IPR: Why We Recommend it Sometimes for Modern Orthodontics

Image by Евгения Касьянова from Pixabay

Sometimes when we have modern orthodontics for an adult, we recommend Interproximal Reduction (IPR) as part of the treatment plan. Let’s look at why we might need it to get you the smile you always wanted with modern orthodontic treatment.

What is Interproximal Reduction?

IPR is resizing your teeth to make more room for them to move into the proper position using modern orthodontic appliances. IPR involves your orthodontist removing some of the enamel between your teeth.  

IPR is one of many terms used to describe tooth resizing. It is also referred to as selective reduction, slenderizing, or stripping. Some other terms are air rotor stripping, or ARS, or electronic rotor slenderization, ERS, and cosmetic tooth contouring. 

Why Do We Recommend It?

One of the main reasons we recommend IPR is that it is less invasive than pulling a tooth. Taking a few millimeters of hard tooth structure is preferable because it keeps more of your natural dentition intact. 

Not everyone needs IPR. It is necessary in some crowding cases to achieve the desired results. During your orthodontic exam, we will let you know if IPR is essential for your case. There are a few reasons we might prescribe IPR:

  • To make up to 8mm of room for your teeth to move on your top and bottom arch 
  • To increase stability in your case by optimizing the contact surfaces
  • To reduce how much we need to expand or incline the teeth forward
  • To avoid pulling a tooth
  • To allow the gums room to grow and prevent the formation of black triangles between teeth at the gumline


There are a few more benefits of using IPR in modern orthodontics. It reduces the risk of relapse. It also requires moving the teeth shorter distances when compared to extraction. It also has a reputation for more parallel roots and stability in the places where teeth touch, called contacts. Research suggests it can also decrease treatment time and prevent gum tissue loss.


Sometimes, we resize the teeth to correct front teeth that are out of proportion. For example, the top front teeth sometimes sit in front of the lower front teeth when you bite down. IPR can reduce the size of the upper lateral incisors right next to your two front teeth.


Does IPR Hurt?


The good news is that IPR does not hurt. The part of the tooth we remove is the enamel, which has no nerve endings. That means you won’t need anesthesia (or the shot we deliver it with). Many patients say that it feels like getting your teeth cleaned. Also, we aren’t taking that much enamel off, so it happens in a few minutes in many cases, and, unless you need a lot of it, we usually finish in only one visit. 


Please don’t hesitate to call us with IPR and any modern orthodontic treatment questions. We would be happy to discuss any of your concerns or clarify any terms or procedures with which you are unfamiliar. 




Taneja, Sukriti. “What is Interproximal Reduction (IPR) and Why Do You Need It?” www.dentaly.org. 16 June 2022. Web. 18 June 2022. <https://www.dentaly.org/us/adult-braces/interproximal-reduction/>.


Goodman, DDS, Janice. “Interproximal Reduction (IPR) for Dummies.” Oralhealthgroup.com. 1 March 2011. Web. 18 July 2022.



Elvi Barcoma, Bhavna Shroff, Al M. Best, Michael C. Shoff, Steven J. Lindauer; Interproximal reduction of teeth: Differences in perspective between orthodontists and dentistsAngle Orthod 1 September 2015; 85 (5): 820–825. doi: https://doi.org/10.2319/072314-515.1


“What is IPR and How Does it Work?” www.uniformteeth.com. 2 June 2020. Web. 18 July 2022. <https://www.uniformteeth.com/blog/what-is-ipr-and-how-does-it-work/>.