Is It Required That Teeth Are Shaved to Correct Crowding with Invisalign? Can Teeth Not Be Shaved with Invisalign?

My family dentist no longer does invisalign and recommended traditional braces. He actually told me that teeth had to be shaved for invisalign and shaving is detrimental to teeth. Is it possible for my 15 year old to have invisalign without teeth shaving?

Doctor Answers 7

Slenderizing is very helpful in getting teeth to move

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Teeth are crowded for a reason...not enough space.  IPR, slenderizing, or shaving...whatever you want to call... it is one way to make space.  It must be decided up front by your Invisalign doctor because that plays a role in how the aligners are fabricated.  One alternative is to have the aligners made to move the teeth outward.  This might be acceptable in some cases, but not in other.  The down side of "expanding" instead of IPR, is that it puts the teeth in competition with the muscle forces of the lips and cheeks.  So the teeth have a higher tendency to relapse back to where they started from - unless long term retainers are used.  So IPR is helpful and sometimes required for Invisalign to work. Even slight polishing of the contact points helps to frees up the teeth that were crammed tightly together to help them move successfully. 

Atlanta Orthodontist

Slenderizing teeth not always necessary with invisalign.

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Whether or not slenderizing or narrowing of the teeth is necessary depends on the severity of the crowding.  Any time there is crowding, space needs to be somehow created.  There are 3 ways to do this either singly or in combination: widen (expand) the arch, take out a tooth (or teeth), or make some of the teeth slightly skinnier.  Most crowded cases are due to narrow dental arches so it's better to expand, however this takes time and is best done with traditional braces.  For a 15-year old with crowding, it's most likely due to narrow arches, so I would have several orthodontic opinions before allowing someone "shave" the teeth.  Hope this helps!

Michael Firouzian, DDS
Columbus Dentist

Sometimes slimming teeth for Invisalign is required

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"Shaving" teeth CAN be bad if one is overly aggressive, but most of the time we are only taking microns off of teeth and it is insignificant.  If there is no room for crowded teeth, there are only 3 choices, expand the arches to make room, remove teeth to make room, or "shave" teeth to make room.  Every case is different, so "is it possible to have invisalign without teeth shaving"?  Yes, it is possible, but maybe not in your case.

Your dentist doesnt do Invisalign any more? Cuz...

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Cuz he was disqualified from doing it? If this is the case then he didnt know that much about doing it in the beginning. Teeth narrowing is common practice amongst dentists and orthodontists alike and is better than extracting teeth to gain space..It does not damage teeth when done by a trained professional and works great. Your 15 yr old son qualifies for Invisalign teen and teens love not having the ugly old braces on their teeth...

Michael J. Thomas, DDS
Los Angeles Dentist

Invisalign without IPR

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Invisalign is always progressing and doing more and more things that traditional braces can do.  We can expand the arch and uncrowd without IPR but sometimes we will need to do some very minimal IPR to get the perfect result.  When we do slenderize the teeth we take such a small amount off that it is rarely noticeable to someone looking at the teeth.  You can try it w/o IPR and always come back when doing a revision with some minor IPR if needed

Leonard Tau, DMD
Philadelphia Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Necessity of IPR (shaving of teeth) during Invisalign

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 The good news is that IPR, or shaving of teeth, can be reduced and/or eliminated in most Invisalign cases if the dentist requests this when he submits the case for review (clincheck).  Expansion and then tightening teeth later (called "roundhousing") can help this.  Sometimes even traditional braces requires IPR.  Be sure and express your desires to your Orthodontic provider.  If it is required, ask him where and how much, as many times it is very minor and may be acceptable.  Good luck!

Try It Without IPR First

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Invisalign is getting better and better at doing some of the things traditional braces can do.  One of those is expansion.  In most of the cases I now do with Invisalign where interproximal reduction (IPR) was necessary, I know request that the case be expanded to un-crowd the teeth then retracted with later aligners to close the gaps and realign the teeth into a good arch form.  I have found that this works very well in most cases and has greatly reduced the number of IPR cases that I do. If this is not effective in your case, IPR can then be completed during a revision.

Hope this helps! 

Gary Nack, DDS
Philadelphia 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.