Are you considering getting your teeth straightened? You’re not alone—more than 3 million people have used invisible braces (clear aligners) to straighten their teeth. There are many brands and options to choose from, such as Invisalign and Smile Direct Club.
If you’re not familiar, Smile Direct Club is a company that offers a direct-to-consumer teeth-straightening solution. It’s essentially like Invisalign, but you get the aligners sent to your home instead of going in for appointments with a professional orthodontist or dentist. The cost is lower than getting Invisalign or traditional metal braces through an orthodontist, and it can be a great option for people interested in straighter teeth without having to spend as much time and money on the process. However, there are also some things to consider before signing up with Smile Direct.
The main difference between the Invisalign and Smile Direct Club aligners is that Invisalign aligners have attachments. These attachments are placed on your teeth by your dentist at the start of treatment and help move your teeth in the preferred direction. Without these attachments, there is a chance that your Smile Direct’s aligners will slide around without this lock in place feature, and it can cause your teeth to move in ways that you don’t want or can’t predict.
With Smile Direct, you will be sent an impression kit where you take an impression of your teeth. While it may seem simple enough to take a mold of your teeth, there are many ways in which this process can go awry if not directly overseen by a dentist or orthodontist. For example, if a dentist has not physically examined inside their mouth, they cannot know for sure that what is being seen in the mold is an accurate representation of what is inside the mouth.
It may sound like a small detail, but it’s important that your teeth are accurately represented in your mold to get the best results. When the custom aligners are created, they are made to fit the mold, and the aligner trays are the only thing that straightens your teeth. If the mold doesn’t accurately represent your teeth, there’s an increased chance that you won’t get the results you’re looking for when you finish your treatment.
With Invisalign, getting a mold of your teeth is done by a dentist and dental assistant, who are specially trained in getting an accurate impression the first time.
With traditional braces or Invisalign, you work closely with your dentist to ensure that your treatment plan is working and that no problems are arising. Smile Direct Club does not allow you to work with your dentist but instead assigns a virtual licensed dental professional to oversee your treatment. The assigned dentist only offers check-ins about every 90 days, and problems (e.g., bite misalignment) could arise during that time. Sure, they’ll be able to see how things are progressing, but you run the risk of going for three months with a progressively worsening misalignment that could go unnoticed until it’s too late to correct without more invasive methods.
With Invisalign, you can choose your own trusted dentist that you feel comfortable with, and have in-office exams every 4-6 weeks where the dentist can examine your mouth, teeth movement, and bite, and intervene, if necessary. By going with Invisalign, you’re able to reach out to the dentist if you have any questions or concerns with your progress.
We have evaluated numerous reviews and complaints from the Better Business Bureau about Smile Direct and have concluded that their case selection for aligner use is not optimal. Patients are not required to have x-rays taken in order to evaluate bone loss or health of the teeth, and they are also not examined to see if they are cavity-free. Without x-rays and a proper exam, it’s impossible to evaluate the positioning of wisdom teeth or how the current condition of the mouth might complicate treatment and long-term results.
By going the traditional route, a dentist or orthodontist will conduct a thorough exam to ensure everything is in good standing and that long-lasting results can be achieved without complications.
There are many factors to consider outside of cost when deciding what type of orthodontic treatment is best for you. While Smile Direct is indeed less expensive than Invisalign for the initial setup process, the price difference comes at a cost: the patient does not receive a personalized treatment plan from a licensed dentist or orthodontist.
The average cost for Smile Direct Club costs anywhere from $1850 – $2170, and the entire process is done remotely.
The average Invisalign costs anywhere from $3000-$8000, depending on the complexity of the case.
A number of things could be going on here:
The payment options for both Smile Direct Club and Invisalign are incredibly similar. They both offer monthly payment plans, but Smile Direct Club does require a down payment of $250, whereas Invisalign does not. If you work directly with an Invisalign dental provider, they may offer flexible payment options to help you pay for Invisalign. These options include third-party lending with 0% interest, in-office payment plans, or discounts if paid in advance.
Smile Direct is a convenient option for patients who want to straighten their teeth without the commitment of regular visits to a dentist. However, some patients have reported receiving incorrect aligners or no aligners, which can set back any progress that was made. When contacting Smile Direct’s customer service team, you’ll often speak to a new representative each time, resulting in a less than ideal experience when you need help. As opposed to going to a dentist for orthodontic issues, you’ll have an established relationship with your dentist, and you’ll be speaking to the same person who has your best interest in mind – getting you a healthy smile.
Smile Direct and Invisalign have faster treatment times than traditional braces. However, clear aligner treatment process can vary based on several factors, including your ability to stick to the treatment guidelines and how severe your misalignment is.
Smile Direct Club’s website advertises average treatment times between four to six months, while Invisalign says that treatments can take anywhere from six months to a year, depending on the severity of your condition. The reason Invisalign has a longer average treatment time is because Invisalign can treat more complex cases in correcting crooked teeth, gaps between teeth, and crowding. The actual length of treatment may vary based on the complexity and severity of misaligned teeth as determined by your dentist. If comparing the same type of misalignment, both have relatively the same treatment time.
Invisalign and Smile Direct Club are not one-size-fits-all solutions. Invisalign is an excellent solution for adults and teens to fix nearly all common teeth-straightening and bite issues, from simple to complex. If affordability is important to you, you like the ability to check in with your dentist remotely, and you don’t mind some of the drawbacks with Smile Direct Club, then Smile Direct Club might work for you.
The right treatment method for you depends on your individual case and personal preferences. Whether you decide to go with Invisalign or Smile Direct, set up an initial consultation with a qualified dentist providing clear aligners. They will be able to advise you on what kind of dental care you need and which treatment will be best for your dream smile and long-term oral health.
If you are covered under a dental policy that provides orthodontic coverage, your dental insurance may pay for some or all of your treatment. For example, both Invisalign and Smile Direct Club accept HSA, FSA and may potentially be covered by dental insurance. Keep in mind that these policies also have annual limits and deductibles.
If you are unsure whether your dental insurance policy covers orthodontic appliances, it’s best to check with your dental insurance provider directly. They’ll be able to tell you exactly what’s covered and what’s not so you can make the most informed decision possible about how to proceed with your treatment.
There are multiple options for straightening your teeth, but the perfect smile is best achieved by visiting an orthodontist or dentist in person. Why? Because going into the office means you get to have a one-on-one with a dentist who knows your teeth and can correct any dental issues in real-time. Plus, having a dental professional at your disposal makes it easier to talk to if you have any questions about your dental treatment.
Ultimately, the success of your clear aligner treatment depends on your circumstances, the complexity of your case, and your ability to follow the treatment guidelines you’re given. When you decide whether to go with Smile Direct Club or Invisalign, it’s important to consider that each treatment has its own effectiveness when it comes to more complex cases for that straight smile.
If you’ve been thinking about clear aligners with Invisalign or want more information about orthodontic treatment options for straighter teeth, our team would love to help you achieve the smile of your dreams. We’re here to answer all of your questions and work with you on your orthodontic journey from start to finish. This is a big decision, but it will change your life for the better.
To schedule your in-person consultation, contact Sloan Creek Dental, and our friendly staff will be happy to assist you. You can reach us at our Fairview, TX dental office to schedule an in-person consultation with us today – 972-468-1440.