An impression in an orthodontic office is usually taken for one of two reasons: to document treatment or to make a custom appliance. The process of taking an impression is dreaded by many patients but it doesn't have to be! The steps to taking an impression are simple: first, your assistant will mix together powder and water to form a putty, smooth the putty out into a tray shaped like your teeth, and finally place the tray of putty over your teeth until it hardens enough to be removed. There are a few simple tricks to remember that will help you get through your impression. One tip that may surprise you but works for just about everyone is to lift your ankles off the chair a couple inches. Doing this will tighten your stomach muscles and distract your mind from the impression process. Another tip is to breath through your nose instead of your mouth. It a common misconception that your gag reflex is stimulated when something touches your throat but the truth is the reflex actually begins on your tongue. If your ankles are lifted and you are breathing through your nose you should have a stress free impression experience!