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When you think of Invisalign® treatment, what comes to mind? Most would picture clear, plastic trays that fit over your teeth. And you’d be right! But you might be surprised to know that Invisalign can also include special Invisalign Smartforce®  attachments and rubber bands. And if you have a more complex case, you might need them. An experienced Invisalign orthodontist like Dr. Brady Okuda can enhance your Invisalign treatment with attachments or rubber bands for beautifully-aligned teeth, even if your bite or misalignment is more severe.

Let’s talk more about Invisalign attachments and elastics so you can see if they’re right for you. In this post, we’ll answer:

  • What are Invisalign rubber bands? 
  • What are Invisalign attachments?
  • What cases need Invisalign attachments and rubber bands?
  • Does Invisalign work without attachments or elastics?

What are Invisalign rubber bands?

Invisalign rubber bands are small elastics that connect your upper and lower aligners. Just like elastics for braces, Invisalign elastics move your jaws to line up your bite. And how do these rubber bands work with invisalign? Your Invisalign rubber bands attach either to the Invisalign attachments on your teeth or special hooks designed right into your clear aligners. 

Understandably, Invisalign elastics might seem confusing at first. But rest assured, the team at Okuda Orthodontics will teach you how to put your rubber bands in at the start of treatment. You’ll be a pro in no time: first, put your Invisalign aligners over your teeth. Then loop one rubber band to the hook or attachment on either the top or bottom teeth. Grip the rubber band with two fingers and stretch it out. Hook the open end onto the attachment or hook above or below it. Repeat with the other elastic if needed. And.. you’re done!

Invisalign elastics are typically worn when your aligners are in. That’s 22 hours a day, every day. You’ll need to change your elastics once or twice a day to keep up the tension in your mouth since they can lose their elasticity over time. Dr. Okuda will let you know more about your elastics, including if you should take them out to eat. This depends on where you Invisalign rubber bands attach. You’ll also find out what you do with your Invisalign elastics at night.

What are Invisalign attachments?

Unlike Invisalign rubber bands, Invisalign attachments are permanently attached. The orthodontist will remove them when it’s time so you don’t have to worry about how to remove the Invisalign attachments yourself. These “Invisalign buttons” are tiny bumps that are bonded to individual teeth and made of a tooth-colored composite. The material is the same kind used by dentists to fix chips or cracks in teeth. 

Because of their size and color, Invisalign composite buttons are barely noticeable, just like your clear aligners. You might spot them if you’re looking at your teeth up close in the mirror, but anyone looking at a further distance will barely notice them.

Invisalign Smartforce® attachments can be added before or during your Invisalign treatment, depending on the order of tooth movements Dr. Okuda has prescribed. And what do they do? Think of them like little handles that help your clear aligners put the right amount of push force in the right direction for individual teeth. They do three things: provide better leverage and grip for your clear aligners to stay tight against your teeth, act as a surface for the aligners to push against for complex tooth movements like rotation, lengthening, or tipping a tooth in the intended direction, or for elastics to hook onto.

Now since attachments are bonded to your teeth, you might think, “How do I keep Invisalign attachments white and clean?” While the composite material is pretty good at repelling stains, rule of thumb for keeping your Invisalign attachments clean is to moderate your intake of acidic or staining foods and beverages. Coffee, red wine, and berries are common stain culprits. You’ll also want to brush your attachments (and teeth!) after you eat to get rid of sticky plaque and keep Invisalign attachments white and clean. Check out these helpful Invisalign hacks to get the most out of your treatment.

Which cases need Invisalign attachments and rubber bands?

Here are some common misalignment issues that Invisalign attachments and elastics can correct:

Overbites – Invisalign attachments together with your clear aligners will fix a mild overbite if it’s because of tooth positioning. But if your overbite is from a misaligned jaw, you might need Invisalign elastics too. Using all three (aligners, attachments, and rubber bands) will correct tooth misalignment as well as close an overbite and bring the jaw into proper alignment.

Underbites – Like an overbite, using Invisalign composite buttons and/or rubber bands with your clear aligners helps move teeth and jaws into place.

Openbites – Not sure what an openbite is? Think of the upper and lower teeth not touching at all. Using Invisalign attachments — and rubber bands for more complex cases — can bring the upper and lower jaws into a well-functioning and attractive fit.

Spaces between teeth – Treating spaces between teeth — whether small spaces like diastema or large gaps — is definitely possible with Invisalign. The addition of attachments can not only close gaps but also fix tooth rotations or tipping teeth that affect the spacing in your mouth.

Crowding teeth – Twisted, overlapping, or leaning teeth crowding together can benefit from Invisalign buttons. These attachments are needed to achieve complex corrections.

Does Invisalign work without attachments or elastics?

Now that you know more about Invisalign composite buttons and elastics, you might wonder, “But does Invisalign work without attachments or rubber bands?” Yes, Invisalign does work without attachments and elastics, and is great for simple cases. However, your Henderson, NV orthodontist might recommend Invisalign attachments and/or rubber bands if they make your treatment more efficient and effective. Either way, you’ll receive exceptional, personal service from us using the latest technology — for a stunning smile!

Visit your leading Henderson, NV orthodontist for Invisalign

Ready to get your dream smile with Invisalign? At Okuda Orthodontics, we can create your custom smile that complements your unique facial features. Contact us today to book a free consultation.

Dr. Okuda

Author Dr. Okuda

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