Smile Direct Club vs. Invisalign - How They Compare

Smile Direct Club vs. Invisalign - How They Compare
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Smile Direct Club vs. Invisalign - How They CompareClinical Content Reviewed by Dr. Jay Khorsandi, DDS
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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

Aligners allow you to improve your smile privately, without all of the brackets and wires associated with standard braces. They are much more subtle than braces, and they have been embraced by people of all ages.

They're so popular that plenty of companies have popped up to straighten smiles all across the country.

Smile Direct Club and Invisalign are two major aligner companies at work in the United States. How are they different? Let's compare them side by side.

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 Smile Direct Club 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:

  • Crowding
  • Gapping
  • Rotations

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

Invisalign treats the same types of mild to moderate issues, but 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:

Wear Your Aligners
These tools 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 slide 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 may need someone to watch over your teeth as they move. Invisalign and SmileDirectClub tackle these steps in slightly different ways.

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 is different.

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 creating and keeping so many appointments can be a little overwhelming. If you're a busy person, you may not feel you have the time for this intense level of care for your smile.

Both SmileDirectClub and Invisalign offer clear aligners to improve smiles without heavy, metal brackets. While the products are the same, the cost, treatment plan, and benefits vary significantly between these companies

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.

Smile Direct ClubInvisalign
One-time payment$1,950Overall cost is similar
to braces, with costs
generally over $5,000
Monthly payment$89 for 24 months with
a $250 deposit (June
Depends on dentist policy
Insurance accepted?Varies by plan benefitsYes, with limitations
Financing available?YesDepends on dentist policy
RisksTemptation to leave the
tools out, which can lead
to slow treatment timelines
BenefitsQuicker treatment,
and lower costs
Help for significant
smile issues

Sources: Smile Direct Club and Invisalign

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, overall costs of clear aligners, and perks.

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.