What are Invisalign Attachments and How Do They Work?

What are Invisalign Attachments

Invisalign is a teeth straightening technique that uses clear, plastic aligner trays to gently and gradually guide your teeth to their correct positions. It is a modern, painless solution to traditional, painful braces. Invisalign can be used to treat most mild to severe dental malocclusions. It does so by gently putting pressure on your teeth over a period of 12-18 months, where each aligner tray is switched out every 1-2 weeks. These aligner trays are assisted by Invisalign attachments, which provide additional aid in the teeth shaping process. But before we start this discussion, let us clarify some basics about what are invisalign attachments.

What are Invisalign Attachments?

Invisalign attachments, also known as Invisalign bumps, are small tooth-colored dots stuck to your teeth using dental glue. They are made of a composite resin material, the same that’s used for dental fillings. These modified Invisalign brackets are nearly impossible to spot, as your dentist matches them to the color of your teeth. There are different types of Invisalign attachments that come in various shapes and sizes like square, rectangular, circular, triangular, etc., depending on their location and the type of force they have to exert.

How do Invisalign Attachments Work?

These small dots essentially act as grips or anchors for your clear aligner trays. They help to create more friction and, hence, help the aligners exert more pressure during the teeth realignment process. The aligners snap over these Invisalign bumps easily and are able to exert more force on the teeth this way. 

Why Do We Need Invisalign Attachments?

Invisalign teeth attachments are placed in specific positions and sloped at different angles to straighten teeth. Dentists can work on these angles to rotate and tilt your teeth in order to straighten them by mapping out an exact plan for the teeth realignment journey. The aligners are very powerful and can move teeth gradually on their own, but sometimes, they need an added boost. These attachments provide that extra friction and act as pivot points to help in realigning the teeth. Invisalign brackets help to reduce treatment time and help you reach the perfect smile faster!

Can I Decline Attachments?

Yes, you can, but it isn’t recommended. Now what we have to understand here is that all patients do not require attachments. It all depends on your specific oral needs, and you can ask your dentist after you have had an Invisalign consultation whether you will need attachments or not. As mentioned earlier, you can opt out of attachments, but that will simply stall your progress and increase the time of treatment. Additionally, your progress will be very limited as the aligners can only achieve so much without the additional friction provided by the attachments. 

How Do We Place Invisalign Attachments?

Invisalign bumps are placed on the centre of your teeth in a similar process to how a composite filling would be placed in the teeth. It is a 5-step painless procedure, which goes as follows: 

  1. Clean the teeth to make sure there’s no food or debris stuck where the attachments need to be placed.
  2. Etch the tooth surface.
  3. Add a bonding agent like dental glue to allow the composite resin to stick to the tooth.
  4. Add the attachments using composite resin. 
  5. Set with a blue light.

Things to Know About Invisalign Attachments 

There are certain commonly asked questions and doubts that people often have when researching Invisalign brackets. We have shortlisted some of these doubts and mentioned them below so that you can get a more holistic understanding of Invisalign attachments.

  • Location Matters: The attachments are usually placed in the centre of the tooth for proper alignment with the clear trays. Additionally, depending on the type of force that particular attachment is supposed to exert, the shape and placement of the Invisalign bumps may vary. Typically, precise inwards, outwards, or rotation movement demands an attachment in an off-center point.
  • Is it Difficult to Clean The Attachments: No, it is not difficult at all. You can clean attachments just like your regular teeth, and make sure to floss regularly. Occasionally, attachments can stain around the edges. Limit foods that can stain to avoid this, such as red wine, curry and coffee. Smoking also can cause staining around the margins of the attachments as well as darken the Invisalign trays.
  • Do Invisalign Attachments Hurt: You may experience some pain when you first get attachments or when you switch to a new aligner. This is because of the pressure that your aligner places on your attachments, which helps reposition your teeth. But this is just mild discomfort which will go away with some time, or if it persists, you can always try a cold compress to the sore area or take a mild painkiller. 
  • Attachments can Sometimes be Annoying: When you remove your aligner, it’s possible that new attachments may feel uncomfortable against the inside of your mouth, like the sensation of some food being stuck to your teeth. You may also dislike the buildup of food that deposits itself around the attachments, so you have to be extra careful while cleaning your teeth.

Invisalign is an elegant solution for dental realignment, and Invisalign attachments are an integral part of that. Attachments are such small tools that aid your dentist to make a huge difference in your smile and make you feel more confident. It’s true that the smallest things make the largest impact, and in the case of your dental realignment journey, it is an Invisalign attachment.

Dr. Satish Pai, M.D.S

Dr. Satish Pai is an orthodontist and Ivy League trained dentist who has served as a faculty at Columbia University. He believes a perfect smile not only makes a person look great but feel great. As the founder of Putnam Orthodontics and a Partner at Brite Orthodontics, he is dedicated to providing the best orthodontic treatments to his patients. He also writes to educate people about everything orthodontics and the importance of correctly aligned teeth along with good oral health. In his free time, you can find him golfing, doing yoga or surfing, and spending time with his family.

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