Smile Direct Club vs. Invisalign - How They Compare

Smile Direct Club vs. Invisalign - How They Compare
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Table of Contents

  1. Ideal Customer
  2. Treatment Process
  3. Who Supervises?
  4. Treatment Cost
  5. Perks & Benefits
  6. Other Options
  7. References
SmileDirectClub and Invisalign are two major aligner companies at work in the United States. How are they different? Let's compare them side by side.
Conditions that can be treatedMost mild to moderate conditions, including gaps, crowding, and rotationMost mild to moderate issues; may also be used for more complex or major problems, or used in conjunction with braces for more complicated issues
How it worksAfter an initial in-office tooth scan or mail-order impression kit, your treatment plan is designed, and a set of aligner trays is mailed to youYou meet with an Invisalign-licensed dentist for a consultation and treatment plan
SupervisionYou’ll check in virtually throughout treatment and have access to your prescribing dentist and a dental teamYou’ll meet with your dentist for check-ins and to pick up new aligners
CostOne-time fee of $2,050Similar to braces, with costsgenerally over $5,000. Fees and prices depend on licensed dentist
Financing$250 deposit and $89/month or less for 26 monthsDepends on dentist’s policy
InsuranceDepending on plan; SmileDirectClub will work directly with insurance company to help if coverage is availableOften covered for policies with orthodontic benefits; limitations may apply
BenefitsAffordable and fast; straightforward pricing; process can be completed from homeMore convenient than braces; may be able to treat more complex orthodontic issues; in-office care for those seeking more supervision
Possible disadvantagesMay not be able to address more serious smile issues; requires a commitment to wearing aligners as prescribed; other at-home kits may offer moreExpensive; financing and pricing must be worked out with dentist; in-office visits required

Are you an Ideal Customer?

Your smile is as unique as your thumbprint, and the solutions you need for your teeth should be unique too. While both SmileDirectClub and Invisalign offer a similar product, the companies provide aligners for slightly different groups of people. 

SmileDirectClub's clear aligners and nighttime aligners are made for people with mild or moderate tooth issues. Examples include the following:

  • Crowding
  • Gapping
  • Rotations

As of June 2021, the company says most people need four to six months to complete treatment with the SmileDirectClub aligner system. 

Invisalign treats the same types of mild to moderate issues, but it can also help with certain severe or complex cases. In severe cases, where aligners can't do all the work independently, dentists can combine aligners with braces to move teeth into the proper position.

Invisalign has an average treatment timeline of 12 to 18 months, according to their website.

How Does Treatment Work?

Both SmileDirectClub and Invisalign offer clear aligners that slip over your teeth and off again without the help of a professional.

Work with either company, and you'll be expected to do the following:

Wear Your Aligners

These devices don't work if they sit in a box. You'll need to commit to wearing them as directed by your team.

Invisalign offers a nighttime-only set of aligners, but both companies also have products you wear almost all the time. You’ll have to wear your aligners for the minimum amount of time per day specified.

Take Out Your Aligners
You'll need to take the products off your teeth while you're eating or drinking.
Keep Things Clean
Both your teeth and your aligners will need attention, so bacteria doesn't grow and harm your enamel or gum health.
Swap Out The Trays
As your teeth move, you'll need new aligners. With SmileDirectClub, you'll open your box and pick out the next tray. With Invisalign, you'll head to the doctor for the next set. In some cases, dentists will give you a few trays at a time, but you’ll still visit them every couple months, so they can check your progress.
Wear Retainers
After your teeth have moved, they might be tempted to return to their previous positions. Retainers make the shifts permanent. With both of these companies, you can expect to pay a fee for your retainers.

Who Supervises your Smile?

Aligners are made to fit your teeth, and that means you can't pull a box off the shelf and start improving your smile. You'll need a professional to create your trays, and you need someone to watch over your teeth as they move.

Invisalign and SmileDirectClub tackle these steps in slightly different ways.

SmileDirectClub’s Plan

SmileDirectClub treatment begins with a 3D model of your teeth. You can complete this step at home, or you can head into an affiliated office for a technician's help. A dentist looks over the model, creates aligners, and designs a plan. 

Every 90 days, you'll log into your SmileDirectClub portal and check in with your doctor about your plan. If you have questions, you can contact the team via phone or web portal. 

With SmileDirectClub, you'll never meet your dental professional in person. All the work is done remotely.

Invisalign’s Plan

Invisalign treatment begins with a trip to the doctor's office. Your doctor uses a scanner to create a 3D model of your teeth, and that data is transformed into a custom aligner plan. You'll have a few trays at home, and every six to eight weeks, you'll head back to the office to check in with your doctor and pick up new aligners. 

For some people, regular visits to the dentist seem ideal. But for others, the idea of making and keeping so many appointments can be a little overwhelming. If you're a busy person, you may not feel like you have the time for this intense level of care for your smile.

How Much Does Treatment Cost?

Aligners offer a private, personal, and efficient way to improve your smile. And in many cases, choosing aligners over braces can save you money.

SmileDirectClub and Invisalign offer very different pricing models.

SmileDirectClub has a one-time fee of $2,050. There’s also a financing option — $250 deposit and $89 or less a month for 26 months.

For Invisalign, pricing and financing must be set with the Invisalign dentist. Costs are usually similar to braces, at around $5,000 or more.

What Perks and Benefits are Available?

When you're considering aligners, an improved smile is your goal, but most people won't turn down a perk or two. SmileDirectClub and Invisalign offer a few items that could entice you to choose them over the competition. 

SmileDirectClub offers customers some unique accessories, including a bluetooth-enabled trackable aligner case and a specialized cleaning system to help keep your aligners fresh.

Invisalign tools come from orthodontists, and anything your doctor offers in the office could be used to improve your smile. If your doctor provides tooth whitening, custom retainers, or any other dental product, you can include those treatments in your Invisalign appointments.

What Other Options are Available?

Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you, and it pays to give your teeth the attention they deserve. Before you choose one company over another, do your research and investigate all of the companies that can help you improve your smile. 

When making your choice, consider treatment timelines, the overall costs of clear aligners, and perks. Many at-home aligner companies like Byte offer much cheaper pricing and faster treatment timelines.


Frequently Asked Questions. SmileDirectClub.

FAQ. Invisalign. 

How It Works. SmileDirectClub. 

Meet the Dentists and Orthodontists Behind Your New Smile. SmileDirectClub.

Top Questions to Ask Your Doctor. Invisalign. 

How Does Invisalign Treatment Work? Invisalign. 

Pricing. SmileDirectClub. 

How Much Does Invisalign Treatment Cost? Invisalign. 

Frequently Asked Questions. SmileDirectClub. 

The Invisalign Difference. Invisalign.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.