Invisalign Reviews

What is Invisalign? 

Invisalign is the most established and trusted brand of clear aligners (also called invisible braces or invisible aligners). Aligners are a clear, convenient, and removable alternative to standard braces. The trays are made of medical-grade, BPA-free plastic. 

Aligners are a great option for teenagers and adults who want to straighten their teeth comfortably and discreetly. Unlike metal braces, Invisalign can be removed at any time for eating, cleaning, and brushing. 

invisalign

Invisalign aligners are FDA-approved. They are also made of a patented thermoplastic material (called SmartTrack®). Invisalign claims this material is more accurate, comfortable, and discreet. 

Invisalign is a brand of in-office aligners. At-home aligners are another option. Here are the main differences between the two types:

  • In-office aligners (like Invisalign) are the safest and most effective option. You’ll visit a licensed Invisalign-certified doctor who will track your progress throughout the treatment course. Basically, your dentist acts as the ‘middleman,’ which means you’ll receive a high standard of care. This allows your provider to make changes at any time and tends to result in more accurate teeth alignment. Invisalign can also fix more severe bite issues (in many cases). 
  • At-home aligners (like Candid Co. and byte) tend to cost thousands less than Invisalign. Treatment is monitored remotely, and you will not visit a dentist or orthodontist for in-person checkups. There is a slightly higher risk for error with at-home aligners because treatment is not monitored as closely. Also, remote aligners are only recommended for people with minor to moderate bite problems. 

Invisalign braces do not touch your gums. They are trimmed to sit along your gum line in a ‘scalloped fashion.’ This design makes the trays more comfortable and less irritating. Most at-home aligners are not cut this precisely, increasing the risk of irritation and discomfort. 

What Orthodontic Issues Can Invisalign Fix?

Invisalign can fix minor to severe bite issues, including:

  • Crowded teeth
  • Crooked teeth 
  • Gapped teeth
  • Overbites
  • Underbites
  • Crossbites
  • Open bites 
  • Misaligned baby teeth 

You may be a better candidate for standard metal braces, especially if you have severe jaw alignment issues. Braces typically take longer than Invisalign but cost about the same.

Open Bite
Image of an Open Bite

If you only have minor to moderate crowding/gapped teeth, at-home aligners like byte or Candid might work for you. These aligners are thousands cheaper than Invisalign and braces. However, not everyone is a candidate. 

How Does Invisalign Work?

Invisalign treatment is a straightforward and hands-on process. It consists of the following steps:

  1. The first step is to set up a consultation with an Invisalign-certified doctor. The specialist will examine your teeth, take dental imaging scans, and look at your jaw alignment, cranial base, root systems, and tooth inclination. These tests help determine if you are a good candidate.
  2. If you are a candidate for Invisalign, the next step is to take impressions and make your digital treatment plan. Your doctor will take the impressions to ensure the trays fit perfectly.
  3. After you approve the treatment plan, your doctor will send the impressions to a dental technician. From there, they will make your first set of aligners. You will not receive all of your aligners at once because some Invisalign patients require mid-treatment adjustments. 
  4. You may need special attachments or tooth-colored buttons to help the trays effectively move your teeth. This is typically necessary for moderate to severe cases. 
  5. For best results, each set of aligners should be worn for 22+ hours a day. The aligners move your teeth in small increments, and you’ll switch them out every 1 to 3 weeks.
  6. Invisalign treatment takes between 6 and 24 months. After treatment, you’ll buy a custom Vivera® retainer to keep your teeth straight. 

How is Invisalign Different?

Invisalign stands out in the industry for a few reasons.

First, the aligners are made of SmartTrack® material, making them more comfortable and easier to take out. They are also more ‘invisible’ than other leading aligner brands. 

The consultation and treatment plan process is also very advanced. Your Invisalign provider will use an iTero Element® scanner to take 6,000 images of your mouth per second. This tool results in fewer impression rejections and better fitting aligners.

In addition, your doctor will use Invisalign’s ClinCheck® software to map out your smile. This technology uses mapping software to help calculate the right amount of force for every tooth. The tool ensures your teeth move in the right order at the right time. 

Invisalign also uses SmartForce® Attachments. These are small, tooth-colored handles (or buttons) that are fixed to your teeth. The aligners attach to these buttons to help with precise tooth movements. Invisalign can fix more complex orthodontic issues with the use of attachments.

Lastly, your doctor will assess your progress during routine appointments and make adjustments as necessary. This is why you only receive one set of aligners at a time. With at-home aligners, you’ll receive all of them at once, making it more difficult to request changes. 

Does Invisalign Hurt?

Invisalign should not hurt (as long as the trays fit properly). You may experience some discomfort during the first few days of starting a new set. However, the pain is typically mild and only noticeable while eating and chewing. 

Can Invisalign Damage Your Teeth?

Invisalign will not damage your teeth. But make sure you clean the aligners a few times each day to prevent plaque and bacteria build-up. 

How Much Does Invisalign Cost?

Invisalign costs between $3,000 and $8,000. The length of treatment depends on your plan but typically ranges from 6 to 24 months. 

Other Ways to Pay for Invisalign Treatment

Invisalign is often partially covered by insurance (if orthodontics is included in your plan). Check with your provider to determine if you qualify or not. 

Another way to pay for Invisalign treatment is with an HSA/FSA. You can also set up a payment plan with your Invisalign doctor, where you’ll pay a downpayment and make monthly payments until treatment is complete. 

Invisalign vs. Other Orthodontic Treatment Options

Some teeth straightening alternatives to Invisalign include at-home aligners (minor cases), other in-office aligners (ClearCorrect), and traditional braces. Read below to compare and determine which treatment is right for you: 

Byte vs. Invisalign

Byte is a brand of at-home aligners that costs between $1,895 and $2,295. Treatment is monitored remotely and takes between 3 and 6 months (on average). Invisalign costs up to $5,000 more than byte, and treatment is longer (between 6 and 24 months).

Read our full review of byte here. 

Candid vs. Invisalign

Candid is the most expensive brand of at-home aligners ($2,400). However, the company provides detailed care and has advanced technology for remote monitoring. They also only work with highly qualified orthodontists with 20 years of experience. 

Invisalign costs more than Candid and does not offer remote monitoring. In-person visits are necessary throughout treatment.

Read our full review of Candid here. 

ALIGNERCO vs. Invisalign

ALIGNERCO is one of the most affordable remote aligners available. They cost between $1,145 and $1,345. Although cheaper, this brand does not offer extensive remote monitoring, which may affect the quality of care. 

Invisalign treatment is more intensive and accurate. However, ALIGNERCO is a great option if you are on a budget and only have minor orthodontic issues. 

Read our full review of ALIGNERCO here. 

NewSmile vs. Invisalign

NewSmile is a newer at-home aligner company that offers the most affordable treatment (under $1,300). Similar to Invisalign, NewSmile aligners are scalloped to rest along your gum line, providing a more comfortable fit. 

Read our full review of NewSmile here. 

SmileDirectClub vs. Invisalign 

SmileDirectClub is the most well-known brand of remote aligners, while Invisalign is the most popular in-office aligner. SmileDirect treatment costs under $2,000. 

Read our full review of SmileDirectClub here. 

ClearCorrect vs. Invisalign

ClearCorrect is an advanced aligner system that uses digital technologies to treat various types of misalignment, ranging from simple to severe. Similar to Invisalign, ClearCorrect is an in-office aligner that requires in-person monitoring. Treatment costs between $1,500 and $8,000.

Read our full review of ClearCorrect here. 

Traditional Braces vs. Invisalign

Traditional metal braces are typically necessary over Invisalign in cases of severe teeth/jaw misalignment. Children and teens may require braces if they need headgear, space maintainers, or palate expanders. These add-on treatments are not possible with Invisalign. 

Which is Safer: Invisalign or At-Home Aligners?

Most dentists and orthodontists recommend in-office aligners over at-home aligners. This is mainly because home aligner treatment is not monitored closely, so there is a higher risk for error. These complications can include poorly fitted trays from impression errors and imperfect results.4

Despite this, current research shows that at-home aligners are safe and effective (87.5% satisfaction rate).6 To prevent unwanted results, follow the impression instructions carefully and wear your aligners for 22+ hours a day. 

Is Invisalign Worth The Money?

Invisalign may be worth the money if you need to fix more complex orthodontic issues. However, for many people, Invisalign is too expensive (especially if you only have a few crooked/gapped teeth).

Here are the pros and cons of Invisalign:

PROS
  • Precise teeth movement. Invisalign uses advanced technology to ensure your teeth are moving safely and accurately. The aligner attachments can also move individual teeth, while at-home aligners cannot. 
  • Treatment is monitored closely. You will visit your Invisalign doctor every few weeks to track progress. They can make adjustments as necessary (even mid-treatment). 
  • Treatment is typically quicker than standard braces. Invisalign takes between 6 and 24 months, while braces take between 12 and 24 months. 
  • Comfortable, high-quality aligner trays. The aligners are made of SmartTrack material to provide a perfect and comfortable fit. They are also cut along your gum line to help prevent irritation. 
  • Easy to clean. Unlike braces, Invisalign aligners can be removed at any time. The trays are also easier to get used to than metal brackets and wires. 
  • Can treat more complex orthodontic issues like open bites, overbites, underbites, and crossbites. Treatment is also available for children who still have some baby teeth remaining. 
CONS
  • Treatment is expensive. Invisalign treatment costs up to $8,000 (which is more costly than at-home aligner options). 
  • Appointments can be inconvenient. With Invisalign, you have to visit your doctor every few weeks to check progress. This can be time-consuming for many people.

Resources

(1) “The Invisalign® Difference for:” Braces for Teens | Invisalign Clear Aligners.

(2) “How Does Invisalign® Treatment Work?” How Does Invisalign Work | Invisalign Braces.

(3) “SmartTrack® Material.” Invisalign.

(4) Nguyen, Vicky, and Lauren Dunn. “'Things Didn't Feel Right': Some SmileDirectClub Customers Report Problems.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 18 Feb. 2020.

(5) “How Your Aligners Are Made.” Invisalign.

(6) Wexler, Anna, et al. “Direct-to-Consumer Orthodontics: Surveying the User Experience.” The Journal of the American Dental Association.

(7) “Living With Invisalign Clear Aligners.” Invisalign.

(8) “How to Pay for Invisalign.” Invisalign.

(9) “How Much Does Invisalign & Reg Treatment Cost?” The Invisalign Cost | How Much Is Invisalign Treatment?

(10) “Invisalign Phase 1 Treatment.” Invisalign.

(11) “ClearCorrect Treatment of an Anterior Crossbite by Julie Ann Staggers, DDS, MS Orthodontics.” Orthotown.

(12) Proffit, William R., et al. Contemporary Orthodontics. Elsevier/Mosby, 2019.

(13) Candid Co. “Discover the Candid Difference,” candidco.com

(14) SmileDirectClub. “How it works,” smiledirectclub.com

(15) NewSmile. “Pricing,” newsmilelife.com

(16) Verblio, and Alignerco. “Teeth Straightening: Invisible Aligners,” alignerco.com

(17) https://www.flickr.com/photos/193955193@N07/51486920695/

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