Shaving teeth of filing to fix crowding with Invisalign. Many people seek out clear aligner treatment, like Invisalign, as an alternative to traditional braces. It’s a popular option because it offers a way to correct misaligned teeth with optimal esthetics and minimal discomfort. A common question we receive at our office is whether teeth will need to be “filed down” to create space for tooth alignment. In this post, we’re going to discuss this procedure, called Interproximal Reduction. Bottom line, it’s is very common, and presents with minimal risks, as long as it’s performed properly.
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Is it normal to shave teeth for Invisalign?
In short yes. You can read some Reddit comments on teeth shaving for Invisalign here.
What is ‘Shaving Teeth?’
Patients usually ask about the process of “shaving” or “filing” teeth as a way to make space for straightening. The name of this procedure is “Interpxoimal Reduction,” (aka IPR) because it involves reducing the enamel width in the area between the teeth. It is usually prescribed on patients with over-crowding, where space is needed for tooth alignment. IPR is used as an alternative to removing permanent teeth. The amount of enamel removed depends on each specific case. Your orthodontist, a dental specialist, will prescribe the specific amount of enamel removal based on your case.
Our patients also ask what instruments are used for IPR. That’s a fantastic question as different doctors use different instruments. One of the most common is a very thin diamond strip – a precise, thin, flexible piece of metal that fits between teeth. The orthodontist will slide it back and forth to grind away the enamel. Another common instrument is a diamond disk, which looks like a round diamond-coated circle that is used with a dental handpiece. IPR can be performed with both of these instruments in a very short period of time, and there is often little to no pain involved.
- Teeth shaving
- Interdental reduction
- Interproximal reduction (IPR)
- Interproximal enamel reduction.
Is it bad to shave teeth for Invisalign?
Does interproximal reduction (aka shaving teeth) hurt the teeth?
Research has shown that interproximal reduction is an extremely safe procedure. Over the long term, there is no increased risk of cavities or periodontal disease. In some cases, IPR can decrease the risk of periodontal disease because teeth that are straight are easier to keep clean over the long term. One technique that many orthodontists use after IPR is to place a fluoride-based gel over the enamel surfaces. This is helpful to remineralize the enamel.
How much enamel is removed?
Thanks to new advances in digital technology, the orthodontist is able to predict, with a high level of accuracy, exactly how much enamel should be removed with IPR. Many orthodontists use computer models, especially during orthodontic treatment with clear aligners, like Invisalign. Based on the computer model, the orthodontist will prescribe the exact amount of IPR that is needed to achieve ideal tooth alignment and position. Depending on each case, the average amount of enamel that’s removed is between 0.2 and 0.5mm per contact…so less than one-quarter of a millimetre per side of each tooth!
Are there any alternatives to filing down teeth during Invisalign treatment?
- During your Invisalign treatment, you can create spaces in several ways:
- IPR (file)
- You can shift your back teeth outward during the treatment.
- Proclination (shifting your front teeth out) is another option.
- Distalization (moving your back teeth backwards.
We hope this blog post highlighting teeth shaving/filing for Invisalign has been helpful. Call Gluck Orthodontics today at 615-269-5903 to schedule an appointment with our knowledgeable and innovative orthodontist. For more information about Invisalign costs follow the link.
2002 Richard Jones Road
Suite A-200, Nashville
Phone: 615 269 5903
Shaving Teeth to fix Crowding with Invisalign | 3 FAST FACTS
Dr. Joel Gluck has practiced orthodontics since 1983 when he opened his own office in Nashville. He earned his undergraduate degree at Washington University in St. Louis, and his dental degree at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Gluck then completed an orthodontic specialty residency at the University of Michigan, one of the top five orthodontic training residencies in the country. He also wrote an original thesis and received a Master of Science degree.