What Are Invisalign Attachments (Buttons): A Complete Guide
The Invisalign system was the first brand of clear aligner on the market, and they have continued to innovate the orthodontic field to provide outstanding results and beautiful smiles.
One of the most powerful tools developed by Align Technology is SmartForce™ attachments. These small devices are like little anchors, adding grip and dexterity to Invisalign clear aligners. They give your orthodontist precision control and predictability in movement, so your teeth straighten faster and more reliably.
This guide is designed to teach you everything you need to know about Invisalign attachments or buttons – to help you on your journey towards a beautiful, healthy smile!
What are Invisalign Attachments?
Attachments are small, tooth-colored dental pieces that affix to certain teeth during your invisible braces treatment. They are very effective for moving teeth, by acting as grips for the Invisalign aligners to hold onto. The aligners fit snugly over the attachments (also known as buttons), which helps hold them in place to slowly and gently move your teeth into their correct positions.
SmartForce attachments are a patented technology specifically designed for use with Invisalign aligners. SmartForce attachments come in different shapes and sizes, each one designed for a specific movement or particular grip. Your Invisalign doctor will choose which shape and size are right for the movement of each tooth.
SmartForce attachments use exclusive state-of-the-art designs and premium materials to provide the most effective support for your Invisalign treatment, resulting in beautiful, healthy, long-lasting smiles.
Do I Have to Get Invisalign Attachments?
It depends on the specifics of your case and your dental diagnosis. Not every case requires attachments – some simpler cases may not need them for the aligners to move your teeth properly.
During your consultation for Invisalign treatment, your orthodontist will design your treatment plan and determine whether you will need attachments.
Most cases do require attachments to be effective. SmartForce attachments are tiny and barely noticeable, especially with the aligner fit snugly over them. Their grip provides enhanced reliability and treatment speeds, so attachments help you finish your treatment faster, leaving you with a beautiful, healthy smile and straight teeth to last a lifetime!
Can I Decline Attachments?
Yes, you can decline attachments. Your Invisalign treatment will still work, it just may take longer and be slightly less effective.
If you are interested in Invisalign treatment without attachments, ask your orthodontist if this will work for your specific condition and how long your treatment might take.
How Do SmartForce Attachments Work?
Before you receive your first set of Invisalign aligners, your orthodontist will do attachment bonding. This means they will affix the attachments to a few of your teeth using dental bonding glue.
They will remain in place for the duration of your Invisalign therapy, and each set of aligners will be specially designed to fit over them, giving the aligners the necessary grip to safely and effectively move your teeth into place.
Each set of aligners slowly adjusts your teeth a little more towards their correct positions. The patented technology in SmartForce attachment design gives the aligners a handle to grip onto, which enhances the precision of movement and the speed and effectiveness of your teeth shifting!
When your treatment is over and your smile is complete, your orthodontist will remove the attachments. They will not leave any permanent damage. Be sure to brush and floss regularly to avoid any staining or discoloration.
Do Invisalign Attachments Hurt?
Invisalign attachments are pain-free! To put them on, your orthodontist will use safe, non-toxic dental adhesive glue. It is designed to keep your attachments on for as long as the treatment lasts, and then be dissolved easily and painlessly when you’re finished, without any lasting impact on your teeth.
They don’t hurt coming on or off. When you first get them, they may feel uncomfortable as your mouth adjusts – but the discomfort only lasts a day or two before you get used to the attachments and the aligners. Most patients report feeling so comfortable with the aligners and attachments, that they actually feel uncomfortable when they are finished and they’re not wearing them anymore!
How Are Invisalign Attachments Removed?
When your treatment is completed, the orthodontist will remove the Invisalign attachments in a simple procedure. They use a specialized tool to remove most of the dental composite materials that kept the attachment on your tooth, and then another tool – usually an ultrasonic scaler, to gently remove the remaining bits of material off your teeth.
Getting your attachments removed does not hurt: you may feel a bit of vibration against your teeth, but no pain.
Do not attempt to remove attachments yourself — they are bonded to your teeth and need to be removed with the proper instruments so that your dental enamel does not get damaged. If an attachment is loose or falls off, don’t try to scrape away the remaining material. Your orthodontist will take care of it at your next visit.
Can Invisalign Attachments Be Removed During Treatment?
It’s best to keep the Invisalign attachments on during the course of your treatment, but in certain cases they can be removed. For special occasions such as a wedding or religious coming-of-age ceremony, your attachments could be removed temporarily.
Can Invisalign Attachments Break or Fall Off?
That happens occasionally and isn’t a big issue. Let your orthodontist know and a new one can be attached at your next visit. If your aligners are still fitting well, the tooth will still move properly, and you can continue wearing your aligners as prescribed until then.
Do Invisalign Attachments Stain or Damage Teeth?
The attachments won’t damage your teeth, as long as you take proper care of your oral hygiene throughout your Invisalign treatment. Staining is more common — the attachments can stain if you drink a lot of dark liquids like coffee, tea, or red wine. Luckily, Invisalign attachments respond well to whitening, so you can bleach them throughout your treatment, just like your teeth.
Which Foods Can I Not Eat with Attachments?
One big benefit of Invisalign removable aligners is that you can eat everything! You just need to remove aligners while eating and brush regularly. There are no specific foods you need to avoid.
Learn more: Eating with Invisalign aligners
Can I Whiten My Teeth with Invisalign Attachments On?
Yes, you can safely get professional dental whitening with Invisalign attachments; it won’t damage or discolor the attachments. You can also use at-home whitening strips: your Invisalign aligners will double as whitening trays, for a convenient whitening treatment that also brightens your attachments. Whitening strips are perfectly safe and effective while wearing Invisalign attachments.
Are Invisalign Attachments Noticeable?
Invisalign attachments are barely noticeable, especially when wearing the clear aligners over them.
They are very small and the same color as your teeth, so they blend in seamlessly. Invisalign technology allows you to straighten your teeth with minimal interruptions to your appearance!
Can Invisalign Attachments Go On the Back Teeth?
Typically, Invisalign attachments are put on the front and side teeth for the most effective results, not the back teeth, but it all depends on your specific case.
The specific placements of the SmartForce attachments are determined by your orthodontist, who will examine your teeth and jaw and decide what will be most effective for your treatment.
How Many Invisalign Attachments Will I Need?
The number of attachments varies depending on the treatment and the specifics of your case. Some Invisalign patients do not require attachments, and others require up to 20. Most require somewhere in between. Your orthodontist will make the ultimate decision depending on your case and diagnosis. The more complex the case, the more attachments you will need.
Can SmartForce Attachments Damage Teeth?
No, SmartForce attachments are safe for use throughout your treatment and will not damage your teeth. Poor oral hygiene, however, can create plaque build-up around the attachments, leading to tooth decay and/or staining and discoloration. For that reason, it’s important to brush and floss regularly!
Why are The SmartForce Attachments Different Shapes?
Each tooth is a different shape and requires a different kind of movement to align in the correct position. Your orthodontist will carefully select the proper size and shape of attachments, in order to best move your teeth to the correct positions.
Can I Use an Electric Toothbrush with Invisalign Attachments?
Yes, your attachments will not break off or be damaged by the toothbrush. Be sure to brush your teeth during treatment, twice a day, to prevent bacteria and tooth decay!
Precision Orthodontics for Forever Smiles
Decades of dedicated research and development have transformed the field of orthodontics into an innovative science, drawing on state-of-the-art technology for outstanding results, every time.
While new technology has developed the industry, one thing remains the same: world-class, dedicated licensed orthodontists with the experience and expertise necessary to transform your smile. Every orthodontic innovation is a tool in the hands of your experienced doctor.
With an experienced orthodontist and the state-of-the-art technology used in Invisalign treatment, you’ll be smiling throughout your orthodontic care – and for years to come!