Setting the Record Straight: Interproximal Reduction

March 22, 2021

At Walker Orthodontics, we know tooth reshaping is sometimes fraught with confusion, trepidation and misinformation. In this blog, we’ll debunk the common myths and misconceptions associated with Interproximal Reduction (IPR).

Let’s Talk About IPR

Interproximal Reduction (IPR) is a common orthodontic procedure designed to reshape or recontour the teeth to remedy crowding or tooth size discrepancies. In our experience, IPR is most often prescribed to address crowding of the lower front teeth. Overall, we find that reshaping several teeth to make them slightly narrower can be a valuable alternative to permanent tooth removal in situations where it creates ample space to align crowded teeth properly. During this procedure, the orthodontist uses flexible, thin strips and/or discs to createapproximately 0.2 to 0.5 millimeters of space between specific teeth. Similar to solving a puzzle, sometimes certain tooth shapes or sizes need to be altered to help ensure every tooth fits together perfectly.

Despite what you may believe, the IPR process is minimally invasive and pain free. Common misconceptions we hear include:

  • MYTH: It’s going to hurt!
  • TRUTH: Many people who have never experienced orthodontic treatment assume the tooth reshaping process is painful, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, it feels a bit like getting a manicure on your teeth. So, while it might feel odd, it’s not painful, and there are no shots or aesthesia involved.
  • MYTH: It will create permanent damage.
  • TRUTH: While IPR involves permanent enamel reduction, it’s unlikely to create damage.
  • MYTH: I’ll be more prone to cavities
  • TRUTH: As long as you maintain great oral hygiene, IPR doesn’t increase your risk for cavities.  

Is IPR Right for You?

We’ll let you know if IPR is recommended as part of your (or your teen’s) regular orthodontic treatment to address crowding or tooth size inconsistencies. From there, we’ll schedule the procedure (at no additional cost to you!).

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