What Is Interproximal Reduction?

If you’ve ever had Invisalign treatment, you may have heard of IPR, short for interproximal reduction. But many people don't hear about the procedure until they're getting ready for orthodontic treatment, and it can be a little confusing to say the least.

Interproximal reduction is the act of filing down the tooth enamel to reduce crowding between teeth. Also sometimes referred to as enamel reduction, IPR is common in orthodontic treatments like Invisalign, as it helps to create room for teeth to fit together better.

It can be puzzling to some people to hear they need IPR when getting orthodontic treatment, because, after all, aren’t your aligners supposed to be reducing the crowding? But IPR doesn’t really remove enough enamel to replace aligners - it just sands down the edges so the teeth fit together seamlessly once they are in place.

So, how much tooth enamel does IPR remove? Generally, no more than .2 to .3 millimeters, which, when you consider the enamel is 2.5 mm thick, isn’t that much.

Many patients ask if IPR will hurt - and it honestly depends on the person. If you have sensitive teeth, you may experience some sensitivity, since your teeth are full of nerves. But because IPR is only reducing the enamel surface, it should not cause sensitivity in otherwise healthy, non-sensitive teeth.

Another common question about IPR is if you will notice a difference in the shape or size of the teeth that received IPR treatment. In some cases, yes, and in others no. What you may notice is that teeth with sharp edges are a little more rounded. It may look strange at first, but once your treatment is complete and your smile is perfectly aligned, you’ll see how well your teeth fit together.

Still not convinced? If you’re wondering if you really have to have IPR and if there’s anything else that can be done to open up space in the mouth, consider this - the old standard for reducing crowding in the mouth was to remove entire teeth! Thankfully, we can now use IPR to help make room without having to pull any teeth and still achieve the same results: a beautiful smile.

To speak to Dr. Lederman about your smile, please schedule an appointment by calling 516-882-1764.

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