A few years ago our laboratory was introduced to Anutex High Stability Baseplate Wax sheets which we have continued to use exclusively to this very day. The manufacturer concerned, Associated Dental Products Ltd, who are based in Wiltshire in the United Kingdom, state that the wax we have been using has similar handling characteristics to their market leading product Anutex Toughened Baseplate Wax, but that their new product offers even greater stability and strength.
Having studied the comparisons, this appears to be true. We use this wax with confidence, as it provides the consistency and control that we desire, enabling our team to produce the high quality products demanded of us. We have also found that unlike some of the other baseplate waxes on the market, it does not distort in the patients mouth, or during delivery to the client and back to the laboratory. This could be partly due to the fact that it has a slightly higher primary softening temperature, which is typically 41°C - 45°C as opposed to the manufacturer's standard wax that has a range of 35°C - 41°C.
The results are excellent
Being a specialized prosthetic laboratory, we use the higher end wax for all of our denture cases. We have had excellent results with this product and have even had favorable comments from some of our clients. They too have noticed how stable this wax has been when taking bite registrations and assessing the wax try-in of dentures.
Overall, the results have been excellent, as the wax does not flake while trimming down for contouring. It also pin flames extremely well taking on a very smooth appearance, this in turn leads to a high quality finish, which you can then buff using cotton wool and cold water.
One of the primary reasons for this quality is the hardness and toughness of the wax. This has been achieved by the fact that the wax is rolled during manufacture, which I believe, creates a uniform, dense, and toughened sheet.
It is these qualities that have lead to greater job satisfaction, as the wax is always reliable. Additionally, the wax is also quite competitively priced for this quality of product and represents excellent value for money.
At 0.06 inches thick, I have found these baseplate wax sheets to be the optimum thickness for the palate of the final denture.
Basic guide to using this advanced baseplate wax
In order to fit the sheet to the model, gently warm the wax and then adapt its properties without overheating. Make sure that you do not stretch and thin the sheet too much.
Final fitting to the denture model is generally achieved by slight warming with a pin flame which facilitates enough softness to produce the required finishing touches with a wax knife.
The base or trial set-up can be polished to a brilliant mirror-like finish using the normal technique of cotton wool and cold water.
I personally use the same manufacturer's straight wax bite blocks, as these can also be easily adapted, especially after being immersed in warm water for a few minutes to soften them.
Baseplate wax research
During some research I carried out, several years ago, I found that baseplate wax sheets were manufactured in various ways, which of course can lead to them having very different characteristics and qualities.
Consequently an industry standard for all wax materials has been developed. The ISO standard for baseplate wax sheets is BS EN ISO 15854:2005. This standard was defined by testing various market leading brands in differing situations and at different temperatures. In accordance with EU standards, all baseplate waxes on the market should be manufactured to pass these regulations.
At the present time there are three classifications for Type 2 baseplate waxes:-
Class 1 Soft
Class 2 Hard
Class 3 Extra Hard
Each manufacturer decides which categories their waxes conform to. This process ensures that they can supply waxes that meet the relevant industry standard, but with wide ranging differences in performance. Baseplate Wax Class 1 and 2 are the only relevant products for use in the dental laboratory.
Knowing what the tests are, coupled with how a particular wax performed in the standard ISO test, is certainly an indication of how it was likely to perform in practice. I have indicated below the standard flow tests used for these types of wax.
BS EN ISO 15854:2005 Tests
This standard tests the wax’s properties and performance. The classification (i.e. Class 1, 2 or 3) of a particular Type 2 baseplate wax is determined by its flow properties at different temperatures:-
Room Temperature (23°C +/-1°C)
Mouth Temperature (37°C +/-1°C)
Above mouth temperature (45°C +/- 1°C)
Tests are carried out in a temperature controlled water bath. Naturally it is easy to understand what you are purchasing if you are given this information in the first place. However most customers find that the wax manufacturer does not supply this type of technical information, instead they find it necessary to rely on the ISO number to be the indication of an adequate source of quality control.
In addition to the above information, I also use a further series of tests for the evaluation of materials used in my own laboratory. In the case of baseplate wax, I use the chart below:-
The desirable properties of baseplate wax could be stated as follows:-
High strength and rigidity at mouth temperature.
Wide softening range above mouth temperature.
Easily moldable in the softened state, without flaking, cracking or tearing.
Low thermal contraction.
Easily carved at room temperature without flaking or chipping.
Little change in properties on melting and re-solidification.
No residue on boiling out.
The list I have produced demonstrates just a few considerations. There are two other factors that you could also consider.
Color and Cost
So what is the true cost? Some waxes may be less expensive to buy, but if they deform at mouth temperature, they can end up costing you a lot more in terms of lost time. Therefore, readapting wrong bite registrations to the model together with distortions of wax try-ins, are just two problems that may be encountered during this process.
Considering the color of the wax is very subjective. What you might consider as the right color; someone else could and probably will find completely inappropriate. It is for you and your client to decide what color is acceptable.
On saying this, it is up to the dental laboratory to evaluate the suitability of a particular baseplate wax. One way of doing this is to complete a series of simple tests as follows:-
(a) Soften a wax sheet over a Bunsen flame and observe its characteristics. Compare it with other waxes of a similar style.
Note the result: i.e. is the wax easily mouldable in the softened state, without flaking, cracking or tearing? Is there low thermal contraction of the wax on the model? Did the wax perform in accordance with your expectations for this type of product?
(b) Soften the wax sheet and mould into a block suitable for wax registration. Compare as previous with other waxes.
Once again, note the result: i.e. did the wax mould well and was it easily carved at room temperature without flaking or chipping? Did the wax perform in accordance with your expectations for this type of product?
(c) Carve, trim and pin flame the wax blocks; polish with cold water and cotton wool. As before, compare with other waxes. Finally, note the result: i.e. did the wax carve and trim easily? Did the wax take a good surface polish?
(d) Set a few teeth into position on the wax.
Did the teeth stay in position after the wax had cooled down? Were the teeth easy to re-position and did the wax carve easily with a good surface finish?
Summary and experiences
Baseplate waxes vary in their consistency and strength. It is easy to criticize products just because they don't come up to your expectations. However, we have noticed quite a major difference over many of the waxes we have tried previously. The manufacturer’s wax, that we have case studied in this article, has a slightly higher melting point and greater toughness than many other products in the market.
All this said, it is worth bearing in mind that manufacturers who have attained ISO status, are without a doubt, the best companies in the market to purchase your waxes from. In this case, the manufacturer concerned, also demonstrated their expertise in this niche market sector, by displaying technical information in the form of comparison graphs. For me, this put the icing on the cake. Our laboratory has continued to use this manufacturer's wax, and will continue to do so. That is until a better product is introduced!
About the Author:-
Martyn Young has been a qualified Dental Technician since 1971 and is a Director of Cotswold Dental Laboratory which is a specialist prosthetic laboratory. Martyn attended the Matthew Boulton Technical College in Birmingham, England, studying Dental Technology. After achieving his qualifications, he continued at the College for a further 2 years learning about advanced Prosthetic Techniques.