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All the below content has been written by Dr. Sandip Sachar.

The Invisalign® Trademark - Invisalign is a registered trademark of Align Technology, Inc.

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Invisalign Vs. Smile Direct Club

Both Invisalign and Smile Direct Club use removable, clear aligners that are inserted into the mouth in order to move your teeth.  Smile Direct Club is only able to move teeth for patients with very mild problems of the teeth crowding, and gapping. Invisalign is able to align teeth for patients with mild to more severe problems of crowding, gapping, teeth spacing issues as well as more complex problems.  Invisalign is able to align teeth with more complex problems that traditionally were treated by using metal braces.

Invisalign entails seeing an Invisalign Certified dentist who will create a customized and personalized treatment plan that takes into consideration many dental factors.  Invisalign also entails seeing your Invisalign Certified dentist periodically to monitor your progress during the course of your treatment and intervene when necessary.  Sometimes, it is also necessary to file the teeth slightly in order to make room for their new alignment.

Smile Direct Club is a tele-dentistry company for at-home teeth straightening.  They will ship you all of your aligners all at once, and you are on your own to complete the course of your treatment.  You will not see a dentist for clinical examination, treatment planning, filing of the teeth, progress monitoring, nor intervention during the course of treatment.

Similarities between Invisalign and Smile Direct Club

Both Invisalign and Smile Direct Club use removable, clear aligners in order to move your teeth.  These clear aligners are custom made based on a scan or mold of your mouth.  Both utilize multiple aligners that are changed every two weeks.  Both require the use of a retainer after your treatment in order to prevent relapse.  Also, both have advantages over traditional metal braces. Both allow you to remove your aligners in order to floss, brush, eat and drink.  This allows patients to eat normally without food restrictions that can be caused by metal braces.

Differences between Invisalign and Smile Direct Club history and innovation

Invisalign utilizes their patented plastic-like material that is shown to move teeth in a less traumatic manner.  The Invisalign aligners are both semi-rigid and semi-flexible.  They apply force to the teeth to move them the proper amount without creating trauma to the bones or gums.  Founded in 1997, Align Technology Inc. has over 900 patents for Invisalign.  Invisalign aligners are made out of a completely safe medical grade, high molecular weight, polyurethane resin material that is BPA-free. Smile Direct Club aligners are made out of BPA-free plastic. Smile Direct Club was started in 2014.

Dentist supervision and intervention

Only Invisalign utilizes visits to the dentist in order to periodically evaluate and monitor your progress and intervene when necessary.  When moving your teeth using either metal braces or aligners, it requires close ongoing evaluation and monitoring of your treatment while your teeth are moving.  Sometimes, a mid-course refinement may be indicated when we notice that the movement of your teeth is not going exactly as we original expected.  Unfortunately, with Smile Direct Club you are on your own, and do not see a dentist during the course of your treatment.  For some patients, they may check in with a tele-dentist every 90 days remotely during their treatment, however, this does not include a clinical examination.

With Invisalign, we monitor the alignment of your bite during your treatment to ensure that the upper and lower teeth align properly which is very important to avoid potential problems of malocclusion, misalignment of the teeth.  We have seen many patients who have undergone Smile Direct Club only to have problems with TMJ disorder, bite alignment and other problems after the treatment is completed.  Had these patients been seeing a dentist during the course of their treatment, these problems could have been avoided.  Left untreated, a misaligned bite can lead to damage to the teeth such as chipping, fractures and TMJ or jaw pain.

Smile Direct Club Vs. Invisalign, things to consider

Both Smile Direct Club and Invisalign are used for teenagers and adults.  The main advantage of Smile Direct Club is saving money.  However, there are many downsides to going that route that may not only sacrifice the best results, but also cost you more in the long run, necessitating additional costly treatments for a malaligned bite.  With Invisalign, our Invisalign Certified cosmetic dentists will realign your smile and take into account the alignment of your bite, the load on the teeth, and your TMJ joint.  With Invisalign, our Invisalign Certified dentists also take into consideration the function of your jaw muscles that surround and move the jaw.

What orthodontic problems can be treated with Invisalign Vs. Smile Direct Club?

Invisalign is able to correct mild to complex problems of the teeth and jaw associated with crowding, abnormal spacing, gaps between the teeth, and malalignment of the bite. Smile Direct Club is only able to be used for very mild cases of gaps between the teeth and malalignment of the teeth.  Invisalign is able to be used for more complex cases that traditionally have only been able to be treated with metal braces.

How does Invisalign work?

The first step in your Invisalign treatment includes coming into our office for a consultation with our Invisalign Certified cosmetic dentists.  We always take a full set of dental x-rays in order to identify any underlying dental problems that may be present and address them if necessary.  X-rays are also utilized to assist us in forming your unique Invisalign treatment plan.  Our Invisalign Certified cosmetic dentists will discuss your goals, and work with you to formulate a unique treatment plan in order to achieve the proper smile that you desire.

We will take a full set of photographs from multiple angles to assist us in formulating your unique treatment plan.  We take into consideration the general shape of your head, face, smile and jaw.  These photographs are also sent to Invisalign to assist them in fabricating your custom aligners.

We will then take molds of your teeth that are utilized to fabricate the perfect custom, removable, clear aligners.  After we have completed our evaluation, photographs and molds, we will discuss with you your treatment plan and goals.  After sending all of these things to Invisalign, we will receive your clear, removable aligners.  We will have you return for a consultation where we will inspect and evaluate your aligners to ensure a proper fit and go over their use with you in great detail.

For some patients, it may be necessary to file the teeth in order to make room for the teeth’s movement and new alignment.  At Sachar Dental NYC, it is our philosophy to file as little of the natural tooth as possible in order to achieve our goals. 

You will be instructed to wear your aligners every day and replace each aligner with the next one in

sequence every two weeks. We will then have you return to our office every few weeks in order to evaluate how your treatment is progressing, and intervene when necessary.  Sometimes, we will take new molds and/or adjust your aligners, and may also modify your treatment plan.  Sometimes, we will add attachments to your teeth that are able to grip the teeth in order to move them more efficiently.  These attachments are virtually undetectable and fit right into your aligners.  Sometimes, it may be necessary to file the teeth slightly during the course of your treatment to make room for their new positioning as they move into place.

How does Smile Direct Club work?

Smile Direct Club begins with a home kit that you receive in the mail with instructions on how to take a mold and impression of your teeth by yourself.  They charge you a small fee for this kit.  In some geographic regions, they may offer a ‘SmileShop’ that you go into, to have a mold done.  You will then mail in your mold to Smile Direct Club. You will receive all of your trays in the mail.  In some cases, they may have you check in by telephone every 90 days to discuss your treatment.

Attachments

An advantage that Invisalign has over Smile Direct Club is the use of “attachments”.  These attachments are small button-like devices that we may attach to certain teeth during the course of your Invisalign treatment.  These attachments are virtually undetectable and fit right into your aligners.  Their purpose is to grab on to specific teeth and allow for more precise and predictable movements of these teeth. Smile Direct Club does not offer attachments.

Invisalign vs Smile Direct Club, Risks

With Invisalign, we have you come into our office periodically during the course of your treatment to evaluate how your teeth are moving.  This way, we are able to catch any problems that may arise and correct them.  An example of a problem that may arise during the course of treatment with Invisalign or Smile Direct Club is misalignment of the bite.  Misalignment of the bite may cause the top teeth and bottom teeth to come together incorrectly.  We have seen patients come into our office after completing Smile Direct Club that have had chipped teeth due to this misalignment, where the top and bottom teeth fit together incorrectly.  Unfortunately, the money saved by using Smile Direct Club instead of Invisalign was then spent on bonding the teeth that were chipped or getting porcelain veneers to cover the problem.  We have also had patients finish Smile Direct Club with malalignment of the teeth that needed to start all over again using Invisalign treatment in order to correct the TMJ disorder that resulted from bite misalignment.

For some patients with very mild problems of the teeth, Smile Direct Club may be a good choice in order to save money, however, we strongly recommend these patients come into our office for a dental evaluation to find out the risks involved with Smile Direct Club, versus having our Invisalign certified cosmetic dentists performing an Invisalign treatment. 

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