Written by Dr. Febin Mary George, BDS | Medically Reviewed by Dr. Shaista Salam, BDS; Dr. Zein El Hammouz, DDS, MFD/RCSI.
Over the years, clear aligners have increased in popularity owing to the comfort and esthetics they offer when compared to traditional braces. In addition, we've seen an increase in the treatment of advanced malocclusion cases, all thanks to auxiliaries like attachments and buttons!
In my experience with clear aligner treatments, attachments enable the application of a wide variety of forces; which in turn reflects massively on our patient’s treatment outcomes,” says Reham Kilano, Clinical Affairs Manager at Eon Aligner.
Dr. Salim Qadri, an expert aligner user also reports, “The acceptance rate of attachments by patients is relatively high. A lot of them mention how surprised they are whenever a family member or a friend does not notice they have attachments placed."
Indeed, attachments have proved invaluable in handling complex aligner cases with ease. Let us walk you through everything you need to know about clear aligner attachments in this article.
Dental attachments are small geometries made of tooth-colored material attached to the teeth. They facilitate tooth movement in clear aligner treatments.1 Attachments serve as a handle on which the aligners apply force to bring about the desired teeth movements.
Dental attachments are made from composite resin, a tooth-colored material that can be bonded to the tooth. They are usually attached to the middle part of the facial surface of the tooth and come in various shapes and sizes.
Attachments provide an active surface on which the aligners can exert force to bring about complex tooth movements like rotations. Thus, these tiny tooth handles enhance the efficiency of aligners and increase the predictability of teeth movement.
Conventional attachments or passive attachments are passive in nature and meant to enhance the aligners' engagement to the tooth surface.2 They act as a handle for the aligners and help bring about successful teeth movements.
Optimized attachments or active attachments are a little bit different from conventional attachments as they are:2
When the individual wears the aligners, the optimized attachments fit into pre-formed pockets within the aligner.
Aligner attachments are attached in a few quick steps:
Attachment placement is a technique-sensitive process and must be carried out keeping the following things in mind:
If the attachments are not appropriately bonded to the tooth surface, they may fall off (3). Bonding failure could be the result of multiple factors like:
Remember, attachments may occasionally fall off but they can easily be fixed back! If they fall off due to any reason, patients can schedule an appointment with their doctor at the earliest.
Attachments can be removed once the teeth have moved to their ideal positions and the patient finishes his treatment. Finishing and polishing burs can be used to aid in the removal of aligner attachments.
When you initially get your dental attachments placed, you may feel some discomfort or roughness on the inner surface of your lips and cheeks. But the feeling goes away within a few days, as your mouth adjusts to the attachments.
Like plaque buildup on teeth, sometimes clear aligner attachments can also get covered with plaque. To keep a check on it, one needs to maintain optimum oral hygiene through regular brushing and flossing.
Exposure to dark-stain liquids like coffee or red wine can also cause staining of aligner attachments. So proper oral hygiene is needed to prevent staining of the attachments.
Clear aligners must be worn for a minimum of 22 hours daily. Listed below are a few guidelines that can help you take care of your dental precision or button attachments:
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