IPR stands for Interproximal Reduction. While this procedure is used with all types of orthodontics, it is a noteworthy part of Invisalign treatment to repair crowded teeth. Our Yuba City dentists want you to understand the answers to the following questions: what is IPR and why is it a preferred orthodontic technique for treating certain problems with the teeth?
Interproximal Reduction Explained
IPR is also called enamel reduction, because it involves abrading away small amounts of the outer tooth enamel from multiple teeth in areas that are crowded or that surround crowded teeth. Flexible strips of very fine material, similar to sandpaper, are used to rub away very small amounts of enamel. Hand tools or dental instruments are used to accomplish IPR. A typical tooth loses no more than .2 or .3 millimeters of enamel during the entire Invisalign treatment period. (That’s the width of four to six sheets of paper tightly pressed together.) Healthy enamel can be 2.5 millimeters thick, so this represents a small amount and IPR is only performed on some select teeth — not all of them.
IPR is used in conjunction with other orthodontic techniques, especially adjustments to the arch width and the proclination, or the incline, of the teeth. Usually, people with crowded teeth have narrow arches and their teeth are tilted in such a way that exacerbates their problem. By widening the arch and fixing the proclination, more space is automatically created for all the teeth. The small amounts of IPR performed on some of the teeth during your orthodontic procedure enables them to move into their proper positions along the upper and lower arches.
Alternatives to IPR
One of the primary alternatives to IPR is extracting one or more of the crowded teeth to make room for those that remain. Most patients, if given the choice between enamel reduction and pulling teeth, understandably decide to go with IPR! This especially makes sense when you consider that the process of extraction often requires the dentist to shape one or more of the teeth that remain by using — you guessed it — enamel reduction!
The Yuba City Dentistry Group believes that every tooth is important and should be kept if at all possible. IPR helps us to meet this goal when dealing with crowded teeth. It encourages greater stability of the teeth in the jaw, requires no healing period (as is the case with extractions), and speeds up your orthodontic treatment, saving our patients’ time and the costs of a lengthier procedure.