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If you’re interested in straightening your teeth, but without all the unsightly metal of traditional braces, you might be interested in clear aligners or invisible braces. Invisible braces are removable and, as the name suggests, virtually invisible. Two of the most popular invisible braces brands on the market right now are SmileDirectClub and Invisalign, leading many people to ask “Is Invisalign better than Smile Direct Club?” Or is it the other way around? So let’s take a closer look and see if either of these options is right for you.

Invisalign vs Smile Direct Club: The Specifications

Both brands are a type of invisible braces. But that being said, they have some remarkable similarities and differences. Let’s have a look!

Is Smile Direct Like Invisalign?

Yes, it is as far as the general concept. They are both essentially plastic aligners that fit over your top and bottom arches and gradually straighten your teeth. They are removable, so you can take them out to eat, and if you attend an important event, you can also take them out, but for no more than 2 to 4 hours per day. Another similarity is that unlike with traditional braces, or even some other brands of clear aligners, both brands work with dentists and orthodontists. This is important to consider because traditional braces require orthodontist supervision. Orthodontists are specialists in the movement of the teeth and jaw alignment.

But that’s where the similarities end.

There are two main ways in which they differ:

Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign: The Price

Invisalign is an expensive procedure. In fact, it costs just as much, if not more than traditional braces. Where conventional metal braces can cost anywhere from $2,500 to $7,500, full cost between $3,500 and $8,500.

Is Smile Direct Cheaper Than Invisalign?

Yes, it is substantially cheaper! It only costs a lump sum of $1,950, or you can pay in monthly installments of $89. When you are on their website, make sure to keep an eye out for a SmileDirect Club coupon, as there are frequent promotions that can make treatment cheaper.

There are some extra costs associated with the price that you should be aware of. For example, if you choose to take your impressions at home, you’ll have to pay $49 for the kit. But if you visit a SmileShop, one of their physical locations, you can get the scans of your teeth taken for free.

After the treatment, you’ll also have to pay for a set of retainers, which is $99, and you should order a new set every six months.

Why Is Smile Direct Club So Cheap?

How is it possible that both companies offer essentially the same service, straightening your teeth, but have such different costs? Is Smile Direct Club legit?

Why Is Smile Direct Club So Cheap?

Yes, it is legit, and the reason they can offer more affordable treatment lies in a couple of factors. First of all, the treatment is remote. From beginning to end, you can order your impression kit online, take your impressions, send them back in, and a dentist or orthodontist will create your treatment plan/ They will then remotely check-in to make sure that everything is going according to plan. This eliminates many of the provider service fees that you get with in-office care.

Another reason for the lower price is the aligners are only meant for mild to moderate cases of malocclusion. So if you have a severe bite misalignment problem or really crooked teeth, it’s most likely that you’ll have to get treatment with Invisalign or even traditional braces.

Cost of Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign

The cost is pretty straightforward, but with the Invisalign cost, there are more things to consider, like how severe your malocclusion is, length of treatment time, how many aligners you need, whether you need attachments and more. Keeping all of that in mind, have a look at the following table for a summary of the cost differences:

Invisalign (Full) Smile Direct Club
Cost$3,500 - $8,500$1,950
Impression kitIncluded$49 (or free at a SmileShop)
RetainersIncluded$99 (Recommended purchase every 6 months)

Smile Direct vs Invisalign: The Process

The general steps of treatment for at-home teeth aligner are similar and are as follows:

Now let’s take a closer look at the differences.

Invisalign Process

invisalign process

Getting these invisible braces treatment actually involves a process similar to that of traditional braces. First, you must go to your dentist’s or orthodontist’s office for an initial consultation. If you are approved for treatment, your dentist will take molds or scans of your teeth, and use those to make your treatment plan. You will check in with your dentist in person every four to six weeks, at which point your dentist will approve whether or not you can move on to your next set of aligners.

You will continue to have in-office visits until treatment is completed, which generally takes anywhere from one to two years.

Smile Direct Process

As the company offers a type of ‘teledentistry,’ the treatment can be completed 100% remotely. In this case, you would order your impression kits online, take the impressions of your teeth, send them in, and wait for the brand to develop your treatment plan.

smile direct process

Once they’ve developed your plan, you’ll receive your aligners in the mail, all at once, and you can begin straightening your teeth from home. Every 90 days, your dentist will check in with you. However, if you have questions or concerns, you can always schedule a virtual chat before your next appointment.

smile direct process smileshop

However, for those who don’t want to take molds of their teeth at home, you can go to a physical SmileShop where a trained representative will take digital scans. Plus, if you do it that way, you don’t have to pay the $49 for your impression kit.

smile direct club process nighttime aligners

Another difference in treatment between Invisalign vs Smile Direct Club is that the second one has also offers a nighttime aligners treatment option where you only have to wear your retainers 10 hours per day. This option costs the same as the regular treatment option; however, the treatment time will take longer than the average of six months.

And finally, despite marketing themselves as a way to conveniently straighten your teeth without the hassle of visits to your dentist or orthodontist, the brand will soon be partnering with dentists to offer in-office care, just as Invisalign does. It’s not clear if or how much this will affect the cost of the treatment, and whether or not they will stop being a cheap teeth aligners option.

What Is The Difference Between Smile Direct Club and Invisalign: Comparison Table

As you can see, there are many similarities and differences between both brand, all of which you should consider carefully before choosing the best teeth aligners option for you. The table below summarizes the comparison of these two brands:

Invisalign (Full) Smile Direct Club
Cost$3,500 - $8,500$1,950
Who is eligible?Those with mild to severe malocclusionThose with mild to moderate malocclusion
In-office vs remote supervisionIn-officeRemote and soon in-office
Dentists or orthodontists?BothBoth
Average treatment time1-2 years6 months
Nighttime option?NoYes

Is Smile Direct Better Than Invisalign?

The answer to this question is, for the most part, subjective in that it truly depends on each individual’s case. If you are looking for an affordable way to straighten teeth at home, then Smile Direct Club may be your best option, but you should also take into consideration that its treatment can only be used as an option for those who have mild to moderate teeth or jaw misalignment. Anything more severe must be treated by Invisalign or braces, more expensive treatments due to their in-office supervisions

Alternatives

If you’re not convinced which one is right for you, there are plenty of other Invisalign alternatives to consider. If you’re looking for aligners that are cheaper, Byte vs Smile Direct costs even less, or if you’re looking for exclusive orthodontist supervision, then options like ClearCorrect or Candid may be better for you.

invisalign vs smile direct alternatives
alternatives to invisalign vs smile direct club

Both aligners can be effective ways to straighten your teeth. They are both invisible braces, for discreet treatment, and removable in case you need to take important photos or give a speech. However, Invisalign requires in-office visits with an Invisalign doctor, and Smile Direct Club treatment can be completed entirely remotely if you wish.

Invisalign is also more expensive, and treatment time takes longer, but it can also be used to treat more severe misalignment issues. Ultimately you may want to speak with an unbiased dentist or orthodontist who can give you their Invisalign review or SmileDirect Club review and advise you on the best option for you.

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Written by Natalie Asmussen

Natalie is originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota and now lives in Tarragona, Spain. She graduated with a BA in Modern Languages and Literature from Beloit College in 2013 with a focus on Spanish, Arabic and French, She worked briefly as a representative for MNSure, the Minnesota Branch of the Affordable Care Act, and then transitioned to a position as a Community Health Worker and Insurance Assistor for a nonprofit called Portico Healthnet in Minneapolis, MN, where she helped people from every income level find access to the healthcare they needed. Since graduating, she has worked as a copywriter specializing in the field of dentistry. She is grateful that she found a way to connect her passion for access to healthcare and navigating the complicated world of health insurance in the United States with her passion for writing. Her favorite subjects to write about include disparities in access to oral health care and providing resources for people who need dental care without insurance.

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