What is IPR?

Interproximal reduction has been around for decades. It is an important and fascinating technique often used in conjunction with clear aligner therapy for orthodontic treatment. This technique offers fast, effective, and pain-free treatment. IPR also helps with a variety of conditions and can be used for patients who are and are not in orthodontic treatment. 

The interproximal reduction technique has been around for a long time, since about the 1940s. It is a process used to slenderize teeth interproximally (or in between) which assists with correcting a variety of tiny movements and imperfections. 

It is often performed to achieve specific desired effects in conjunction with orthodontic treatment. IPR is sometimes called interdental enamel reduction and also selective tooth enamel reduction. Any of these terms will apply to the same technique and treatment. 

Interproximal reduction works very well with the Orthosnap system and can improve a patient’s smile and overall case success. Learn more about what does IPR mean in orthodontics in this article.

What does IPR mean in orthodontics?

Interproximal reduction sounds much more complicated than it is. This technique is actually a helpful process that is mainly used to avoid orthodontic extractions. It helps to achieve a patient’s smile goals without extracting teeth, causing flaring of the teeth or hurting a patient’s bite.

No Flaring

Flaring applies to teeth with flat or concave peripheral portions of the front and back side of a tooth (also known as facial and lingual surfaces). There are different types of flares that can strain the chewing parts of a tooth’s surface. This surface of the tooth works in a patient’s occlusion. 

Proper Occlusion

Occlusion is an integral part of a patient’s bite and indicates how the top and lower jaws come together as well as how the top and bottom teeth touch and work together. Proper occlusion preserves the integrity of a tooth’s long-term health and assists in the proper chewing and therefore absorption and digestion of food.

Occlusion is also very important to a patient’s oral health and overall health. When healthy occlusion is not present, this is called malocclusion. Malocclusion is why many patients undergo orthodontic treatment to begin with. IPR is an excellent asset used to assist in the correction of malocclusion. 

Reducing Space Between Teeth

IPR is the simple action of slimming the areas between teeth. This is done using a super fine metal strip with diamond dust on it. A small diamond bur may also be used. This fine metal strip or bur acts as a precision tool. It is used to slide back and forth between the teeth much like floss is used. 

The reduction of tooth enamel between the teeth is only done in a fraction of a millimeter. An extremely insignificant amount. Tooth enamel is one of the strongest minerals in the body and this slight reduction does not cause any harm or damage to the tooth’s structure. This process is safe, effective, and pain-free. The patient experience is often compared to receiving a dental cleaning or having one’s teeth polished. It takes mere minutes to complete.

What are the benefits of interproximal reduction?  

IPR  may be used in a variety of scenarios. The benefits depend on the scenario and are all beneficial. Let’s take a look at the following three common scenarios and the benefits of each one. 

  1. When space is needed to help correct crowding on the lower or upper arch. Crowding happens when there is not enough space between multiple teeth which can contribute to a variety of significant oral health problems. Especially crowding. Previously many dentists would extract or remove teeth to create the space necessary to straighten crowded teeth. However, in some patients this would cause concerns over teeth shifting later on in life. Or even the possibility of jaw problems developing. Rather than remove teeth, interproximal reduction helps to reshape and resize teeth. This allows for the extra room necessary to straighten and align teeth that are overly crowded without long-term concerns or problems. 
  2. Interproximal reduction is used to improve a patient’s bite, even patients who may not be in active orthodontic treatment. This is because interproximal reduction is used to align teeth. An example of this can be seen in a patient with an open bite where a person’s teeth are flared outward with spaces between them. Once these teeth are brought inward, interproximal reduction can be used to help lower the teeth and create space for the top teeth to align perfectly with the bottom. Patients with an open bite who do not receive interproximal reduction often have complaints of bite issues later on. Their teeth will be straight but they will not touch together like they should. This condition can also cause a variety of dental problems later on. 
  3. IPR can be used to get rid of the black triangles between teeth. These “black triangles” are caused when teeth overlap for a long period of time and the gums are not given a chance to grow between the teeth. These black triangles are sometimes more of an optical illusion or blank space where we are used to seeing something. Other times bacteria and staining can occur because of the patient’s tooth anatomy. Since interproximal reduction is used to bring teeth closer together, it can also be used to remove these unsightly areas. 

The selective use of IPR has been shown to significantly improve a patient’s smile and overall health in the following ways:

  • Broadening a person’s smile
  • Bringing the teeth forward to improve lip support 
  • Reducing the need to remove healthy teeth

Is interproximal reduction required with Orthosnap?

This depends on each patient’s individual case. The benefits of interproximal reduction are numerous and applicable to many different conditions and scenarios. The Orthosnap system is designed to assist in the correction of a variety of conditions, including:

  • Spacing
  • Crowding
  • Overbite 
  • Underbite
  • Crossbite
  • Mixed

Some of these conditions, such as overbites, underbites, and crossbites are specifically caused by a malocclusion. Patients with this condition will see great benefits from the use of this technique.  

Learn more about IPR and Orthosnap by contacting us at (516) 506-7606 or signing up to become a provider today.