All Good Until the Attachments Went In... - Chicago, IL

When I got my first set of trays...

When I got my first set of trays (pre-attachments), I was thrilled. I thought, this is it? There's nothing to this! And was very happy and relieved. Everything about the process was better/easier than expected.

Then a couple of weeks later I went in to get my next three sets of trays and have the attachments (8 total) put in. This changed everything.

I had no idea that the process of attaching the buttons would involve buffing my teeth rough and acid etching the enamel. Had I known, I think I would have opted out of the procedure altogether. I'm 44 and I've had some tooth sensitivity issues before, so the idea of voluntarily eroding the enamel with acid...well, not exaclty appealing.

I'm now a little afraid that what was done to those eight teeth may have caused permanent damage. Not only was the process on the chair extremely unpleasant, but to say that my teeth (as my ortho warned me) would be "a little sensitive" for the next few days, would be akin to warning someone they might get "a little headache" from diving into an empty pool.

For the first couple of days, the lightest touch of the softest brush, with the gentlest toothpaste, would send such deep electrical shots of pain through those teeth that I would literally tear up and break into a sweat. It felt like I may as well be brushing the raw nerves directly.

Things are better now (10 days later)--but still, not great, and not anywehre near normal. I still have to be very careful and ginger in brushing those eight teeth.

Again, my biggest worry is that maybe the acid etching went too far, or that maybe my already-sensitive teeth were poor candidates for this process, and that now the enamel is permanently compromised, and that these teeth will always be weakened, and will always hurt.

I'd really love to hear the thoughts, insight, advice (reassurance?!!) of the smart people on this board.

Thanks so much.


Glad to hear someone else thought this was painful!! I'm reading all of these reviews that say "Didn't feel a thing", "I liked the way it felt", "Barely knew they were on" and I'm thinking "Yikes! I'm a total wimp! Do I lose my Blue Belt in Kung Fu for this?!"

I'm glad to hear more folks being honest about their experiences. Don't sand-bag for the newbies, people! Let us know what we're getting into!!
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Nina, How is your teeth sensitivity doing now? I just got my invisalign put on yesterday with attachments on every tooth (some with attachments on either side). I'm having the same issues with sensitivity! I can not brush by my gum line and I'm freaking out that if I can't brush there my gums are going to get bad. I'm going to call my ortho today and ask about why my teeth are so "raw" at the gum line. My only hope is that this won't last too long! Thanks, Katie
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Hi Katie-- I'm so sorry this happened to you too. I have a feeling we are in the minority. Don't worry too much about the sensitivity, it did eventually go away entirely (in about a couple of weeks). But I am interested to hear more from you about how your "attachment teeth" end up looking. The reason I ask is I'm convinced now that those teeth suffered some kind of permanent enamel damage. Not only did I have the weird initial reaction, but now many months later, there doesn't seem to be anything I can do to get those teeth to look like they did before. They are rough and discolored and they don't respond to anything (any amount of physical polishing, or chemical whitening) that I or my dentist, or my orthodontist have tried to return them to their original appearance. I have to say, this has been one of the most dispiriting parts of the invisalign process for me. Here I paid $5k to make my teeth look better, and I'm ending up with 8 front teeth that look a fair bit worse. I wish you better luck.

Well, it's been about a year and I just had my...

Well, it's been about a year and I just had my attachments removed.

As happy as that makes me, I'm a little worried that (much as I feared) the surface of all eight of the teeth that had attachments on now feels different than it did before--and different than the surface of the rest of my teeth.

The fronts of the former "attachmennt teeth" are decidedly rough, and have lost all that glossy shine and smooth texture that normal teeth have. I was hoping this wouldn't be the case, but those teeth were, after all, bathed in acid and physically buffed rough prior to the attachments going on. I'm not an expert, but it doesn't surprise me that tooth enamel doesn't magically regenerate itself after such treament.

For now, the teeth look ok (the ortho's office polished them after removing the attachments), but I'm really afraid that they're going to be much more prone to staining from here on.

I fully concede that not everyone has experienced such a reaction to the bonding of the attachments, but I now suspect, more than ever, that the process went a little too far in my case. Of course, no one at my ortho's office will acknowlege this, or offer any help. Just one of the many frustrations I've had throughout this process. I sincerely wish better luck for others.


I would! And ask your dentist if you can go without them too. The attachments have a purpose, they are meant to work with the trays and to more effectively move your teeth into position. In some cases however (like mine and others), the risks (of the bonding and removal process) are NOT worth the benefits. Years on, my former "attachment teeth" are a disaster. I'm trying to avoid a radical solution like veneers, but at great cost. I've already had some patchy bonding done on all eight of those teeth and some adjacent areas (which in itself creates another set of problems). My teeth now require more time and more ministrations than I would have ever thought reasonable (it takes me about a half hour every night to go through my cleaning routine). And even with all that, those teeth still look about 30 years older than the teeth I started out with. Like I said, an unmitigated disaster. I'm hoping one day I'll get an alert on this thread, that someone's figured out how to undo the damage that has been done to my enamel. Losing hope though.
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I have my first set in right now. And I don't know when I'm getting attachments. should I ask my dentist when I'm getting them?
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I don't have sensitivity related to the attachments, but I didn't even realize I was getting them until I went in to pick up my 3rd set of trays and got a terrible shock. My teeth are not even very crooked, but I got 14 attachments, including two on my upper front incisor, plus some sanding between teeth. If I had known about the attachments ahead of time, I probably would not have moved forward with Invisalign. Or, at least, I would have thought of it more like those clear braces than as something truly "invisible" like it is promoted. I wanted Invisalign specifically because they promoted how I could take out the aligners for special occasions and look "normal".
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