Invisalign vs Smile Direct Club. Answer to This Dilemma
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Invisalign vs Smile Direct Club is a huge debate within the industry lately, among specialists and, of course, among clients. That most people have some sort of issue with teeth alignment is no news. The news relates to the ways to correct that.
We all know that the first impression counts, and it counts more than we would like to admit. A perception study realized by Kelton in 2012 demonstrated with numbers that teeth alignment impacts the assumptions concerning the health, success and intelligence of a person.
Consequently, our appearance is subject to judgement and a standard of measurement.
Kelton’s study indicates that many Americans perceive teeth as a prominent feature when remembering someone they met for the first time. And approximately two-thirds of Americans are more likely to recall attractive characteristics. Thus, nice smile is important.
From small imperfections of aesthetic order, to crooked or crowding teeth, dental alignment correction is a subject of general concern. Identifying convenient alternatives to traditional scary braces is what orthodontics patients desire. And these started to appear with the advent of invisible aligners in 1997.
Align Technology brought an innovative concept, Invisalign - the clear aligners that disrupted the world of orthodontics and the promise to realign the teeth without the help of metal. This new type of more comfortable and aesthetic braces has the ability to correct crooked teeth, gaps, crowding teeth, overbites, underbites and crossbites.
Until 2017 Invisalign was the uncontested leader of the invisible aligner market, because of this innovation. But since then things have changed and the competition has become harsh, and the winner is primarily the consumer.
Crooked teeth create problems beyond the appearance’s sake.
Misaligned teeth can age them earlier due to excessive wear, jaws of different dimensions may lead to under or overbite. If you are suffering from frequent ear aches or headaches, your teeth might be the cause.
What impact might have crooked teeth on the health of your buccal cavity? Well, that’s not to be neglected:
- Disturb proper chewing
- Favorise tooth decay, tooth breaking, enamel crush and gingivitis installation
- Create difficulties with the hygiene of your teeth
- May cause migraines and ear aches
- Strain the maxillary, the teeth and buccal muscles
So, appearance is a problem and the buccal health the other one. And now, two options are battling to solve them the best Invisalign and Smile Direct Club.
Invisalign - Definition and How It Works
Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment based on sets of transparent, removable alignment trays that has as purpose the correct realignment of teeth. Invisalign braces are clear and a way better alternative than the traditional metal braces.
In 2017 Invisalign lost exclusivity rights on 40 patents, which made it lose its hegemony on clear aligners market and allowed competitors to gain momentum. But it still detains 80% market share with over 6 million customers served to date.
The trays are unique for each patient and tailored on his own characteristics. They need to be worn almost all the time and are swapped weekly as the position of the teeth improves.
How long does Invisalign take? The average length of Invisalign treatment is situated between 12 and 18 months.
Invisalign pros and cons
- Invisalign trays are hardly visible
- You will feel more comfortable and less pain with them than if you would have used classic braces
- Professional assistance of a dentist along the treatment
- All dentist consultations and unlimited number of trays are included in the total cost
- You don’t have to worry about food restrictions, you simply remove them when you eat
- You brush your teeth normally
- They do not impede on your speech
- Insurance can cover your teeth aligners at least partially
- Free teeth whitening
- Free smoothing of edges
- Free repairs of damaged teeth
- You can choose your payment plan
- Invisalign price is substantial
- You need to visit regularly your dentist
Total cost for the procedure using Invisalign orthodontics vary upon the situation, but on average is situated in the interval $3,500 - $8,000.
It starts with an orthodontic consultation.
The dentist will scan your teeth and put a diagnostic. After that he will conceive a personalized treatment plan tailored for your needs.
Next step needs your approval for the treatment plan offered, followed by the creation of your teeth mold.
Based on this mold your personalized aligners will be created and delivered to your dentist’s office within a couple of weeks. Your dentist will supervise the aligners proper installation - if they fit correctly or if adjustments are needed.
After the aligners are set up you follow the treatment under the recommendation of your dentist and will consult him regularly and swap your aligners as recommended.
Smile Direct Club - Definition and How It Works
Smile Direct Club is a company based in Nashville, Tennessee dealing with teledentistry and producing 3D clear aligners. They brought to light the DIY dentistry, meaning they send you an impression kit and you take your mold or you pay a visit to a SmileShop in your area to get a 3D scan. If your case is approved you will receive the aligners at home, without having to visit a dentist.
According to their site, Smile Direct Club offered its teeth alignment solutions to more than 700.000 customers.
Smile Direct Club is a direct competitor of Invisalign.
The average length of treatment with Smile Direct Club aligners is about 6 months.
Smile Direct Club pros and cons
- Convenient option for those who prefer not to or do not want to visit a dentist
- The treatment is completed entirely at home
- Low cost solution
- No restrictions on food as you remove the aligners while eating
- Normal brushing of your teeth
- Monthly payment plans are available for customers
- Can be covered by your insurance
- Smile Direct Club aligners are available only for less complex cases
- Your progress is not monitored by a dentist
- Errors might appear as you impress your mold
- You bear full responsibility, assume the risks and eventual supplementary costs if problems arise
- Hard to reach customer service
Smile Direct Club Cost
Compared to other options and particularly with Invisalign price the cost of Smile Direct Club aligners is of $1850. Which is by far more convenient and insurance plans reimburse their cost.
Smile Direct Club Process
It starts with an online assessment and order or a visit to a SmileShop.
You will receive a kit by mail with instructions on how to realize at home a mold impression of your teeth. This kit costs $49. If they decide they can’t help you this amount will be reimbursed.
After that you will send this mold to Smile Direct Club and their team of professionals will decide whether your case can be solved by their solution. If yes, they will conceive a treatment plan and send it to you.
You will receive by mail your first set of aligners and you have to wear them daily.
According to your treatment plan you will receive periodically at home new sets of aligners that you have to swap. To follow up with the treatment you will have to take photos of your teeth and upload them online into your Smile Direct Club account, so your progress could be reviewed.
In an interval of 4 to 8 months your treatment should be complete and your new smile ready to be shown to the world.
Post treatment you have at your disposal retainers to conserve the new positioning of your teeth. The price of a retainer is $99. In some cases retainers are essential, so pay attention.
If Invisalign is simply out of your budget, but you are too afraid of the risks implied by Smile Direct Club, check out our intermediary solution here at Easysmile. We aim to reduce substantially your teeth alignment costs, while offering in our packages 1 in person dentist consultation, free interproximal reduction procedure (IPR) and at home delivery.
You can have the best of both options, give us a try, you will not regret!
Interproximal reduction - IPR, also known as interproximal enamel reduction, air rotor stripping or reproximation or slendering is an orthodontic practice that implies to mechanically remove small layers of enamel from between the teeth to create supplementary space. This intervention is usually done to help create the necessary space for teeth to realign and a suitable shape.
Most misalignment cases will require interproximal reduction interventions and this is an aspect totally ignored by Smile Direct Club.
Here is an example:
Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign Comparison
Invisalign vs Smile Direct Club. Somehow similar, but finally very different
The core product for both of them is similar - invisible trays having as purpose to smoothly realign and adjust the position of your teeth. These products offer an innovative alternative to metal braces.
Invisalign or Smile Direct Club. Differences
Even if the core product is the same, the way of treating patients is what differentiates them.
Dentist office visits vs. online communication without live dentist consulting
Invisalign cost surpasses that of Smile Direct Club mainly because of the visits to the dentist. In Smile Direct Club option these visits are totally skipped. This might be an advantage in some cases in others not.
If you have a dentist phobia, you will be more than happy with the solution provided by Smile Direct Club. Your aligners will be mailed to you. That also means that you are on your own without specialised dentist help in case you need it.
Indeed you will not be in direct contact with a dentist, but be aware that when you send your mold to Smile Direct Club, there is a team of professional dentists that will conceive your treatment plan and oversee it. Not some sort of outsiders.
Smile Direct Club matches each client with one of its affiliated orthodontists, who will review your case, decide if you can use their solution, design the aligners that you will receive. You have to know that Smile Direct Club offer is more catered to basic teeth alignment issues, for complex cases you will be recommended to consult a dentist.
Not having your own dentist, might not be such a problem, but in case of unforeseen events like damaging or losing an aligner you will have to deal with a crowded customer support, instead of just contacting your dentist.
But if you are not comfortable with leaving your teeth on the hands of a no name dentist, that’s totally your option.
You cannot ignore the fact that your dentist will know your case in more detail, will know your medical history and can answer to your individual concerns.
In terms of medical service for the patient, Smile Direct Club cannot compare with your dentist, Invisalign can.
Invisalign vs Smile Direct Club costs
The number one argument when choosing between Invisalign and Smile Direct Club is the cost. And the winner is Smile Direct Club, as its cost is below $2,000, while Invisalign cost is double to quadruple.
Choosing the cheaper option has its drawback, that cannot be ignored and that is related to the problems that might appear due to wrong alignment procedures. In such cases the smaller price might become the highest, not to mention supplementary dental work implied.
Also, there is a category of clients that can only afford financially the solution proposed by Smile Direct Club. So, the cost of Invisalign vs Smile Direct Club lets them with just one option.
Invisalign vs Smile Direct Club. Mold impression and scan
The quality of treatment plan for teeth realignment is based on the quality of the mold impression. If this is not properly done, the results will not be the best.
Taking properly the mold impression is not exactly a piece of cake, even orthodontists might need several attempts till they get it right.
The number one disadvantage of Smile Direct Club can be considered this - customers have to take on their own the mold for their teeth. Or there is lots of room for errors, even if detailed instructions and tutorials are provided to teach them how to proceed.
Anyway if you are in an area where “SmileShops” are present, you solve this aspect easily. You go to such a shop and a specialist will scan and photograph your teeth. These digitals 3D scans and photos will replace the mold impression and you have nothing to worry about.
For Invisalign your will have at your disposal an Invisalign orthodontist to take your mold impression. So, that’s not an issue for you in this case.
Invisalign attachments for better results
The treatment plan offered by Invisalign goes more in detail to obtain superior results.
The Invisalign attachments are small pieces in the color of your teeth that are attached and connect with the aligners. Their purpose is to refine further the realignment process of your teeth. And thus minimizing the variability degree.
Attachments are used in complex situations and is a technology that is not accessible for Smile Direct Club clients.
With Smile Direct Club you bear full responsibility
In the case of Invisalign if you stop the treatment plan or do not respect it carefully, your Invisalign dentist will interfere. When it comes to Smile Direct Club, you are on your own, no one will hold you accountable.
Even if this is not a strong enough argument to sustain on its own the difference of costs between the two options, if you know you need surveillance, Invisalign is the option to consider.
Also, Invisalign dentist will be at your disposal for additional post-treatment dental work if the case. For example to set up a retainer.
Smile Direct Club has option for retainers but that’s all, all additional dental services that might be needed are your task.
Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign. Customer service
The reality is that with Invisalign you will not stay on hold for hours. Meanwhile among the strengths of Smile Direct Club we do not count customer support, even if in their business model this is a key point. Customers complaining they have not been able to reach Smile Direct Club in a week - well that is a situation you do not want to deal with.
Smile Direct Club experienced an exponential growth in a short time and was not able to keep up with the rhythm. They are confronted with lots of complaints regarding delayed shipments, wrong deliveries and inadequate customer support.
Fortunately, they don’t have too many complaints regarding their final product.
Invisalign vs Smile Direct Club. Risks
Smile Direct Club is the better alternative from various points of view - its price, its convenience. But comes with some risks that in Invisalign case are not present. Risks related to the fact that your treatment will not be supervised by a specialist. You are simply playing with your teeth health.
Plus Smile Direct Club is an option only if your case of teeth misalignment is not too complicated.
Dentists and orthodontists are firmly against the procedures promoted by companies as Smile Direct Club. Indeed these companies are their competitors and take customers away from them, but besides that their arguments have a foundation.
Before considering Smile Direct Club a solution for your teeth, it’s probably worth consulting an orthodontist to have an idea about how serious your teeth misalignment is.
In Invisalign case you have a professional at your disposal to diagnose and quickly react if issues appear along the treatment. And that’s important. Plus they solve complicated cases.
Also, it’s worth mentioning that the American Association of Orthodontists released a consumer alert regarding the risks implied by using the services of companies like Smile Direct Club. They reference several drawbacks:
- The lack of direct interaction with dental specialists
- Lack of correct diagnostics - are your teeth healthy enough to support the treatment, is that treatment right for your personal case
- No specialized supervision, you are the only responsible
- Who can solve eventual problems if they appear. Customer support is not the right answer in health issues.
The American Association of Orthodontists filled complaints against Smile Direct Club in 36 American states for violation of dental-practice statutes, and in two of them won. So, this is serious.
Don’t forget that exist intermediary solutions in between Invisalign and Smile Direct Club. Easysmile aims to fit your budget and offers a visit to the dentist and free interproximal reduction intervention (IPR) if the case.
Finally, the choice is yours and depends on your case of teeth misalignment, budget and personal preferences. Who will win the battle Invisalign vs Smile Direct Club in your case, you decide. Just take into consideration the pros and cons and choose what’s best for you and your teeth.