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Invisalign vs Smile Direct Club: Which Aligners Are Best?

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If you have ever considered straightening your teeth with aligners, you have probably come across the Invisalign vs Smile Direct Club debate.

While they may look very much the same at first glance, there are some important differences to consider before you make your choice. So, what are the pros and cons of both Smile Direct Club and Invisalign, and how do they compare?

Invisalign vs Smile Direct Club
Comparing Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign in the UK

While Invisalign has been operating for more than 20 years and treated more than 11 million patients using advanced technology, Smile Direct Club is also a good treatment option, especially if you have a mild case and are on a budget.

Let's take a closer look at the similarities and differences as well as answering the following questions:

  • How do they work?
  • Who is eligible for treatment?
  • What do they cost?
  • What do reviewers have to say?
  • Which ones are right for you?

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about these clear aligner brands, so you can make an informed decision about the best adult braces for you.

Smile Direct vs Invisalign: How do they work?

The main differences between the Invisalign system and Smile Direct Club (SDC) are the complexity of cases they can treat, the length of treatment, and the difference in treatment monitoring.

Costs vary between the two companies as well, but that is to be expected with the differences in treatment and technology.

We go into more detail about the costs and treatment options for each in separate articles for Smile Direct Club and Invisalign, but let's do a quick recap here.

Both are a type of clear aligner used for teeth straightening, and they are both popular with adults since they are nearly invisible. 

For each of the two systems, the steps are generally as follows:

  • Eligibility for treatment is determined
  • A mould or digital scan is taken of your teeth to get 3D digital images
  • Treatment begins with clear aligners that change roughly every two weeks to gradually align and straighten your teeth
  • Once your treatment is complete you will then need to wear retainers to maintain your smile

The main differences, on the other hand, include the complexity of cases that can be treated, length of treatment, and in-office visits vs remote monitoring.

The starting price for Invisalign treatment is about the same as the cost of Smile Direct Club but it does get more expensive in more complex cases.

With the Invisalign system, you still get to see your dentist regularly, usually every four to six weeks, which means you get a much more personalised experience. SDC, on the other hand, can be a completely remote process and you only check in with your dentist remotely every 90 days.

If you haven't already checked to see if you're eligible for SDC, take their online assessment now. Or, if you prefer to speak to someone in person book a free initial consultation at a SmileShop near you.

Invisalign treatment options

Another similarity when it comes to Smile Direct vs Invisalign treatment is the availability of multiple treatment options. Let's take a closer look at the treatment options available with each brand.  

smile direct club vs invisalign uk
Invisalign has multiple options depending on your individual case
  • Invisalign Comprehensive: The most common Invisalign treatment is a fully comprehensive system for mild to complex cases and the treatment time is normally from 12 to 18 months.
  • Invisalign Lite: This option is for mainly mild and some moderate orthodontic cases and the treatment time is between six and eight months.
  • Invisalign Express: Meant for very mild cases and the treatment time is generally three to six months.
  • Invisalign First: This system is made specifically for the growing mouths of children, and the aligners come with indicators that let parents and dentists know how often they've been worn.

Smile Direct Club treatment options

  • Smile Direct Club Clear Aligners: Average six-month treatment plan with 22 hours of wear per day. 
  • Nighttime Clear Aligners: Average 10-month treatment plan, 10 hours of wear per day (while you sleep). Many professionals opt for Nighttime Clear Aligners because they don't have to wear them at the office.

Invisalign vs Smile Direct cost

Invisalign treatment can cost anywhere between £1,500 and £5,500. This depends on the complexity of your case and your particular orthodontist or dentist's prices.

The price of Smile Direct Club starts at £1,539, and both regular and nighttime options cost the same. You can pay a lump sum of £1,539 or opt for their payment plan. The payment plan consists of a £70.10 deposit and £70.90 per month for 23 months (£1,682.17 total).

Have a look at this table for a summary and comparison of SDC and Invisalign treatment costs:

Invisalign

Smile Direct Club

Express

£1,500 - £3,000

Standard or Nighttime plan (as many aligners as needed to successfully complete treatment)

Fixed cost of £1,539 or 23 monthly payments of £70.90 with £70.10 down payment

Lite

£2,500 - £4,000

Smile Direct Club has a fixed price and Invisalign does not, so we recommend you make an appointment with an Invisalign provider to find out what your treatment cost would be and to work out a personalised treatment plan for you. Alternatively, if you are happier with the lower cost of SDC and are ready to get started with treatment, book a free appointment at a SmileShop or order your impression kit now.

Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign reviews

Client reviews

Check out Hannah's Invisalign review in the video below. She is currently on her ninth week with her trays, and everything is going well.

Hannah had braces in the past but her teeth became crooked again after treatment. She talks about the Invisalign process – from consultation to wearing aligners – and gives some helpful tips and tricks along the way.

My Invisalign journey video is FINALLY here and I could not be more excited to give you alllll the Invisalign details – what to expect, before & after pics, price and so much more! If you're thinking about getting Invisalign or have recently had them put on then I hope this video is informative and helpful – feel free to ask any questions in the comments below! ⚡️NEW VIDEOS EVERY SUNDAY AT 5PM⚡️ TIMESTAMPS 0:00 – Intro 1:17 – Pre-Invisalign 4:41 – Consultation 6:28 – ClinCheck 9:08 – Aligners Round #1 13:02 – Aligners Round #2 16:20 – Final Appointment 18:10 – Results 20:51 – How much did it cost? 23:01 – Was it worth it? 23:41 – How did you feel about eating out? 24:38 – Why didn't you go for a cheaper option? 26:33 – Did it hurt? 27:25 – Outro FOLLOW ME💗 Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/hannahfr__/…​ RAIN AND FLOWERS🌸 Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/rainandfl_w…​… Etsy – https://www.etsy.com/shop/rainandflow…​… TikTok – https://www.tiktok.com/@rainandfl_wer…​… BUSINESS ENQUIRIES – [email protected] All music used is from a paid subscription service (Epidemic Sounds). #invisalign #invisalignjourney #teethjourney

Now have a look at this Smile Direct Club video review; the reviewer, Lorelai, checks after finishing her Smile Direct treatment. Overall she is happy she chose SDC, but it wasn't a perfect journey.

Lorelai shares her before and after photographs and shares some tips for getting through your SDC treatment.

Finally we are here and i am doing my whole Smile Direct Club Journey Review video! I show you so much detail in this video the before and after pictures, the computer simulation of my teeth and more! If you have any questions at all then please leave them below and I will be happy to answer them! I would love it if you subscribed to my channel so you don't miss a new video! I upload every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 5pm! NEW APARTMENT TOUR = https://youtu.be/LenejasFGhA MOVING VLOG #1 = https://youtu.be/5puVvK8hbVI MOVING VLOG #2 = https://youtu.be/rUTEZ6ZwpaY Check out my website = www.loreleijamie.com FOLLOW ME ↓ INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/loreleijamiee TIKTOK: www.tiktok.com/loreleijamiee FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/loreleijamiee TWITTER: www.twitter.com/loreleijamie BUY A YOUTUBE AND INSTAGRAM PLANNER: https://etsy.me/2zhmWGr Equipment I use: Ring Light – https://amzn.to/2AnBt3T Canon M50 – https://amzn.to/3aWJ3yO Rode Video Micro – https://amzn.to/35mkASw Canon g7x – https://amzn.to/2KSyzpO Vlog Tripod – https://amzn.to/2Yqmr7w Camera Tripod – https://amzn.to/2St97eD Car Tripod – https://amzn.to/2SHptAH Voice over Mic – https://amzn.to/3bQxSZX Business enquiries/ PR please email me at [email protected] As a disclaimer, some links above are affiliate links Thank you for watching, I will see you in my next video! #smiledirectclub #smiledirectclubjourney #smiledirectclubreview

To read some more reviews of both these brands and compare them further, check out our more in-depth pages with Smile Direct Club reviews and Invisalign reviews.

Dentist reviews

It can be difficult to find impartial opinions from dentists about either of these brands.

That being said, in the video below, Dr Dave does a really good job explaining that in his opinion, Smile Direct Club is for cases where teeth are not severely misaligned.

According to Dave, patients who have really complex cases of malocclusion would probably be better off with traditional braces. 

He also mentions how it took him years to learn how to take a perfect dental mould. As a result he's a bit concerned that patients are expected to do this by themselves in their homes with some kinds of clear aligners.

This isn't the case with SDC however, mainly for two reasons:

  1. With SDC you can go to a physical SmileShop location and a trained representative will assist you.
  2. SDC uses digital scans of your teeth, not moulds, to plan your treatment. Dr Dave says this is 7–8% more accurate than moulds. He also emphasises that these digital scans are really important in creating an accurate treatment plan; so that's actually another point in favour of SDC.
Dr. Dave Maricondo of myontariodentist.com compares the pros and cons of using the Invisalign system versus SmileDirectClub.

Which is the better brand?

Well, the answer to this question certainly depends on your individual case. Invisalign can treat a full range of cases and uses advanced technology as indicated in this study, including their SmartForce attachments. With the use of this new technology, the aligners can have much more control over tooth movements and bite alignment.

At-home aligners can be a successful solution for milder cases that don't require any complicated tooth movements. So if you do choose to go down this route, make sure you see a dentist before any at-home treatment and choose a brand where a qualified dentist or orthodontist will be planning and monitoring your treatment.

Consider nighttime aligners if during the day you have to speak with important clients, give speeches, or adhere to strict aesthetic requirements, or if you'd simply rather not have to deal with aligners while you're at work.

Just keep in mind that nighttime-only treatment does take on average four months longer overall, and is not available from Invisalign or other in-office systems.

If you still aren't sure which brand to go with or are concerned you may not qualify for either, make an appointment with an SDC provider to discuss your options further. You can also take SDC's free online assessment to see if you're a candidate for treatment before speaking to a provider.

Other considerations

  • Both Smile Direct Club Clear Aligners and Nighttime Clear Aligners come with their ‘premium teeth whitening' solution. The Invisalign system doesn't come with complimentary whitening, but you can purchase other whitening kits seperately.  
  • As mentioned before, with Smile Direct Club, if you aren't comfortable taking your digital scans at home, you can go to a physical SmileShop location and a trained representative will assist you.

Summary of the differences and similarities

That's a lot of information to take in! Have a look at the table below for a summary of the differences to help you choose the best brand for you:

Invisalign

Smile Direct Club

Professional supervision

In-office visits with your Invisalign doctor every 4–6 weeks or track your progress with the Invisalign app

Remote supervision by qualified professionals with virtual check-ins every 90 days and in-person assistance at SmileShops

Who is eligible?

Mild to complex cases

Mild and some moderate

Treatment length average

12–18 months

6 months

Whitening treatment included?

No

Yes

Other aligner brands

If you're still not convinced by Invisalign or Smile Direct Club, you can read about some other top teeth aligner brands in our separate guide.

We'd recommend you opt for in-person care over remote-only monitoring if you can afford it. This is an important investment in your smile and you want to make sure you are getting the best care possible!

When looking at other brands of clear aligner, be sure to check reviews of their customer care, since this is the first place you'll need to turn if you're unsure about something during your treatment.

Conclusion

If you're trying to decide if Invisalign or Smile Direct Club aligners are best for you, it may simply come down to a balance of individual preference and budget. Sure, SDC is more affordable in most cases, but you're not getting hands-on care from a dentist or orthodontist.

smiledirectclub vs invisalign
With Invisalign, you get face-to-face appointments with your doctor

If you want to get a second opinion before committing to a certain brand, you can ask a dentist, but make sure to find one that you can trust to offer you an unbiased opinion.

We recommend you read our full guide to Invisalign alternatives if you'd like to know more about the other brands available.

Ultimately, SmileDirectClub aligners are an affordable way to correct mild orthodontic issues without having to deal with traditional braces or dentist appointments. Book an appointment at a SmileShop, or order your impression kit now to find out if you're a candidate and to get started with your treatment.

FAQs

What is the cost difference between Smile Direct and Invisalign treatment?

There are two ways to pay for Smile Direct Club. You can pay a lump sum of £1,539, or you can pay in instalments of £70.90 per month for 23 months with a £70.10 deposit (£1,682.17 total). 

Invisalign also has the option to pay all at once or to follow a payment plan. The prices vary a lot more with Invisalign options than with Smile Direct Club. Invisalign treatment costs anywhere from £1,500 to £5,500.

Is Invisalign or Smile Direct Club safer?

Both Smile Direct Club and Invisalign work with qualified dentists and orthodontists to develop and supervise your treatment, so safety shouldn't be a concern.

Is Smile Direct Club as good as Invisalign?

Yes and no, depending on the treatment you need. Invisalign aligners can treat mild to complex cases of malocclusion, while Smile Direct can only treat mild to moderate, and mostly mild at that.

Some people with mild teeth straightening needs have had successful treatment with this brand, but for more severe cases, you'll have to choose an in-office brand like Invisalign, or even traditional braces.

Does Invisalign own Smile Direct Club?

Align Technology is the company that makes Invisalign's aligners, and at one point part-owned Smile Direct Club. They have since parted ways and Smile Direct is now owned by Camelot Venture Group.

Invisalign vs Smile Direct Club: Which Aligners Are Best?
4.4 (88.24%) 17 vote[s]

Contributors:
Natalie used to work as a Community Health Worker and Health Insurance Navigator. She continues to follow her passion for connecting people with the healthcare they need by writing informative content about dentistry and medicine.
Amanda combines her medical background with her love for writing to bring you informed and accurate content at Dentaly.org.
Sources

NCBIEfficient Design of a Clear Aligner Attachment to Induce Bodily Tooth Movement in Orthodontic Treatment Using Finite Element Analysis. Consulted 23rd February 2022.

Prices stated are indicative only and are based on publicised treatment prices at dental clinics across the UK.