IPR: What It Is and Do You Need It as Part of Your Invisible Braces Journey?

3 May 2024

filing of teeth

What is Interproximal Reduction (IPR) and why you might need it

If your teeth are crowded, there may not be sufficient space for your teeth to move into alignment. Your teeth will start getting in their own way as they move into new positions. As such, more space needs to be created so that your teeth can shift correctly. 

One common dental procedure is Interproximal Reduction (IPR), where small amounts of enamel are removed from the sides of adjacent teeth to create space. This helps to correct crowding or alignment issues by making room for teeth to move into their proper positions. 

An IPR is performed by your treating dentist using specialised tools, and is considered a safe and effective method for improving dental alignment.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be taken as medical advice. Please consult with your treating dentist for medical advice specific to your condition. Zenyum does not provide medical advice and our systems are doctor-directed treatments.

Ways to create space for your teeth to move

1. Interproximal Reduction

The first way is through Interproximal Reduction where your treating dentist uses fine discs to shave the sides of your teeth and teeth enamel. IPR only shaves off between 0.1 to 0.3 millimetres of your enamel on each side of the tooth. The enamel on your teeth is generally about 2.5 mm thick, so no need to worry about losing it all.

For clear aligners, IPR is generally preferred over teeth extraction because your treating dentist has more control over the amount of space created. However, if a substantial amount of space is needed, your treating dentist may recommend teeth extraction instead.

2. Teeth Extraction

The second way is to extract a few teeth if more space needs to be created. Before you put on braces, your treating dentist will examine your teeth and advise whether IPR or teeth extraction is required.

While IPR shaves off up to a maximum of 0.25 mm of your enamel on each side of your tooth for most cases, if you have very little interproximal enamel, your treating dentist may advise you not to undergo IPR and go down the tooth extraction route instead. 

Creating gaps between your teeth may be recommended by your treating dentist based on their analysis of your teeth condition. This also applies for Zenyum after consulting with your treating dentist. Get an initial assessment of your teeth condition before starting your Zenyum Invisible Braces journey!

What happens during IPR?

Your treating dentist may use a dental drill with a diamond-coated bur or disc at the end. He or she will run it along the sides of your teeth to shave off your enamel.

Alternatively, your treating dentist may use a diamond-coated strip and run it back and forth along the sides of your teeth to file them down.

Do not be alarmed if there are noticeable gaps in your teeth after your IPR procedure. These gaps will close up when you start wearing invisible braces and your teeth start to shift into their new positions for your best smile. 

There you have it! The ins and outs of IPR – not so scary, right? Just lay back in the dentist chair, and let your dentist take care of the rest. After all, you can rest easy knowing your mouth is going to have enough room for your teeth to take up their positions for a sparkling new smile.

Is IPR painful?

No, it is not painful. There are no nerve endings in the outer enamel of your teeth so the procedure will not hurt.

You might feel some discomfort as pressure will be applied to your teeth. Some people have said it feels similar to teeth polishing.

We all know how important enamel is, which is one of the main benefits of IPR, as it does not damage your teeth because only a small amount of enamel is removed. You should not feel any tooth sensitivity or face an increased risk of tooth decay as a result.

Ensuring your IPR procedure is safe

While IPR itself is a straightforward procedure, it’s important to have a trusted expert performing it. Zenyum works with an extensive network of partner dentists to ensure that you get the best Smile Journey experience possible. Most dentists have experience in IPR or would undergo a training programme to familiarise with the system.

As part of our onboarding process, the dentists undergo a training programme to familiarise with the system. Patients are then given the choice to select which clinic or dentist they would like to start their Zenyum journey with. Patients are encouraged to stay with the same dentist throughout their journey for a holistic treatment.

In short, with Zenyum, you can expect:

  • Experienced and highly trained experts that we partner with who are skilled in IPR for aligner treatment.
  • Treating dentists that use precise tools for minimal and controlled enamel reduction.
  • Continuous upskilling, monitoring and expansion of our partner network.

At Zenyum, we’re committed to providing you with a clear and comfortable path to your dream smile. If you have any further questions about IPR or your Zenyum Smile Journey, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team!

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