Orthodontist Berkeley » What is IPR?

If you are contemplating having any kind of orthodontic treatment for yourself or other members of your family, you should know that an orthodontist like Dr. Immi Song has years of training and experience beyond the basic doctor of dentistry degree to be able to specialize.

What is IPR?

IPR, short for Interproximal Reduction, is an orthodontic procedure that addresses crowded teeth. It is often used as part of Invisalign treatment to ensure that the teeth are straight and stable. It is also commonly performed in combination with other treatments such as with fixed braces.

IPR is also referred to as “enamel reduction,” since it involves removing small portions of enamel from one tooth or multiple teeth to alleviate crowding. Small, flexible strips of a sandpaper-like material are used to rub the enamel away, aided by other dental instruments.

Tooth enamel can be as much as 2.5 millimeters thick, and IPR usually involves the removal of no more than 0.2-0.3 millimeters. You will still have plenty of enamel to keep your teeth healthy and strong. Also, IPR is never performed on your whole mouth, just on a few specially selected teeth.

One orthodontic process that sometimes involves IPR is adjusting the angle of the teeth, which is called proclination. Patients with crowded teeth often have narrow arches as well, and their teeth can be inclined in a way that leads to crowding. By performing proclination and widening the arch, your orthodontist can open up considerable room for all the teeth. Small amounts of IPR on certain teeth can help them move into their optimal positions along the maxillary and mandibular arches.

IPR Patient
IPR Patient

Alternatives to IPR

The most common alternative to IPR is tooth extraction. Rather than removing enamel, we can extract one or more crowded teeth to make room for the remaining teeth. However, most patients, when given the choice between removing a small amount of enamel and extracting an entire tooth, opt for IPR. Even when performing a tooth extraction, your dentist will often still need to use IPR on the remaining teeth.

At I Song Orthodontics, we consider every tooth to be important and emphasize that they should all be retained if possible. IPR allows us to avoid tooth extraction while still addressing the problem of crowded teeth. It encourages tooth stability, requires no downtime or healing (as tooth extractions do), and saves you time and money by speeding up the orthodontic process.

Schedule your initial consultation appointment today with I Song Orthodontics. We endeavor to craft the best possible smile to enhance your oral health and confidence.