What are clear aligners attachments?
With advancement in the field of clear aligner therapy, attachment of different sizes and shapes are introduced to bring about different tooth movements. In simpler words to answer this question “What are clear aligners attachments?” Aligner attachments are tooth colour small blocks used to provide anchorage, movements.
Clear aligner therapy is advanced and new treatment modality, introduced in 1997 by Zia Chishti. Clear aligners were earlier used by the orthodontist to correct minor crowding or spacing for more than a decade. Now in the 21st century with more proven, valid studies along with increased number of successful cases leading to more acceptance among the orthodontist it has proved to most acceptable advanced orthodontic treatment modality both by the treating doctors and patients.
Find out why clear aligners/invisible braces users need the attachments?
Clear aligner initially introduced to correct only mild crowding and space closure has now advanced towards the correction of more severe and complex tooth movements (which includes intrusion, extrusion, distalization, extraction cases and more). With an increase in the demand, a lot of changes are also introduced.
Introduction of attachments is one of them. The usual and most often asked question is “what are aligner attachments?” The aligner attachments are composite (tooth coloured) button/s places on one or multiple teeth. It is often confused as a metal in the mouth.
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Armamentarium/Requirement for Clear Aligners Attachment placement:
- Composite (any packable/flowable)
- Curing light
Placing Clear Aligners Attachments is a simple and easy procedure.
- Check the fit of the template
- Remove, rinse and dry the template.
- Etch the tooth surface – 15 – 20 seconds
- Rinse thoroughly
- Apply bonding agent and cure
- Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly throughout.
- Load the template with composite (packable or flowable). Keep in mind to load a bit extra for better surface attachment.
- Insert the template, seat properly and cure
- Remove the template
- Clear the excess flash with a finishing bur
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Checkpoints while placing the attachments over teeth:
- Little extra composite for better attachment
- Keep in mind to remove only the excess of composite keeping the bur clear of attachments placed
- Relieve the template around the attachments before complete removal of the template.
- Remove and check
Attachments are useful in many ways, it is not just a small block placed on the tooth surface, and it works as:
- Act as an anchorage unit
- Attachments are like small invisible brackets which help achieve tooth movements.
- Attachments placed at particular angles induces different forces, any change in the shape and size provides different results.
- Breakage of attachment may lead to ill fit
- Improperly placed attachments may lead to breakage.
- Attachments are easy to place
- Tooth coloured, thus not visible.
- Important to achieve desired results.
Attachments are of many shapes such as- round, rectangular, half moon, triangular and many more. There are a total of 5 positive and 2 negatives. The positive attachments appear as a protruded emergence whereas negative appear like small depressions on the aligner. These attachments help attain all kinds of tooth movements. Along with the shape of the attachment, the positioning also plays an important part. To move teeth inward, outward, correction of deep bite or open bite. Attachments are placed at the beginning of the treatment and to be continued till the end, sometimes even during the retention duration.
Just like any other orthodontic treatment retainer are advised to be worn for a minimum duration of 9 months and more to avoid relapse (deteriorate after a period of improvement). Many aligner companies advise keeping the attachments in place during the retainer stage as well. Sometimes new attachments are added or a few changes in the old ones are advised to achieve desired results. In case of any breakage of attachments mid-treatment, do not ignore and fix it, as it may lead issues such as ill-fit or breakage. Last but not least, do not be afraid as a beautiful artistic smile is on its way, and just be a little more welcoming for a few changes.
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