We use Invisalign clear aligner therapy at our Long Beach orthodontic practice. A modern orthodontic treatment known for its invisibility and convenience during treatment, Invisalign is almost undetectable to other people.
However, some cases require a little extra to get the results we want. So, we might use tooth-colored attachments called SmartForce attachments.
Invisalign is a way to straighten your teeth without traditional brackets and wires. Instead, it’s a modern orthodontic treatment that moves your teeth into the proper position with a series of removable, transparent trays made of proprietary, clear plastic, which we call clear aligners. It’s become a popular way for people to improve their smiles so that other people do not notice and without the drawbacks associated with traditional braces.
Unfortunately, Invisalign isn’t for every smile. Sometimes the technology can’t handle what we ask of it. Some examples of cases where Invisalign isn’t optimal might be a smile with extremely crowded teeth, severe rotations in the tooth position, some types of bite problems, problems that originate with the growth of the facial bones, and some other complicated orthodontic conditions. These situations required patients to choose traditional braces instead of clear aligners for treatment in the past.
However, the SmartForce attachments enhance the results you can achieve with Invisalign. Whether it’s rotating a tooth or extruding it from the gum, or making the tooth easier to apply pressure to it, the SmartForce attachments act like handles to push your teeth into the correct position.
You probably won’t notice the attachments much. It depends on where we need to put them and how well the material’s color matches your natural teeth. (But don’t worry; we are very good at matching the color and placing them appropriately). SmartForce attachments are dental composite resin, which is the same thing your dentist uses for white fillings. Also, they are small (1/16th of an inch wide and as thick as a credit card) and adhered to your teeth in specific places, usually halfway up the tooth.
It’s also pretty easy to get them on your teeth. Invisalign provides a tray that looks like the other ones you will wear, except that these have places for the attachments to be, which look like tiny bubbles. So first, we prepare your teeth to accept an adhesive. Then, we take the matching color of the material and fill in the bubbles of the tray with it. Next, we attach them to the tooth using an adhesive system. Next, we will use blue light to harden the material, called a curing light. Then, we remove the tray and clean up the area surrounding the attachments. And that’s it.
We use a few different shapes because the form of the attachment encourages the tooth to move a specific way. For example, a vertically aligned rectangular attachment can move a tooth into an adjacent space, tip, torque it, or rotate it into the proper position. Alternatively, a horizontal beveled rectangular attachment will push in or pull out a tooth from the gum line.
When it is time to remove the attachments after treatment, we take them off and polish the surface to get rid of any remaining adhesive. Again, the removal does not hurt, although some people notice the vibrations the removal tool makes.
There are not any severe risks of using the attachments. However, the additional pressure they allow the trays to exert on your tooth movement can cause temporary discomfort. In addition, you might notice that it is a little harder to remove your aligner trays because they will fit tighter with the attachments in place.
Also, when you don’t wear the trays, the attachments can irritate your mouth and cause sore spots. However, orthodontic wax can help with this discomfort, and the skin there will toughen up over time. In addition, taking the trays in and out will wear down the points on the attachments a little bit so that they won’t be as irritating to your gums.
SmartForce attachments can affect your oral health, too. Their presence naturally invites plaque and bacteria to build up around them. Without proper oral hygiene, you could experience staining or decay in these areas. The attachment material itself can stain, too, when you drink dark liquids, like coffee or red wine.
Invisalign is an excellent treatment option for your modern orthodontic treatment, with or without the SmartForce attachments. Whether you will need them will depend upon what we are trying to achieve for your smile. We will discuss your options with you and whether your case might need the additional help of the SmartForce attachments when we go over your plan. If you have any questions about attachments and whether Invisalign is right for you, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.
“SmartForce Attachments®Make complex tooth movements possible without braces.” Invisalign.com. Web. 16 February 2022. <https://www.invisalign.com/the-invisalign-difference/smartforce-attachments>.
Seladi-Schulman, PhD, Jill. “What Are Invisalign Attachments and How Are They Used?” healthline.com. Web. 16 February 2022.
“SmartForce Features and Attachments.” AmazonAWS.com. Web. 16 February 2022.
“How the Invisalign System Works.” www.animated-teeth.com. Web. 16 February 2022.