Can Reduction of the Enamel Damage Your Teeth?

I am about to get my first aligner and was told by my dentist that he will need to thin the width of my front teeth by 3-4mm. I thought this was a bad idea and anything could go wrong. I want perfect looking teeth not to look like a rabbit!

Plus, I want healthy teeth! Isn't the thinning of the width destroying the enamel leaving my teeth unprotected and very sensitive? Please help with your experience. Sounds like a stupid thing to do!! Thank you for your opinion.

Doctor Answers 2

Proper reduction is safe

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Interproximal reduction (IPR), stripping, slenderization, or enamelplasty is always one of the biggest concerns of Invisalign patients. This procedure is not limited to Invisalign but also used with patients in fixed braces.

Recently, in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, Zachrisson, one of the most famous orthodontists of our time, published a paper showing the stability and safety of this procedure after 10 years of study. The key is the proper technique of reduction. Sheridan has described the proper protocol for high speed reduction (HSR).

In some cases, IPR may actually produce a more aesthetic result since it may improve the contact between teeth and eliminate "black triangles" caused by some recession of the interdental papillae (the v-shaped gum between teeth). It may be required to relieve crowding, when expansion and proclination of teeth is not desired.

Proper radiographs may be required to determine the amount of enamel possible.

*From a personal standpoint, I have undergone this procedure myself and had no adverse problems.

Toronto Orthodontist

Interproximal Reduction for Invisalign

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Reducing the enamel in-between teeth won't cause any harm, unless the enamel layer is completely removed and the dentin layer is exposed. This could cause sensitivity and increased decay susceptibility. The good news is, this would be a rare occurrence as part of Invisalign treatment.

Usually, the most space created between two teeth is 1/2 mm. If you do this between multiple teeth, it's easy to gain 3-4mm total space. I'm sure that a 1/2mm space created in-between your teeth won't make you look like a rabbit either. Hey, you can always refuse treatment and have crowded teeth instead.

The only way to avoid any and all risk of a bad outcome is to not have the procedure done.

Daniel W. Schiavone, DDS
Rochester Dentist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.