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How to Perform IPR (Interproximal Reduction)
How to Perform IPR (Interproximal Reduction)
A simple guide to help you create space
Dr. Alex Molayem avatar
Written by Dr. Alex Molayem
Updated over a week ago

Interproximal reduction (IPR) may be critical to your treatment plan. While Orthosnap can create space through full-body movement arch expansions, there are still circumstances where IPR is recommended and essential for optimal treatment results.

Unlike other aligner brands, Orthosnap prescribes a specific IPR protocol that must be adhered to in order to maintain precision accuracy and results.

While Orthosnap clear aligners are designed to eliminate or greatly reduce the need for IPR (interproximal reduction) through more capable expansion movements, some patients may require the procedure to achieve optimal results.  

With IPR, a small space is created by reducing the proximal surface of a tooth. This is sometimes needed to help the teeth move to the desired position.  

Before performing IPR, keep the following important information in mind to help increase patient comfort and reduce anxiety. 

Remember that...

  • Orthosnap will make recommendations for the location and amount of IPR needed, but these are only recommendations.

  • As the treating doctor, the final decision and any necessary changes are up to you. 

  • You can always reach out to our support at for additional recommendations or if you have any questions.

Informing the Patient

Explain the procedure to the patient or guardian, making sure they fully understand the procedure and that the result will be a misshapen tooth. (This doesn’t increase the risk of dental decay.) 

Discuss possible risks, including:

  • Discomfort or sensitivity

  • Pressure sensation

  • Feeling vibrations on the tooth

  • Possible bleeding lips, gums, or cheeks

Once you have answered all the patient’s questions, and they fully understand and agree, be sure to get an informed consent signed. 

Pre-IPR Preparation

  • Evaluate whether or not it is best to perform the IPR at this appointment. If the patient needs more than one, you do not have to perform all of them at the same time. 

  • If the patient has excessive rotation or crowding, pre-IPR separation may be needed. 

This involves the use of an orthodontic separator, also known as a spacer, placed between overlapping teeth. The spacer—either a rubber band or wire—will move the teeth apart to allow interproximal access. Depending on the severity of crowding, the spacer may need to stay in place for a couple of days. With minor crowding, it may do its job in a matter of minutes. 

  • Decide which teeth and which surfaces need reduction.

  • Choose your preferred method and instruments. For instance, depending on the amount of IPR needed, you may choose either

    • double-sided discs

    • single-sided discs

    • abrasive strips

Guidelines for selecting the right tool:

To achieve a 1 mm IPR, you can use either 0.13 mm (medium), 0.10 mm (fine), or 0.08 mm (extra fine) abrasive strips.

To achieve a 2 mm IPR, you can use a 0.1 mm one-sided disc. 

To achieve a 3 mm IPR, you can choose either a 0.2 mm or 0.15 mm two-sided disc. Gently move the disc back and forth distally and mesially in the interproximal space to achieve the desired reduction. 

Measure your cuts with an IPR thickness gauge.

Follow the IPR guide on the patient's treatment plan and consult with your Orthosnap clinical advisor if there is any confusion.

Orthosnap will provide an IPR guide specific to your patient, that will look like this:

Tips for Performing IPR

  • For patient comfort, consider the use of a topical anesthetic.

  • Consider the use of a disc guard if access is questionable.

  • If more than one IPR is needed, start posteriorly and progress anteriorly.

  • Remember to allow the instrument to do the cutting—only use light pressure. 

  • Keep the RPM low until you achieve the desired angulation. Then, increase RPM to perform the reduction.

  • While performing the reduction, have an assistant direct a stream of air across the site, away from you and your patient’s face.

  • Diligently observe the lingual and labial aspects, making sure you cut the teeth appropriately. 

Final Steps

  • Stop the instrument and carefully push it against the gum to ensure the contact is fully broken. 

  • Using an IPR thickness gauge, confirm the interproximal space. 

  • Angulate the cuts to improve the appearance of the tooth.

  • Using floss or an explorer, check for ledges or nicks on the tooth. 

  • Round off sharp corners with abrasive strips or diamond bur. 

  • Document the IPR, including the location and amount. 

Need a visual demonstration of IPR techniques? Check out this youtube video by Jaz Gulati

Related Topics and Information:

If you have questions or need to speak with someone at Orthosnap, please reach out to us at

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