01 Feb Invisalign Attachments: A Step-by-Step Guide To Using Your Invisalign Clear Aligners
If you are considering getting Invisalign, you may be wondering about the attachments and elastics that are used during the treatment process. In this post, our orthodontists, Dr. Singer and Dr. Shapiro in Whitby, will explain how Invisalign works and offer some tips on how to get the most out of your treatment.
What are Invisalign attachments and what do they do?
Think of aligners as the equivalent of wires for braces, which guide teeth into position. Invisalign attachments are similar to brackets for braces and provide leverage and grip to help the aligners fit against your teeth. In most cases, attachments are necessary to help achieve your Invisalign treatment goals.
The shape of an Invisalign aligner is different from the shape of your teeth and helps move your teeth into the correct positions. In some cases, especially when your orthodontic treatment requires more complex tooth movement, attachments may be needed to help the aligner achieve the desired effect.
Attachments are small, tooth-coloured structures made from composite resin, which is the same material used in dental fillings. Each attachment is specifically shaped to promote a particular type of movement, and the aligner applies pressure to the attachment to help achieve the necessary movement. Attachments may also act as anchors to help the aligner stay in place over your teeth.
What are Invisalign elastics?
Some patients may also need to use Invisalign elastics, which are small, clear rubber bands that connect the upper and lower arches to the aligners or your Invisalign attachments. The elastics help correct issues with bite alignment by providing the necessary force to shift the jaw into place and helping to achieve certain tooth movements while the aligners straighten the teeth in the upper and lower arch.
Will I need Invisalign attachments or elastics?
The need for attachments for your Invisalign aligners depends on your specific orthodontic issue and treatment plan. Your orthodontist will examine your mouth, take digital scans or impressions of your teeth, and take X-rays to determine whether you need attachments.
Invisalign attachments and/or elastics may be used to correct overjet, overbite, underbite, open bite, crowding, or spacing problems with the teeth.
How do attachments work?
To apply Invisalign attachments, an orthodontist typically follows these steps:
- Your teeth are treated with a special gel to help the attachment stick.
- The gel is removed and your teeth are rinsed.
- A small brush is used to apply a bonding agent that helps secure the attachments to your teeth.
- Composite resin is loaded into a template aligner (an appliance with small spaces reserved for attachments).
- When filled with composite resin, the template aligner is placed over your teeth, and the orthodontist applies gentle pressure to help the attachments adhere properly.
- A special light is used to cure and harden the attachment material.
- The template aligner and any extra bonding agent or composite resin are removed.
This process may be used to apply more than one attachment to your top or bottom teeth at the same time. Once all of the attachments are placed, your orthodontist will show you how to put in and remove your aligner.
Do Invisalign attachments hurt?
You may experience some pain or discomfort when you first get attachments or switch to a new aligner, as the aligner is applying pressure on your attachments to help realign your teeth. You may also feel some discomfort when removing your aligner due to the new attachments.
However, this discomfort should subside as your teeth adjust to your aligners. In the meantime, you can take over-the-counter pain medications like acetaminophen to help alleviate any pain or discomfort.
Invisalign Tips: Caring for Attachments & Rubber Bands
Here are some tips for caring for Invisalign attachments and rubber bands:
Put Rubber Bands on Invisalign Aligners
It may take some time to get used to putting rubber bands on your aligners, but with practice, it will become second nature. To put rubber bands on your aligners:
- First, put your aligners in your mouth.
- Stretch the rubber band with two fingers, then grip it.
- Hook the rubber band to the hook or attachment on either the top or bottom teeth.
- Follow your orthodontist’s instructions for attaching the rubber band above or below the hook or attachment.
Wearing Invisalign Elastics
Your orthodontist at Taunton Orthodontics will tell you how long to wear your Invisalign rubber bands and how often to change them. In general, you will need to wear your aligners for 20 to 22 hours a day, and you will replace your rubber bands once or twice a day, depending on your specific needs. If the bands pop off or break, simply replace them with new ones from your pack.
Keeping Invisalign Attachments White
While the composite material used on attachments is generally effective at repelling stains, it is important to remember to drink stain-causing or abrasive foods and beverages in moderation. For example, coffee will stain attachments.
It is also important to brush around your attachments after eating to remove food or plaque. If necessary, use a proxy brush to clean tight spaces. To avoid accumulating sticky food around attachments, it may be a good idea to avoid eating sticky foods.
Removing Invisalign Attachments
Some people may be curious about how to remove Invisalign attachments, but we do not recommend trying to do it yourself. If you attempt to pry them off your teeth, you may damage your enamel. An orthodontist has the proper tools and techniques to gently remove attachments without harming your teeth and can polish the teeth afterward to remove any remaining residue. It is best to leave the removal of attachments to a professional.
If you are considering Invisalign clear aligners for orthodontic treatment, contact Taunton Orthodontics to schedule a consultation. Our team in Whitby can provide more information about the treatment process and help you determine if Invisalign is the right option for you.