Invisalign Attachments

This article contains everything you need to know about Invisalign attachments – what they are, what their function is and so on.

Invisalign is a popular orthodontic treatment and the best clear aligner on the market these days. Invisalign works like traditional braces – only it uses aligners that make the treatment less obvious.

The fact that the aligners are nearly invisible is Invisalign’s best sell point. There is no need to feel conscious about getting orthodontic treatment because people can barely tell that you have them on.

But sometimes, orthodontists would recommend that you get attachments along with your Invisalign clear aligners to effectively straighten your teeth. But what are they, exactly, and how do they affect your Invisalign treatment?

In this article, we will dig deeper into what Invisalign attachments are and everything you need to know about them.

What are Invisalign attachments?

Invisalign attachments or Invisalign buttons are tiny bone-like structures that are attached directly to your teeth. They are made from composite resin – the same material dental professionals use for dental fillings.

They just look like tooth-colored dots so you do not have to worry about the attachments affecting the invisibility of your aligners. The material is the same color as your teeth and they are very tiny in size so they are barely noticeable.

Each Invisalign technology attachment will have a specific shape and there is a purpose for that. Each shape promotes a certain type or direction of movement to help straighten teeth effectively.

How do Invisalign attachments work?

When your Invisalign provider recommends the use of Invisalign attachments, this means your aligners will be needing a little help to move your teeth to the right position.

You see, aligners force your teeth to gradually move into the right position with gentle pressure. This is why clear aligners only work best for mild to moderate cases since the pressure and force they use are limited.

And this is where the Invisalign attachments come in. They may be necessary if your treatment involves some complex tooth movements.

The patented align technology of Invisalign’s SmartForce attachments will give the aligners something to grip onto. Because of this, the precision, effectiveness, and speed of moving your teeth are enhanced.

Attachments can also help anchor your aligner. This means it will have a better chance of staying over your teeth as you go about your day or as you sleep. The better grip makes aligners fit better.

The aligners will be specifically designed to fit over the attachments. The aligner pushes on the attachment to help achieve a specific movement for the tooth that has the attachment.

When your treatment is done, your Invisalign provider will remove the attachments. Then you can enjoy your beautiful, new smile.

How are Invisalign attachments attached?

You do not have to worry when your treatment require attachments because putting them on your teeth is a pain-free process.

First, a special type of gel will be applied to your teeth. This gel will help the attachments to stick better on the surface of your teeth. After a few minutes, the gel will be removed and your Invisalign provider will rinse off your teeth.

A bonding agent will be applied using a small brush to secure the attachments on your teeth. Your Invisalign provider will then use a template aligner. This is a tool that has little space for the Invisalign attachments to go. This is where they will place the composite resin material to create the attachments.

Once the attachments are formed, the template aligner will be placed over our teeth. The Invisalign provider will then use gentle pressure to apply the Invisalign attachments to your teeth.

A special light will then be used to cure and harden the attachment and bonding agent together. Once this happens, the template aligner will be removed and your Invisalign provider will take off any extra composite resin or bonding agent from your teeth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does everyone need Invisalign attachments?

This will depend on your specific dental issue and treatment plan. Not everyone needs to get Invisalign attachments. They are just used for those treatments that need to do complex tooth movements to achieve a straighter smile.

During your initial consultation, your Invisalign provider will perform an assessment before you can start your Invisalign treatment. They will take x-rays, photographs, and impressions of your teeth at this stage to serve as the basis for your treatment plan.

Will the Invisalign attachments stain or damage my teeth?

No, this will not happen – as long as you take proper care of your oral hygiene while doing your Invisalign treatment. If not, you may end up with these issues – or worse, actually get tooth decay.

You see, food particles can collect around the attachments if you do not practice good oral hygiene. To avoid tooth decay and other dental issues, make sure that you brush your teeth and floss regularly.

Staining is common if you insist on drinking dark liquids like coffee, tea, or red wine. When this happens, do not fear, you can have your Invisalign provider bleach them. In fact, you can do whitening treatments on your teeth even when you have Invisalign attachments on.

How many attachments will I need?

The number of attachments that you will need will depend on the specifics of your dental treatment plan. Some orthodontic patients can get as many as 20 tooth-colored attachments.

Your Invisalign provider will be able to make the decision based on your case and diagnosis. Generally, the more complex the movements needed for straight teeth, the more attachments you might need.

Do Invisalign attachments hurt?

You may experience some discomfort when you first wear your Invisalign aligners and every time you will be switching to your next aligner.

But there is no need to panic- this is just natural because of the pressure that is placed on the attachments by the removable aligners. This is the case for most Invisalign treatments.

You do not have to worry about this though. The pain and discomfort typically go away as you adjust. But if it does not, you can always have the option to take over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen to help you out.

What happens if Invisalign attachments fall off?

An attachment can fall off your tooth, especially when you do not take care every time you try to put on or take off your clear aligners. If this happens, call your Invisalign provider right away.

It is important that your Invisalign attachments be replaced without delay. The attachments are a very important part of your treatment and without them, this will cause a huge delay in your treatment.

It is also important that if an Invisalign attachment falls off, you should not try to scape off the remaining material from the surface of your teeth. You may end up damaging the enamel of your teeth. Wait for your Invisalign provider to deal with it properly and safely.

How are attachments removed after Invisalign treatment?

When your Invisalign treatment is over, your Invisalign attachments will come off too. Your Invisalign provider will use a small tool that chips away from the attachments.

Removing the SmartForce attachments is a painless method but you will feel the vibration from the tool as it removes the Invisalign attachments.

You must not try to remove the attachments yourself. They are bonded to your teeth and proper tools are needed to remove them so that you do not damage the enamel of your teeth. Only trust an experienced orthodontist to do the job.

Can I refuse attachments to be part of my orthodontic treatment?

Yes, you can decline to have Invisalign attachments in your treatment. There is a chance that the Invisalign system will still work on you and give you a straight smile.

But you have to know that there is a downside – your treatment time will become longer. And the longer your treatment time becomes, the more expensive your total cost will be.

However, there are cases where attachments are a must because the aligners will not work effectively without them. In this case, you may have no choice. Either go for attachments or go for traditional braces.

Invisalign aligners vs. Traditional braces – which is better?

As mentioned earlier, Invisalign aligners work like traditional braces when it comes to orthodontics straightening. The only difference is that Invisalign is less obvious because of the clear material it uses.

But you have to take note that Invisalign has its limits – even with anchor points like attachments around. If you have a severe straightening issue though, there is a chance that your orthodontist will tell you to go for traditional braces so you might not have a choice.


Crooked teeth can send out the wrong first impressions. Thankfully, Invisalign provides a quicker and more aesthetic solution to your needs.

If your Invisalign provider recommends attachments, you should not hesitate. Aside from holding your aligners in place, the attachments help more complex tooth movement possible.

As you have read earlier, it takes a simple procedure to apply and remove the attachments. It will not take so much of your time or add pain to your treatment.

Your Invisalign provider would not recommend it if you do not really need it anyway. So, when they do, trust that it is for your own good so that you can achieve that better and straighter smile that you desire.

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