Invisalign®: What Is Interproximal Reduction (IPR)? | Mount Lawley Dental
Invisalign®: What Is Interproximal Reduction (IPR)?

Invisalign®: What Is Interproximal Reduction (IPR)?

Posted on:

IPR is a quick and painless procedure that may be recommended alongside your Invisalign treatment to repair crowding and achieve your desired outcome.

2 minute read

If you choose to straighten your teeth with Invisalign clear aligners, your cosmetic dentist may first need to prepare your teeth to ensure there is enough space for teeth to move and to improve your bite.

One method is interproximal reduction (IPR), also called stripping or enamel reduction. This is a minimally invasive procedure that uses flexible strips or a diamond coated disc to gently remove small amounts of enamel in areas that are crowded or that surround crowded teeth, so that your clear aligners can move teeth more effectively.

It’s a quick and painless process that’s only performed on certain teeth for an overall better result. Got questions about your Invisalign journey? Get in touch today.

Call us


When is interproximal reduction recommended?

 When is IPR recommended with Invisalign treatment

Not everyone who is having Invisalign or another orthodontic treatment requires IPR, but your dentist may recommend it for several reasons. These can include:

  • to create space for teeth to move
  • to help correct or prevent crowding
  • to reduce 'black triangles' between teeth
  • to improve the symmetry of your smile

Your dentist will explain what the treatment involves and what to expect from IPR. IPR may be performed in addition to widening a narrow arch or treating the proclination of teeth (forward incline of teeth).


What are black triangles?

Black triangles refer to the formation of black space in between newly straightened teeth. It can happen when overlapping teeth shift into their new position, exposing tiny gaps where gum tissue would typically appear between teeth. IPR is used to prevent the appearance of black triangles after teeth straightening treatment.


What does interproximal reduction involve?


Interproximal reduction is the removal of small amount of enamel (the hard outer surface of the tooth) from the sides of teeth where they would normally touch. This can usually be completed by our cosmetic dentist in a single appointment using fine dental instruments to carefully remove the enamel where needed.


Only a very thin amount of enamel is removed – usually between 0.1 and 0.5 millimetres from each tooth, depending on their size. As there are no nerve endings in tooth enamel, the procedure is completely painless and you won't need an anaesthetic, though you may feel some temporary pressure or discomfort.


What to expect after interproximal reduction


IPR is a safe procedure when it's carried out by an experienced dentist. Some people find that their teeth feel more sensitive to temperature after enamel is removed, but this should only last for a few days at most.

Your teeth should not look noticeably different after enamel reduction, but you may be able to see the difference up close in the mirror, depending on how much enamel was removed. This will not be visible when your Invisalign aligners are worn, and spaces may become less visible as your teeth are straightened.


What are the alternatives?

Interproximal reduction is a routine procedure that is often recommended prior to Invisalign or braces, but it's not always the best choice for everyone.

  • For younger patients whose teeth and jaws are still growing, an expansion appliance may be an alternative for increasing the spaces between teeth.
  • If more space is needed (more than 8mm) than can be achieved by IPR, one or more teeth may need to be removed before Invisalign treatment can begin.


Book a consultation for Invisalign in Mount Lawley

If you're considering Invisalign treatment to correct your bite or straighten your smile, our cosmetic dentists at Mount Lawley Dental will make sure you have all the information about the treatment and what it can involve, including Invisalign attachments, follow-up appointments and retainers.

Call our friendly team today on (08) 9227 8777 or book a consultation online. We welcome patients from all nearby areas including Highgate and Inglewood.

Call us


Invisalign® aligners are a registered medical device. Always read the label and follow instructions for use from your dentist.

Your Local Dentists in Mount Lawley