Drs. Abdoney and Cronauer use many techniques to give you your best smile. A simple and painless step that orthodontists call “Interproximal Reduction” may be indicated. This quick procedure involves slightly narrowing the width of some teeth by sanding away a small amount of the enamel between teeth that touch. The amount of slenderizing performed is dependent on how large your teeth are and what your orthodontist’s goals are. You may be wondering if this bad for your teeth: Dental research conducted over at least 10 years has shown that slenderizing does not cause an increase in sensitivity, cavities, or gum disease when performed properly.
How much enamel can safely be removed?
Patients have differing sizes of teeth and thus differing thicknesses of enamel. As a guideline, the maximum enamel that should be removed from each tooth surface is 0.25 millimeters (or 0.5 millimeters per contact area). I told you it’s a small amount!
Why is interproximal reduction performed?
The timing of slenderizing in your treatment and the selection of teeth to include is dependent on the subtle problems with your bite. A common reason is to acquire more space for your teeth so that they can be brought into alignment. It may also be done to improve the way your teeth come together, which may be corrected by making the upper and lower teeth a proportionate size to each other. Slenderizing may also be elected to be done to make the teeth more attractive. (This could be done in order to narrow bulky, wide teeth or to eliminate “black triangles”- a condition where the teeth are touching but bone loss has occurred, resulting in a dark space near the gum line.)
Sometimes interproximal reduction is done alone, but it is usually done while in braces. During orthodontic treatment, it may still need to be done in conjunction with tooth extractions. After treatment is over, it may need to be done in order to correct minor relapse or recurrent crowding of the teeth with the help of your retainer. Drs. Abdoney and Cronauer will recommend enamel reduction if it is a solution to your individual need.