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

So, you’re thinking about straightening your teeth. And you know you want to go with clear aligners.

 

You’ve checked out Invisalign and you like what you see. Discreet, barely-there aligner trays that offer more freedom and flexibility than braces? Sign me up!

 

But you may have also come across a number of other clear aligner treatments — even a few that offer at-home solutions, such as Smile Direct Club.

 

Now you’re a little confused. You’re wondering: What’s the difference between Smile Direct Club vs. Invisalign?

 

Sure, Smile Direct Club appears to offer all the same benefits as Invisalign:

 

  • A virtually-invisible teeth straightening solution? Check ✓

  • A more comfortable alternative to braces? Check ✓

  • A series of clear aligner trays, moulded to your teeth? Check ✓

  • Removable and flexible to suit your lifestyle? Check ✓

 

Seems like a great alternative so far, right?

 

But hold up!

 

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about at-home aligner treatments. And the truth is: they’re not quite as similar to Invisalign as they seem.


So, we’re here to help you take a deeper look into the real differences between Smile Direct Club vs. Invisalign so you can get clear on your options and make a more informed decision.

 

Psst… Want more personalised advice on whether Invisalign is right for you? Book in your FREE consultation at Delight Dental Spa!

Let’s talk treatment: How is Smile Direct Club treatment different from Invisalign?

 Before we dive into their differences, let’s take a look at their similarities.

 

Both Smile Direct Club and Invisalign use a series of clear, thin, plastic aligner trays which are custom-made from impression moulds of your mouth. The specially designed trays fit snugly over your teeth and use gentle yet consistent pressure to gradually straighten your smile.

 

For the treatment to be effective, you must wear the aligners for at least 20 to 22 hours per day. But you can also enjoy the flexibility of removing the trays to brush, floss, eat, drink or anytime you need a little extra freedom.

 

The best part? The aligner trays are virtually invisible and you’ll barely notice them in your mouth.

Invisalign is a discreet and comfortable teeth straightening solution
Invisalign clear aligners are virtually invisible and discreet, giving you the confidence to flash those pearly whites before, during and after your treatment!

So, what’s the big difference between Smile Direct Club and Invisalign?

 

It all comes down to how each treatment is administered and supervised.

With Invisalign, your treatment is monitored and supervised by an Australian licensed dentist through regular, in-person consultations.

Smile Direct Club still uses Australian registered dentists to supervise your treatment but your progress is only monitored remotely. You’re never required to attend an in-person dentist visit.


What are the steps for Invisalign treatment?

  1. Visit your dentist in-person to assess your suitability and discuss the best type of Invisalign treatment for your case, such as full Invisalign or Invisalign Express
  2. Your dentist takes x-rays, digital scans and impressions of your teeth and develops your custom treatment plan 
  3. Your custom aligners are made and sent to your dentist so you can begin treatment 
  4. Attend regular in-person check-ups every 6 to 8 weeks so your dentist can monitor your progress and adjust your treatment if necessary. With Invisalign, your progress will be monitored with special software that can determine how to reposition your teeth for the best results.


Special software that help monitor the progress of your invisalign treatment
At Delight Dental Spa, we use special software to ensure your teeth are safely on the move throughout your entire Invisalign treatment.

What are the steps for Smile Direct Club treatment?

  1. Use a remote impression kit to create a mould of your teeth or visit a SmileShop for an in-person scan
  2. Jump online to have your remote suitability assessment done by a dentist
  3. Your remote dentist will create and approve your custom treatment plan
  4. Attend regular remote check-ups with a dentist to monitor your progress

While less time in the dentist chair may sound like a dream, it’s important to remember that straightening your teeth is a major dental procedure. The alignment of your teeth and jaw can affect your entire body so it’s recommended that any movement of your teeth is closely monitored by a professional dentist.

Is the treatment time for Smile Direct Club faster than Invisalign?

 

The good news is that the treatment times for both Invisalign and Smile Direct Club are generally faster than traditional metal braces.

 

The bad news?


We can’t give you a straight answer on how long it will take to straighten your smile (unless you come in and see us for your FREE Invisalign consultation, that is!)

 

Regardless of whether you choose Invisalign or Smile Direct Club, your treatment time will ultimately depend on your unique circumstances. Some factors that can impact your treatment time include:

  • The severity and complexity of your case
  • How much your teeth need to move
  • How well you can stick to your treatment guidelines

A patient discusses her Invisalign treatment plan with Dr Alice
We’ll talk you through every step of your Invisalign treatment plan and ensure you stay on track to achieve your dream smile.

Smile Direct Club advertises its average treatment at between 4 to 6 months. Meanwhile, a full Invisalign treatment can typically last anywhere from 6 months to 36 months, depending on the complexity of the case.

 

But don’t make your decision just yet!

 

Yes, Smile Direct Club can have a shorter treatment time than Invisalign… but this is largely because it cannot be used for complex cases.

 

Smile Direct Club is only suitable for mild to moderate teeth straightening, such as minor crowding or spacing issues and gaps.

Ready for a brand new smile?

Book your FREE Invisalign consultation today!

Not quite ready to book? Download our Invisalign guide to see some of our patients’ incredible before and after transformations.

Your dream smile is closer than you think…

Book your FREE Invisalign consultation today!

Not quite ready yet? Download our Invisalign guide to see some of our patients’ incredible before and after transformations.

Let’s talk success rate: Is Smile Direct Club as effective as Invisalign?

 

The success of your clear aligner treatment ultimately comes down to your individual circumstances, the complexity of your case and how well you can stick to your recommended treatment guidelines.

 

When weighing up the right aligner treatment for your smile, you must ensure that whatever treatment you choose can effectively resolve your issues. Otherwise, you may end up disappointed and back at square one.

 

If you’re trying to decide between Smile Direct Club vs. Invisalign, it’s important to consider the distinct difference between how effective each treatment is for more complex cases.



How effective is Smile Direct Club?

Smile Direct Club is marketed as a teeth straightening solution for mild to moderate misalignments. Their aligners are not designed for severe misalignments or corrections. During your initial telehealth appointment, a Smile Direct Club dentist will assess your suitability and determine whether your issues can be resolved using their remote treatment method.

 

How effective is Invisalign?

Invisalign, however, is ready to tackle pretty much every issue from the minor to the major. We’re talking severe misalignments, bite corrections, overcrowding, spacing and other complex concerns. When you visit your dentist for your in-person Invisalign consultation, they will do a physical examination of your teeth and take x-rays. This means they will see exactly where your issues are on a surface level, as well as what’s potentially lurking below your teeth and gums. If you have severe dental issues, taking this more comprehensive approach to your treatment can be crucial for your long-term oral health.


The key takeaway?

If your case is more complex or severe, you will certainly find more success with Invisalign.

Patient getting a digital intraoral scan
We take x-rays and digital scans of your mouth before starting any treatment to ensure you receive a predictable, successful and beautiful result.

Let’s talk aligners: Does Smile Direct Club use the same type of clear aligners as Invisalign? 

The short answer? No.

 

Each company uses their own patented technology and materials for their plastic aligner trays. Here’s a quick rundown on each:

 

Invisalign SmartTrack

Invisalign clear aligners are made from an innovative thermoplastic material called SmartTrack. This material was created exclusively for Invisalign after eight years of research and development and testing of 260 different materials. The highly elastic, multi-layered SmartTrack material replaced Invisalign’s previous single-layered EX30 material. It was specially engineered to improve the control of teeth movements, while also being more comfortable and easier to put on and take off. Invisalign aligners are FDA-approved and free from BPA, BPS, latex and gluten.

 

Smile Direct Club ComfortSense

Smile Direct Club recently introduced ComfortSense technology for their BPA-free plastic aligners. ComfortSense features patented laser technology that precision-cuts aligners for a smoother fit. The aligners offer variable thickness, meaning patients can begin their treatment with lighter movements and gradually increase thickness over time. This is designed to offer a more comfortable fit and make it easier for patients to stick to their wear requirements.

 

Although Invisalign and Smile Direct Club use different materials for their aligner trays, there is currently no evidence to suggest that one company’s material is more beneficial than the other.


Invisalign aligners
Invisalign clear aligners are custom-made from impression moulds of your mouth for a comfortable fit that’s uniquely you!

Let’s talk comfort: Are Invisalign aligners more comfortable than Smile Direct Club aligners? 

The truth is…

 

(*crickets*)

 

We can’t answer this question.

 

There’s nothing to suggest Invisalign trays are more comfortable than Smile Direct Club trays, or vice versa. However, both companies happily boast that their latest aligner materials and technology are much more comfortable than their previous versions.

 

Both Invisalign and Smile Direct Club offer aligner trays made from specialised smooth plastic which sit snug over your teeth. This means you barely notice them in your mouth and you likely won’t experience any irritation to your lips, cheeks or gums while wearing them.

 

With Invisalign, the aligners are trimmed to the gum line and precisely match the shape of your teeth. This helps to minimise any friction and maximise your comfort.

 

Smile Direct Club aligners, on the other hand, are not trimmed around the gum and are instead shaped straight across the top. However, Smile Direct Club states that you can trim down your aligners with scissors and use the provided emery board to file down edges if needed.


Are Invisalign or Smile Direct Club aligners painful?

No matter what clear aligner treatment you choose, you’re bound to experience a little discomfort while the trays work their magic. After all, your teeth are undergoing a major makeover!


Clear aligner trays use gentle pressure to gradually reposition your teeth. So, as your teeth start to move, you’ll likely feel some sensitivity and soreness. But don’t worry! This pain is usually mild and won’t stop you from doing your day-to-day activities.



Let’s talk costs: What is the price difference between Smile Direct Club and Invisalign? 

We get it. Cost plays a huge role when you’re considering clear aligner treatments for your teeth.

 

One of the most common questions we hear in our Mascot dental clinic is: How much does Invisalign cost? In fact, we’re asked this question so often that we’ve dedicated an entire article to the topic! Check it out here

How much does Smile Direct Club cost?


The total cost of Smile Direct Club is currently around $3155, which includes treatment ($2825 in full or a deposit of $299 and $119 a month for 24 months) and 2 sets of retainers ($165 per set).

 

There is also a $79 fee for impressions if you use the remote impression kit, otherwise you can visit a SmileShop for a free scan of your teeth. 

 

How much does Invisalign cost?

 

Currently, the average cost of Invisalign in Australia is between $3,500 and $8,500.

 

However, the cost of your Invisalign treatment will depend on a few key factors, such as:

  • The complexity of your case
  • How long your treatment will take
  • The expertise of your dentist
  • How much your health insurance may cover

Want to find out exactly how much your Invisalign treatment will cost? Book in your FREE Invisalign consultation at Delight Dental Spa! Our friendly dentists will talk you through the different types of Invisalign and let you know the exact price of your treatment.

free-invisalign-consultation-delight-dental-spa
After your free Invisalign consultation at Delight Dental Spa, you’ll walk out knowing exactly what to expect from your treatment and the costs.

So, is the cost of Smile Direct Club lower than Invisalign?

 

In short? Yes.

Since you’re not required to have regular, in-person appointments with a dentist, the cost of Smile Direct Club is lower than Invisalign. 

 

But remember… Cheaper isn’t always better

 

This is especially true when it comes to straightening your teeth.

 

Sure, it may sound like Smile Direct Club offers the same product as Invisalign at a bargain price. But the way the treatment is administered could see you forking out for a lot more work in future.

 

Take our patient, Mr D, for example.

 

Unhappy with his crooked, worn down teeth, Mr D initially started his treatment with an online teeth straightening service. Why? Because it was “less expensive” with no visits to the dentist.

Fast-forward a few months to the result of his treatment and…

 

Well, frankly… there wasn’t one.

 

(*Sad trombone sound*)

 

After his treatment with the online company, Mr D couldn’t see much of a change in his teeth at all. So, a very disappointed Mr D came to see us at Delight Dental Spa.

 

At Mr D’s first consult with Dr Alice, she identified why he wasn’t getting the results he was looking for and immediately set him straight (pardon the pun!) with Invisalign.

Fast-forward nine months and Mr D can’t wipe the smile off his face! Check it out — his before and after pics speak for themselves.

Invisalign before and after
Our patients ‘before’ pic was taken AFTER his treatment with an online teeth straightening provider… But after Invisalign, he can’t stop showing off his gorgeous, straight smile!

Of course, this is just one cautionary tale. But it’s one of many that we’ve seen come through our Mascot dental clinic. Others have required a lot more work than Mr D to get their teeth back on track after using online teeth straightening companies.

 

So, it’s important to keep in mind that opting for a “cheaper” option without proper dentist supervision may not actually save you any money in the long run. In fact, it could put your pearly whites — and your wallet — in danger.


Sounds risky, right?

 

Well, it can be. Read on to find out more…

 

Let’s talk risks: Is Smile Direct Club as safe as Invisalign?

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: straightening your teeth is a major dental procedure. It’s certainly not something you should take lightly.

 

While it may be tempting to simply click-and-collect your aligner trays, pop them in and hope for the best — your teeth deserve a lot more careful consideration than that. Teeth straightening should be approached with the same precaution and professional supervision as any other major medical procedure.

 

From this perspective, the lack of in-person dentist visits with Smile Direct Club presents some risks. You might want to consider these possibilities before you make your decision:


Your treatment plan is created without x-rays

Before starting any major dental treatment, it is recommended that your dentist takes x-rays of your mouth to determine the bone and root structure of your teeth and jaw. However, with remote treatment, this critical step is ultimately skipped.

 

Without an x-ray, your dentist won’t know if there are any underlying issues beneath the surface of your teeth and gums. If these issues aren’t addressed, it could significantly impact the effectiveness and success of your alignment treatment.


You may not get the results you want

As we said earlier, Smile Direct Club is only suitable for minor to moderate cases. If your case is more severe, you probably won’t be able to achieve the results you want with this style of treatment.

 

Similarly, underlying periodontal issues could stop what seems like an effective treatment plan in its tracks. But here’s the thing: you often won’t know these issues even exist unless you visit a dentist in-person for an x-ray. Your Invisalign treatment not only starts with an x-ray, but it has also been proven to effectively work on more complex misalignments and bite corrections.

Patient getting an xray
Our patient William getting an x-ray before his Invisalign treatment.

There are some dangers of moving teeth

As your teeth move, your bite will also change. This can have a huge impact on your oral health, as a change in your bite can wear down your tooth enamel and create cavities. Having a dental professional to assess your bite before and after your teeth straightening treatment is crucial — you don’t just want a straight smile, you want a healthy smile too.

 

Likewise, there is the possibility that your teeth could move too quickly or too much during your treatment. Without proper supervision by a dentist to catch these issues early and administer corrective treatment, this could result in serious dental issues for your teeth, jaw and gums. If these problems are left untreated, you could end up losing your teeth altogether. 


If something goes wrong, you’re on your own

Small dental issues can turn into big problems fast. And if they do, you might end up paying a lot more down the track to fix any damage. If something goes wrong, it pays to have a professional by your side who can see you in-person and get your teeth out of trouble. You can’t put a price on peace of mind. 



Still can’t decide between Smile Direct Club vs. Invisalign?

Choosing the best treatment to straighten your smile can be tricky. After all, it’s a life-changing decision and you want to get it right the first time.

 

If you’re feeling a little confused about your options, we’re here to help!

 

At Delight Dental Spa, we want you to feel 100% confident in your teeth straightening treatment. So, if you have any questions about Invisalign or the other options available, just ask — we’d love to hear from you!

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