Clear aligners are a popular option to straighten teeth. Unlike traditional braces, they are more comfortable, less noticeable, easier to clean, and have no dietary restrictions. And if you’re considering getting this treatment, you’re probably choosing between Smile Direct Club vs. Invisalign.
Both these aligner brands have benefits but also significant differences that you should know. Take note that the differences will impact how successful and effective the treatment will be on your teeth.
In this post, we discussed a comprehensive comparison of Smile Direct Club and Invisalign to see which is best for your dental health.
Invisalign vs. Smile Direct: comparison
Both Smile Direct and Invisalign are made of plastic and use a similar treatment approach. However, their materials are significantly different.
Invisalign is made of a patented thermoplastic material called SmartTrack. It’s highly elastic and provides gentle yet constant pressure to push the teeth into their proper position.
On the other hand, Smile Direct Club uses a material called BioHPP. It’s a high-performance polymer that’s strong enough to apply pressure to the teeth.
Both these materials are durable and safe for dental use. Also, these materials are unlikely to cause allergic reactions or adverse side effects.
Invisalign and Smile Direct have very different treatment plans. This part is often the deciding factor for most patients who wish to straighten their teeth.
Invisalign treatment plan
- The treatment is closely and personally monitored by a licensed orthodontist. Regular appointments are scheduled in the dentist’s office to monitor the progress of the patient’s teeth.
- The treatment plan is highly customized based on a 3D scan of the patient’s teeth, the dentist’s assessment, and the patient’s individual needs.
- You won’t get all the aligners at once. Your dentist will provide it every 6 to 8 weeks to ensure that you have a precise fit.
- The patient has in-person interaction with the dentist, allowing him to ask questions and know more about his specific case.
Smile Direct Club treatment plan
- The treatment is almost appointment-free, with the patient only receiving virtual Smile Check-ins™. It doesn’t require in-person office visits, which can sometimes negatively impact the results.
- Communication between the dentist and the patient happens mainly through an online portal or a mobile app. Occasional in-person checks are done by SmileShop representatives.
- Limited direct contact with dental professionals
- Fewer treatment adjustment options, which is a big downside for those with special cases.
The treatment period of Invisalign and Smile Direct varies widely, depending on the severity of the case.
Most of the time, Invisalign treatments will last 12 to 18 months. It’s because of the personalized approach and the guarantee of excellent results. In some cases, patients with mild cases may complete the treatment in just six months.
Overall, the duration of your Invisalign treatment will be determined by the dentist. This is after checking and assessing your current dental condition.
On the other hand, Smile Direct Club promises improvements in just 4 to 6 months. However, this timeline is only for mild to moderate cases.
Take note that your Smile Direct treatment can take longer, depending on the customization level and your preferred comfort. This part will be determined at the SmileShop upon the initial consultation with a specialist.
Severity of cases
Another thing that sets Smile Direct and Invisalign apart is their efficacy in terms of severity.
Is Smile Direct Club good? Yes, but only for minor to moderate cases. This is designed to treat milder cases like slight crowding or spacing. And since the treatment is provided remotely, Smile Direct won’t have substantial results in complex issues.
Meanwhile, Invisalign is tried and tested even for severe orthodontic issues. Also, patients will have the personal attention of an orthodontist who will provide aligner grips, precision cuts, and other solutions associated with the treatment.
The bottom line is that you should get Invisalign if you have moderate to severe teeth misalignment.
In terms of Smile Direct vs. Invisalign cost, the former is cheaper.
On average, a complete Invisalign treatment costs around $3,000 to $8,000, depending on the severity and duration of the case.
But how much is Smile Direct Club? This treatment starts at about $1,850 per treatment.
However, being cheap doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for your dental needs.
For those with severe misalignment, Smile Direct Club won’t be worth the money. This treatment works to some extent, but it won’t give you the best results you’re aiming for.
So if we factor in the efficacy of the Smile Direct Club cost vs. Invisalign, the latter might be a better option. While the cost is higher, it’s worth the price in terms of results.
The good thing is that many dental clinics offer financing options to their Invisalign patients. This makes it easier for them to afford the treatment without shelling out the amount at once.
Both Invisalign and Smile Direct Club are customized to some extent. Both use a 3D scan of the patient’s mouth to create the aligner trays.
However, Smile Direct has limited personalization since it’s an at-home treatment. Patients only rely on virtual communication with dentists to monitor their progress.
This means that your bite and teeth won’t be closely examined. So if you want a more in-depth and comprehensive treatment, Invisalign might be the right choice.
Invisalign involves in-person dentist appointments, which allows for a high level of customization.
Also, orthodontists can address complex dental issues or problems that may occur during the course of your treatment.
Not all areas in the U.S. have SmileShops, the facility that performs dental scans and delivers the Smile Direct Club aligners. This makes the treatment less accessible for those who aren’t in major service areas.
Meanwhile, Invisalign is offered by over 40,000 dental practitioners in the United States. In North Hollywood, NoHo Family Dental is one of the pioneers in providing Invisalign treatments.
Aside from that, there have been reports of Smile Direct Club trying to limit information about customer dissatisfaction. The poor availability of negative customer feedback raises doubts about this treatment’s reputation and efficacy.
In addition, assistance and information are also limited on Smile Direct Club compared to dentist-prescribed Invisalign.
Monitoring and assessment
In terms of monitoring and assessing results, Invisalign offers a more comprehensive approach.
During office visits, the patient will receive firsthand advice and updates from the orthodontist. Also, the patient’s teeth will be examined physically and directly, unlike the remote setup of Smile Direct.
Moreover, Invisalign dentists can change your aligners as part of adjustments to your treatment plan. This ensures that your treatment is right on track from start to finish.
Note that this monitoring level is crucial if you have a complex orthodontic condition. The same goes for young patients and individuals with underlying illnesses that require a personalized approach.
In terms of treatment compliance, Invisalign and Smile Direct offer convenience. Both aligners can be removed anytime the patient wants to.
However, compliance to treatment with Smile Direct is often left to the patient’s willingness. Since there’s no dentist to check regularly, patients may slip out of their treatment plan and forget to wear or switch to the correct aligners.
On the other hand, Invisalign is designed to be worn for 20 to 22 hours a day. With direct contact and advice from dentists, patients will be more motivated to continue the treatment.
More importantly, having a personal dentist ensures that you’re wearing your aligners right. It’s a convenience you will get from Invisalign but much less with Smile Direct Club.
Smile Direct is considered a newcomer compared to the already-established Invisalign. In terms of reputation, Invisalign is trusted, recommended, and provided by accredited dentists after a thorough consultation.
With this, Invisalign is generally viewed as the more reputable option for clear aligners. According to CNN, over five million people have purchased Invisalign since 2017.
Also, the company behind Invisalign, Align Technology, is respected as one of the experts in manufacturing clear aligners in the world.
But does Smile Direct Club work? Yes, they claim to have 1.8 million customers as of today.
These numbers show a massive difference not just in the popularity of the two treatments but also in the trust patients has in them.
Invisalign has a significant advantage over Smile Direct in terms of post-treatment options. With Invisalign, patients can get retainers and other refinement procedures as advised by their dentists.
For example, here at NoHo Family Dental, we offer cosmetic dentistry services to refine the results of your Invisalign. Perfecting your smile doesn’t end with simply aligning your teeth. Dentists like us provide a complete package that you can’t get with at-home treatments.
Meanwhile, Smile Direct also provides retainers to lock in the results. However, it doesn’t offer the level of personalization and adjustments you’ll get from an actual dentist.
Is Smile Direct as good as Invisalign?
In terms of results, safety, and efficacy, Smile Direct is far behind compared to Invisalign. While both provide results, Invisalign is more predictable and reliable since it’s provided directly by dentists.
Relying on the remote supervision of Smile Direct may not be enough for many patients. While it’s convenient, it comes at a tradeoff that the patient’s teeth aren’t closely monitored and checked for needed adjustments.
If you want a more precise fit, hands-on monitoring, and guaranteed results, Invisalign would be a better choice than Smile Direct.
Why Invisalign is the better option
After objectively comparing the features of these two aligners, Invisalign emerges as the clear winner.
This conclusion is based on the following aspects:
- Expert opinion. As dentists, we are trained and licensed to provide Invisalign treatments. For Invisalign, we offer a direct and personalized approach that’s way beyond what you’ll get from Smile Direct Club. The negative reports about the latter also need to be addressed first.
- Safety. Dental work involves your health, which is why you should never compromise. There’s a lot of controversy surrounding Smile Direct Club, which raises questions about its safety. So if you want peace of mind, you should consider Invisalign instead.
- Complexity. Aligning teeth is more than just applying pressure on the teeth. It involves other complex treatments to give the patient a perfect smile.
- Insurance coverage. Invisalign is conveniently covered by most dental insurance, much like traditional braces. While Smile Direct has partner insurance providers, they are often limited and not as comprehensive as the options Invisalign offers.
- Results. Invisalign has a more predictable result than Smile Direct. Also, your dentist can provide further adjustments and treatments to achieve desired outcomes.
The fact that you’ll have an actual dentist examining your teeth is enough reason to choose Invisalign. You’re assured of quality treatments and can quickly raise concerns during the appointment.
Am I a good candidate for Invisalign?
Both Smile Direct and Invisalign aren’t suitable for everyone. In the case of Invisalign, there are some factors your dentist needs to take into account. This ensures that you will see the best results at the end of your treatment plan.
To know if you’re a good candidate for Invisalign, a specialist will look into this:
- The severity of the case
- Commitment level
- Dental health
What if you’re not a good candidate for Invisalign? This means two things:
First, you won’t get any results from Smile Direct. Second, you’re going to be referred for traditional braces.
Cases with multiple and severe dental problems may not be suitable for Invisalign treatment. Instead, dentists will recommend metal braces for more force. This is also the case if you have a severe Class 3 malocclusion.
Don’t worry because most patients qualify for Invisalign at some point. Once you have improvements from metal braces, your dentist can remove them and finish the treatment with Invisalign. This way, you can limit the discomfort brought by traditional braces.
Tips for new Invisalign patients
If you’re planning to get Invisalign or currently receiving the treatment, proper dental care is crucial to achieving the best results.
Here are some tips for Invisalign treatment that our dentists recommend:
1. Wear your aligners consistently
Although Invisalign aligners are removable, you must not remove them for too long. You should wear it for at least 20 to 22 hours a day to see results. You should only remove the aligner when eating, drinking, brushing, or cleaning.
2. Keep your aligners clean
Make sure you clean your aligners every time you will brush your teeth. This will prevent bacteria and stains from building up, which will negatively impact your dental health. You can ask your dentist for cleaning crystals used specifically for clear aligners.
3. Don’t skip dentist appointments
If you want to finish your Invisalign treatment on time, you must follow the recommended checkup schedule. At the same time, get regular dental cleaning to keep your teeth free from cavities and infections.
4. Brush and floss daily
Brushing and flossing are easy since Invisalign aligners are removable. Make sure you follow basic dental care to prevent food bits from getting trapped in your aligners and causing tooth decay. Besides, with or without aligners, you should always observe proper dental hygiene.
6. Change your aligners correctly
Make sure you follow your dentist’s orders when it comes to the timeline of changing your aligners. Each set is typically worn for two weeks before switching to the next one. Still, other patients may have a different treatment plan, so always refer to your dentist’s instructions.
7. Don’t throw away your previous aligners
Even if you’re switching to another set of aligners, keep the old ones handy. This way, your dentist will have a point of reference when assessing the treatment’s progress. Also, you may have to wear your old aligners longer while waiting for your new set.
8. Don’t smoke
Smoking with your aligners on will cause staining, and it will also damage the material. Removing your aligners temporarily to have a few puffs isn’t a good idea, either. In general, cigarettes will damage your teeth, which will defeat all your dental health efforts.
Get the best Invisalign treatment in North Hollywood!
Do you want to correct your teeth alignment without wearing metal braces? Invisalign is the answer you’re looking for!
This treatment is proven and trusted by dentists like us. If you’re in North Hollywood, don’t hesitate to contact us at NoHo Family Dental to get the best Invisalign treatment. Our treatments suit adults and teenagers who want to revamp their smiles.
For your convenience, we accept all major dental insurance, and we also offer flexible financing options. With us, having healthy and good-looking teeth is possible without too much pain.
Our experienced orthodontist will give you an A-lister smile. Take note that Invisalign is widely used by celebrities to improve their teeth’s appearance.
Book an appointment with us today, and our licensed dental specialists will create your personalized treatment plan. All patients are welcome!