General Denitstry

SmileDirectClub vs. Invisalign

SmileDirectClub vs. Invisalign 

Which is better for your smile? 

In our opinion, it’s Invisalign. 

Despite the fact that they are both clear aligners, these two systems are very different products. James A. Burden D.D.S & Associates takes a look at the pros, cons and differences between Invisalign and one of it’s newest and most popular competitors, SmileDirectClub.

The clear aligner process 

Clear aligner therapy is all basically the same. A mold or digital impression is taken of your teeth. That information is analyzed by a qualified dentist and a treatment plan is created. The plan is executed through a series of aligners that slowly shift your teeth into the correct position. If everything goes according to plan (aligners are worn and switched out according to instructions) by the end of treatment, you should have a beautifully straight smile. 

SmileDirectClub limitations

Because SmileDirectClub is ‘DIY’ there are limitations to the product. 

  1. The system is sent directly to the consumer
    This means the patient is responsible for taking their own impressions and photos, and ensuring they’re getting routine care from their general dentist throughout treatment. 
  2. The dentist or orthodontist is working remotely
    Since there is no physical doctor/patient interaction, the dentist has to rely on patient provided photos to track progress, which is not the same as a first-hand examination. 
  3. Composite attachments and buttons are not possible
    Because of the DIY nature of SmileDirectClub, composite attachments and buttons as well as interproximal reduction are off the table.

These tools and techniques are actually quite common for many patients in order to achieve the best results. This may limit the product to minor or aesthetic adjustments, even if your treatment plan may require fixing malocclusions or bite issues. And there’s nothing like hands-on, in-person dental care from a trained professional. If you are opting for SmileDirectClub, understand the limitations. 

Invisalign limitations

Invisalign has a diverse product line that treatments orthodontic issues from simple aesthetic fixes to more complex malocclusion. But it’s not the right choice for every case. Only an Invisalign certified dentist or orthodontist will be able to tell you if Invisalign is right for you. 

Costs and time commitments 

Cost is a huge concern for many patients. Orthodontia is not cheap and less expensive options can be enticing for younger patients without dental insurance or flexible spending accounts. But let’s examine the savings vs. cost of each treatment. 

  • SmileDirectClub
    With both regular wear and nighttime only options, SmileDirectClub offers systems under $2000 dollars, which is certainly one of the least expensive orthodontic products. It’s also marketed as a convenient system that brings diagnosis and treatment into the comfort of your own home, meaning you don’t have to take time out of your day to go see the dentist. 
  • Invisalign
    Invisalign is typically between $3000 and $5000, which puts it between SmileDirectClub and traditional braces in terms of price. Depending on your case and treatment needs, treatment time and cost will vary. You’ll also need to come in for regular appointments with your dentist or orthodontist to ensure you’re tracking properly. 

In short, Invisalign has a higher cost and a slightly higher time commitment (making time for checkups every 6-weeks). However, you have the added benefit of working with a doctor. Your dentist can make recommendations and adjustments throughout treatment to keep you on track with your treatment and get you the best possible results. 

Choose what’s right for you

At the end of the day, it’s your smile and you should choose the clear aligner system that’s right for your budget, your lifestyle and your goals. If you’re interested in the professional opinion of a seasoned dentist like Dr. Burden, feel free to contact us or schedule a consultation today. He offers a variety of orthodontic options, including Invisalign, and will recommend the treatment option that will be most successful for you.