Have you ever felt self-conscious about your crooked teeth? Not only can your smile impact your personal confidence, but also it can affect your relationships and your job prospects. Plus, there are many health benefits of straight teeth; they may reduce your likelihood of developing gum disease, improve your sleep quality, and decrease severe headaches. In the past, traditional metal braces scared some people away from orthodontics, but these days we’re lucky to have the option of treating crooked teeth with clear plastic aligners. But should you choose time-tested Invisalign (a product of Align Technology) or trendy Smile Direct Club? Invisalign vs. Smile Direct Club: Which is the best option for you?
Invisalign vs. Smile Direct Club
Invisalign is designed to help with mild to complex teeth straightening, including major crowding, underbites, overbites, crossbites, and open bites. Smile Direct Club cannot handle complex cases; it only provides mild to moderate teeth straightening, including crowding, spacing issues, and gaps.
Both treatment options begin with a free online assessment. If you’re a candidate for Invisalign, you will need to make an appointment with an Invisalign-approved doctor in your area. Your doctor will provide you with a treatment plan, take impressions of your mouth, and answer your questions. With Smile Direct Club, once you’re approved, you will either visit a local SmileShop so the company can perform a 3D scan of your teeth or you will create impressions at home using a provided kit. Then you’ll receive your treatment plan.
Invisalign requires doctor visits every four to six weeks. At these appointments, your doctor will check that your aligners are doing their job properly. Typically these visits are very short – just 15 minutes or so. Smile Direct Club, on the other hand, does not require any doctor or office visits. It is called a “doctor-directed” treatment, with a licensed dentist or orthodontist remotely checking in with patients every 90 days. This remote process can be dangerous in some situations. Because Smile Direct doesn’t look at a patient’s complete oral health and underlying problems, the treatment may provide alignment at the expense of the patient’s health. For example, it could disrupt your bite or even lead to permanent tooth loss (source).
Both treatment plans rely on clear, plastic aligners. With each new aligner, your teeth will slowly shift into place. Invisalign may also require the use of attachments (also called buttons), which are tiny, tooth-colored shapes that are affixed to the teeth to apply extra force.
If a patient doesn’t follow the directions for wearing their aligners, they won’t achieve lasting results or they may need to extend their treatment time. Some people might find it easier to follow the directions with Invisalign because their doctor will be checking their progress in person each month.
Pro Perspectives on Invisalign vs. Smile Direct Club
In today’s busy world, it’s easy to understand the appeal of Smile Direct Club. You can purchase the treatment online and complete the entire process from home – it certainly seems convenient. But be sure that you’ve fully researched this trendy new product before you commit to it.
For example, did you know that the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recently issued a consumer alert regarding direct-to-consumer orthodontic companies like Smile Direct Club, Smilelove, SnapCorrect, Orthly, and Candid Co.? As the AAO states, “There is more to creating a healthy, beautiful smile than moving the visible portions of your teeth . . . Orthodontic treatment involves the movement of biological material, which if not done correctly could lead to potentially irreversible and expensive damage such as tooth and gum loss, changed bites, and other issues.”
The AAO has also issued complaints against Smile Direct Club in 36 states, declaring that the company is in violation of dental-practice statutes. So far, two states (Georgia and Alabama) have agreed with the AAO and put restrictions on the operation of Smile Direct Club.
In addition, as the Dental Health Society advises, it’s important to give serious thought to what is and is not covered by a remote orthodontic treatment like Smile Direct Club. How will you know if your teeth and gums are even healthy enough for orthodontic treatment? Will you be responsible for gauging the product’s progress? How will you know if the trays aren’t working as expected?
Finally, it’s worth noting that the American Dental Association (ADA) “strongly discourages” DIY orthodontic treatments like Smile Direct Club. When announcing their stance, the ADA mentioned a news release from the AAO that revealed that “nearly 13 percent of its member orthodontists are seeing patients who have tried do-it-yourself teeth straightening, with some of those attempts causing irreparable damage.”
Invisalign vs. Smile Direct Club: Ultimately the choice is yours, but we encourage you to discuss these options with your dentist so that you fully understand how they would work with your unique dental health.
And if you’re interested in straightening your teeth with Invisalign, contact Wilkinson Dental if you live in or near Springfield, MO. We use Invisalign to correct overcrowded teeth, misaligned teeth, gapped teeth, and bite problems, including overbite, open bite, crossbite, and underbite. Check out these before-and-after photos. Finally, to schedule your complimentary consultation, please give us a call at 417-708-0556 or contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!