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The safest ways to whiten your teeth explained
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Decades ago, traditional braces were the best option for people who wanted to improve their overbite or underbite. Years later, Invisalign aligners became an appealing, teeth-straightening option because of their near invisibility.
Align Technology was founded in 1997. It introduced Invisalign clear aligners as an alternative to standard brackets and wires.1 The Food and Drug Administration approved Invisalign in 1998, and sales of Invisalign began in 1999. Aligners fit over the teeth and guide them into the correct positions.
Before Invisalign attachments, Invisalign invisible braces didn’t cater to everyone’s needs. They only worked for people with mild to moderate malocclusion.
Invisalign attachments, or buttons, are small tooth-colored dots bonded onto the teeth. They use dental composites to help aligners work more effectively.
Invisalign attachments act as anchors that give Invisalign a better grip on the teeth. They consist of composite resin or dental bonding that mold teeth in specific positions.
These attachments work with Invisalign aligners. They aid aligners in moving teeth in the right direction and force.
Typically, these aligners don't match the shape of your teeth. When worn, they push them into the correct position.
However, teeth that are difficult to move because of their angle, size, or shape need attachments to reinforce the grip of aligners.
The process of applying Invisalign attachments to your teeth isn’t complex.
Here’s what happens step-by-step:
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You may require attachments if:
Invisalign will typically not achieve the desired results for severe malocclusion. When you have severe malocclusion, your teeth don't align when you close your jaws.
You may need several attachments to help the aligners push the teeth back to their proper positions.
Sometimes, you may have only one crooked tooth that Invisalign alone can't fix. If this happens, your dentist may use an attachment on that tooth to realign it.
Consult an orthodontic specialist to determine if an attachment is needed for a severely crooked tooth. They'll suggest the best treatment option for you.
Just about every case has at least one attachment present. It’s a rarity that you will have a case that has zero attachments.
However, you may not need Invisalign attachments if:
Malocclusion is the imperfect alignment of your teeth when your jaws close. It causes you to have a poor bite. When you visit your dentist, they'll assess your teeth to determine whether or not you need Invisalign with attachments.
If you're already using aligners, your dentist will assess whether or not they are working as intended. Invisalign can have visible results in a matter of weeks.
It may take months to show notable results in some situations. If your dentist determines that the aligners are effective, you won't need attachments.
How you wear your aligners determines the treatment’s effectiveness. Dentists recommend wearing your aligners for at least 20 hours a day.2 Keeping this routine reduces the need for attachments.
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Here are the main benefits of Invisalign attachments:
Installing Invisalign attachments shouldn't cause any pain because they bond to your teeth. However, Invisalign might feel more snug with attachments during the first few days. This can be uncomfortable.
Your mouth may also take time to adjust to the attachments and the aligners’ force. As a result, you may have sore gums, cheeks, and lips. You can manage this with pain medication. If you develop tooth decay, you may notice discomfort or pain.
If an attachment irritates a spot inside your mouth, you can place a ball of orthodontic wax on the area to prevent irritation.
Generally, feeling uncomfortable after wearing aligners and attachments is a sign that the treatment is working. The pain will subside soon after your mouth gets used to the aligners and attachments.
If the pain persists for many days, seek medical advice from your dental professional.
Invisalign and attachments also have drawbacks. Aligners with attachments can:
Not everyone will experience these side effects.
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The exact duration of the Invisalign attachments on your teeth depends on the treatment plan. You may need to wear your attachments for 12 to 18 months. But some plans recommend wearing them for a longer or shorter period.3
Sometimes, the attachment may detach from a tooth during the straightening process. This can happen as a result of the aligners’ force and tooth movements. But it shouldn't worry you. Call your dentist and schedule another appointment to fix the attachment.
At the end of treatment, your dentist will remove the attachments by polishing them down to your teeth. Besides feeling a tingly vibration in your teeth, the process doesn't hurt or cause tooth damage.
Don't remove the attachments without professional assistance. Doing so may damage tooth enamel. Although removing attachments is a relatively simple procedure, your dentist uses special equipment to protect your teeth.
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