What is IPR or Interproximal Reduction?

- March 1, 2024

Interproximal reduction (IPR), also known as interdental stripping or enamel reduction, is a technique used during orthodontic treatment to create space between teeth. It involves the selective removal of a small amount of enamel from the sides of adjacent teeth, typically in the areas where they touch or overlap. Enamel is approximately 2.5mm and we as orthodontist will remove up to 0.3mm of enamel, therefore not damaging the enamel.

There are usually three reasons for Dr. Nizam to perform IPR, these are as follows:

  1. One purpose of interproximal reduction is to create enough space to align crowded or misaligned teeth properly. By reducing the width of the teeth slightly, it allows for better alignment and positioning within the dental arch. This technique is commonly used in cases where there is mild to moderate crowding or when there is insufficient space for the teeth to be aligned properly. The amount of enamel removed is minimal and carefully controlled to ensure the overall health and integrity of the teeth.
  2. When the teeth are the right sizes, the upper and lower sets fit together like a box and a lid. The upper teeth are naturally wider because they fit on the outside of the bottom teeth. This is most obvious when comparing the size of the upper and lower front teeth. If the upper teeth are too wide or the lower teeth are too narrow, an overbite, crowding of the upper teeth, or spaces present in the lower arch may result. If the upper teeth are too narrow or the lower teeth are too wide, there will be spaces in the upper, crowding in the lower, or an underbite relationship. If the upper and lower arches do not match because of their size, orthodontists say that the patient has a "Bolton discrepancy."
  3. To eliminate dark triangles: Dr. Nizam may use interproximal reduction during your treatment, when you have teeth shaped such that they don't fit next to each other very well. This is most obvious in the front part of the mouth where two triangular shaped teeth are touching near the biting edges but there are triangular-shaped spaces closer to the gum line. These are sometimes called "dark triangles." The presence of dark triangles is determined by the shape of the teeth and the height of the gums between them.

It has been shown through research that IPR is safe when done in a conservative fashion. Dr. Nizam always has the conversation with the patient before doing any shaping of teeth. Research supports the use of interproximal reduction does not increase decay on the altered surfaces, greater stability after treatment, and no increase in sensitivity when the amount of enamel removed is kept within reasonable limits. Ask Dr. Nizam if interproximal reduction is right for your particular situation.

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