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Invisalign vs Smile Direct Aligners

19 March 2024

Are you thinking about getting a straighter smile? You might have come across two popular orthodontic choices: Invisalign and SmileDirectClub.

Invisalign has been a trusted name in orthodontics since 1997, renowned for its creation of nearly invisible braces. It is celebrated as one of the most effective and convenient orthodontic solutions for adults eager to straighten their teeth.

In contrast, SmileDirectClub, established in 2014, introduced a novel approach to teeth straightening. They introduced clear aligner kits that could be used at home without professional guidance or in-person appointments.

However, recent developments have cast a shadow over SmileDirectClub's operations. On December 8, 2023, the company filed for bankruptcy due to an estimated $900 million debt. This forced them to cease its global operations immediately.

As a result, potential clients are left without access to aligner treatment, and any ongoing orders have been cancelled without warning.

This shows how important it is to choose professional, proven cosmetic treatment that is provided by an experienced dentist. Not only will you be far more likely to achieve your smile goals, but you will also have peace of mind and full support if any issues do occur. 

For us at Dee Dental, we go above and beyond to ensure your safety and comfort. Of course we want to straighten your smile at a fair price, but we will never compromise on treatment if it means poorer quality. 

This blog explains why Invisalign is the standout choice for adult orthodontic solutions, especially when compared to at-home alternatives. We will also explain why SmileDirectClub closed their doors and how you can avoid being impacted by such issues in the future. 

Professional Invisalign treatment at Dee Dental

What Is Invisalign?

At Dee Dental, we offer Invisalign as a convenient and effective orthodonticsolution for adults wishing to straighten to their teeth. It is an innovative teeth-straightening treatment that uses clear removable aligners tailored to your unique dental needs. 

Crafted from SmartTrack, a flexible thermoplastic material exclusively designed for Invisalign, these clear aligners gradually shift your teeth into alignment over the course of several months. 

Invisalign is known as one of the safest, most effective adult orthodontic solutions on the market today. 

How does Invisalign work?

Under the expert guidance of our Invisalign-trained professionals, your entire treatment journey is carefully overseen. 

It begins with an in-person consultation, where we conduct a 3D digital scan of your teeth to create a personalised treatment plan. Throughout the process, we schedule regular check-ins to monitor progress and ensure optimal aligner fit.

Your customised Invisalign treatment plan involves wearing a series of aligners, typically changed every one to two weeks. In some cases, attachments may be necessary to aid in achieving precise adjustments. These small pieces of composite resin, bonded to your teeth, assist in ensuring a tighter fit for the aligners.

We understand that every smile is unique, and so is every treatment plan. Whether your case is straightforward or more complex, our team provides you with the best care and results. 

Our goal is to help you achieve the smile you have always dreamed of in a comfortable and personalised manner.

what is Invisalign explained to patient

How much does Invisalign cost?

The cost of Invisalign treatment at Dee Dental is comparable to traditional braces. However, the exact price depends on factors such as the complexity of your case, treatment duration, and insurance coverage. 

During your consultation, we will provide you with a personalised price estimate tailored to your specific needs.

Pros and cons of Invisalign

Here is an overview of the main benefits and drawbacks associated with Invisalign:

Pros Cons
No metal brackets or wires Aligners may not provide the same level of control as traditional braces
Receive personalised care from an Invisalign-trained doctor To achieve optimal results, patients must wear aligners for up to 22 hours a day
Many dental insurance plans cover Invisalign, similar to braces If aligners are not worn regularly, they may no longer fit properly, leading to additional costs for replacement

Potential for completing treatment in as little as six months, depending on case complexity

Costs can be higher compared to DIY alternatives
Widely available through orthodontists and dentists After treatment, it is recommended to continue wearing retainers, at least at night, indefinitely

What was SmileDirectClub?

SmileDirectClub offered teledentistry services, allowing individuals to straighten their teeth by themselves, without the benefit of professional guidance or in-person appointments. 

Like Invisalign, SmileDirectClub's treatment involved custom-made plastic aligners designed to gradually shift teeth into the desired position.

SmileDirectClub offered a different approach compared to traditional orthodontic practices, which lacked professional guidance and expert support. Their process did not involve in-person visits to a dental office, which are key for achieving your personal smile goals. 

Instead, individuals could either use an impression kit sent by post for at-home use or opt for an in-person scan at a SmileShop. 

The absence of direct professional supervision in their treatment model raised safety concerns. Results were not as advertised and due to many complaints, scandals and even lawsuits, which ultimately led to their permanent closure.

Expert Invisalign treatment Glasgow

Why was SmileDirect shut down?

SmileDirectClub faced closure due to several key factors that raised significant concerns about the safety and effectiveness of their at-home aligner treatment.

Lack of personal professional consultations and the potential for misdiagnosis

The absence of in-person consultations posed a considerable risk of misdiagnosis. 

Unlike traditional orthodontic practices, which prioritise face-to-face assessments by professional dentists, SmileDirectClub primarily relied on remote consultations and at-home impression kits for creating treatment plans. 

However, orthodontic treatments require careful assessment of oral health and precise treatment planning, especially for complex cases. 

Without in-person supervision, there is a heightened risk of causing irreparable harm to patients, as highlighted by orthodontic experts.

Limited professional guidance during treatment 

Another concerning aspect is that SmileDirectClub sends customers an impression kit with instructions to take their own impressions. 

This raises immediate issues, as non-professionals may not achieve accurate impressions without official training. Unlike at-home attempts, medical professionals, and dental practitioners, like our team at Dee Dental, undergo extensive training to ensure the accuracy and reliability of impressions.

After taking impressions, customers send them back to SmileDirectClub for aligner manufacturing. Once made, the aligners are returned with instructions on usage and duration. However, customers are left to continue treatment without dental assistance or monitoring.

While SmileDirectClub claims each treatment plan is reviewed and approved by registered dentists or orthodontists, users report difficulty in contacting dental professionals throughout their treatment. This lack of accessibility contradicts the companies Smile Guarantee.

Online statements echo frustrations with communication barriers: 

"I've requested multiple times to speak with my SmileDirectClub dentist to address a specific problem area but feel brushed off...I've already worn aligners for a year and a touch-up. I do not want another six months if my gap isn't resolved. How can I contact my SDC dentist to explain?"

How much did SmileDirectClub cost?

Both SmileDirectClub treatment options cost a total of £1,500. Alternatively, patients could choose to make monthly payments of £65 over 26 months with a £200 deposit, totalling £1,690.

Additional costs included a £50 fee for ordering an at-home impression kit, which was refunded upon kit return. It was also recommended to purchase retainers at the end of treatment to maintain results, priced at £70 per set.

Why choose Dee Dental for Invisalign treatment

The bottom line on SmileDirectClub vs. Invisalign

At Dee Dental, we understand that deciding on the right orthodontic treatment can be a daunting task. It is natural to want the best care for your smile, and we are here to guide you through that journey.

While SmileDirectClub may have seemed appealing due to its affordability and convenience, we believe that nothing beats the personalised care and attention provided by a qualified dentist or orthodontist. Your smile is unique, and it deserves the expertise and oversight that only a professional can offer.

Dr. Dinah and our dedicated team are committed to your oral health and satisfaction. With our advanced digital dentistry techniques and convenient video consultations, we strive to make your orthodontic experience as seamless and comfortable as possible. 

Let us be your partner in achieving your dream smile through professional dentistry with ongoing care and support.

Contact us today to book your Invisalign consultation and start smiling with confidence once again!