Invisalign Update – What is IPR?

Aiming to correct my teeth - Invisalign

I just entered week 16 of my Invisalign treatment. Two weeks ago, I visited my orthodontist to undergo IPR to create some additional room for movement.

What is IPR?

IPR stands for Interproximal Reduction. IPR is an orthodontic procedure wherein tooth enamel is reduced to facilitate treatment. Interproximal Reduction is a common orthodontic procedure that you could encounter with traditional metal braces, lingual braces, or other clear aligner brands.

In short – they remove a bit of your tooth via what is essentially sanding. IPR:

  • Creates space without tooth extraction
  • Makes teeth fit together better

In my case, the procedure killed two birds with one diamond disc (see below).

What IPR Entails

Depending on the space required your orthodontist may use several different tools to execute an IPR procedure.

IPR

For 0.1mm adjustments, a thin, flat, tape-like file is threaded between the teeth and moved back-and-forth to file.

If your treatment plan calls for adjustments greater than 0.1mm, your orthodontist will use what is essentially a dremel-like tool to do this with a diamond disc. The disc is carefully situated as appropriate and used to etch away the enamel in question.

That Sounds … Horrible

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Invisalign Week 10 Update

Aiming to correct my teeth - Invisalign

Last night, I switched to my tenth Invisalign tray! Since my last update, there hasn’t been much new or different to report.

It’s amazing that I’m already at Invisalign Week 10 – it doesn’t feel like two and a half months have passed. The first 2 days

Attachments at Invisalign Week 10

As the orthodontist suggested, the roughness of my attachments has subsided. That said, they aren’t what I’d call smooth; when I eat, food is attracted to them. All the more incentive to quickly address oral hygiene after eating!

Changing Teeth

My teeth have changed a lot! Each week when I change, I compare my newest tray against my first tray and marvel at the changes. My husband notices a difference in my smile already – so do I.

I’m smiling openly, more often. I’ll never have perfect teeth (it just wasn’t in the cards for me) but I am so excited to have significantly better ones.

Adjusting to the Process

I feel like I’ve had an easy time adjusting. I personally don’t feel that it is a huge imposition to my life to carry around a small tube of toothpaste, floss, and a brush. I suspect my perception differs because the magnitude of my corrections is far more significant than most bloggers talking about their Invisalign experiences. I’ve seen a lot of bloggers with minor adjustments – not that they don’t feel like a big deal to those individuals, but realistically closing a gap the width of a pin or moving a single tooth 1mm isn’t as drastic as what I’m undergoing.

I’m not having any difficulty keeping my trays in for 20-22 hours per day.

The Bottom Line

Even with my complicated case that includes drastic changes I feel that my experience has been smooth sailing so far. I also have an extremely experienced provider – so that is definitely a factor that contributes to my success. If you’re considering Invisalign, do your homework on the process and on providers in your area so you aren’t surprised by anything. At no point was any discomfort I experienced significant or unable to be addressed by ibuprofen, if it was needed at all.

Getting My Invisalign Attachments

Aiming to correct my teeth - Invisalign attachments

August 22 marked the beginning of my fifth week with Invisalign braces. I’m fairly surprised time is moving so quickly! Overall, I think I have adapted to the routine well. I’ve been devout about the hygiene protocol it requires.

That same day was also my appointment to get my Invisalign Attachments applied. Attachments are clear resin nubs they apply to your teeth to help the trays get the leverage they need to force your teeth around. From an application or installation standpoint, I understood the process – but I was not prepared for the reality.

Getting Prepped for Invisalign Attachments

The orthodontic technician who prepped me for my attachment installation reclined me in a standard dental chair. Once reclined, she placed a (highly attractive) set of orthodontic cheek retractors in place to keep my lips and cheeks out of her work area. Next, she polished the teeth that would receive the attachments with a standard dental cleaning/polishing wand and standard prophy paste. I then rinsed the gritty paste away. So far, so good.

Once I rinsed, I was to hold a suction wand between my teeth to minimize saliva while she used a small, forced air (expulsion, not suction) wand to dry the surfaces of the recipient teeth. This would typically be fine but I have one tooth that is jarringly sensitive when it comes to cold. The air from that wand was cold and I was just not ready for it to hit that tooth. I writhed in discomfort in the chair.

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Invisalign: It Costs a Kidney

Aiming to correct my teeth - Invisalign

Good News:

Despite my woefully complicated case, I’m a candidate for orthodontic treatment via Invisalign. This is largely due to having selecting a ridiculously experienced provider.

Bad News:

Unsurprisingly, it does kind of cost a kidney. Some language in my dental insurance policy includes (shockingly generous!) coverage for adult orthodontic treatment, but it isn’t clear if there is an age cap or not. My treatment coordinator and I are tag-teaming my insurance provider to get clarity on this; obviously, I can begin treatment sooner if insurance is in play.

What Happens at an Invisalign Assessment

I couldn’t be more excited about this practice, honestly. It’s a little annoying to get to, but is a pretty damn cute office and everyone I dealt with was lovely.

Unflattering Photo Ops

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