Smile Direct Club Vs Invisalign: who is clear Winner?
In 1997, a new product was launched by Align Technology. This new product was Invisalign, and it disrupted the world of orthodontics as an alternative to braces. Invisalign straightened teeth without the use of metal or wires, making them highly sought after by many. To get one, you would have to schedule a consultation for Invisalign in London with your dentist or whatever location. Since the introduction of Invisalign, others have seen the production of similarly invisible alignment trays. As of now, Align Technology is also producing trays for Smile Direct Club. This concept takes the whole process of teeth straightening further by offering patients a DIY option.
If we were to compare Smile Direct Club and Invisalign, which one would emerge as the winner?
The concept of the alignment tray
Traditional braces work by applying gentle pressure to push the teeth to their desired position. The traditional braces consist of brackets that are added directly to the teeth and connected with a wire. Braces can fix dental problems such as crooked teeth, crowded teeth, gap teeth, and a misaligned bite. When it comes to alignment trays, the same pressure is applied to move teeth, however, in this case, instead of brackets and wires, clear, plastic trays that fit over the upper and lower teeth are used.
The patient receives a series of custom-made trays produced from the dental impression taken from the mouth earlier. Each tray is meant to be worn for at least 20 – 22 hours daily for two weeks before the patient moves to the next tray. These trays are only to be removed when eating or drinking. Note that alignment trays have been designed to treat minor to medium dental problems. If the case is more severe, the patient may not be a good candidate for treatment with alignment trays.
The overview between Smile Direct Club and Invisalign
With Invisalign and Smile Direct Club, both treatments involve transparent aligner trays. The major difference between the two is that Invisalign is sold, administered, and monitored by the dentist and orthodontist.
When it comes to Smile Direct Club, remote teledentistry sells the aligner trays directly to the patient through the postal service. Basically, this means there is no need for the dentist or the orthodontist, both of which serve as the middleman. In essence, licensed dentists are employed; however, they do not interact with the patient. This means that patients are solely on their own, and are responsible for their treatment, from creating the mold to the observation of treatment. This is why Invisalign is still more expensive than Smile Direct Club.
The popularity, online preferences, and the pushbacks
In the world we live in today, it is easy to relate with Smile Direct Club because we always want things to be convenient for us. We buy everything we need online without bothering to check how it will affect us. In certain areas, orthodontists’ organizations feel strongly against Smile Direct Club because of the lack of interaction between the patient and the orthodontist or dentist. It is worth evaluating the risks and rewards of this product by looking at the following areas:
Supervision and follow-up: will self-supervision lead to an expected result? If the trays do not work as expected, can something be done about it?
Problems: if you run into problems during treatment, who would you contact for help?
Diagnosis: how would you know if the treatment option is right for you? Who will determine if your teeth and gums are healthy for orthodontic treatment?
There have been complaints that Smile Direct Club violates dental practices statuses. These complaints are on the basis that such dental treatments should be done under the supervision of dental professionals. Despite all of these, the Smile Direct Club has continued to grow.
Comparing cost and time
If getting a quick treatment at a low cost is a criterion for choosing between Smile Direct Club and Invisalign, then Smile Direct Club will emerge the winner.
The cost of treatment with Invisalign is between £3000 to £8000 and takes at least 12 months before treatment is completed, depending on the severity of the problem. On the other hand, Smile Direct Club costs less than £2,000, and treatment can be completed in about six months.
Unfortunately, time and cost of treatment should not be the only thing to rely on when it corns to making a decision. There is the issue of efficiency. Invisalign is better at some things than Smile Direct Club. Smile Direct Club effectively corrects crowded teeth and gap teeth of the front six or eight teeth. When you want to consider bite correction, molars movement, and significant tooth rotation, Invisalign wins the round. It is important to consider efficiency and not just cost and time when choosing orthodontic treatment.
What it’s like to have Invisalign
Treatment with Invisalign takes the following steps
- Taking impressions of the lower and upper teeth. Impressions are taken by placing a tray filled with a putty-like substance over the teeth so they can make an indentation. Using this mold, a plastic model or 3d plaster is made. If an intraoral scanner is present, it can create a 3D image on a computer screen that will showcase the teeth structure and help the dentist make treatment plans.
- The impression will be used to create a series of aligner trays by lab technicians.
- The dentist will see to it that the trays are delivered to the patient. Tooth-colored attachments or buttons can be included as well to help the aligners click into place.
- The patient will visit the dentist or orthodontist every four to six weeks to check on the treatment’s progress.
What it’s like to use Smile Direct Club
Treatment with Smile Direct Club takes the following steps
- There are two options by which Smile Direct Club gets an impression of your teeth. The first option involves visiting retail locations called Smile Stores, where a technician will use a 3D scanner to take your impressions. The other option involves receiving a kit in your mail with instructions and materials on how to take impressions of your teeth by yourself. Pictures of your teeth at different angles will also be requested, and a dental professional will be assigned to create a treatment plan.
- Just like Invisalign, customized trays are produced by lab technicians
- Trays are mailed to the patient directly with instructions on how to use it
- Every 90 days, the doctor contacts the patient via an online platform to monitor progress
Dentists vs DIY
Although dentists and orthodontists are not so excited about patients handling their dental treatment, they do so for valid reasons.
Even with years of experience, dentists can testify that even they are not perfect when it comes to taking impressions. Even in controlled environments like their office, there is still room for error, requiring a repeat process.
Since Smile Direct Club is mostly a DIY operation, impressions are taken by people who are not experienced, which creates room for major errors.
Personalized Dental care
Patients who receive regular monitoring and supervision from their dentist, benefit by having a direct relationship with a professional who knows their dental history. This makes it easy to address any problem that can arise during treatment with Invisalign. With Smile Direct Club, you get access to a 24hr customer service; however, it is definitely not the same because it will not be addressed on a face-to-face basis. This will not make it easy for a solution to be offered.
Smile Direct Club would be a good option for patients who have a limited budget and who have minor dental problems. on the other hand, those who need personal relationships and evaluations, and quality treatment would be better off with Invisalign.