Ladera Ranch, CA – Patients around the world love Invisalign and the way it can discreetly straighten their smiles. When Invisalign was first introduced it was only available to patients with less complicated malocclusions or bites. Since then the technology has continued to evolve and thanks to attachments and buttons, Invisalign can be used by patients with more severe malocclusions.
“For some patients braces or aligners alone aren’t enough to guide the teeth to their ideal locations,” says Dr. Robert Gire of Ladera Orthodontics. “That’s why we use rubber bands and other appliances. We need additional force to complete some tooth movements and anchor points to which that force can be applied. And that’s where Invisalign’s buttons and attachments come in.”
Attachments are tiny tooth-colored “bumps” that are bonded to the teeth using dental composites. They will be placed at precise locations to allow the aligners to grip the teeth as they are guiding them to their new locations. Buttons are small auxiliaries that are used to attach or anchor rubber bands. They can be tooth-colored or metal, depending on the location. Metal ones are generally used on the back teeth since nobody will see them.
The good news is patients can still enjoy all of the benefits of traditional Invisalign treatment. The aligners can still be removed when eating, drinking, and caring for your teeth. And while the attachments and buttons may be slightly more noticeable to others, you’ll still enjoy one of the most aesthetically pleasing ways to straighten your smile.
Some changes to the smile are difficult to accomplish with just the aligners alone. For instance, if a tooth needs to be rotated or brought up a bit more above the gumline, or if a tooth is shaped a certain way or angled a certain way, it can be difficult for the aligner to apply the right pressure to move it properly. An attachment can work to provide an anchor point to help direct the force of the aligner more effectively and predictably.
Buttons are used when the orthodontist determines that certain movements cannot be achieved with the aligners alone. It is important to remember that the goal of orthodontic treatment isn’t just a straight smile, but a properly functioning bite as well. Elastics help guide the bite to ensure the upper and lower teeth line up properly.
“Before you begin your Invisalign treatment, we’ll discuss with you if we think your treatment will involve buttons or attachments,” says Dr. Gire. “Even with them your treatment will still be discreet as the buttons and attachments are designed to be the same color as your teeth.”
Placement of the buttons and attachments is an easy process. A template is created that marks exactly where they should be placed on the teeth. Then, the teeth receiving them will be cleaned and prepared to allow the material to bond properly. The bonding material will be placed in the specially marked spots and a special light will be used to harden or set the composite material. It’s a quick and simple process. Once treatment is over we simply just polish them off the teeth. There is no damage to the enamel whatsoever.
Once the attachments are in place you may want to spend a little bit of time getting used to placing and removing the aligners. The attachments will make the aligners fit more snugly to the teeth so it may take a bit of practice.
“The best thing about Invisalign buttons and attachments is that they open the treatment up to a host of orthodontic patients that otherwise would have needed traditional braces,” says Dr. Gire. “Now, more patients than ever can enjoy the aesthetics and ease of Invisalign.”