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Gypsum is a mineral naturally found in nature. Dental applications:


Impression materials Constructing casts and dies Making replicas

Ideal properties of die materials


Dimensional accuracy. Ease of use. Accurate reproduction of fine detail. Inert. Good strength. Inexpensive. Abrasion resistant. Good color contrast

Properties and behaviour

Chemical properties: (exothermic reaction)

Ca sulfate dihydrate heat water loss ground Ca sulfate hemihydrate  The production of various types of gypsum is basically the same: same:  If the heating process occurs in atmospheric pressure at 115C, 115 the powder particles are porous and irregular (b hemihydrate, plaster). plaster).  if heating process is under pressure, powder particles are regular and less porous (a hemihydrate, or dental stone). stone).

A further increase in pressure and refining of the powder by grinding results in denser stone, highhighstrength or die stone When stone is mixed with silica: dental silica: investment, investment, a material that can withstand high heat and stress produced when molten metal is forced into molds to form indirect restorations

Gypsum products

Plaster of Paris

Dental stone

Die stone

Physical properties
Type plaster Stone High strength stone High strength HighHigh-expansion stone W/P 0.45 0.30 0.23 0.20 Porosity Compressive strength 8.8 MPa 20.6 MPa 34.3 MPa 48.0 MPa Abrasion resistance Low Moderate High High Setting expansion High Moderate Low High

High moderate Low Low

Physical properties (cont.)

Strength and hardness: Affected by  Porosity  Shape of particles (large irregular particles dont condense well leading to decreased density).  Amount of water mixed with the powder. Higher porosity requires more water to be mixed to produce a cast which will be weaker.

Dimensional accuracy:

The higher the setting expansion, the lower the accuracy. Setting expansion results from the growth of crystals as they join. Set gypsum is not highly soluble The greater the porosity the greater the solubility.


Reproduction of detail:

Greater porosity decreases surface detail production The impression material should be compatible with the gypsum to improve detail reproduction. The best compatibility is between silicon and polyethers and gypsum


Classification of gypsum

Impression plaster (Type I) *seldom used* Model plaster (Type II): used for  Diagnostic cast  Articulation of stone cast  Art portion of working cast  Flasking procedure for acrylic dentures (cast end) The mix produces a weak cast compared to dental stone. Its available is fast and regular sets.
Impression (negative replica), poured into gypsum to make a cast (positive replica


Plaster Flask


Dental stone (Type III): used for making

Full or partial denture models  Orthodontic models  Flasking procedure for acrylic dentures (teeth end) It requires less water, stronger than plaster

Dental stone casts


Dental stone, high strength (Type IV):  AKA die stone used in fabricating wax patterns of cast restorations (crown &bridge)  Implants  Precision attachments work  Often colored pink or green  Almost 2 times stronger than type III stone

Die stone used in the fabrication of cast crown restoration


High strength, high expansion dental stone (Type V)  Colored blue or green  Most costly of all gypsum materials  Lowest W:P ratio, higher compressive strength  The need for higher expansion (0.1%) was to compensate for the solidification shrinkage of some alloys used as base metals used for dental casting



Selection: based on the desired properties and dental application. e.g.:


For a diagnostic cast, plaster can be used. For a working cast, strength is required and accuracy, dental stone is the gypsum of choice Working models for cast restorations require die stone


Manipulation (cont.)

Proportioning (W:P ratio)

Golden rule: Manufacturer instructions should rule: always be followed. Variations in W:P ratio affect the set materials properties such as strength and accuracy.

Too much water? Too little water?


Manipulation (cont.)

Mixing:  Manual: Rubber bowl and spatula.

Powder is sifted into water to ensure good wetting and avoid clumps, and avoid air bubbles


Mechanical (also used with vacuum) (also


Manipulation (cont.)

Initial setting time-working time time 

Working time start after mixing for 1 minute Initial setting time: time elapsed from the start of mix until loss of gloss (8-10 minutes) (86-10 minutes of working time are available to pour the gypsum.


Final setting time: is reached when the materials can be safely handled, the gypsum is cool (exothermic reaction is over). Setting expansion: Results from crystal growth during setting. Can be decreased by the addition of potassium sulfate, sodium chloride, borax. Hygroscopic expansion. If gypsum soaked during setting, water fills pores and increases volume Its recommended to separate the cast from impression after 1 hour. Strength increases 2-3 times after 24 hours 2-


Tests for initial setting, and final setting times

Loss of gloss test for initial setting time: loss of gloss occurs as water is taken up by gypsum to form the dihydrate. The materials does not have measurable compressive strength. Initial Gillmore test for initial set: needles are used to indent the material until no indentation can be seen = initial setting time.



Vicat penetrometer (A) for setting time: used for the next stage of setting (refer to figure) after loss of gloss, the plunger rod is released onto the mix. Time elapsed until the rod no longer penetrates is the setting time. Gillmore test (B) for final setting time: a heavier Gillmore needle to determine final setting time.



Ready for use criteria

The ability to judge readiness of gypsum to be handled improves with experience. Technically, the material is considered ready when compressive strength reaches 80% of the strength attained after 1 hour. Most products are ready to use in 30 minutes.

Clinical tip: before separating cast from impression, ensure that no part of the tray is connected to the gypsum Clinical tip: if alginate impression dried before cast separation, soak in water for 15 minutes.


How to control setting time

1. Changing water : powder ratio
Increasing water Retarded setting Weaker model or cast Inaccurate model -------Decreasing water Shorter setting time Mix difficult to manipulate Bubbles inclusion in mix Inaccurate model


2. Spatulation: rapid and prolonged spatulation accelerates setting and also increases setting expansion. 3. Temperature: increasing water temperature to a certain level will accelerate setting.


4. Accelerators and retarders:

Manufacturers add accelerators or retarders to gypsum. These chemicals increase or decrease gypsum solubility respectively which will alter setting time accordingly. Clinicians can add accelerators such as potassium sulfate or set gypsum (slurry water), they act as sites for crystallization. Setting reaction retarders: blood, saliva, alginate. If left on impression, can affect surface details of impression. Impression surface need to be properly rinsed before being poured.

Pouring of the cast: the cast is composed of two parts which are prepared separately

The anatomical part (hard and soft tissue), impression poured using a vibrator Art portion or base, which is important to aid in handling and articulating the casts. Can be poured in different ways:


1. Double-pour method Double1 2


2. Single step

Both anatomical and art portions of the cast are prepared at the same time. This method requires skill and accurate timing. Difficulty encountered:

If mix is too runny? If mix started to initially set?


3. Boxing method

A strip of wax is fitted around the impression then gypsum is poured. The wax border should extend at least 0.5 inch above the highest point of the impression.


Storage and clean up

Gypsum should be stored in airtight dry area. Prolonged exposure to moisture can retard setting due to decreased solubility of powder. Relevant equipment should be kept clean to avoid unwanted acceleration of setting by set gypsum.


Infection control


Casts should have set for 24 hours before being disinfected if necessary. Spray rather than immerse Disinfectants commonly used:

Sodium hypochlorite iodophors Chlorine dioxide



Plaster bases are recommended since trimming them is easier than dental stone. If base is made from stone, it should be soaked in water for 5-10 minutes to soften it before 5trimming. Important considerations when trimming?


Trimming considerations


Proportion of base to anatomical part Parallelism Use of wax bite registration Outer border of cast Shaping of anterior part of upper and lower arches


Other types of Die stone

Metal plated die stone: silver or copper plated to increase abrasion resistance Epoxy die stone: resin and a hardener are used to increase abrasion resistance. Resin reinforced die stone: resin is incorporated into the gypsum material to increase abrasion resistance.


Investment materials
Used to form metal casting through the lost wax technique



Dental materials, clinical applications for dental assistants and dental hygienists. Chapter 12 Phillips science of dental materials. Chapter10