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Interproximal Reduction: What It Is and Why It Is Important

October 3, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — polarisorthodonticcenter @ 7:18 pm
Woman smiling after interproximal reduction and orthodontic treatment

Are you soon going to attend your first orthodontic appointment? If so, you may be eager to achieve a straighter, healthier smile. You certainly have an exciting time ahead of you! Before you get started on your journey with braces or clear aligners, however, your orthodontist might tell you that you should undergo a procedure known as interproximal reduction (IPR). The prospect might seem a little scary at first, but there is nothing to worry about. This quick procedure can play a big role in helping you enjoy successful orthodontic treatment.

What Is Interproximal Reduction?

“Interproximal” is a word that describes the area between teeth. Interproximal reduction involves shaving a bit of enamel off the sides of the teeth in order to enlarge the interproximal space. This is accomplished via special tools that easily slide between the teeth and can shape them in the way your orthodontist or dentist desires.

Interproximal reduction is commonly used as a preparatory step before an individual begins using braces or other orthodontic appliances. The procedure first came onto the scene in the 1940s, and since then, it has established a solid track record of making teeth-straightening treatments easier and more successful.

When Is Interproximal Reduction Necessary?

Your orthodontist may urge you to undergo interproximal reduction if you do not have adequate room between your teeth for braces or clear aligners to fit properly, or if your teeth need more space between them to move as they should. Interproximal reduction is commonly recommended for people who have overcrowded, overlapping teeth.

Benefits of Interproximal Reduction

Here are some key benefits of interproximal reduction:

  • In some cases, IPR is able to create adequate space in the mouth for orthodontic gear without the help of extractions. In other words, it may enable you to keep all of your teeth!
  • Once you finish your orthodontic treatment, IPR can make it more likely that your teeth will remain in their new positions.
  • It can enhance the shape of your teeth and help you enjoy a more harmonious bite.

What to Expect from Interproximal Reduction

The prospect of getting your teeth shaved might seem somewhat nerve-wracking, but there is really nothing to be afraid of. Here are some general notes about the procedure:

  • Your orthodontic team will be careful to remove only as much enamel as is absolutely necessary.
  • Most people have enough tooth enamel that shaving off a small mount does not significantly heighten the risk of dental problems.
  • Tooth enamel has no nerve endings, so you can expect to feel minimal discomfort during your IPR appointment. Your orthodontist and their team will do all they can to make you as comfortable as possible.
  • IPR produces consistently positive results. A portion of patients notice an increase in dental sensitivity following the procedure, but this issue is usually easy to manage with sensitivity-reducing toothpaste and other simple measures.

Interproximal reduction might seem a little intimidating, but keep in mind that it can play a large role in helping you to enjoy successful, easy orthodontic treatment!

Meet the Practice

Dr. Amin Mason is the board-certified orthodontist at Polaris Orthodontic Center. With the help of our talented staff, he offers a broad range of treatments, including clear aligners, traditional braces, and more. If you want to learn more about interproximal reduction or any other part of the orthodontic treatment process, we would be happy to speak with you. Contact us at 614-781-6990.

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