September 19, 2022
If you’re getting ready to undergo orthodontic treatment, then you’ll likely hear certain terms from “fixed appliances” to “elastics” during your initial consultation. One phrase that might catch your attention is “interproximal reduction.” While this method has been used since the 1940s, most patients aren’t familiar with the process. Read on to learn what interproximal reduction means and why it may be necessary for your orthodontic treatment!
What Is Interproximal Reduction?
More commonly known as “IPR,” this technique involves the removal of some of your tooth enamel to properly shape it, providing more room for movement. Though this might sound unsettling at first, you must know that this procedure is very conservative and meant to only shave down a tiny portion of your tooth’s structure that touches other nearby teeth. You likely won’t even notice the difference since any gap will only be temporary as you undergo your orthodontic treatment. IPR can also be performed in mere minutes and isn’t uncomfortable.
What Are the Advantages of Interproximal Reduction?
Sometimes with traditional orthodontics, tooth extractions may be required due to overcrowding of the teeth. Interproximal reduction provides a solution for similar issues in a far less invasive approach. By using a specifically-made dental handpiece to remove tiny amounts of your enamel, your teeth will have ample room to shift properly and achieve a uniform smile at the end of your treatment. While most cases of IPR are completed on the front of your smile, it can sometimes be needed throughout your mouth depending on your specific plan.
Is This Treatment Painful?
Interproximal reduction is not a painful technique. Most times, patients don’t even require numbing agents for it. Your orthodontist will carefully reshape your teeth with a special tool when necessary, usually only requiring less than 10 minutes to complete if you have a few pearly whites needing adjustments. If you need this technique performed for your entire smile, then the process may take a little longer. However, your dental team will do everything they can to ensure you’re as comfortable as possible throughout the treatment.
It’s normal to feel minor concern if this is the first time you’ve heard the term “interproximal reduction.” Fortunately, you’ll have nothing to worry about from this safe and modern dental technique. Since this procedure has been practiced for over 60 years, you can be sure of its effectiveness when helping to achieve a straighter smile!
About the Author
Dr. Patrick Crowley is a proud member of several prominent groups like the Academy of General Dentistry and the Oklahoma Dental Association. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry and regularly pursues advanced training to expand his techniques and expertise. He offers a vast collection of high-quality and comprehensive services, including Invisalign. If you’d like to know more about interproximal reduction, visit his website or call him at 405-751-5515.
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