02 Nov Let’s Set it Straight: Invisalign vs Smile Direct Club
Have you seen ads for Invisalign and Smile Direct Club that both promise you a beautiful smile? If so, it can be hard to tell which one of these options is right for you and is in your best interest.
You might think that the two types of invisible aligners are the same and that the price is the only difference. However, there’s more to comparing Invisalign vs Smile Direct than just looking at the cost involved.
Both of these options also differ in terms of tray technology, the cases they can treat, the treatment process, risks involved, and the final results. So, before you decide to go for the cheap option, you’ll want to choose what gives you the safest, healthiest, and best long-term results.
Read on to learn all about the differences between Invisalign vs Smile Direct Club.
What Conditions Can They Treat?
Whether you have minor spacing issues or more severe issues with crowding and your bite, there’s a good chance Invisalign can help you. A key to Invisalign’s capabilities is the trays that use the patented SmartTrack material. This helps the aligners gently move your teeth precisely and comfortably.
The trays used can work with small attachments that your dentist puts on your teeth. This means you can get more precise movements for tricky teeth. For bite issues, you can even have rubber bands used like with traditional braces.
On the other hand, Smile Direct Club can only treat minor to moderate issues with crowding and spacing. The company doesn’t guarantee that it can fix bite issues or do significant rotations on teeth.
While Smile Direct Club does use custom aligners, they don’t have the SmartTrack material like Invisalign. They also don’t work with rubber bands or attachments, so it is my opinion, Smile Direct’s tooth movement may be less precise and harder to control.
What’s the Treatment Process Like?
When you consult with a dentist about Invisalign, you can expect a doctor to first do a brief exam to check whether your teeth are healthy enough for orthodontics. This includes taking x-rays to check decay, assessing your bone and gum levels, and checking your bite, among others. At Dr. Eshom’s office, we make a 3D scan of your teeth that will be used to make your smile design and custom aligners. You’ll even be able to see a simulation of your projected treatment and final result to approve before you make the decision to move forward with treatment.
Within a few weeks, you’ll usually receive your Invisalign aligners to wear 20 to 22 hours daily. You’ll then switch aligners around every two weeks. Along the process, you’ll make regular visits to your dentist office to check your progress and make any refinements as necessary.
The consultation for Smile Direct Club differs, since no actual dentist physically checks your teeth. Instead, you might order an impression kit to do at home, which can mean several retakes, discomfort, or inaccuracy. Or you could travel to a Smile Shop where a technician makes a 3D model of your teeth, but without an actual dental exam physically by a live doctor.
Smile Direct reviews often note that it can take several weeks to get your aligners after the company creates a treatment plan. In some cases, your aligners might even be defective, and you could have to go through the initial impression or scanning process again.
With Smile Direct, you usually wear them 22 hours a day or 10 hours for night-only wear (in my opinion night time wear does not work as provide by orthodontic research). You’ll switch them out every week or two. However, you don’t have any physical dentist visits, so there’s much less monitoring of your teeth and no physical monitoring by a dentist. This could mean serious undetected complications or poor tracking that can go unnoticed.
How Much Do They Cost?
The cost of Invisalign can range anywhere from $2500 to $5,500 and will depend on your case. You can expect to pay less for minor crowding and spacing issues than for complex bite treatment.
Finding a dental office that completes many successful cases, usually denoted by VIP levels on the Invislaign doctor locator, (Dr Eshom is the highest level) will benefit you because they can typically offer the best treatment estimates. Dentists also often offer Invisalign discounts and affordable installment plans that can help make your treatment cost more manageable. Also, this fee comes with regular checkups to minimize complications and assure faster/better results.
At this time, Smile Direct Club costs $1,895 if you pay all at once, or you can make pay $2,290 over a two-year period with their installment plan. Although this is cheaper, it doesn’t include any physical dentist observation to monitor your teeth’s health and progress. So, in my opinion, you’re paying less for more risk and possibly undesirable results.
How Long Does Treatment Take?
Most people in our office can have their Invisalign treatment finished within 8-12 months. The complexity of your case and how your teeth progress during treatment will impact your treatment length. Your dentist will closely monitor you to minimize any delays.
However, accelerated Invisalign treatment has made it possible to get results in just six months. This option involves having the dentist make microperforations in your jawbone or using a vibrating tray in your mouth each day. This helps your teeth move faster and stay in their new positions. Be sure to ask your dentist if you could qualify for accelerated treatment during your initial consultation if this is something you might be interested in.
Smile Direct Club reports an average length of treatment of six months. This extends to around 10 months if you do the night-only aligners and in my opinion, night time wear does work and is not proven.
However, some Smile Direct reviews show that people have been in treatment for over a year and have needed multiple refinements. In my opinio you will have a longer treatment due to the limitations with the aligners as compared to Invisalign which puts buttons on teeth, can involve IPR of teeth and more advance plastic trays.
What Results Can You Expect?
Due to Invisalign’s innovative tray technology, buttons on teeth, IPR and your dentist’s direct attention, you can usually expect excellent results for Invisalign. This is the case even for people with complex tooth alignment and bite issues.
Throughout treatment, your Invisalign provider can have your aligners refined at any point in time if it seems a pesky tooth isn’t moving properly. You can also have refinements at the end if you’re still not happy with results.
The results from Smile Direct Club can widely vary. If you have just minor issues and especially don’t seek perfection, you might be happy with the results. But those with bite issues and more significant crowding and spacing issues might find they need additional orthodontic treatment.
Smile Direct Club does offer refinements. If you need them, you would have to do the at-home impressions or go to a local Smile Shop again. You may still be unhappy with the results since you’re not having your teeth monitored closely and physically by a dentist.
Consider the Pros and Cons of Invisalign vs Smile Direct
When comparing Invisalign vs Smile Direct, it’s clear that going with live and present dentist monitoring your progress, buttons on teeth and IPR and custom treatment with Invisalign comes out the winner.
Not only can you expect better results with Invisalign, but you’re choosing the safest, proven and healthiest option available. In fact, the American Dental Association has warned about tooth loss and root issues for people who choose DIY orthodontics options like Smile Direct Club.
If you’re ready to straighten your teeth the safe way, request a free estimate and consultation today.