Clear aligners, often referred to by the brand name, Invisalign, offer an exciting alternative to conventional metal braces. For professionals in a person-to-person business or students nervous about their physical appearance, clear aligners offer many of the same treatment benefits as braces without the visual impact. The ability to take out the aligner to eat or play sports is another convenient benefit over traditional treatments.
However, not all clear aligners are made equal. While Invisalign has been the primary name in clear aligners since inventing the treatment decades ago, other brands have cropped up offering similar devices at a fraction of the cost. Continue reading to learn about the differences between these clear aligners and why Invisalign remains the standard treatment method for anyone looking for an alternative to metal braces.
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Invented in 1997 by a group of Stanford students, Invisalign has revolutionized advanced orthodontic care. Instead of long office visits involving applying or adjusting metal braces, repairing brackets and wires, and educating patients on all the things they cannot do while wearing their appliance, orthodontists that offer Invisalign have an opportunity to make their patients more comfortable than ever.
When properly applied, the results of Invisalign are similar to those of conventional braces. However, instead of a mounted archwire that applies gradual amounts of force to a patient’s teeth, Invisalign treatment consists of clear plastic aligners of various sizes. As treatment progresses, patients switch out their aligners for tighter ones until their smile has reached the desired position. Treatments can last anywhere from 6-18 months, with visits every 4-6 weeks to check progress and, if needed, replace the aligners.
Invisalign can treat many of the same malocclusions as braces, including overbite, underbite, crossbite, uneven spacing, crowding, or gaps. However, severe malocclusions may require additional dental appliances, tooth removal, or surgical intervention. Clear aligners cannot magically alter oral structures, though they can help coerce them into a healthier state when used as directed.
The cost of Invisalign tends to be roughly the same as braces, around $3,000 to $7,000. However, the amount you end up paying can change depending on your orthodontist’s payment plan options, your insurer’s policies, and the duration of treatment you need.
Despite its high cost, Invisalign remains the most trusted source for clear aligners.
SmileDirectClub is a subscription service that offers clear plastic aligners through a mail-in service. They send you an impression kit so you can take a 3D mold of your teeth and send it to a licensed orthodontist for review. SmileDirectClub advertises an average treatment time of around 5 months and a price point much lower than Invisalign. They have two options: a one-time payment of $2,050 for the whole treatment or $89 per month for 26 months, plus a $250 deposit, totaling $2,564.
Unlike Invisalign prescribed by an orthodontist, SmileDirectClub does not have access to 3D scanning and molding techniques that have made these appliances far more comfortable and effective in recent years. SmileDirectClub hopes to take a shortcut through the normal process of examinations and prescriptions by relying on the patient’s ability to mold their teeth.
However, this increases the chance of human error, which increases the odds that your treatment will not be effective. Additionally, without a proper exam, you cannot know if a different appliance or procedure would benefit you more than a clear aligner.
Byte offers clear aligners for $1,999 to $2,399, depending on your payment plan. They also advertise a short treatment time with an average of 4 months. One benefit of using Byte is that they offer the ability to schedule exams with dental professionals, though their website mentions that this could increase the cost of treatment. The advertised savings are for their remote treatment option.
The fast treatment is due to a device known as the “HyperByte,” which uses vibrations to speed up the process. They also offer a lifetime guarantee on your smile, but you must purchase two yearly retainers. At $129 each, this can add up.
While they offer financial savings and could be a good option for those with very mild malocclusions, most patients would benefit in the long run from the treatment of a licensed orthodontist and the modern techniques that ensure safe and effective treatment.
Choose Reese Orthodontics
If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.