Clear aligners were first launched in 2000 by Align Technology when the company offered an alternative to traditional braces with their Invisalign product. The aim was to straighten teeth without the need for brackets and wires, but instead by using clear plastic trays otherwise known as aligners. The company has since seen huge success with its innovative solution and millions of patients have been treated with the Invisalign product.
Due to its success, it came as no surprise that alternatives appeared on the market. The biggest amongst them being Smile Direct Club, who in 2014 launched its clear aligner product. The idea was to take teeth straightening to the next level, offering patients an at-home solution. And the company even partnered with the same, Align Technology, albeit briefly, to produce some of its aligners.
As both Invisalign and Smile Direct Club aim to do the same thing, treat misaligned teeth with transparent aligners, it would be easy to assume they are very similar. However, there is a lot of confusion and misinformation, which makes it difficult for patients to make an informed choice. In fact, while on the surface, the aligners are comparable, they actually greatly differ, especially in terms of treatment method.
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How do Aligners Work?
Traditional braces use brackets which are cemented onto the teeth and attached by wires to apply a gentle yet constant force on teeth. Aligners, in a similar way, use consistent pressure to move teeth. However, instead of brackets, they use a series of trays which are custom-made for each patient based on impressions. Aligners are removable in order for teeth to be cleaned and are almost invisible, offering a discreet treatment option.
Invisalign treatment steps:
- 1Visit dentist for a suitability assessment
- 2Dentist creates custom treatment plan based on digital scans
- 3Custom aligners are created
- 4Regular check-ups with dentist to monitor progress
Smile Direct Club treatment steps:
- 1Use an at-home impression kit to create a mould of teeth
- 2Send impressions to Smile Direct Club
- 3Receive aligners and follow guide
- 4Check in with digital dentist every 90 days
Aligners offer a more comfortable and discreet alternative to conventional braces. In this respect, both Invisalign and Smile Direct Club are the same, involving a series of clear plastic trays to gently force tooth movements. However, there are some distinct differences between the two brands.
What Are The Main Differences Between
Invisalign and Smile Direct Club?
While both Invisalign and Smile Direct Club use transparent aligners trays to straighten teeth, they are not administered in the same way. There are three significant differences:
Invisalign is entirely supervised by professional dentists and orthodontists. Smile Direct Club, while still using dentists and orthodontists in a remote fashion, is self-administered at home by the patient. The patient is responsible for creating moulds of their teeth, observing the process and monitoring its success.
Smile Direct Club market their product as an aligner to straighten teeth, and that is what they do. They openly tell their customers that they don’t fix overbites or underbites or severe misalignments, they purely straighten teeth. While this may seem suitable, it doesn’t account for unknown issues that need resolving or, issues that may occur during the teeth straightening process. Invisalign, on the other hand, works to straighten your teeth, correct your bite and protect your ongoing dental health.
As Smile Direct Club offers no face-to-face interaction with dental professionals, the cost is lower. However, while this can be a tempting prospect, itt comes with a significant level of risk. Patients must self-administer their treatment, hoping for the same results without a personalised treatment plan or the direct support of an orthodontist.
What Should You
Consider When Choosing
a Clear Aligner?
While the key differences between Invisalign and Smile Direct Club are how the treatment plan is created and delivered and the cost, there are many other factors that should be taken into account when choosing a clear aligner:
1. Will the aligners work for your individual circumstances?
When it comes to choosing an aligner, you will need to consider your circumstances and the issue that needs to be solved. Smile Direct Club focuses on the six front teeth, moving them to improve your teeth’s aesthetics. However, while the cosmetics of your front teeth are important, you’ll also want to consider more serious issues. If your bite is incorrect or your teeth are severely misaligned, can the aligners help treat the issues? There is also the issue of what will happen once your teeth move. Will your bite change and, if it does, could it wear down your tooth enamel and create cavities. Ultimately, aiming to straighten your teeth, without considering your bite, both before and after, could impact your oral health moving forward.
While Smile Direct Club can work for basic cases, it openly states it isn’t as able to treat severe misalignments. Invisalign, on the other hand, can help treat a much wider range of cases.Invisalign can move teeth up to 6mm to close gaps or fix overcrowding, can counter overbite, underbite crossbite and open bite, and can correct severely misaligned teeth. For the latter, Invisalign uses SmartForce technology, small tooth-coloured shapes that are attached to your teeth to make complex yet precise movements possible.
2. Are you confident to conduct your own treatment?
If you choose the Smile Direct Club aligner product, you are choosing a DIY option for invisible braces. While, in theory, you can conduct the treatment in the comfort of your own home, it leaves you at risk of serious side effects if your impressions are inaccurate. You have no-one to oversee the treatment and to make corrections if things don’t go as planned. And, if your teeth don’t move the way they should, not only will your smile not be perfect, but you could cause permanent damage to your jaw, gums and teeth.
By choosing Invisalign, you choose a team of teeth straightening experts. Invisalign providers are vetted and have all undergone extensive clinical and practical training, which means you will be in safe hands. With Invisalign, your new smile will be designed by a specialist with the qualifications and expertise to ensure your treatment goes smoothly. Due to its at-home methods, Smile Direct Club doesn’t have the same control over its provider network.
3. What are the aligners made from?
The materials used for clear aligners are vital to their success. Invisalign uses innovative SmartTrack material that is based on over eight years of experience testing hundreds of materials. The SmartTrack material is multi-layered and highly elastic, giving it the esthetic it needs, fitting well and producing gentle yet constant force.
WIthout the same science and experience, alternative aligner materials can relax and lose a considerable amount of energy even after a few short days. This ultimately makes the aligners less effective as they don’t retain the constant force required to achieve the necessary tooth movements.
4. Will the aligners be painful?
The other consideration regarding material, as well as its ability to do the job, is comfort. If the aligner material relaxes, not only will it lose energy to exert the necessary forces, but it could start slipping. To compensate for this, aligners are sometimes fitted extremely tightly, making it much more painful each time a new aligner is used. And, if they do come loose, they can then rub against the cheeks and gums and cause sores and further discomfort.
Invisalign aligners are highly elastic, conforming more accurately to tooth morphology for increased control and comfort. Invisalign individually designs each aligner to precisely match theshape of your teeth to minimise gum irritation. Smile Direct Club, on the other hand, has a high gum line, sitting more like a nighttime retainer which can lead to irritation.
5. How fast is the treatment?
The treatment time for Invisalign and Smile Direct Club again comes down to the materials that are used. Ultimately, the faster you change between aligners, the faster you will progress and the sooner you will reach your goal. With aligners that become loose after a few days wear, the pressure declines and tooth movements slow down. This means that for Smile Direct Club, you have to wait around two to three weeks to get a new aligner.
Invisalign has, however, solved the problem of stress relaxation associated with other aligners. The innovative material that is used in Invisalign aligners retains its shape and applies a gentle and constant force, meaning that, depending on your individual circumstances, you may be able to change aligners every one to two weeks instead of every two to three. The maths is simple, with Invisalign, you will be able to progress through treatment faster.
Why Choose Invisalign With An Approved Provider
While you can certainly manage to straighten your teeth with Smile Direct Club, there is a lot more risk. The aligners may seem incredibly similar to Invisalign, but without professionally taken 3D scans, personalised treatment planning and ongoing face-to-face monitoring, the results will often be inferior. What’s more, the materials aren’t as effective as the patented SmartTrack material, can be more uncomfortable and take longer to achieve the same goals.
By choosing Invisalign with a certified provider, you are entrusting your oral health to a professional. You will be able to correct more than the cosmetics of your smile. You can correct your bite and treat severely misaligned teeth. With Invisalign, not only will your smile look great, but you can be confident that your bite is healthy, keeping your teeth and oral health on track for the future.
At Bexley Dental, we have our patient’s best interests and oral health at heart. We can give you the highest quality care and help you achieve the best possible results with Invisalign aligners.
Ready to find out if Invisalign is right for you?
Schedule your FREE 30-minute Assessment with
During your 30-minute Assessment, Dr. Theo, Dr. Breeze or Dr. Kazzi will examine your teeth as well as take an OPG panoramic scan – (valued at $140) – we include this as part of your FREE Assessment, so he can determine if Invisalign is right for you.
Every Assessment includes:
- 30 minutes with Dr. Theo Spyrakis, Dr. John Breeze or Dr. Joseph Kazzi
- A FREE 3D Panoramic scan of your teeth and jaw - A $140 value
- And a Recommended Orthodontics Plan to get your smile back on track.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is the Invisalign treatment right for?
Invisalign treatment can be the ideal solution for both adults and teens looking for a virtually invisible way to improve their smile. Due to the technological advancements of Invisalign, it’s possible to fix nearly all common teeth-straightening and bite issues, from simple to complex cases.
What is the Invisalign treatment process?
Invisalign treatment starts with an initial assessment with your dentist. The dentist will evaluate your smile and map out a precise, customised treatment plan that showcases the step-by-step transformation of your smile. You will get the chance to review the treatment plan and once you approve your plan, your unique aligners will be created. You wear each set of aligners for 22 hours a day, changing to a new set of aligners every 1 to 2 weeks, as directed by your dentist. Each aligner will gradually shift your teeth into place, according to your treatment plan, until your new smile is created.
How much does Invisalign treatment cost?
In most cases, the cost of Invisalign treatment is similar to the cost of braces. Your doctor will determine the cost of your treatment based on how complex your case is and how many aligners you need. There are several options to make Invisalign treatment more affordable for you, from using health insurance to a monthly payment plan.
Can I claim my treatment with health insurance?
Yes. Most health fund members with major dental cover may be eligible to claim a rebate for your Invisalign treatment. The type and level of cover of your individual insurance plan can affect the amount claimable, your insurance may pay for a certain percentage of your Invisalign treatment, or it may pay for a certain dollar amount.
What payment options are available for Invisalign treatment?
We offer two flexible and affordable monthly payment plans through Mifund, which allows you to make small payments through the course of your Invisalign treatment. The first option is a six-month interest-free payment plan. If the balance Isn’t paid within the six month period, interest is added to the payment plan at 13.5%. The second option is a payment plan with a 9.49% interest rate. This must be paid within 36 months. We also offer a 2-year interest-free option with Denticare. This option requires a 20% deposit and a $39 set up fee.
How long will treatment take?
Your treatment duration will depend on how much work is needed to straighten your teeth. The treatment for an adult is typically between 6 to 15 months, but this really depends on your individual case.
How often do I need to see my dentist during Invisalign treatment?
You will visit your dentist for a check-up approximately every 6-8 weeks for a check-up on how your treatment is progressing. During your check-ups, your aligners will be checked to make sure they fit correctly.
Do I get all my aligners at once?
No. You’ll be provided with enough aligners to last between visits to your dentist. Your progress will be reviewed every 6-8 weeks and new aligners are given to you at these appointments.
How long before I can start seeing results?
You will start to see results with the first few months of starting treatment.
Do I need to wear aligners all day?
For optimum results, you should wear the aligners for 22 hours a day during your treatment.
Can I smoke while wearing the aligners?
You shouldn’t smoke while wearing aligners because it’s possible they will become stained.
Will the Invisalign aligners affect my speech?
Similar to other orthodontic treatments, the Invisalign aligners may temporarily affect the speech of some people. However, any minor speech impediment caused by the aligners should disappear after a day or two.
is Invisalign treatment painful?
While Invisalign treatment may move your teeth without the same level of pain of other straightening methods, some people experience minor discomfort for a few days at the beginning of each new stage of treatment. This is normal and is typically described as sensitivity or a feeling of pressure. It’s a sign that your teeth are moving towards their final positions. This discomfort will subside after a couple of days.
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simply pick up the phone and call us at
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We will examine your mouth, eliminate all risk factors and assess the correct course of treatment.
Hygienist & Oral Health Therapist
Laura comes to us with a list of achievements that show just how dedicated she is to her craft.
During her training at the University of Sydney her research earned the Oral Health Faculty Research Award and the Dental Hygienists Association Award for highest achievement in clinical and academic performance.
Our promise to you:
Proudly part of Bupa, Bexley Dental is committed to providing you with the very best care in Sydney. To do this, we…
- Work with some of the best ceramists and labs in the world (which we’re lucky to have right here in town)
- Aggressively pursue our continuing education
- Invest in our patient’s comfort, from Happy Gas to Sleep Dentistry
- Continually commit to using the more advanced technology available, from 3D imaging and Panoramic
X-rays to advanced procedures like the All-on-4, that allow us to provide the very best in care to our patients
Come meet the team!