Space maintainers actually can play a vital role in orthodontic treatment. This is one appliance that has a goal of keeping a situation from getting worse so that later treatment will be less invasive, less costly, and less time consuming.


Interproximal Reduction

IPR stands for Interproximal Reduction. Interproximal means “between the teeth” or the area we clean when we floss. IPR is a technique employed by orthodontists when a patient has a significant amount of crowding where the teeth cannot be aligned without space being created somewhere.

extraction of permanent teeth

One of the most common methods an orthodontist chooses to make space to align crowded teeth is the extraction of one or more permanent teeth. This is actually a very viable option and may be a less invasive treatment plan in comparison to spending an extra year or more in treatment trying to make room in an arch for a blocked tooth which may or may not be successful. Extractions can create a significant amount of space.

interproximal reduction technique

A third alternative to making space to align crowded teeth is the interproximal reduction technique. This can make space on a smaller scale than extracting a permanent tooth. Not everyone is a candidate for this which is why a consult with our orthodontist, Dr. Renick can help determine if this is right for the patient on a case by case basis.

a small, sandpaper-like strip between the teeth

The enamel of the teeth needs to be examined to determine if IPR is a good option. Some people have more tooth enamel, and can better tolerate the enamel removal that would create the necessary space between the teeth. Another factor to consider is that not every tooth can receive IPR, and that each tooth will need to be assessed individually.

IPR is a long-established technique for creating space in the mouth. In fact, IPR was one of the basic elements upon which Invisalign® treatment was created in order to correct crowding with the use of clear aligners! The technique involved in IPR treatment involves taking a small, sandpaper-like strip between the teeth and selectively removing a small amount of enamel across multiple tooth surfaces. The total amount of removed tooth enamel can create up to 3+ mm of space – just enough to allow the teeth to move into their proper positions without crowding.

Dr. Renick herself had IPR done to her lower front teeth during her orthodontic treatment as a kid. This technique does not hurt and it does not make your teeth more prone to decay.

Call Renick Orthodontics today at 740-936-5003 to learn more about IPR in Sunbury, Ohio, and schedule your appointment!