Interproximal Reduction for Dark Triangles

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Interproximal Reduction for Dark Triangles

Interproximal Reduction Treatment: How Does It Work?

Interproximal reduction also goes by the name of ‘tooth stripping’ or ‘interdental reduction’. The treatment involves mechanical elimination of a small amount of enamel between two adjacent teeth. It is used to relieve crowding or reduce black triangles.

In all cases, a dentist partially removes very small thickness of enamel, or the outer protective layer of the tooth. There are many benefits and perks of using this dental treatment to align the teeth and prevent overcrowding.

Initially, interproximal enamel reduction fixes overcrowding teeth issues. In addition, it helps position the teeth better. The process is a less severe form of managing the anterior teeth, while omitting arch expanders. For many patients, interproximal reduction is a highly effective treatment to consider. In fact, IPR leaves out wearing braces, jaw expanders and more, but provides equally strong effects.

Interproximal reduction has the job of tightening the space between two teeth. The treatment is so effective that it can decrease this space by up to ½ millimeters. By opening some space between the teeth, you will also manage to straighten the teeth successfully.

How do I know I need Interproximal Reduction?

Typically, your orthodontist will do a dental check-up and determine if the treatment is suitable for you. Sometimes, your teeth don’t have enough gap to move around. Because of that, your dentist will create a gap, thus allowing your teeth to fit in the jaw better. Of course, your orthodontist needs the space between the teeth to align them more effectively. With that, you will also get a more precise and firm bite than before.

Many dentists worldwide consider the procedure very helpful. This is mainly because interproximal reduction does not involve tooth extraction, but uses a gentler approach. Finally, the procedure is also great for reshaping the teeth.

How does Interproximal Reduction work?

Standardly, an orthodontist performs the procedure. During the orthodontic treatment soft tissue will be protected by stainless steel sleeve which houses single sided or double sided diamond strip disk. Your our orthodontist will use air rotor stripping tool to polish the contact points and create small amount of space. Amount of enamel removed depends on the severity of the dental condition and the experience of your orthodontist.

Similarly your orthodontist can use elastic diamond-coated strips to polish between the teeth. These strips are used to create enough space between the teeth. By rubbing the contact area between your teeth, your dentist will remove a small amount of tooth enamel. Ultimately, the created gap will help your doctor reposition and reshape the teeth better.

Is Interproximal Reduction painful?

Shortly put, no. It is true that enamel serves as a protective tooth surface. However, eliminating a small amount of tooth enamel does not mean suffering any pain. At the same time, the enamel is not connected to any nerves, so you won’t feel any aches during treatment.

Due to its harmless and beneficial effects, IPR is a great way to both protect and align your teeth. Finally, interproximal reduction is painless, so you won’t need an anesthetic ahead of time.

How long does Interproximal Reduction procedure last?

Given your diagnosis, the process itself takes up no more than five minutes. This means that you will probably only need a single appointment to get the job done. Still, in some cases, the procedure can expand over the course of several sessions.

Depending on your condition, you might also wear temporary rubber rings, also known as separators. Patients wear these rings ahead of the procedure itself (normally for a week). The rings are responsible for opening up more teeth space.

How will my teeth change after IPR?

Many patients worry that interproximal reduction might affect the way their teeth feel after the procedure. In terms of pain and discomfort, IPR is a very safe and effective treatment. When it comes to gaps, you will notice initial spacing between your teeth.

Still, many forget that making this gap between your teeth is a part of the procedure. Actually, your doctor needs this gap so the teeth move around easily. No worries, as these gaps are usually visible to you alone, and not others.

Following the treatment, these gaps will shrink, letting your teeth fall back in their natural place.

How much enamel will my teeth lose?

As mentioned earlier, your orthodontist will remove only the slightest amount of enamel from the tooth. With that, you won’t feel your teeth are thinner, weaker or more exposed to outer influences. Additionally, the treatment won’t make your teeth feel too sensitive or fragile.

The procedure is quite popular among dentists and patients. Due to this, interproximal reduction is an effective way of preserving your natural teeth health. Furthermore, IPR will give you greater effects without using other dental tools like braces or retainers.

Will IPR lead to tooth decay or gum disease?

Never. Normally, your doctor removes only a tiny amount of enamel during the process. Therefore, you won’t experience any side-effects like decay or caries. According to various studies, tooth decay is not a symptom of interproximal reduction whatsoever in the long term.

In order to protect your teeth from potential decay, your orthodontist may also use a fluoride varnish. The varnish will further help make up for the lost tooth enamel. With that, you will have to use an alcohol-free fluoride solution to strengthen the enamel even more.

Another concern among reduction IPR patients is gum disease. However, gum disease is not a probable side-effect of the treatment. So, if you are suffering from gum disease, something else might be causing the issue. That said, it is crucial that you make regular dental appointments and keep the gums and teeth health optimal.

What are the remaining IPR risk factors?

Although the procedure is fairly comfortable, there are some risk factors to consider as well. One of the greatest risks in undergoing IPR treatment is plaque. Plaque usually happens if your orthodontist doesn’t refine and polish the teeth accordingly. To avoid any issues, openly discuss the procedure with your orthodontist. Also, feel free to read other patient’s experiences with the process itself.  


All in all, if you need interproximal reduction select an orthodontist to do it. Orthodontists perform those procedure way more frequently compared to general dentists. Interproximal reduction is a useful orthodontic treatment, which solves a number of conditions. These include teeth black triangles, overcrowding, ineffective bite, and even overjet. Learning more on the procedure can help you make the best decision for your oral health. It protects the patient by helping your orthodontist to create more balanced and mutually protected teeth position. Better aligned teeth can be brushed and flossed easier. Making the most of the best dental treatments available today is a great way to maintain the ideal oral health.  

Supplemental Content

Crowded teeth sometimes show an area where there is a lack of gum and it appears that there is a black triangle instead of pink gum or white tooth. When this occurs, it does not look good and can make it look like the teeth have been neglected even though you may have a good dental routine. In some cases, it will appear that there is a hole between the teeth, but it is really the gap between gums and teeth. The good news is that it is possible to deal with them and they can be reduced at least, and often removed altogether.

The incisors appear to be like triangles; and when perfect, there will be plenty of gum tissue so there are no gaps showing. The issue arises when there is a lack of gum to fill in the gap. Gum recession is a major cause of this and the other main causes tend to be teeth grinding, gum disease and general aging. Regular dental check-ups should pick up any problems as they are starting. Flossing after brushing is also going to help prevent the problem.

If you have left it too late and the dark triangles are already there, you need to see a periodontist – gum specialist. They will be able to give you a gum graft and hopefully this will be enough to stop any further gum loss. If this does not work, it is possible to use braces then a retainer to put the teeth in a position where the dark triangles do not show. Clear braces will make it less embarrassing. The process is very fast. This is a different process altogether and as you would imagine takes more intervention from the orthodontist but give close to perfection results.

The first thing the orthodontist will do is to flatten the contacts set between teeth. In order to do this, they will carry out IPR – Interproximal Reduction. There is a lot of cleaning involved, and it is the area between the teeth that are cleaned with polishing discs. A minute amount of enamel is removed but not so much as to damage the protective shell. Once this has been done, it makes it easier for the teeth to move and get closer to each other. This way the tooth takes up the space that had in the past appeared as a dark triangle.

Other than treating mild gum recession, IPR is also needed when getting rid of the following dental issues:

  • Crowding – This is when there is more teeth mass than the jaw can support.
  • Proclined incisors – These are sticking out incisor teeth and through IPR, they are narrowed and pulled back into a normal alignment.
  • Overjet – This is when the lower front teeth are some distance behind the upper front teeth because the latter are protruded. Sometimes the width of upper teeth is reduced through stripping (narrowing) as this can help the orthodontist pull them back into a more attractive alignment.
  • Discrepancies in tooth size – The right and left rows of teeth should correspond to each other in terms of size. But sometimes there are width discrepancies that can best be corrected via shaving or stripping.

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