Are there any alternatives to filing down teeth during Invisalign treatment?

Doctor's Answers (4)

Your question is one that most of my patients do ask. The key to Invisalign treatment with enamel stripping is very careful planning and in doing so, we avoid any bad side effects for your teeth and gums.

Enamel stripping or interproximal reduction, if done safely and carefully, does not cause any harm to your teeth. In fact, research has shown that teeth that have been stripped are not at a higher risk of decay or gum diseases compared to virgin teeth.

However (this is important), it must be done carefully, and within limits as not all teeth have equal thickness of enamel, and not all teeth have the same shape. 

It is best to speak to your orthodontist to discuss where and why the stripping needs to be done. 

Good luck!

Best wishes

Dr Sylvia Tan

Generally there are a few methods to create space to align teeth. The main ways are:

1. Extraction

2. File the teeth (IPR)

3. Push the teeth forward (buccal expansion)

4. Push the back teeth back (distalization)

There are pros and cons of each options. You are right to point out that excessive filing may lead to sensitive teeth.

Most of our enamel at the area where filing is done are about 0.6-1.5mm thick. Based on my experience, if the filing of enamel is done is a meticulous and measured way, it is very rare for patients to experience sensitivity.

Hope that helps, and have a great journey to a nicer smile ahead!

Great question! It is very common to file teeth during Invisalign treatment to create spaces to move the teeth to the correct position.

However if the crowding is too severe, then the alternative will be to extract teeth. An assessment by the orthodontist will be able to determine if filing is necessary and the position for filing the teeth. For more information, do come down to our NDCS inaugural public forum “Smile Sparkle Shine- a public forum on Oral Health” on 24 March to find out more! 

there are several ways to create spaces during your Invisalign treatment:

1) IPR (filing)

2) Buccal expansion (moving your back teeth outwards)

3) Proclination (moving your front teeth out)

4) Distalization (moving your back teeth backwards, usually into the space previously occupied by your wisdom tooth)

Generally my practice is to create space through a combination of several techniques, which means that sometimes we can minimize the amount of filing needed.

If you are really concerned about the amount of filing indicated, do let your dentist know so that he/she is able to offer you other alternatives. But to echo the sentiments of Dr Sylvia & Dr Kelvin, IPR done correctly would be unlikely to cause sensitivity.

Hope this helps!


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