Teeth that are misaligned or crooked can be straightened without the need for braces thanks to Invisalign, the modern system of alignment that is more comfortable than the traditional metal braces and virtually invisible while you are wearing it. Invisalign is available to most teenagers and adults who need straightening of their teeth to improve their smile. Invisalign can work in cases where teeth are crowded, but sometimes a procedure known as teeth shaving may be necessary before Invisalign treatment can begin, or at a later point during the treatment. To understand teeth shaving and how it works with Invisalign, let’s begin with an explanation of the process of teeth shaving, what it is, what it does and circumstances under which it might be needed.
Teeth Shaving Terminology
The proper term for teeth shaving is interproximal reduction, but it may also be referred to by other terms including teeth stripping, interdental reduction or interproximal enamel reduction. The last term is quite correct and emphasizes the fact that only tooth enamel, the outer surface of the teeth, is being removed or reduced during the procedure. The reduction of enamel is usually done on the sides of the teeth to reduce the thickness of the teeth.
Reasons That Teeth Shaving May be Performed
Teeth shaving is often performed to reduce crowding or as a preliminary treatment for orthodontic procedures to align the teeth. Shaving teeth to correct crowding is sometimes an option when the upper and lower front teeth do not fit together properly. Reducing the size of the teeth that are crowded may be preferable and generally easier than the alternative, which would be to use veneers or crowns to increase the size of the teeth that are too narrow.
Teeth Shaving and Invisalign
Teeth shaving is not always necessary for Invisalign treatment, but it may help with crowded teeth and eliminate the need to extract any tooth prior to the Invisalign treatment.
To correct crowding with Invisalign, advances in Invisalign technology have made it possible for the treatment to begin before teeth shaving happens. This is called staging. In the past, teeth shaving before Invisalign treatment sometimes resulted in inadvertent reduction of neighboring teeth. With staging, the orthodontist can perform any necessary teeth shaving during Invisalign treatment when the teeth to be reduced are in a better position to be reached by orthodontic instruments without contacting other teeth.
Another advantage to teeth shaving before or during an orthodontic procedure is that the flat, smooth surface created by teeth shaving will help the teeth to remain straight after the orthodontic treatment is finished.
The Teeth Shaving Procedure
Having your teeth shaved is painless. The process is performed with the use of a drill or by hand with abrasive strips. A drill is usually used when a larger amount of enamel needs to be removed. Because there is no pain during teeth shaving, anesthetic is usually not used. You may feel a slight irritation from the tugging or vibration of the rough surface being moved over your teeth.
The orthodontist will take measurements during the procedure to be sure that only the necessary amount of enamel is being removed. You may notice very small gaps between your teeth after the process is over, but remember that this was done to help your teeth to move better with Invisalign, and in time, the gaps will close as your teeth move into proper alignment.
Shaving Teeth Safety
The process of teeth shaving may seem like deliberately damaging healthy teeth, but the benefits greatly outweigh the effects of the minor damage that is done. The removal of enamel in teeth shaving is really no different than the kind of wear tooth enamel experiences normally in our lives. Tooth enamel is damaged on a routine basis by acids in the food that we eat, and it can wear down from contact with other teeth. If you have crowded teeth or an overbite, this kind of contact is happening more than it should be, making the problem of tooth wear even greater. Teeth shaving to correct crowding can be much better for teeth in the long run than allowing crowding or an overbite to continue.
Teeth that have undergone shaving are no more likely to experience like tooth decay, bone problems or gum disease, according to studies that have been performed. So yes, teeth shaving is safe, and can help crowded teeth and assist in the successful completion of orthodontic treatment to straighten your teeth.
Benefits of Invisalign
Invisalign is sometimes called “clear braces,” but this is an inaccurate term because Invisalign aligners are very different than the traditional metal braces. The aligners are removable, and you do take them out daily to brush your teeth and when you eat. This alone makes wearing Invisalign aligners more convenient than wearing traditional metal braces because you never have to worry about “learning how” to eat or brush your teeth with them. Many people, especially adults and teenagers, are drawn to Invisalign treatment because the aligners are clear and virtually invisible. Another advantage is that the overall treatment usually takes less time than the treatment with braces.
Invisalign is not available to younger children, but it is suitable for teens who have most of their permanent teeth. A set of aligners lasts for about two weeks, and then replaced with a new set, with each set being designed for your
teeth as they are moving into proper alignment.
Invisalign may not be recommended in all cases, especially if the teeth are rotated, the bite misalignment is severe or if the teeth need to be moved vertically. A visit to our King George orthodontist is the first step in determining if Invisalign could work for you or your child.
Get More Information about Invisalign
Call Beecroft Orthodontics now to set up a consultation appointment to discuss Invisalign, teeth shaving and orthodontics. When you come in, we want you to feel free to ask any and all questions you have. At Beecroft Orthodontics, we are dedicated to helping our patients have the healthy and beautiful smiles we believe everyone deserves.
Beecroft Orthodontics – 10472 Georgetown Dr, Fredericksburg, VA22553 Phone: 540 898 2200
Is It Required That Teeth Are Shaved to Correct Crowding with Invisalign?