The idea of attachments with braces is fairly self-explanatory. Sure, the archwire that wraps around your upper and lower sets of teeth does the heavy lifting, but the braces still need various brackets, elastics, wire ligatures, and other components to accomplish the job the braces are supposed to do. But why would a set of Invisalign braces or other transparent retainers need attachments?
Not Everyone Will Need Attachments
Attachments have a different meaning with transparent retainers, and not everyone will need these attachments. For many people, the set of transparent retainers will fit perfectly snugly over their teeth, with the retainers being regularly replaced with a set that has a slightly different configuration, until such time as your teeth have been brought to the correct alignment. It's not like this for everyone, however.
An Essential Grip
For some people, their orthodontist might be concerned that transparent retainers will not be entirely effective on their own. In some instances, the retainers will need assistance to achieve the grip that is essential for gently manoeuvring your teeth into the correct position over the course of your treatment. This grip assistance is where transparent retainer attachments can come into play.
Small Buttons on Your Teeth
The attachments are small buttons, essentially nodules that are strategically attached to certain teeth in your mouth, allowing the retainers to hold the position and strain that is necessary for the retainers to work. These attachments are made of dental composite material (pretty much what would be used to fill a cavity) and are applied to the teeth in question, before being dried and set using a light designed for this purpose. The process is quick and painless, and it will not damage your teeth.
The attachments will be largely invisible when you're wearing your transparent retainers since the retainers themselves will obscure the attachments. They can be visible when you're not wearing your retainers, which will generally only be when you're eating. Be careful with what you consume, since the attachments can be susceptible to discolouration. Make sure you rinse your mouth thoroughly after eating or drinking, and clean your teeth as directed by your dentist or orthodontist.
Once your treatment has finished, your orthodontist can quickly un-bond the attachments to remove them from your teeth. Their job is done, and it's like they were never there, even though the results of their efforts can be seen in your new smile.
For more information on attachments in aligners like Invisalign braces, reach out to a local dentist.