How They Remove Invisalign Attachments Or Buttons…

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This week was another milestone in my treatment as it was time to remove my Invisalign attachments or buttons. I have now reached 30/34 on my first run of lower Invisalign braces (only 4 more to go!) and set 9/9 of my first run of Invisalign refinements on my upper arch- in other words, the first run of my upper refinements are now finished! To mark this momentous occasion I had a long appointment with my orthodontist to evaluate how my upper teeth are now looking, and also, joy of joy, to remove my upper Invisalign attachments.

For those of you as yet unfamiliar with all the details of Invisalign, attachments are small tooth coloured blobs of material that are glued or cemented onto teeth during Invisalign treatment. Their purpose is to provide additional “grip” for the aligners so that more difficult or complex tooth movements are possible. They can be used on any number of teeth, depending on the preferences of your Invisalign provider and what movements the teeth need to make. Some lucky people have none, some have a large number, I have 5. You can see some of mine in the picture below:

how to remove invisalign attachments
My orthodontist decides to Remove Invisalign Attachments

Throughout my treatment, whilst I haven’t enjoyed having attachments exactly, I have easily tolerated them to the point that not only didn’t I feel them in my mouth any more, I didn’t see them when I looked in the mirror either. So I was fairly relaxed about having them removed- I was happy to do it, but I wasn’t yearning for it exactly. In fact, given that they have been solidly attached to my teeth for the last 15 months and have endured all manner of brushing, tugging and scraping and still stayed resolutely attached, I was afraid that getting them off might be a minor ordeal.

So it was with a certain amount of trepidation that let I let my orthodontist lower me back in his dentist’s chair, one hand adjusting his medical face mask, the other brandishing a large, sinister looking dentist’s drill. My fear wasn’t allayed by him telling me, with only a little relish in his voice, that this was going to be noisy.

I don’t know whether you have ever had any fillings, but my teeth are riddled with them. So I am pretty familiar with the feeling of the dentist’s drill and the vibrations that go through your head as they buzz and scrape noisily through your teeth. This was what I was expecting with the removal of my attachments.

I am relieved and excited to report however, that it is really not that bad. Yes, there is a little of the same sensation of vibration as the attachment is drilled, but because it is on the outside of your tooth and the drill is not contacting with any of your tooth’s own structure, the vibrations do not travel through your head in the same way. Also, the removal of each attachment seemed to take no more that 15-20 seconds of drilling, compared to the 30 minutes to an hour that I have endured with some of my larger fillings, so although there was some vibration it had barely started before it finished. After the initial drilling was completed, my orthodontist switched to a smaller polisher and ran it across the tooth’s surface where the attachment had been, just to remove any last traces of the cement- and it was finished! The whole process of removing my attachments was over in less than five minutes start to finish.

As my orthodontist adjusted my chair back into the upright position and told me to rinse my mouth I was so surprised that it was over that I told him “well THAT was remarkably painless” to which he looked at me bemused, and replied “Well what did you expect?”
I didn’t really like to run him through the scenarios that had been coursing through my head prior to my appointment – if you google remove Invisalign attachments very little shows up, so I had filled in the details myself.

The attachments removed and my teeth in all their naked glory we were able to get onto the important business of discussing how my teeth look. Removing the attachments has altered the way they appear (see pics below) but hasn’t changed how I feel about what needs to be done. I told him all of my concerns (explained with pictures in my previous post about set 29 before and after pictures) about how the front tooth needed to rotate a little more and how I think the molars have been thrown into shadow.

He listened patiently, had a very thorough examination of my teeth from every angle, and then told me that he could see what I was talking about, that he agreed that my arch could be widened a little more by moving out my molars, and that we could look at it in the next refinement. He did caution that as my teeth have already moved so much that there was a limit to what could be done whilst still keeping my teeth in the jaw bone, but that he would do his best. One of the things (other than experience) that I think is so important to look for in an orthodontist is their willingness to listen to your opinion. I think I have been very, very fortunate with mine that not only is he willing to listen, he will happily rethink his approach if you tell him that you would prefer to do it another way.

how to remove invisalign attachments
Close Up No Attachments

Within my Invisalign contract I have the original run of aligners included, plus three runs of refinements. I have used one refinement correcting my upper arch whilst the bottoms were still completing their first run, so my orthodontist and I agreed that we would wait until I have finished my lower arch first run of aligners before we start the next set of refinements. That means that both arches can be tackled simultaneously in the same series of refinements. In the meantime, over the next eight weeks I will be wearing my upper aligner only at night whilst wearing the lower one for the usual 22 (ahem) hours a day for the next 10 weeks. According to my orthodontist this is the best compromise between keeping the upper aligner intact and still wearable whilst not letting my teeth relapse too much until the next series of aligners. All in all I am thrilled with how my teeth are now looking and excited to get them finished off. Roll on 10 weeks time.

Look no upper attachments- shame about the molars in shadow and the ugly crown at the front that needs replacing though…

31 thoughts on “How They Remove Invisalign Attachments Or Buttons…”

  1. I’m on my 28th Invisalign tray, I have two more to go. The thing is I got it done through a dentist not an Orthodontist. My dentist is not very gentle so I’m afraid of having my buttons attachments removed or get damaged teeth from it. I haven’t had an X-ray during this time so I’m kind of worried.
    Shall I see an Orthodontist before all this ends to get a second opinion how my teeth are moving or get my buttons removed by an Orthodontist?
    Will I get discolored teeth after the buttons being removed? The buttons are pretty yellow by now so I can’t wait to whiten my teeth after my buttons are removed and I had teeth cleaning.
    Any advice?

    1. Hi Brigitta,

      Hmm, that’s a tough one. I wouldn’t panic and feel you need to see an orthodontist, unless you don’t feel your teeth are progressing correctly. Similarly, I wouldn’t worry about the discoloured buttons- if you’ve been cleaning correctly it should be fine. I’m sure your dentist will be able to do just as good a job at removing them as your orthodontist and your teeth underneath shouldn’t be discoloured- mine weren’t at all.

  2. I tried to do Invisalign treatment through a dentist. She put 20 buttons on my teeth because it was supposed to be an express treatment, taking 5 months only from tray one to tray ten. My two front teeth had shifted forward since having braces in my teens, but my arch was still pretty straight. I started having jaw pain, cracking and popping which I had never experienced in my entire 27 years of life. I stopped treatment 4 weeks in due to unbearable pain. When she removed the buttons she left scratch marks from the bur all over my teeth. The teeth that had buttons are now dull and rough. They are also now a few shades darker than my teeth that did not have buttons placed. Thank God my 4 front incisors didn’t have buttons. She also never did x rays, which should have been a red flag. Please please please go to an orthodontist if you are going to do Invisalign. My once Snow White teeth are now permanently damaged and yellowed because of a dentist who thought she could do Invisalign.

    1. I started Invisalign with a dentist that we used for 15 years in another state; he knew I was moving back East. Rather than put me in a nightguard, he prescribed the more expensive Invisalign treatment to address my clinching. After my relocation, Dentist #2 hasn’t been any better. After the first failed revision and ordering the next set of trays, he told me that he did not expect the second revision to work either. But for an additional fee of $8000, he’ll correct my bite. So I feel that dentists have no business using the Invisalign product, it’s just a revenue stream for the dentists. See a better trained professional, see an orthodontist.

  3. Rebecca– Great blog! Thanks for sharing your experiences and allowing others a place to post. It really helped me to understand the Invisalign process and what to expect. Your smile is BEAUTIFUL. And look at those gorgeous straight teeth!

  4. I have had a successful journey with my Invisalign. I have been wearing for about 14 months. Just had my attachments off yesterday. Well, partially. The sharp points are all off, but the base of each one remains so my teeth are not smooth yet. It took way more that 20 – 30 seconds of “sanding” to get that much off. More like a couple of minutes on each one. Which seemed like forever. I preferred when the doctor did not use cold water or cold air during this process. Having the suction too close to my teeth also made them hurt. kinda sensitive teeth. The procedure was very uncomfortable and lasted about an hour for removing the attachments. Not painful though once he “sanded” dry.

    I too had the food sticking to the aligners, especially salads and as my teeth changed I had food gaps or traps. They came and went as my teeth moved and changed. Be very careful about brushing too much or too vigorously, you may brush your gums away leaving your tooth exposed.

    I am on my last set of retainers now and boy my teeth look waaaaay better. Only my very front tooth, which was the worst, is not quite there yet. So a bit more work after all. More pictures, more x-rays, more impressions and yes more buttons/ attachments. But in the end…. So worth it. My Invisalign journey has been a positive one. I would recommend. Expensive, mine were well over 5grand.

  5. I am middle aged and have over 20 attachments! I have yet to read about anyone having so many. My teeth weren’t SO bad, IMO. I just had some crowding on the bottom. My biggest complaint, next to looking like I have barnacles, is that it’s REALLY hard to clean my teeth. My teeth were shaved to make room, so now the food gets stuck deeply in my gums, then the floss gets stuck and often frays on the buttons. I am just hoping that I don’t get major gum issues or cavities. I am cleaning like a maniac! I am guessing I’m spending almost an hour a day just cleaning my teeth. Another issue is that sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between food being stuck on my teeth and the normal feeling of the attachments, and food easily gets stuck on my attachments. This is making me a lovely dinner companion! Oh well! I know that in the end I will be happy to have straight(er) teeth, and now I really know how to clean them! đŸ™‚

  6. I was wondering if after the attachments (buttons) when they removes them from your tooth did it leave a mark lighter or darker than your tooth? I have attachments now and that is my biggest fear.

    1. No, there was no mark at all left on mine. I believe you can get dark marks, but that is caused by poor dental hygiene. If you brush and floss it should be fine.

  7. I accidentally snapped my retainers and in England is you break you retainers you have to pay £65. I was wondering of I could glue the halves together or if I could get my dentist to glue it together for free??

  8. I’m on my top set brace 34/38 but had my attachments removed last week and had some impressions/moulds done, why has my attachments been removed when the one side of my teeth are still inward and not inline with the other side that’s now straight? Also my top brace doesn’t sit correctly on my teeth now it feels like its sliding off! I’m concerned about this can someone email me please and let me know

    1. I am on trays 32/32 and when I was on about tray 27 I noticed that my bottom tray did not seem to be fitting like normal. I “dealt with it” and by tray 29 I could not get them in at ALL. I went to the orthodontist and I needed to have my teeth re-shaped a bit. Because I had just “dealt” with it my teeth regressed and I had to go back 5 trays (10 weeks). I definitely encourage you to see your orthodontist and discuss your concerns. I wish I had!

  9. Kinda happy with the way my teeth turned out but can still see the buttons on my teeth. Told the dentist and he tryed to get them all off but I can still see them, ugh! Any suggestions here?

  10. I just had a set of attachments put on today. It was an uncomfortable experience, but not painful. I’m on tray 3 of 44 (!) so I have a long time still to go! I waited until I was 50+ and couldn’t bite or chew correctly due to malocclusion, which is one reason I’ve got so many trays in the process. It’s neither fun nor inexpensive, but if it will help me be able to actually chew my food instead of swallowing it nearly whole, it will be worth it!

    1. Deb, i am 52 and just got my attachments put on 14 in total amd i am having a bitch of a time removing them. Deb do you have any tips?

      1. Use your nails and start near your farthest back teeth on both sides. Then the front. It gets easier in a week or so because the attachments wear down just enough to make it easier to get off.

      2. Go on Amazon and get a remover for $10. It’s all I use because I broke off fingernails trying to get the trays out and never could. The remover is miraculous and cheap!

  11. I just had my 5 attachments put on yesterday, its quite painful w/ the new trays because of the added pressure, im pretty sure ill lose weight due to not wanting to take them off, as i didnt eat dinner that night or breakfast this morning, I failed to ask how long Id have them on, so Im assuming that they are on until im done w/ treatment, which blows, but oh well, i paid for it and it looks wayyy better than the metal brackets cutting up my lip that I had before. Im having fun w/ it, i have a year to go…

    1. I tried many suggestions on how to remove invisalign trays. My bottom one was sooo tight I could not remove it. Two suggestions worked for me. One was to use a plastic spoon. I opted for a small Baskin-Robbins plastic spoon (the ones used to sample the ice cream). Worked great! I also had read great reviews for the retainer/aligner called Smartie. Got it today…it is awesome! Saved my fingernails!

  12. I am currently on 9/25. I currently have 9 attachments, only two are really visible but it doesn’t bother me. Although I have a quick question, as I am now addicted to brushing my teeth and use whitening products. My teeth are whiter, no doubt about it but what happens when they take my attachments off will I have a mark from attachments (the visble discolouration my teeth was before? )


  13. What they don’t tell you. Unless you are under 30 and have very crooked teeth or a medical reason, do not get any braces!!! I’m an adult who just wanted to straighten a couple of bottom teeth. I am now prematurely wrinkled on my lips and have lines on the top and bottom. All of your teeth get moved. They push your teeth “IN” to get them to straight. It also changes your jaw line enough to give it some extra skin sag. I wish I still had my slightly crooked teeth!!!! My top teeth were nice and rounded. Now the teeth on the beside the two front teeth are pushed in slightly more and it looks like I could eat an apple through a picket fence. I have been fighting to get it fixed for a year but the new Invisalign refinements just keep pushing my teeth in further and ignoring my pleas. Warning to all. Don’t do it! I could go on and on but hopefully you will heed this warning.

    1. I am an orthodontist. NO… we do not push the teeth “IN” to straigthen them. Actually… teeth must often be moved forward to align them. The teeth can only be positioned dependent on the shape and size of the “jaw”. Orthodontic treatment does not change the skin “sag” ont he jaw line. That is affected by the collagen content of your skin, the amount of adipose (fat) tissue in the skin and the aging process.

      There is no age limit for orthodontic treatment. The No.1 requirement is healthy teeth and “realistic” expectations.

      1. I wish I had not done invisaline. I can only handle so much plastic in my mouth, I begged and pleaded for permanent retainers which would have been easier. I’m a slow eater and drinker and at work it takes me 2-3 hours to eat my lunch in between working, so taking them in and out is real pain and waste of money. Now I’m so upset with the orthodontist, I don’t want to go back to her to get the attachments removed. So do I get them removed? File them down with sandpaper or something?

        1. Oh dear, Breya. I’m sorry to hear that. I would not attempt to remove your own attachments though, that sounds like a recipe for damaged teeth. Please go back to your orthodontist, or seek a second opinion at your usual dentist. Good luck!

  14. I just got my attachments put on yesterday (9 total — 5 on top and 4 on bottom), and I am still getting used to having them on my teeth. I must say they really nullify “invisible” part of invisalign for me… especially the one that’s on my top canine (it’s very noticeable). I want the best results from Invisalign, and I’m currently on tray 4 out of 27 total (sigh…), and I am trying to deal with the fact that I still have 13-14 months of this left (before any refinements discussions even). I definitely understand why I need them… but the vain part of me is considering removing some of the attachments (at least the very obvious attachment) much sooner than 13-14 months from now.

  15. I just read your other Invisalign Attachment post a second ago, wow! This doesn’t make me feel bad at all. The fact that you said it wasn’t that bad put alot of my fears at bay. Were some teeth worse than others? Some of my teeth can be very sensitive. Thanks again for your input!

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