Interproximal reduction (IPR) is a dental procedure that involves stripping away some of the teeth enamel. An IPR is sometimes needed before getting braces, although not everybody needs it. Here are four situations in which you may need an IPR, and why:
You Have Proclined Incisors
Proclination is a condition in which the teeth flare outwards from the jaw. If your incisors (the front teeth) procline outwards, it may be difficult to pull them back due to inadequate space. This is because teeth that flare outward tend to be bigger than teeth that are properly aligned. In such a case, IPR may be necessary to narrow the teeth and make them small enough to occupy the available space.
Your Mirrored Teeth Differ In Size
Ideally, the teeth should mirror each other. This means that a tooth on the lower left side of the jaw should be of the same size and shape as its mirror — the tooth on the same position on the opposite jaw. However, there are cases where one tooth differs (in size) slightly from its mirror tooth. Such cases can also be handled by IPR.
Your Teeth Are Overcrowded
It is possible for your teeth to be overcrowded without proclination. If that is the case, an IPR will still be needed to narrow the teeth and create adequate space for their movement.
You Have an Extensive Overjet
The overjet is the degree to which your front teeth sit forward of the lower teeth. A minimal overjet is normal and may not require treatment, but an extensive overjet requires orthodontic treatment. Again, the teeth may need to be stripped to reduce their width so they can be pulled back without any difficulty.
Addressing the Elephant in the Room
As you can see, IPR has clear benefits. However, any dental procedure that involves removing some part of the teeth is bound to raise some eyebrows. For example, many people fear that IPR treatment may leave their teeth more susceptible to enamel erosion, dental decay, and discoloration, among other issues. The good news is that research shows that the amount of enamel removed during the procedure is roughly the same as what you would have lost via natural enamel wear. You don't have anything to fear as long as your treatment is handled by a qualified dentist.
Therefore, if you need clear aligners or any other form of braces, don't be surprised if your dentist wants to perform an IPR first. Listen to the dentist and follow their instructions and everything will be alright. To learn more, contact a dentist like Hughes Thomas R.