SmileDirectClub vs Invisalign

Smile Direct Club vs. Invisalign: What’s the Difference?

It’s a goal for many people to have straight teeth, but getting there can be a challenge. There are several choices, including metal braces — the mainstay of teeth straightening for decades. But newer treatments have become available that don’t require brackets and wires. Instead, invisible aligners are all the rage, offering custom smile straightening with tools you can’t even really see. Invisalign is the most well-known option for invisible aligners, but there is also a new option in the market: SmileDirectClub. Let’s take a look at the difference between Invisalign and SmileDirectClub and the dangers associated with using SmileDirectClub.

Point of Care for Invisible Aligners

SmileDirectClub is touted primarily as an at-home remote treatment plan to straighten teeth. Customers visit a SmileShop where a 3D image is captured, and if there is no such facility nearby, at-home impression kits are available to DIY. Then, your scans or impressions are evaluated remotely by an orthodontist in your state — in other words, you don’t actually visit a doctor in person.

On the other hand, those who are looking into Invisalign are also scanned with a high tech 3D digital scanner, but it takes place in a doctor’s office (as opposed to a Smile Shop run by SmileDirectClub). In some cases,  impressions can also be made. Invisalign not only gives you direct access to your doctor, but it’s carefully tailored to your individual needs and dental history.

Course of Treatment

Once it is determined by the SmileDirectClub or Invisalign doctor that invisible aligners are right for you, you’ll move on to the next steps. While the course of both types of treatment is similar (it can take a few months to a year to get the results you’re going for, depending on the amount of change needed), the SmileDirectClub method truly takes place in your home. Their lab creates a custom treatment plan complete with aligners you switch out at home on your own.

The main difference with Invisalign is that when treatment is started, the doctor bonds small attachments to some of your teeth so they can help to better move your teeth in the position they need to go.  Without these attachments, many tooth movements will be much less predictable, and some teeth may not move at all with only wearing the aligners.  As far as the course of treatment goes, Invisalign patients wear the aligners and switch them out every two weeks, which will result in gradual movement of the teeth.  If you want the teeth to move faster, and finish treatment in less than half the time, you need to ask your dentist about acceleration techniques (ie: Propel). In general, your doctor oversees your progress the whole way, and you go in for Invisalign checkups on a regular basis to ensure your teeth are moving on track.

Doctor Involvement

One of the main differences between the two methods of straightening teeth is the amount of doctor involvement. SmileDirectClub is essentially hands-off, where the patient has a remote consultation with a professional that may or may not be nearby. Most patients don’t visit a dental office at all during their treatment, and while they have support from the company, it’s not the same as seeing a dentist in his/her office.

On the other hand, while Invisalign allows patients to change out their aligners every two weeks on their own, there is quite a bit of doctor involvement from start to finish. You work directly with a doctor from the beginning, who becomes familiar with your dental situation, and who then creates a custom treatment plan for your perfect smile. Also, you’ll be seen by a doctor throughout your treatment. The dentist that performs Invisalign receives extensive training and has the experience of performing many other cases.  Having an experienced professional closely monitor the progress and level of movement for your teeth will ensure that you will have the best and most predictable results possible.

Dangers of SmileDirectClub

Invisalign comes out as the clear winner as far as dental health, treatment plan and results go. “First, the impressions,” notes Dr. Phane. “In SmileDirectClub, you take them yourself, and the impression is such an integral part of a good outcome of a case that even dental professionals sometimes have to retake them multiple times to get an accurate impression.”  If your impression is not accurate, then the aligners will also have issues with fitting your teeth properly and will result in a sub-standard result.

During SmileDirectClub treatment, the movement of your teeth is not monitored by a dentist, so you can’t be sure the movements are happening correctly — you could be moving teeth out of the bone and be completely unaware of it. Also, Invisalign has tooth colored attachments that are placed on the teeth that make movement possible, because, without these attachments, teeth movement is unpredictable. Therefore, many rotations and more difficult movements may not happen at all. One of the main secrets to the success of Invisalign lies in their attachments.  The size and shape of their attachments are determined by Invisalign’s technology, which utilizes optimized attachments to facilitate very specific movements on different teeth to ensure ideal results. SmileDirectClub does not include these very important attachments, so it is essentially just tilting the teeth back and forth. Because of this, dentists sometimes have to do a corrective treatment using Invisalign for SmileDirectClub cases.

Invisalign is the far superior choice for invisible aligners due to extensive doctor involvement to make sure that every tooth is moving properly, as well as a custom treatment plan that includes multiple attachments placed on the teeth by the doctor to enhance predictable tooth  movement. By choosing Invisalign, you will get the results and smile you have been looking for!

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