Invisalign vs. Smile Direct Club

Clear aligners were first introduced in the early 2000s by Align Technology as an alternative to traditional metal braces. In recent years, many other brands like Smile Direct Club have entered the market with copycat versions marketed as quicker, faster, or more convenient. So, is investing in Invisalign worth it when there are lower-cost alternatives?

How are Invisalign and Smile Direct different? 

Both systems straighten teeth using medical-grade plastic aligners custom-made for each patient. Some patients, especially older teens and adults, like that these aligners are virtually invisible when worn. They are both removable for eating and brushing your teeth. However, Invisalign treatment is done with the supervision of a dentist or orthodontist, and Smile Direct is a DIY product that you do yourself from home. Here are some key differences to consider:

Getting Started

When you begin Invisalign treatment at Platinum Dental, your dentist will take a scan of your teeth in the office and then work with Invisalign to create create a treatment plan and make the custom trays. Each tray is worn for two weeks, starting with the current alignment of your teeth and ending with the desired result. 

Smile Direct Club is different in that you are responsible for using an at-home impression kit to create a model of your teeth. You send off your impression and then receive the trays that have been made for you in the mail. If there is a problem with the impression you made or the trays do not fit properly when they arrive, you do not have the same support that you would have with Invisalign.

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Types of Invisalign Treatments

Invisalign offers various treatments depending on your specific needs and goals, including Invisalign Express, Invisalign First and Teen, Invisalign Full, and Invisalign Lite.

  • Invisalign Express: This treatment is an excellent option for patients who only need minor corrections to their teeth. It takes an average of 3-6 months to complete.
  • Invisalign First and Invisalign Teen: Invisalign First is designed to work for patients with primary (baby) teeth and permanent teeth. Invisalign Teen has additional features like the blue dot indicator to notify you when aligners need to be changed.
  • Invisalign Full: This treatment is the most popular option and is best for patients who have more significant dental problems like spacing issues, crowding, overbites, and underbites. Invisalign Full treatment can take between 12 and 18 months to complete.
  • Invisalign Lite: This is a more affordable option and is best for patients who only need minor corrections like closing small gaps between teeth. Invisalign Lite treatment can take an average of 6 months to complete.

Monitoring your Progress

Invisalign treatment includes check-ins every six weeks so that your dentist can monitor your progress and make adjustments as needed. Depending on how compliant you are with wearing your trays 22 hours a day and how your teeth respond to the aligners, you may be able to change your trays every ten or even seven days to move the process along more quickly.

With Smile Direct Club, there are no check-ins, so you will need to decide on your own when it is appropriate to change your trays. Some customers have experienced loose teeth and even tooth loss due to changing trays too quickly.

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Materials

Invisalign is made with a BPA-free, patented Vivera plastic that is smooth and discreet. Some find that the Smile Direct Club aligners are bulkier and less comfortable because the plastic used is cheaper to keep the cost of treatment low. 

Attachments

Invisalign uses attachments to help anchor the trays and move teeth precisely. These little white bumps are bonded to the teeth for the duration of your treatment. They make it possible for Invisalign to treat more complex cases and move teeth in ways that would not be possible with trays alone. Because Smile Direct Club is done from home, there are no attachments, and therefore the scope of treatment is more limited. 

Cost

Invisalign costs vary depending on the severity of the misalignment and how many aligners or additional services are needed to complete treatment. However, in general, treatment tends to cost from $3,000 to $5,000. Invisalign offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee with all-inclusive plans. In addition, Invisalign plans include four retainers at no charge that will be worn after the treatment is completed.

The most significant advantage of Smile Direct Club is that it is less expensive, starting at $2,000. Retainers cost roughly $100 each and need to be replaced every six months.

Invisalign Aligners vs. Smile Direct: Is there a clear winner?

While Invisalign may be a bit costlier than Smile Direct Club, it is safer and more likely to get you the results you want. 

Overall, Invisalign clear plastic aligners are more versatile and can treat more severe misalignment and bite issues. They also offer personalized in-person visits with the dentist or orthodontist, so your treatment plan can be closely monitored and adapted to your needs. While the Invisalign aligner treatment costs a bit more, the materials are better quality, the treatment is safer, and the results are guaranteed.

Call Platinum Dental today if you are interested in learning more about Invisalign.