Invisalign attachments (SmartForce®) are Tooth-Colored tiny shaped buttons attached to your teeth. They are bonded to teeth using a strong bonding composite material. SmartForce®attachments are used when the patient cannot get the results they want with the invisalign aligners alone.
The reason you would prefer Invisalign over other treatment methods is that it is invisible and can be removed whenever you like. But when your orthodontist suggests that you use attachments to make the most out of your Invisalign treatment you now wonder how it can affect the looks and functionality of your Invisalign. What are these for, and why were is suggested to you in the first place?
Invisalign SmartForce® Attachments Explained
When Invisalign was first introduced to patients, the treatment was only limited to a few orthodontic problems. If the malocclusion of the patient is severe, they’ll be advised to get treated with traditional metal braces. Over the years, Invisalign has been used to treat minor to mild cases, but it still can’t fix extreme cases of malocclusion and misalignment. But with the invention of attachments, Invisalign is now able to treat more serious cases.
Orthodontists place these tooth-colored dots on the teeth that need further adjustments and normally these are placed on the middle of the tooth. The idea of attachments is that the bumps will provide an anchor point that helps to direct the forces of the aligners more effectively and precisely to the tooth.
Attachments come in different shapes. It can be a circle, rectangle, square, or triangle. The shape of the attachments and their orientation depends on the purpose it serves, intrusion, translation, extrusion of tooth rotation.
The attachments are used primarily for severe crookedness or crowding where the tooth needs to rotate. There are also cases where the tooth needs to be raised within the gums so that it aligns with the neighboring teeth. The aligners alone won’t be able to perform such adjustments, but adding attachments will help the teeth move in their proper positions.
How are Button Attachments for Invisalign Placed?
Placing attachments is a simple procedure. Orthodontists simply bond these “bumps” by implementing bonding techniques used with many other dental procedures. There are no drills or shots required to install it.
Attachments are placed using a template. Here’s how it’s performed:
- Orthodontists receive a clear, plastic template from Invisalign. It looks similar to an aligner but it has small bulges to match the location of the teeth to where the attachments need to be placed.
- They will then clean and prepare the surface of the teeth so that the attachments bond correctly.
- They then fill the bulge using a dental composite that matches the color of the tooth. The shape of the bulge creates the shape of the attachment to be placed.
- The template is then sealed to your teeth and your orthodontist will cure the bonding material using a dental curing light.
- When it has hardened, your orthodontist will remove the template and shave off any excess material. The small bump is what remains in your tooth and what makes up the attachment.
Can I Have Attachments for Invisalign if I Have Dental Restorations?
If you have some type of dental restorations placed such as fillings, veneers, or crowns your orthodontist should still be able to bond the attachments to your tooth. Although some types of restorations can be a challenge than others.
Composite restorations – since this is the same type of material used to create attachments, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Metal or porcelain – adding attachments to these types of restorations may be possible, although the bonding may not be as strong as when it is applied on a tooth or composite material. Depending on the level of forces involved, it may be difficult to place throughout the treatment.