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Invisalign Attachments Explained

Your dentist has probably told you as part of your Invisalign treatment you’re going to have attachments placed on some teeth, but they haven’t really explained any further. Is this on the front or back surface? A large hook or a small button? Will it ever come off? What on earth are they actually attaching?! Let Smile Stories’ smile architects walk you through it.

Invisalign attachments are clever little things your dentist adds to your teeth to make Invisalign quicker and more effective. Your dentist knows this, but sometimes they neglect to tell you. In this article, we’ll explain what Invisalign attachments are and answer your common questions about this revolutionary orthodontic treatment. 

Also, check out the following video with Invisalign expert Dr Gareth Edwards to find out more about these attachments.

What Is Invisalign?

Invisalign itself is a state-of-the-art teeth straightening technique that started in 1997. This orthodontic treatment is an effective and painless process that involves placing thin plastic Invisalign aligner trays in your mouth over the course of a few months. These Invisalign aligners work by gently applying pressure and moving your teeth into the desired position. At the end of this treatment period, you’re rewarded with straight teeth and a beautiful smile.

What Are Invisalign Attachments?

invisalign attachments explained

Invisalign attachments are tiny buttons of white filling that are added to the front surface of your teeth. They give us an object for your Invisalign aligners to push against in order to straighten them.

Why Do We Need Invisalign Attachments?

Remember going to the park as a kid and jumping on the roundabout? Think of your tooth as the roundabout and the bars you stand between as the Invisalign attachments. When you push the bars, the roundabout spins, and that’s the same for your tooth.

Invisalign attachments are cleverly placed in specific positions and sloped at different angles to straighten teeth. We can work these angles to rotate and tilt your teeth in order to straighten them like the bars help spin a roundabout.

How Do We Place Invisalign Attachments?

They’re placed in exactly the same way as you’d have a composite filling. It’s a simple, painless 5 step procedure:

  1. Clean the teeth to make sure there’s no food or debris where we need to place the attachments.
  2. Shampoo (etch) the tooth surface.
  3. Add a conditioning layer (bonding agent) to allow the composite to stick to the tooth.
  4. Add the attachments using composite.
  5. Set with the blue light.


How Do You Care For the Invisalign Attachments at Home?

how to clean invisalign attachments

You need to treat them no differently than your teeth. Make sure you have good dental hygiene and brush your teeth as normal, ensuring you clean around Invisalign attachments as well as your teeth. Also, make sure you floss daily.

Occasionally, attachments can stain around the edges. It’s annoying, but it’s not really a problem, and once they’re removed, the staining will go away.

Limit foods that can stain to avoid this, such as red wine, curry and coffee. Smoking also can cause staining around the margins of the attachments as well as darken the Invisalign trays.

What Happens If an Attachment Falls Off?

Don’t panic! There’s a lot of strain on these little buttons of composite, and it happens.

You need to continue to wear your aligner as normal and call your dentist, who will easily replace it. Your tooth without the Invisalign attachment will not relapse, but it won’t move either.

If you can’t get an appointment for a few days, it might mean wearing that tray for a bit longer. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s really not a problem. And you can bin the lost attachment. It’s no good to us anymore.

How Do We Remove Invisalign Attachments When You’re Finished?

Invisalign attachments are removed as easily as they’re placed. Your dentist will use a water polisher to smooth them down. They’ll be smoothed down until they are no longer raised bumps on your teeth and polished off.

Once the treatment plan is complete and your Invisalign attachments have been removed, you will be ready to show off that newfound smile confidence.

Our Advice

So there you have it. We hope that we have been able to answer all your questions about Invisalign treatments and these small yet mighty attachments. Invisalign attachments are a wonderful way to speed up your teeth straightening and improve the final result. Given the choice, we would recommend you always opt to include them in your Invisalign treatment.

Are you looking for Invisalign in Bournemouth? Get in touch with Smile Stories and start your smile journey today.


Dr Gareth Edwards BDS (Hons) MFDS RCPS (Glasg) qualified from dental school with honours. Working in the Bournemouth & Poole area, he has a particular interest in orthodontics and is a certified Invisalign provider.