Study Models and Wax Ups

Quite often, a patient will have dental problems that require a more detailed analysis in order to determine possible solutions and to reach their goals. Teeth can be directly examined, but because of the limitations imposed by the tongue, lips, cheeks, and the small angle of sight from the front of the mouth, the ability to provide an appropriate treatment plan can be compromised. As more teeth are missing and more teeth shift from where they belong, especially in cases where the problem has been in existence for many years, more options for treatment become possible. This can be the case for extensive dental treatment or for only a few teeth that need restoration.


We will need to make study models (impressions) of the teeth, and we will also make a registration of how the teeth meet, in order to help plan treatment. We will be able to see things and show you things on the models that we cannot see clinically. We can also work with the models of your teeth between appointments. And that’s a definite convenience for you! The models will show us many factors, especially in tooth movement, such as whether teeth have moved, how far they have moved, how they may have affected other teeth, as well as other considerations. If you are planning on fixed bridges or crowns or removable bridges (partials) to replace the missing teeth, the design must be exact from the moment treatment starts for the best result.


We use a diagnostic “wax up” to help us (and you) visualize possible changes to the shape and alignment of your teeth. The wax up shows teeth and gum tissue, usually in white plaster with white wax added. The original study models provide a three-dimensional look at the “before” condition of your teeth, and the wax up will give a three-dimensional “after” picture of what your teeth, replacements of missing teeth, etc. will look like when the treatment is completed. The wax up is often used where there are moderate to significant cosmetic changes to be considered. In conjunction with the wax up, it is possible to have the before picture converted to a digital image and then computer modified to show an “after” image. The digitized picture will have your lips, cheeks, gum tissue, and face visible and in proper color. The wax up is valuable for you too. You will be able to judge the proposed changes and approve them. If you don’t like them, it is relatively simple to have the wax up changed for a different look. Once the wax up is approved by both you and us, it will be used as the foundation for the anticipated treatment. The better a treatment is planned, the better the chance of a successful result.

There is an additional cost for either the study models or the diagnostic wax up. Fees for the study models are fixed. Fees for the diagnostic wax up depend on the number of teeth that are being modified. For an extensive “makeover” a fee of several hundred dollars is possible.

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