits 5:30. Just sit still and don't do anything at all that might cause the tray to move or drop down. Do not bite down on the tray in an attempt to hold it in place while the timer reaches 5:30.

4-b) remove impression from the mouth

Once your timer reaches 5:30, use an index finger to break the seal at either back corner of the impression (just above your back molars), then twist the handle back and forth and pull down firmly. Sometimes impressions can be very tight in the mouth, so twist and pull as hard as you need to. If it doesn't want to easily come out, don't panic, you'll get it! 

Rinse the impression under hot water for 30 seconds then dry it off with a paper towel. The impression material and the tray must remain together in one piece, so do not remove the purple impression material from the blue impression tray. Again, do not remove the purple impression material from the blue impression tray! 

New: Timer guide

Refrigerate Putty For 1 hour

Mix Putty For 45 seconds

Load Impression Tray at 0:45

Position Tray In Mouth at 1:30

Push Tray Up at 1:45

Hold Tray In Final Position by 2:00

Remove Impression at 5:30

Timing is very important, so we created this Timer Guide to be used as a “cheat sheet” to help make sure you're on time with each step. If you happen to get the tray in its final position under 2 minutes, that's perfectly fine.

All done! You are now ready to send photos for approval.

Take 2 photos as shown in photos 9 & 10 below. The photos cannot be blurry, the impression cannot be cropped out of the frame, and there cannot be any dark shadowing. Your photos must match the exact angles and lighting as our sample photos below. Please send only 2 photos; 1 top view, 1 rear view. Make sure the number on the handle is clear and visible when taking the top view photo.  

TIP: Turn your flash on, get the correct angles, and focus your lens.

Email your 2 impression photos to info@mouthpieceguy.com and wait for our response. Even if the impression doesn't look very good and you think it's not going to pass, be patient and wait for our response. If the impression has issues, we will let you know exactly what went wrong and will give you tips on how to correct the mistakes. If the impression passes, you will receive specific instructions on what to do next.

Do not send your impression to our lab without getting our approval first. We respond to all impression photos within 1 business day, usually same day.

Top view photo - all teeth are fully molded and perfectly centered in the tray, and tray size on handle (3, 1, X1) is visible.

Rear view photo - gums above teeth are fully molded; impression is tall with thick, rounded borders.

impression tray sizing guide video

Impression kit how-to video

If you would like our help with your impression, give us a call and we'll coach you through the process.

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