I am a member of the Invisalign Mom Advisory Board. My daughter will receive complimentary Invisalign treatment, but as always, I'm sharing my own personal thoughts and opinions.
Anyone remember braces with elastics? Those teeny, tiny little rubber bands that unfailingly popped off when you were talking to your boyfriend, shooting him right between the eyes and insuring that you'd never get another date, ever? Remember the little hooks that were added to your brackets so that you could hook said elastics? Remember how those hooks TORE UP the inside of your mouth?
Invisalign remembers. And they've gone one better.
Now, in places that the teeth may need a teeny bit more pressure, you have attachments. Small, tooth colored bits that attach to the teeth and then into the aligners, they help rotate teeth and move them into line more effectively than before. The idea is that the placement of the attachments provides an anchor point on teeth around which an aligner can firmly grasp and then manipulate the tooth. You won't need an attachment on each tooth, but typically, they are applied to teeth that need to rotate or be moved down or up in the mouth.
They kind of look like this.
Note: this is not my daughter's mouth. She flatly refused to have a photo of her teeth up there.
My daughter was taken a bit unaware that she would need attachments. She was completely unhappy when she had the attachments applied. In fact, I was out of town, and my phone blew up with unhappy text messages, unflattering photos wtih her lips flayed open and teeth pushed forward, and hysterical tears. She hated them. Hate is perhaps not a strong enough word.She wanted the attachments off, she wanted them off YESTERDAY, and pronounced herself finished - before she'd ever begun.
Fast forward six weeks. Now, she says, "I don't mind them as much now that I am used to them. I think that my teeth are moving a lot faster." The attachments themselves aren't really visible, especially when she has her aligners in. Knowing that her teeth are moving faster makes her more anxious to wear them, especially because she'd like to be finished in time for her senior pictures. She has a total of 15 attachments; 9 on her top teeth and 6 on her bottom teeth.
One small note: efforts are made to match the attachments to the color of your teeth - but if you eat or drink large amounts of foods or beverages that have staining properties, you may notice some discoloration. So skip the soda and the coffee - and drink more water!