If you’re considering Invisalign treatment, you may be wondering about the attachments and elastics. In this post, Alliston Orthodontics & Oral Surgery will explain how Invisalign works and provide tips on how to maximize your treatment results.
How Invisalign Works
Many people choose Invisalign clear aligners for their orthodontic treatment to correct a variety of issues such as misaligned bite, open bite, teeth grinding, and more. Your orthodontist will take digital scans of your teeth to create a customized sequence of aligners that fit your mouth. These aligners apply pressure to your teeth to move them into proper positions, and you will typically wear each aligner for a week or two before replacing it with the next one in the sequence. Some patients may require attachments or elastics/rubber bands with their aligners, such as Invisalign. Non-removable attachments are small, button-like structures that are attached to your teeth and blend in with your smile. Elastics are placed far enough back that they are usually not visible when you smile. In this post, we will discuss the purpose of Invisalign attachments, who might need them, and more.
What are Invisalign attachments and what do they do?
Invisalign attachments are similar to brackets for braces and are used to help the aligners fit securely against your teeth. In most cases, attachments are necessary to achieve your Invisalign treatment goals. These small, tooth-coloured structures made of composite resin (the same material as dental fillings) are specifically shaped to promote certain types of tooth movement. The aligner applies pressure to the attachment to help guide the teeth into their corrected positions. In some cases, such as when more complex tooth movement is required, attachments may be needed to help the aligner work effectively. Attachments may also serve as anchors to help the aligner stay in place over your teeth.
What are Invisalign elastics?
Some patients may also require the use of Invisalign elastics, which are small, clear rubber bands that connect the upper and lower arches of the teeth. These elastics can be connected to hooks on the aligners themselves or to Invisalign attachments. The elastics help correct issues with bite alignment by providing the necessary force to shift the jaw into place and assist in 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 Invisalign attachments depends on your individual orthodontic issue and treatment plan. Your orthodontist will evaluate 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 necessary to correct issues such as overjet, overbite, underbite, open bite, crowding, or spacing problems with the teeth.
How do attachments work?
To apply Invisalign attachments, an orthodontist generally follows these steps:
- Your teeth are treated with a special gel to help the attachment adhere.
- The gel is removed and your teeth are rinsed.
- A small brush is used to apply a bonding agent to help secure the attachments to your teeth.
- Composite resin is loaded into a template aligner (an appliance with spaces reserved for attachments).
- The template aligner, filled with composite resin, 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 is removed.
This process may be used to apply multiple attachments to your top or bottom teeth at the same time. Once all of the attachments are placed, the orthodontist will show you how to put in and remove your aligner.
Do Invisalign attachments hurt?
When you first get attachments or switch to a new aligner, you may experience some pain or discomfort as the aligner applies pressure to your attachments to realign your teeth. You may also feel discomfort when removing your aligner due to new attachments. However, this discomfort will usually go away as your teeth adjust to the aligners. To help alleviate pain or discomfort, you can take over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen.
Invisalign Tips: Caring for Attachments & Rubber Bands
To properly care for Invisalign attachments and rubber bands, follow these tips:
Put Rubber Bands on Invisalign Aligners
To get used to using rubber bands with your aligners, follow these steps:
- Place your aligners in your mouth before attaching the rubber band to the hook or attachment on the top or bottom teeth.
- Stretch the rubber band with two fingers, then grip it.
- Hook the attachment or hook above or below it as instructed.
With practice, attaching the rubber bands to your aligners will become second nature.
Wearing Invisalign Elastics
Your orthodontist at Alliston Orthodontics & Oral Surgery will inform you of how long to wear your Invisalign rubber bands and how often to change them. You will generally need to wear your aligners for 20 to 22 hours a day and replace the rubber bands once or twice a day, depending on your specific needs. If the bands come off or break, simply replace them with new ones from your supply.
Keeping Invisalign Attachments White
To help keep your attachments looking clean and free of stains, remember to consume potentially staining or abrasive foods and beverages in moderation. For example, coffee can stain attachments. Additionally, be sure to brush around your attachments after eating, and use a proxy brush if necessary to clean tight spaces. It may also be helpful to avoid sticky foods that can easily accumulate around attachments.
Removing Invisalign Attachments
Although some people may be curious about removing Invisalign attachments on their own, it is not recommended as you may accidentally damage your enamel while trying to pry them off your teeth. An orthodontist has the proper tools to gently remove attachments without harming your teeth, and will polish the teeth afterward to remove any remaining residue. It is best to leave the removal of attachments to a professional.
If you are interested in using Invisalign clear aligners for orthodontic treatment, contact Alliston Orthodontics & Oral Surgery for a consultation to learn more. Our team can provide you with more information and help you determine if Invisalign is the right treatment option for you.