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The What, Why, and How of Interproximal Reduction

August 11, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — chicagopedoortho @ 6:57 pm
A child with braces after an Interproximal Reduction treatment

Even if you enjoy going to the dentist, as soon as they whip out a term like “interproximal reduction” you might do a double take. Despite its confusing name, the procedure is actually simple and pain-free. Depending on your situation, it could also be necessary to preserve the future of your oral health.

Continue reading to learn more about interproximal reduction and how it can help you achieve a straighter, healthier smile.

What is Interproximal Reduction?

The word “proximal” is derived from the Latin term for “adjacent.” In the dental field, interproximal simply means “between teeth,” and reduction refers to the shaving and polishing of excess tooth enamel.

This treatment is used to provide space for teeth to move into their planned positions during orthodontic treatments like braces or clear aligners.

Why Would I Need Interproximal Reduction?

As stated above, interproximal reduction treats patients who need to create space in their mouths for braces. However, this is not the only use for the treatment.

Interproximal reduction can also be used to reshape teeth that are too close together or teeth that have become slightly overcrowded. This provides a less-invasive alternative to tooth extraction that may have otherwise been required.

How is Interproximal Reduction Performed?

Your dentist will use either a rotary wheel similar to a Dremel or a set of diamond-coated strips to gently shave down the enamel of your affected teeth. This process is painless because they are only shaving the enamel, which doesn’t have nerve endings.

The process is continued using finer abrasives until the tooth has been reshaped and polished to a natural luster. The small gaps left behind will allow your teeth to shift into better alignment over time. This will give you a more aesthetic and healthier smile.

Are There Any Complications Expected?

With proper oral hygiene and communication with your dentist, there shouldn’t be any lasting complications. Your teeth will still have sufficient enamel to remain healthy and sound.

Interproximal reduction does not make teeth more susceptible to tooth decay. Nor does it expose gums to disease. Occasionally, there may be some sensitivity to hot or cold, but this usually doesn’t last.

With this procedure, you can have your teeth shaped, avoid extraction, or ensure the success of your orthodontic treatments. If you ever have questions about any treatment, the best thing to do is contact your dentist. They would love to hear from you.

About the Author

Chicago Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics is a leading dental practice dedicated to providing exceptional care to children and adolescents. With a team of highly skilled and compassionate professionals, we prioritize your child’s oral health and well-being. To schedule an appointment for orthodontic treatment, call (312) 766-0995 or visit the website for more information.

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