Completing Invisalign treatment is an exciting milestone, and that is when you can expect to get the buttons to be removed. Typically, Invisalign attachments remain in place for the entire treatment duration.
These attachments are used to overcome certain orthodontic challenges that may be difficult to address with clear aligners alone. The number and duration of the attachments, as well as their placement, are determined during the treatment planning stage, and you will be informed about their presence and timeline beforehand.
The attachments stay on for the entire treatment time unless the Invisalign treatment planning algorithm specifies that they want them removed at a certain tray number. In some cases, the attachments may be removed from certain teeth and added to others as you change the set of aligners depending on the intended teeth movement.
By providing additional leverage and torque, the attachments enhance tooth movement, especially when a tooth is angled or when complex movements are required.
How to remove Invisalign buttons
Invisalign attachments are applied directly to the surfaces of specific teeth. And to maintain the claims that the treatment is discreet, these buttons are typically made from tooth-colored composite resin, which blends perfectly with your natural teeth. While this is good for your smile, it may also pose challenges with their removal once your treatment comes to an end.
Fortunately, the composite resin attachments are only indistinguishable from your natural teeth under natural lighting. Once a fluorescent UV light is shone on your teeth, the buttons become clearly visible, which makes it easy to locate and remove them.
Removing Invisalign buttons is a straightforward procedure as follows:
- The dentist uses a special UV light to make the attachments visible, allowing for easy identification and removal.
- Dental instruments are used to gently “pop off” the bulk of the composite material, using a drill that sprays water.
- This is followed by careful elimination of any residual resin using a carbide bur or ultrasonic scaler to polish your teeth.
- This process is generally painless, with minimal discomfort or vibration felt. So it doesn’t require you to be numb.
How long does it take to remove the buttons?
Removing Invisalign attachments is a fast process. While it took you about an hour to put them on, it takes less than 15 minutes to remove them all. The procedure for removing the attachments is the same regardless of their type. But generally, the more buttons you have, the longer it will take to remove them.
Early attachment removal
In certain cases, one arch of teeth may complete its movement before the other. In such instances, with the dentist’s approval, attachments on the finished arch can be removed earlier so you can enjoy the benefits of your straight smile sooner.
Accidental removal of buttons falling off
There are some instances when the attachments fall off accidentally, like when you’re eating. This may happen when you bite directly into hard foods, such as an apple. To avoid such incidents, you should avoid eating hard foods, or at least slice them into smaller pieces. While you may continue with your treatment without the attachments, the efficacy might diminish significantly, causing treatment time to increase. So you should get them restored on your next appointment if not sooner.
Invisalign treatment without attachments
While it is possible to request the removal of all attachments, it is important to understand that they play a vital role in the effectiveness of Invisalign treatment. Without attachments, the aligners have reduced leverage, potentially lengthening the treatment duration by 1.5 to 2 times. However, the decision to remove all attachments can be made based on individual preferences and circumstances.
Concerns with Invisalign Attachment removal
1. Damage to tooth enamel
During attachment removal, it is essential to preserve the natural enamel. Excessive removal can lead to tooth damage and discoloration. The use of a UV light assists in identifying the exact position of the buttons to ensure precise removal.
2. Tooth discoloration
Many patients express concern about potential tooth discoloration after removing the attachments. Regular brushing and flossing can help counteract any staining that may occur during Invisalign treatment. If necessary, professional cleaning or teeth whitening can restore the natural brightness of your smile.
Invisalign attachments, or buttons, are integral to the success of treatment by enhancing tooth movement and achieving desired results. The removal process, facilitated by a UV light, ensures a painless and efficient procedure. While attachment removal may reveal slight tooth discoloration, regular oral care and professional cleaning can address this issue.
Discussing the removal process and any concerns with your dentist will ensure a smooth transition to your beautiful, straight smile.