Many people who look forward to straightening their teeth with Invisalign are disappointed when they learn that attachments might be needed to maximize their treatment. You likely several questions, including:
- What are these attachments?
- Will you need them?
- If so, will your Invisalign trays still be invisible?
- Can you opt not to receive them?
What Are Invisalign Attachments?
Invisalign attachments are made of tooth-colored dental composite. Your dentist will temporarily bond them to the teeth that require complex movement. Although the attachments are small, the number that your dentist will place, as well as their shape, size, and location can vary based on the movement required for each tooth.
Your aligners might also require buttons, or small brackets, to which elastics are attached. Your dentist will use buttons or attachments to achieve movement that aligners alone are unable to complete.
When Are Attachments Needed?
Although each case is different, some common issues that require Invisalign attachments include:
- Severe rotation
- Open bite
- Short teeth
The attachments help your aligners grip your teeth and gently move them to the correct position with the right amount of force.
Are They Noticeable?
Your dentist will use a shade of dental composite that blends with your natural teeth, so they are barely visible. You’ll still enjoy invisible braces that most people won’t notice.
How Are They Secured to Your Teeth?
Your dentist will use a template aligner that has openings in it where the attachments, or buttons, are to be placed.
- Lightly etch the affected teeth to ensure the bonding adheres to them
- Place a template aligner on your teeth
- Fill each opening in the template with dental composite
- Wait a few minutes while the composite hardens
- Remove the template and any excess composite
How Will They Feel?
Invisalign aligners will fit more snugly with attachments on your teeth. Although some patients have difficulty removing the aligners, your dentist will show you the most effective to remove them when you eat and floss and brush your teeth.
What If You Decline Invisalign Attachments?
If your dentist includes attachments in your treatment plan, don’t consider them optional. If Invisalign can’t grip your teeth, it won’t move them. Usually, after your dentist puts attachments on your teeth, they remain throughout treatment.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Bacteria and plaque can accumulate around the attachments. Remove the aligners when you eat and thoroughly brush around the attachments.
When Will You Know?
After an examination and a 3-D scan of your teeth, your dentist will provide you with a treatment plan. He or she will let you know if attachments, buttons, or elastics are needed to assist in aligning your teeth. As your dentist checks the progress of your treatment, he or she might adjust it. Although attachments were not originally in the plan, your dentist might use them to achieve the best results.
This post is sponsored by Steven Brooksher, DDS, of Baton Rouge, LA. Dr. Brooksher is a former Invisalign provider, but now he prefers ClearCorrect. Find out why.