What They Are, How They Work, and What to Expect
Invisalign treatment has SmartForce™ attachments (also known as Invisalign buttons or simply attachments) are tiny, almost invisible bumps placed on your teeth during Invisalign treatment. Attachments are customized to fit your teeth and positioned to guide the movement of your teeth. They work like handles, giving your clear aligners something to gently push on to help your orthodontist apply extra, gentle force to areas where your aligners need assistance.
Will I need attachments?
Only your orthodontist can say for sure. Only some people who undergo Invisalign treatment will need attachments. Invisalign attachments are typically only used for more complex misalignments or orthodontic issues. Generally, your orthodontist will recommend aligners if one more teeth need more significant movement.
Generally, your odds of needing attachments are higher if you've had dental work like bridges, implants, or crowns. Ultimately, your orthodontist will decide if Invisalign attachments are right for you.
Are attachments put on all my teeth?
The number of attachments needed will vary depending on the specifics of your situation. You may need attachments on every tooth or just a couple needing additional support. Your orthodontist will be able to determine the best course of action for your individual situation. It depends on your individual case and the treatment plan created by your orthodontist. Your orthodontist will determine the best treatment plan for your unique smile.
Will people notice if I’m wearing attachments?
Invisalign attachments are made from a tooth-colored material to be as discrete as possible. Some attachments may be more visible than others, depending on their location. For example, attachments on your front teeth may be easier to see than attachments on your molars.
If you have any concerns about the visibility of your attachments, talk to your orthodontist. Your orthodontist will do their best to place attachments in locations to minimize their visibility and make them less noticeable.
How are attachments put on my teeth?
The process of applying Invisalign attachments is straightforward and should only take around an hour to complete. Before applying attachments, your orthodontist will look at your teeth to find the best place to put them. Once they decide where to put your attachments, your orthodontist will prep your teeth by cleaning and drying them for the bonding agent that will connect the buttons to your teeth.
The adhesive for attachments is similar to the one used for brackets in traditional braces. The bonding agent is safe, non-toxic, and designed for oral use. It's formulated to provide a strong, secure bond while gentle on teeth.
Will they hurt?
You may experience some mild discomfort after initially getting your Invisalign buttons. That discomfort should not last long and can be expected to be mild. It's caused by your teeth needing time to adjust to the new pressure the attachments apply. It's completely normal and a sign that the treatment is working. In most cases, discomfort can be managed by over-the-counter pain relievers; your orthodontist can provide more information.1
Can attachments fall off? What do I do if that happens?
Certain activities, such as chewing hard foods or using your teeth as tools - can weaken your Invisalign attachments, causing them to become loose or even fall off. Avoid any activities that put excessive pressure on teeth while in treatment.
Taking good care of your teeth can help preserve the bond and keep attachments from coming loose. Regular brushing and flossing will help attachments stay in place. Be sure to follow specific instructions from your orthodontists, especially about avoiding particular foods or drinks.
If one of your Invisalign attachments does fall off, don't worry - simply contact your orthodontist. They will schedule a time to replace it as soon as possible.
How long will I need to wear Invisalign attachments?
The duration of time that you need to wear Invisalign attachments will also depend on your individual case. If your treatment requires attachments, then they will be worn throughout your Invisalign treatment, which can last as little as six months.2 Your orthodontist will be able to provide you with a more accurate estimate of how long you will need to wear Invisalign attachments based on your specific needs and desired outcome.
What happens to the attachments when I finish my Invisalign treatment?
Your orthodontist will take off your attachments at the end of your treatment. They are gently removed in a painless, non-invasive procedure. Before removal, your orthodontist will do one last check to confirm your teeth have moved into their desired positions.
After removing your attachments, your orthodontist may want to take new impressions of your teeth to help with retainers that may be needed after completing Invisalign treatment. Retainers (like Vivera™ retainers) help make sure your new smile lasts by preventing your teeth from shifting back after you’ve finished treatment.
Talk to your orthodontist
Talk to your orthodontist if you have questions about Invisalign attachments. If you don’t have an orthodontist, try the Invisalign Doctor Locator to find the right Invisalign provider for you.
Wonder if Invisalign treatment is right for you?
Take the Invisalign Smile Quiz