Is IPR Required For Invisalign To Work?

Although crowded or misaligned teeth can be corrected using Invisalign braces, it may be necessary to perform certain procedures to ensure the trainers fit correctly and that teeth move into the right positions. One such procedure is called Interproximal Reduction (IPR), which is the official name for tooth shaving. Here's more information about this procedure and some alternatives if you decide it's not for you.

A Common Way to Reduce Tooth Size

Teeth become crowded or misaligned for a reason, and often that reason is because there isn't enough room in the mouth for them to fit. Attempting to force the teeth to align properly without increasing available space will usually only cause them to revert back to their previous positions after a period of time.

To make space for all the teeth, some dentists perform IPR, which involves shaving off a small amount of enamel to create gaps that help facilitate alignment and may boost the aesthetic beauty of teeth. Usually the procedure is performed before you begin the Invisalign treatment, but it may be done any time in the process if the dentist feels it's necessary.

Although IPR it generally a quick, effective, and painless way to reduce tooth size, it can also cause problems. Your teeth may become more sensitive or susceptible to damage and disease if too much enamel is removed. Unsightly gaps may form that negatively impact your bite if the dentist miscalculates how teeth will push together. In general, though, IPR is a safe and practical way to ensure you have enough room in your mouth to straighten crooked or crowded teeth.

Alternatives to IPR

If you're uncomfortable with the idea of tooth shaving, there are alternative ways to create the space needed for proper alignment. One way is to have teeth polished instead of shaved. The process of smoothing the teeth with a polishing tool removes tiny bits of enamel that can add up to a large amount of space when done over several teeth. For instance, removing just ¼ mm from six teeth may free up to 3mm of space.

Another alternative is to remove teeth as necessary. This option is best if you have too many teeth (e.g. your wisdom teeth grew in) or your mouth is too small to comfortably fit the ones you do have. This instantly creates a large amount of space for teeth to move freely. Of course, however, you'll have to deal with the one to two weeks of discomfort while the mouth heals from the extraction process. Additionally, it may create too much space and lead to an uneven bite or unattractive gaps.

A third alternative is to expand the arch of your teeth (i.e. move them closer to the cheeks) and push them forward. However, the availability of this option depends on whether you jaw can support this type of movement. In some cases, the teeth may return to their previous positions due to pressure from the muscles in the cheeks and lips.

For more information about IPR and alternatives to this procedure, contact a knowledgeable dentist or clinic like Port Orchard Dental Care Center.