Why Your Invisalign Trays May Need to Get a Grip

Maybe the biggest drawcard of Invisalign is the invisible factor. After all, these orthodontic appliances are often called invisible braces. The transparent Invisalign trays slot over the entire upper and lower ridges of teeth, and are not connected to teeth like conventional metal braces. You're probably familiar with the appearance of braces—metal brackets affixed to each tooth and connected by a central arch-wire. Because clear aligners are not physically bonded to your teeth, they may need some help in gripping onto your teeth with sufficient strength.

Osteoclasts and Osteoblasts

The orthodontic alignment of teeth relies on a natural process called bone remodelling. This is the resorption of old bone material, which is when it's reabsorbed back into your body. In response to the gentle pressure exerted by the Invisalign trays on your teeth, your bone releases cells called osteoclasts, reabsorbing (and therefore removing) old bone matter. Simultaneously, different cells (called osteoblasts) are released, which grow new bone matter. This is how bone remains solid around your dental sockets (and teeth) as they're repositioned in response to the pressure from your clear aligners. Invisalign trays need a strong grip to achieve this.

Attaining That Grip

When your trays need some assistance to attain that grip, the surface of the tooth must be modified to achieve this. The same principle applies when the tooth must undergo significant movement, such as if it's overlapping another tooth, or has rotated in its socket and must be de-rotated. To get the required grip, your orthodontist must add some special attachments to your treatment. These are not attached to your trays, but your teeth.

Composite Dental Resin

Aligner attachments are tiny bumps applied to the surfaces of your teeth. You won't be able to see them due to their size, and the fact that they're made of tooth-coloured composite dental resin. Some of your teeth may already feature this resin, as it's commonly used to fill dental cavities. The number and location of the attachments depend on the type of tooth movement required (so it's different for everyone). Your orthodontist places a type of template on your teeth, which is like a clear aligner tray with a number of small holes. The resin is applied through the holes, so their locations are exact. A special light will then be used to facilitate the drying and hardening of the resin. The process is very quick and uncomplicated.

Not everyone who needs Invisalign will need attachments, and your orthodontist will inform you if it applies to your treatment. There's nothing to be concerned about, and these attachments simply make your treatment more predictable—and far more effective.

Contact a local service provider to learn more about Invisalign treatments.

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