Sometimes, we need to create extra space between teeth to align them correctly. Interproximal reduction (IPR) achieves this quickly and safely by removing small amounts of enamel from between your teeth.

The benefits of IPR

As well as giving us space to straighten your smile, IPR can improve the final position of your teeth and the way they bite together.

If your teeth are ‘triangle-shaped’ and become wider further away from the gumline, you may notice small, dark triangles (pictured below) between your teeth and gums. IPR increases the contact surface between your teeth to reduce these gaps.

IPR and black triangles

The big benefit of IPR is that it can altogether avoid the need for us to remove healthy teeth. Nowadays, tooth extractions for orthodontic treatment are rare, especially among adults.

How does it work

IPR is carried out at the practice over one or two appointments. It takes just a few minutes, and it’s completely pain-free.

We use abrasive strips or discs to remove tiny amounts of enamel from specific teeth – a maximum of 0.5mm per tooth.

Before your IPR treatment, we might ask you to wear some small rubber rings (separators) between your teeth for a week or so to move them apart slightly.

Once we’ve removed the enamel, we’ll polish the surface of your tooth to make it smooth and more resistant to plaque.

What is IPR?

Is IPR painful?

During your treatment, you may feel some vibrations or pressure, but no pain. Dental enamel doesn’t contain any nerves, so there’s no need for any pain relief.

If you need to wear elastic bands to separate your teeth, they may feel a bit achy as they move apart.

Is IPR safe?

When IPR is performed correctly, it’s very safe. We’re only removing minimal amounts of enamel, so it won’t affect the health of your teeth or gums.

If you experience any sensitivity following the treatment, it should subside within a few days. In the meantime, avoid very hot or cold foods and drinks and use a sensitive toothpaste.

In rare cases, we may decide that you’re not suitable for IPR, for example, if you have thin enamel or poor oral hygiene.

If you have any questions about IPR or braces, please don’t hesitate to contact us. You are also welcome to visit us (virtually or face-to-face) for a consultation with Dr. Jackie Clune.