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Updated on August 30, 2022

Invisalign Reviews

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What is Invisalign? 

Invisalign is the most established and trusted brand of clear aligners (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 anytime for eating, cleaning, and brushing. 

image 21

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

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.

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, resulting in more accurate teeth alignment. Invisalign can also fix more severe bite issues (in many cases). 

At-home aligners

At-home aligners (like Candid 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. 

Fix your teeth from home for cheaper than Invisalign. Learn about the best Invisalign alternatives.

What Orthodontic Issues Can Invisalign Fix?

Invisalign can fix minor to severe bite issues, including:

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 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 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. Each set of aligners should be worn for 22+ hours a day for best results. 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 are 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 small, tooth-colored handles (or buttons) 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. 

Interested in straightening your teeth at home? Here are the best clear aligner companies.

Does Invisalign Hurt?

Invisalign should not hurt (as long as the trays fit properly). You may experience 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 daily to prevent plaque and bacteria build-up. 

Which is better for you, Byte or Invisalign? Find out now

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.

Invisalign Byte Candid NewSmile
Cost $3,000 to $8,000 $1,999 to $2,399 $3,300 (on average) $2,399 to $1,595
How to Start Visit a certified Invisalign doctor Order an at-home impression kit Visit a certified CandidPro provider Order an at-home impression kit
Financing Options Depends on provider Starting at $70/month  Depends on provider Starting at $58/month
Treatment Time 12 to 18 months 4 to 6 months 4 to 12 months 4 to 10 months
Treatable Cases Mild to severe  Mild, some moderate Most mild to severe Mild, some moderate
Progress Monitoring In-person visits every 6 to 8 weeks Remote Remote with a licensed orthodontist Remote

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 $1,999 and $2,399. 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 costs $3,300 on average. The company provides detailed care and has advanced technology for remote monitoring. They only work with highly qualified orthodontists when designing and monitoring your treatment. 

Invisalign often costs more than Candid (up to $8,000) and doesn't offer remote monitoring. In-person visits are necessary throughout treatment.

Candid only requires one in-person visit for the initial consultation and a final post-treatment check-up. The rest is monitored remotely with your assigned Candid orthodontist.

Invisalign aligners also use buttons and/or elastics to treat more severe cases. These are small hooks that attach to the tooth surfaces. They act as anchors for interarch bands that apply additional pressure to gradually reposition the jaw, providing more precise results. Candid doesn’t offer buttons. 

Candid treatment takes between 4 and 12 months, whereas Invisalign can take up to 18 months. 

Read our full review of Candid here. 

ALIGNERCO vs. Invisalign

ALIGNERCO is one of the most affordable remote aligners available. They cost between $895 and $1,095. 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 $1,495 to $1,595. 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 $2,050. 

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

Pros and Cons of Invisalign

Here are the pros and cons of Invisalign:

Pros of Invisalign

There are a variety of advantages to getting Invisalign aligners. These include:

  • Low profile — Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign is almost unnoticeable. This makes it ideal for teenagers and young professionals who are image-conscious.
  • Convenient — Invisalign treatment involves fewer follow-up appointments than braces. The appointments also take less time. Overall, treatment time is often faster as well.
  • Removable — Invisalign aligners are removable, allowing for normal brushing and flossing without difficulty. 
  • No wires or brackets —The lack of delicate metal wires or brackets means you can eat the foods you want without worry. Maintaining good oral hygiene with Invisalign aligners is also easier than traditional braces. 
  • Comfortable — According to a 2014 study, Invisalign treatment features significantly less discomfort and irritation than braces.17
  • Safe  — Invisalign clear aligners are made with FDA-approved, medical-grade plastic, which is free of toxins like BPA or BPS.
  • Low maintenance — The aligners are easy to keep clean. Simply scrub with a toothbrush and some soap. You can also let them soak in antibacterial mouthwash overnight. 

Cons of Invisalign 

Possible cons of Invisalign are:

  • Expensive — Before insurance, the national average cost for Invisalign is between $2,500 and $8,000.
  • Compliance — Invisalign must be worn between 20 and 22 hours daily. Anything else will diminish its effectiveness.
  • Tooth discomfort — While less painful than braces, Invisalign aligners can still cause pressure and discomfort. These feelings will pass as your teeth adjust.
  • Attachments — Invisalign attachments are tooth-colored dots or knobs made of composite material. They’re meant to increase treatment effectiveness, but they can also make the aligners more visible. 

How Much Does Invisalign Cost?

There’s no single cost for Invisalign. Factors include treatment length and severity of the dental issues. It can also vary depending on the particular dental or orthodontic office.

According to the Consumer Guide to Dentistry, the average cost of Invisalign is around $2,500 to $5,500. Some place the cost as high as $9,000.5 An oral care professional will be able to tell you what the cost will be for you.

Thankfully, many insurance plans now cover Invisalign, making it significantly less expensive. You may be able to pay with an HSA or FSA and set up a payment plan with your dentist or orthodontist. 

Is Invisalign Right for You? 

Invisalign is not right for those with severe dental issues. An example would be a tooth gap exceeding 0.6mm, or serious jaw misalignment problems.

In addition, Invisalign’s effectiveness depends on wearing the aligners as directed. Aside from removing them to eat or drink, Invisalign aligners should be worn almost constantly. 

For those with severe dental issues or who can’t follow directions (ex: young children), braces are a better option. 

Invisalign can also be expensive if insurance doesn’t cover it. If cost is a concern, there are several affordable alternatives to Invisalign

17 Sources Cited
Last updated on August 30, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  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. Cardoso, Paula Coutinho. “Pain level between clear aligners and fixed appliances: a systematic review.” Progress in orthodontics, vol. 21, no. 1, 2020. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
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