SureSmile Clear Aligner Treatment for Misaligned Teeth

erica medical reviewer
Medically Reviewed
by Dr. Erica Anand
Ellie Swain
Written by
Ellie Swain
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Evidence Based
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6 sources cited
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What is SureSmile? 

SureSmile is a brand of in-office clear aligners (invisible braces). Similar to Invisalign, you have to visit a licensed dental professional to begin treatment. 

Clear aligners are custom-made plastic trays that slowly straighten your teeth over time.  

Many patients (especially adults) prefer clear aligners over conventional braces for several reasons:

  • They are less noticeable. You can straighten your teeth discreetly.
  • They are removable. You can take the aligners out for eating, drinking, or an important event.
  • They are convenient. Clear aligners typically require fewer visits to the dentist or orthodontist than traditional braces.

SureSmile aligners are designed to be worn for 20 to 22 hours a day. This means you have to wear them nearly all the time, including when you are asleep and at work.

The two to four hours a day when you are not required to wear them is for: 

  1. Eating
  2. Drinking hot liquids like coffee or tea
  3. Brushing and flossing your teeth
  4. Cleaning the aligners
  5. A special event 

It is essential to wear your clear aligners for the prescribed time. If you don’t, your treatment may be delayed. In some cases, patients have to start treatment over from the beginning.

How Does SureSmile Work?

SureSmile clear aligners use innovative technology to make treatment less obvious. The aligners move the teeth and jaw into the correct position, creating a perfect smile.

The first step is to make an appointment with a SureSmile doctor in your area for an initial consultation. During the visit, the doctor will take a digital scan of your mouth.

The Primescan™ intraoral scanner processes more than 1,000,000 3D points per second, producing a highly accurate digital model of your teeth.

These digital images are uploaded to the SureSmile software. They allow your doctor to assess if clear aligners will work for you. If you are a good candidate, a custom treatment plan will be created that shows your smile changes from start to finish. 

The SureSmile doctor will walk you through the treatment plan in person. After you approve the plan, a custom series of plastic aligners will be created. 

Each set of SureSmile clear aligners is worn for a week or two before you switch to the next set. Your teeth will move into their ideal position a few millimeters at a time. 

How Long Does SureSmile Treatment Take? 

The average treatment time of SureSmile is six months. However, various factors can affect treatment time.

This is significantly shorter than treatment with traditional braces, which takes between 12 and 24 months.

Pros and Cons of SureSmile Aligners

Here are the pros and cons of SureSmile treatment.

Pros:

  • Comfort. Traditional metal braces can be uncomfortable. In comparison, SureSmile aligners are more comfortable and discreet. 
  • No impressions. Before traditional braces are fitted, teeth molds are made. This involves the use of a paste that resembles the consistency of play-dough. Many people dislike the feeling of it in their mouth. SureSmile software takes digital scans of your teeth, rather than physical impressions.
  • Custom, digital treatment plan. SureSmile technology allows the dental professional to plan how your teeth will move with each aligner set. This treatment planning process also provides a preview of what your final smile will look like. Many patients appreciate this level of detail. It also shows them what to expect from treatment and increases their confidence in the process.
  • Time. SureSmile typically reduces treatment by up to a third compared to regular braces. Treatment takes about six months, on average.
  • Fewer appointments. Thanks to SureSmile software, fewer appointments with the orthodontist are necessary. For patients who are busy or do not travel, this can be a relief. SureSmile offers advanced levels of treatment using an accurate gathering of data. A three-dimensional map of the teeth and their positioning gives the orthodontist everything they need to create an effective treatment plan.

Cons:

  • Cost. Due to SureSmile’s advanced technology, the total cost of the treatment may be more expensive than competitors. 
  • Treatment quality depends on the orthodontist. SureSmile treatment is only as good as the dental professional providing it. The way they use the information from the software determines how successful treatment will be. Because of this, it is essential to choose an experienced provider you can trust.
  • Not a good candidate for aligners. Aligners are not meant for everyone. If you have a severe malocclusion, you may be a better candidate for traditional braces.

SureSmile vs. Invisalign

SureSmile and Invisalign are similar treatment options. Both treatments use clear aligner trays to straighten teeth. They also require in-office consultations and regular meetings with your dentist or orthodontist.

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The main differences between the two are:

  • Treatment time. Invisalign treatment can be anywhere from 9 to 18 months. However, it averages around one year. The average treatment time for SureSmile is approximately six months. However, it can be longer for more complex cases.
  • Price. Invisalign costs between $3,000 and $8,000. SureSmile treatment averages around $4,000. However, the exact price of both depends on the length of treatment and the case complexity.
  • Treatment options: Invisalign aligners offer various treatment plans (depending on your needs). For example, there is an express treatment option and a treatment plan for teens that includes a compliance tracker. SureSmile does not offer as many treatment options.

Some similarities between the two treatments is the use of attachments. These are small, clear add-ons that help with the straightening process. 

Both brands can also treat more complex bite issues than remote aligners like SmileDirectClub and Candid. 

More complex cases of jaw and teeth misalignment typically require treatment with conventional braces.

SureSmile vs. At-Home Aligners

If you have mild to moderately misaligned teeth, at-home clear aligners are an alternative to SureSmile. These aligners offer a more affordable way to straighten teeth.

However, at-home aligner brands typically do not offer the same customer care and service level as brands like SureSmile that require in-office visits.

A few companies offer remote teeth straightening with aligners. Here are some examples:

How Much Does SureSmile Cost?

The cost of SureSmile aligners depends on the level of treatment needed. Each case is different. Some patients require more or less treatment.2

The total cost of your new smile depends on the treatment plan you and your orthodontist agree on. 

Some dentists offer SureSmile for approximately $3,000 for mild cases. However, the cost averages around $4,000. Complex cases cost more because treatment takes longer.

Make sure to discuss the following with your dentist during your first consultation:

  • Cost
  • Insurance options
  • Payment plans    

Is SureSmile Covered By Insurance?

SureSmile may or may not be covered by insurance. It depends on your provider. 

Work with your dental professional to find out your insurance deductible for treatment. Many insurance companies consider a prescription for traditional braces and clear aligners to be the same.

Check with your insurance organization to see what your benefits cover or if reimbursement is possible.

Resources

How Clear Aligners Work, SureSmile

Payment options, SureSmile

Sachdeva, Rohit et al. “SureSmile: a report of clinical findings.” Journal of clinical orthodontics : JCO vol. 39,5 (2005): 297-314; quiz 315.

Alford, Timothy J et al. “Clinical outcomes for patients finished with the SureSmile™ method compared with conventional fixed orthodontic therapy.” The Angle orthodontist vol. 81,3 (2011): 383-8

Moles, Randall. “The SureSmile system in orthodontic practice.” Journal of clinical orthodontics : JCO vol. 43,3 (2009): 161-74; quiz 184.

Saxe, Alana K et al. “Efficiency and effectiveness of SureSmile.” World journal of orthodontics vol. 11,1 (2010): 16-22.

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