Invisalign vs. Smile Direct
At first glance, Invisalign and Smile Direct are very similar. Both systems are clear aligners that claim to provide you with straighter teeth comfortably. Both offer discretion with transparent aligners that are barely visible to others. However, Smile Direct is a little less costly than Invisalign. Are the savings worth it?
Unfortunately, Smile Direct is a case of getting what you pay for. You may save a bit of money up front if you choose Smile Direct over Invisalign, but your total costs could be greater in the long term. While these two aligner systems may appear identical, there are fundamental differences between the treatment approaches and anticipated outcomes. The team at First Dental Associates has assembled the following information, so you can learn all the facts about Invisalign vs. Smile Direct.
What They Can Do
This point is crucial; Smile Direct can only correct mild problems with the orientation and spacing of your teeth. In other words, Smile Direct aligners may be able to help you with crooked teeth, crowded teeth, and large gaps between your teeth. That’s all.
Invisalign, on the other hand, can correct mild to severe problems with all the issues above, in addition, to bite misalignments. It is very common for patients to have a crossbite, overbite, underbite, or other misalignments in conjunction with crooked teeth or spacing issues. Smile Direct simply will not help align your bite properly, while Invisalign can. Invisalign is not a cure-all for every orthodontic issue, but it is much more versatile than Smile Direct.
Professional oversight is another huge issue in the comparison of Smile Direct with Invisalign. Smile Direct largely uses a teledentistry model. This approach means that you likely won’t see a real dentist in person. While Smile Direct has adopted this model to keep their costs low and offer patients “convenience,” the actual result is a lack of professionalism and accountability.
With Smile Direct, you make an impression of your teeth using a mail-order kit. Dental impressions are notoriously finicky, and it is easy to get this process wrong. It takes training and experience to make a dental impression correctly. Alternatively, you can visit a physical location for an intraoral scan. There are no guarantees that the person performing the scan is a licensed dentist or in any way qualified.
Once you receive the Smile Direct aligners that were created based on your impression or scan, a dentist will check in with you online once every 90 days. That’s one time in three months. These check-ins are not frequent enough for good oversight of your correction process.
The Smile Direct process also does not take your dental history into account. Other than a few perfunctory questions, your Smile Direct representative does not factor in data about your overall medical condition, previous dental work, and other crucial items. With Invisalign, your expert dentist will consider your total medical and dental history when formulating your treatment plan and make adjustments as needed.
What do you do if you have a problem with your aligner? With Smile Direct, you call a toll-free number and are connected to a customer service agent who is probably hundreds of miles away. Of course, if you are receiving Invisalign treatment through First Dental Associates, you can just contact us locally, and we will be happy to help in any way.
It’s easy and convenient to order groceries online or rent a movie with the touch of a button, but dentistry is not suited for remote service. Just as you would probably want a physician to perform an actual physical evaluation if you had a medical issue, dentistry often requires a hands-on approach. This fact is particularly true of orthodontics.
Furthermore, you know nothing about the dentist supervising your Smile Direct care. Conversely, our dentist at First Dental Associates is a Certified Preferred Invisalign provider and a member of the Academy of Orthodontics. With us, you receive in-person, individualized treatment with your goals and oral health always in mind. You’re certainly not just one of thousands of patients across the country to us.
The Bottom Line
It’s true that Smile Direct is a bit cheaper than Invisalign, but are the results dependable? The fact is that without professional dental oversight, personalized care, and in-person consultations and treatment, Smile Direct cannot hold a candle to the results you can expect from Invisalign. Not only could undependable orthodontic corrections require re-treatment, which ends up wasting your money, but it’s possible that your smile could actually end up in worse condition than before you began.
Trying the latest, flashy new thing can be fun, especially if it saves you a few dollars. However, your smile is too important to risk. For dependable teeth straightening and bite alignment, stick with proven, professional treatment, and call First Dental Associates.