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If you’re considering clear aligners, you’ll soon realize there are more options than ever before.
Invisalign and SmileDirectClub are two of the most well-known aligner brands. Here’s a quick overview:
Clear aligners are a nearly invisible and removable alternative to traditional braces. They’re an excellent option for adults who want to straighten their teeth discreetly and comfortably.
Aligners aren’t typically recommended for children (except Invisalign). But some teens with minor to moderate bite issues may benefit from these orthodontic devices.
Invisalign is the most established in-office aligner brand. Their patented thermoplastic material (SmartTrack®) sets these FDA-approved aligners apart from others in the industry. Invisalign claims this material is more comfortable, accurate, and discreet.
Invisalign orthodontic treatment is monitored in person. Your dental office acts as the ‘middleman,’ which means you’ll receive a higher standard of care. This type of hands-on care is more expensive than at-home treatment.
In-office aligners like Invisalign are recommended for people with complex cases and severe misalignments.
The Invisalign treatment process consists of the following steps:
Invisalign can treat many orthodontic issues, including:
You may not be a candidate for Invisalign if you have:
Speak with your dental professional about alternative options.
Invisalign typically costs anywhere between $3,000 and $8,000. This doesn’t include the cost of the retainers that keep your teeth straight after treatment.
Pricing varies greatly and depends on your unique plan, treatment length, and level of teeth misalignment.
ZocDoc can help you find a dentist in your area that:
SmileDirectClub is a newer aligner company established in 2014. They offer completely remote teeth straightening for less cost than Invisalign.
SmileDirect is the first and most well-known brand of at-home aligners. The company works with registered doctors, dentists, and orthodontists to ensure each treatment case runs smoothly.
The SmileDirectClub treatment process consists of the following steps:
SmileDirectClub can fix most cases of minor bite issues, including:
Unlike Invisalign, SmileDirect works for people with missing teeth. If you have moderate or extensive orthodontic issues, Invisalign or braces are a better option.
SmileDirectClub sells two different types of aligners:
Both aligner options cost $2,250, and the impression kit/scan is $59.
SmileDirect also offers a payment plan option (SmilePay™), where you’ll pay a $250 down payment and $89/month for 24 months. No credit checks are required before purchasing.
However, there’s no scientific proof that night aligners are safe. They may actually do more harm to your teeth than good.9 From a clinical perspective, there are also concerns about what could go wrong if aligners are only worn for a few hours each day (less than 20 to 22 hours).9, 10
Which aligner option is right for you? Read below to compare the key differences between Invisalign and SmileDirect:
SmileDirectClub costs under $2,000, while Invisalign can cost anywhere between $3,000 and $8,000.
SmileDirectClub also offers a payment plan, where you’ll pay $89/month after a $250 down payment. Some dentists/orthodontists offer payment plans for Invisalign treatment.
Both Invisalign and SmileDirect accept insurance. You can also pay with an HSA/FSA.
SmileDirectClub offers two different options that allow you to get started with treatment:
Invisalign doesn’t offer remote scans/impressions. You have to visit a licensed dentist or orthodontist who specializes in Invisalign.
With SmileDirect, a licensed dental professional tracks your progress through regular virtual check-ins. These appointments are completely remote and flexible. You will never visit a specialist in person.
Invisalign treatment requires you to set up office visits with an Invisalign doctor every few weeks to track your progress.
SmileDirectClub works with hundreds of dentists, orthodontists, and doctors around the U.S., whereas Invisalign has its own certified doctors.
SmileDirectClub alignment treatment takes between 4 and 6 months, on average.
Invisalign treatment lasts between 12 and 24 months, sometimes longer for more severe cases. This longer time frame ensures your teeth are moving safely and accurately.
SmileDirectClub can only treat minor to moderate cases of teeth misalignment (malocclusion). This includes slightly crooked/overlapping teeth and gapped teeth.
Invisalign can treat moderate-to-severe cases of teeth misalignment.
Since Invisalign involves continuous supervision by a licensed doctor, treatment is more comprehensive than withSmileDirectClub.
Invisalign offers several treatment options depending on the severity of your malocclusion.
For patients with minor issues, they offer Invisalign Express, which is a faster type of treatment. They also have aligner options for younger patients with both primary and permanent teeth.
Most Invisalign treatment plans require attachments (also known as buttons). These devices allow for more precise teeth/jaw alignment. At-home aligners do not provide attachments, potentially affecting treatment results.
Interested in straightening your teeth at home? Here are the best clear aligner companies.
Most dental professionals recommend in-office aligners (like Invisalign or braces) over at-home aligners. Remote treatment poses a higher risk for complications because it’s not closely monitored.
These complications can include inaccurate results and poorly fitted trays from impression errors. A 2020 Reuters article cited nearly 60 complaints about SmileDirectClub to the FDA.16
Clinicians and customers complained of:
Despite this, current research shows that at-home aligners are generally considered safe and effective, with an 87.5% satisfaction rate.6 To prevent poor results, follow the impression kit instructions carefully and stick to your treatment plan.
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