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Invisalign Attachments Explained

Invisalign Attachments Explained

While Invisalign aligners can be used alone to treat straightforward orthodontic issues, there are also options that allow them to be used for more complex cases. Here, our Surrey orthodontists share information about using Invisalign attachments to help straighten teeth.

What are Invisalign attachments?

Invisalign attachments, also known as Invisalign Smartforce attachments, buttons or just attachments, are very small bumps used in tandem with Invisalign treatment. These tooth-coloured attachments are custom-made to fit your teeth. Strategically placed based on your needs, these attachments work like handles, giving your clear aligners something to gently push on to apply extra (but gentle) force in areas requiring additional movement.

Your orthodontist can use Invisalign attachments to address more complex orthodontic cases that would traditionally be treated with braces.

How are Invisalign attachments used?

Like most techniques and treatment options, the specifics of your treatment using Invisalign and the attachments will depend on the severity of your malocclusion. Therefore, the number of attachments you need can vary. Your orthodontist will explain your treatment plan to you in great detail before beginning. Once everything is set, your orthodontist will schedule the appointment to place the attachments. This process often takes around 30 minutes to complete.

When you arrive, your orthodontist will confirm the placement plan for your attachments. To begin, your teeth will be prepped by cleaning and drying them for the bonding agent that will securely bond the attachments to your teeth.

To apply the attachments, your orthodontist will use something referred to as a template aligner. This has little empty spaces where the attachments line up with each tooth. They will then fill the necessary spaces with the attachment material made from a composite resin and place the template aligner over your teeth. Your orthodontist will use gentle pressure to ensure that this aligner is in place and that the composite resin is making contact with your teeth.

Next, they will hold a special curing light over your teeth that will cause the bonding agent to harden. Once this is done, your orthodontist will remove the template aligner and any excess bonding agent.

How do Invisalign attachments help with the teeth straightening process?

The attachments are created with different shapes depending on the movement that your orthodontist is aiming to achieve. During the teeth straightening process, your aligner will push on the attachments, and their shape will help guide the movement. These attachments can also help keep your Invisalign clear aligner in place throughout treatment.

Is it noticeable if I’m wearing Invisalign attachments?

Invisalign attachments were designed with discreetness in mind. This is why they are created using a tooth-coloured composite resin, allowing them to blend in with your natural teeth. Even so, the location of the attachments can affect their visibility, such as attachments on the front teeth being more visible than those on the molars. However, their colour means that they won't stand out too much, especially with your Invisalign clear aligners covering them.

You should keep in mind that, like your aligners, you can end up with stained Invisalign attachments if you ingest certain foods or drinks, such as berries or coffee. If you have any concerns about the visibility of your attachments, please feel free to discuss them with your orthodontist.

Does it hurt to have Invisalign attachments?

Some patients experience mild discomfort after having Invisalign attachments placed. This should not last very long. What you are feeling is caused by the additional pressure that the attachments cause while you wear your clear aligners. This pressure will ease as treatment progresses, and you will adjust to the feeling. Keep in mind that this pressure indicates that your treatment is working as it should be. Your orthodontist can make recommendations for pain relief if needed.

Do Invisalign attachments damage teeth?

No! The composite resin that is used to create Invisalign attachments is non-damaging, and the surface of your teeth only requires cleaning prior to application.

Are Invisalign attachments put on all my teeth?

As we mentioned above, the number of attachments you need and their placement will depend on the complexity of your orthodontic condition. You may only require a couple to help guide specific teeth or a full set to make greater adjustments all over. Your orthodontist will determine the ideal treatment plan for you based on your needs.

How long will I need to wear Invisalign attachments?

Much like the number of attachments you need, the duration you will need them also varies. These attachments are bonded to your teeth and typically stay on for the entire duration of your Invisalign treatment. Your orthodontist will provide you with the specifics during the treatment planning stage.

What happens once I have completed my Invisalign treatment?

Once your Invisalign treatment is complete, you will visit your orthodontist to have the attachments removed. This is done after your orthodontist has examined your teeth and determined that they are now in their prescribed positions.

After the attachments have been removed, your orthodontist will likely perform an additional 3D scan to create your custom retainers. They will also provide you with any information and advice you may need regarding the ongoing care of your newly straightened smile.

Are you looking to achieve a straight, healthy-looking smile? Contact our Surrey orthodontists to request a consultation today.

Book your first consultation today with our experienced Orthodontists in Surrey.