Insights from a thermoforming expert

Insights from a thermoforming expert

Shae Chauhan, an expert in thermoforming and a super user of Iconic materials, provides insight into the differences between pressure forming and vacuum forming.

The pressure forming advantage

Accuracy and fit

One of the foremost advantages of pressure forming over vacuum forming is its unparalleled accuracy. Unlike vacuum formers that pull from below, pressure formers exert a positive force from above, ensuring a tighter and more precise fit. This method excels at reaching all embrasures, making it ideal for creating aligners, night guards, retainers, bite raisers, and bite guards. The result is a superior fit that enhances patient comfort and treatment outcomes.


Despite its compact size, the PF1 delivers the same high pressure as larger, more expensive machines, making it a cost-effective solution for practices and labs. Its affordability does not compromise its capability, ensuring that even smaller clinics can access the highest calibre of pressure forming technology.

User-friendly design

The PF1 is designed with simplicity in mind. Being an analogue machine, it eliminates the complexity of digital controls, making it incredibly easy to operate. This straightforward design means minimal training is required for staff, allowing multiple team members to become proficient quickly. For practices creating aligners, it easily fits into the digital workflow. While there may be training requirements for the team, the learning curve remains quick.

Practical applications and versatility

Ease of setup

Setting up the PF1 is hassle-free. It accommodates all standard sizes of blanks – 120mm, 125mm, or six-inch squares. The process is intuitive: simply wait for the blank to sag and monitor it by eye, ensuring perfect timing for the pressure application.

Compact and quiet

Despite its powerful capabilities, the PF1 operates quietly and has a compact footprint, making it a seamless addition to any dental lab or clinic.

Ideal uses

The PF1 shines in various applications. It’s perfect for remaking aligners on-site when patients lose theirs, saving both time and the hassle of reordering from a lab. Additionally, its versatility extends to creating sports mouth guards, as it can reach up to seven bar pressure, accommodating even the thickest materials.

Specialist insights from Shae Chauhan

Shae Chauhan shares personal preferences and experiences with Iconic materials.

‘I have always used Iconic Original, but I was very impressed with Lux and Align,’ says Shae.

‘Align has become my favourite due to its excellent elasticity retention, ensuring no deformity in the mouth or on the model when removed.’

Shae’s top three Iconic products:

1. Iconic Align – the perfect material for aligners

Iconic Align is a premium aligner material, designed to maintain a light and consistent force throughout aligner treatment.

Why choose Iconic Align?

  • Optimised flexibility – maximises tooth in contact with aligner
  • Maximum patient comfort
  • Resists heat deformation – minimal loss of force and predictable tracking of tooth movement
  • Impressive aesthetics – perfect for invisible aligners
  • Highly resistant to staining and discolouration
  • Easy to use, easy to finish.

2. Iconic Lux – premium retainer material

Iconic Lux is a next generation retainer material, made from the latest polymer technology, possessing increased flexibility and a greater resistance to fracture. Soft occlusion properties ensure optimised patient comfort.

    What makes Iconic Lux an ideal choice for retainers?

    • Excellent impact strength, greater resistance to fracture – proven for long term retainer wear
    • Soft occlusion properties – increased patient comfort
    • Accepts bonding materials
    • Brilliantly clear – resistant to staining and discolouration
    • Supplied with easy peel protective film for reduced production times.

    3. Iconic Original

    What if you need an excellent all-rounder for retainers, aligners, splints and guides?

    Iconic Original is one of the most asked for thermoforming materials in the UK. When fabricating retainers and aligners, you can rely on Iconic Original for consistent results.

    Iconic Original is:

    • Rigid and durable when formed
    • Brilliantly clear
    • Accepts bonding materials
    • Resistant to staining and discolouration
    • Supplied with easy peel protective film for reduced production times.

    Thermoforming learning and experimentation

    DB Orthodontics offers comprehensive thermoforming courses tailored for lab technicians and clinical team members. These courses provide hands-on experience with the PF1 and various Iconic materials, allowing participants to test and understand the full potential of these products. Chauhan emphasises the importance of using finishing products to achieve the best results, all of which can be explored during these courses.

    For those eager to elevate their dental practice, exploring Iconic’s offerings and training courses is a step towards excellence and innovation in dental care.

    To learn more, we invite you to enrol on the Iconic thermoforming course. Alternatively, you can book a demo by calling the team on 01535 656999 or emailing [email protected].

    This article is sponsored by DB Orthodontics.

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