What are the pros and cons of Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign?
If you're wondering about the differences between Smile Direct Club and Invisalign, you've come to the right place. In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know, including:
- Differences in function
- Differences in cost
- Who gets better reviews
- Which one is best for you
So keep reading to become an expert in Smile Direct Club and Invisalign, so you can make an informed decision about the best braces for you.
Did you know that neither Smile Direct Club nor Invisalign work exclusively with orthodontists? If you want to benefit from the price and convenience of at-home aligners but also want the assurance of an orthodontist monitoring your treatment, consider Candid.
Candid clear aligners offer treatment at home with remote monitoring by an orthodontist using cutting-edge technology.
Table of contents
- 1 Smile Direct vs Invisalign: How do they work?
- 2 Invisalign vs Smile Direct cost
- 3 Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign reviews
- 4 Is Smile Direct Club or Invisalign Best?
- 5 Other considerations
- 6 Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign summary
- 7 Conclusion
- 8 FAQs
Smile Direct vs Invisalign: How do they work?
The main differences between Invisalign and Smile Direct Club (SDC) are related to cost and length of treatment. We go into more detail about the costs and treatment of each in separate articles for Smile Direct Club and Invisalign, but let's do a quick recap here.
Both Smile Direct Club and Invisalign are a type of clear aligner used for straightening teeth, and they are both popular with adults since they are nearly invisible.
For both systems, the steps are generally as follows:
- Eligibility for treatment is determined
- A mold or digital scan is taken of your teeth (Invisalign dentists can use molds or scans, and SDC only uses scans)
- You begin treatment with clear aligners that change every so often as your teeth become realigned
- Post-treatment with retainers
The main differences, however, are the cost and length of treatment, as well as in-office visits. Invisalign is more expensive than SDC; treatment for Invisalign Full can cost anywhere from $3,500 to $8,500 whereas SDC is only $1,895—that's approximately 45–75% of savings if you opt for SDC over Invisalign.
One of the reasons that Invisalign may be more expensive is that your dentist works as sort of a middle-man; with Invisalign, you still have to see your dentist regularly, usually every four to six weeks.
Smile Direct Club, on the other hand, can be a completely remote process if you want it to. You do, however, check-in with your dentist remotely every 90 days.
If you're interested in at-home aligners, you can find out right away if you're a suitable candidate. We actually recommend Candid, which is very similar to SDC in terms of design and cost. But, whereas any kind of dentist could be monitoring your SDC treatment, Candid only works with qualified orthodontists who are specialists in teeth straightening. You can take Candid's quick, free and easy Smile Assessment here to check your eligibility.
After determining your eligibility, you can order your impression kit online to take your impressions at home, or you can make an appointment to visit a Candid Studio for a 3D scan.
Another good brand to consider is AlignerCo. Like Candid, you can be sure than a specialist orthodontist is monitoring your treatment. But AlignerCo offer one of the lowest prices around for at-home aligners; their full package costs just $1,145. Our full AlignerCo review explains more about this brand.
Both Smile Direct Club and Invisalign have more than one treatment option, so let's take a look at the differences:
Invisalign treatment options:
- Invisalign Full: These are the traditional Invisalign invisible braces. They can be used for treatment of mild to complex cases of malocclusion. Treatment time is normally from 1 year to 18 months. Your dentist can order as many aligners as you need in order to complete treatment.
- Invisalign Express 10 and 5: These options are meant for only very mild cases, and provide limited movement of teeth. They come with a limited set of 10 or 5 aligners respectively, and if you need more aligners, you may have to start treatment over.
- Invisalign Teen: This system is made specifically for the growing mouths of teens, and the aligners come with indicators that let parents and dentists know how often they've been worn.
Smile Direct Club treatment options:
- SmileDirectClub Clear Aligners: Average 6-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 Full can cost anywhere between $3,500 and $8,500—depending on what your dentist decides—as much as, or more than traditional metal braces.
SmileDirectClub is more affordable than Invisalign Full, and both regular and nighttime options cost the same. With SmileDirectClub, you can either pay a lump sum of $1,895, or you opt for their payment plan which consists of a $250 deposit and $85 per month for 24 months, ($2,290 total).
Have a look at this table for a summary and comparison of SDC and Invisalign costs:
Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign reviews
You can find both positive and negative reviews for both Smile Direct Club and Invisalign from patients. It's also difficult to find unbiased reviews, so while you're searching, make sure you check to see if the reviewer is receiving anything in exchange for a positive review of the brand.
Check out Brit's review in the video below. It doesn't look as though she's affiliated with Invisalign at all, although Invisalign was the treatment that was offered at her normal dentist's office.
She talks about why she chose Invisalign over Smile Direct Club, and talks about her experience with Invisalign, including how she dealt with the pain of her shifting teeth. She had to pay out of pocket for her braces, but is overall happy with her experience and says it's worth the cost.
Now have a look at this SmileDirectClub video review; the reviewer, Kelsey, seems to be quite straight forward and earnest about her experience with SDC.
It can be difficult to find impartial opinions from dentists about SmileDirectClub and Invisalign. That being said, the charming Dr. Dave in the video below, although potentially biased as an Invisalign provider, does a really good job explaining that in his opinion, SmileDirectClub 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 mold, so 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:
- With SDC you can go to a physical SmileShop location and a trained representative will assist you.
- SDC actually uses digital scans of your teeth, not molds, in order to plan your treatment, which as Dr. Dave says is 7–8% more accurate than molds. He also emphasizes that these digital scans are really important in creating an accurate treatment plan; so that's actually another point in favor of SDC.
Is Smile Direct Club or Invisalign Best?
Well, the answer to this question certainly depends on your individual case. If you have really severe malocclusion, you may want to consider treatment with Invisalign, or perhaps even traditional braces. But in most cases, at-home aligners can be a successful solution.
At-home aligners are an affordable alternative to Invisalign for mild to moderate straightening. But we recommend Candid and AlignerCo over SDC because you’ll always have an orthodontist monitoring your treatment. Plus, Candid have some pretty cool technology which can help speed up the process.
Professionals who don't want to wear their aligners during the day might benefit from the nighttime option offered by brands like SDC and AlignerCo You should consider nighttime aligners if during the day, you have to speak with important clients, give speeches, or adhere to strict esthetic requirements—or if you'd simply rather not have to deal with aligners while you're at work. Just keep in mind that the nighttime treatment does take around four months longer overall.
If you're happy wearing your aligners during the day (they are nearly invisible, after all) then you might want to consider Candid. Like SDC, you can order your impression kit online to take your impressions at home or visit a physical location for scans. However, you have the extra assurance of a qualified orthodontist monitoring your progress throughout your treatment.
- Both Smile Direct Club Clear Aligners and Nighttime Clear Aligners come with their ‘premium teeth whitening' solution. You can purchase other whitening kits separately. Invisalign doesn't come with complimentary whitening, but you can purchase a separate cleaning system.
- Both Invisalign and Smile Direct Club accept HSA, FSA and may potentially be covered by dental insurance.
- 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.
Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign summary
That's a lot of information to take in! Have a look at the table below for a summary of the differences between Smile Direct Club and Invisalign.
If you're trying to decide if Smile Direct Club or Invisalign is best for you, you can visit your local SmileShop for a consultation and scan. And if for any reason, you aren't happy with your custom-made aligners, you can return them for a full refund. 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.
Remember, we recommend Candid and AlignerCo over SDC because your treatment will be monitored by an orthodontist rather than a general dentist. You can read more about AlignerCo here or take Candid's Smile Assessment to get started.
After finding out if you're a good candidate for clear aligners, you can either order the kit to take your teeth impressions at home or head to a physical Candid Studio location if you would like a digital scan and assistance from a trained representative.
Candid will let you know if you aren't an eligible candidate, and if this is the case, Invisalign is a great way to correct those severe cases of malocclusion, without having to deal with traditional braces.
What is the cost of Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign?
There are two ways to pay for Smile Direct Club. You can pay a lump sum of $1,895, or you can be in instalments of $85 per month for 24 months with a $250 deposit, ($2,290 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 than with Smile Direct Club. Full Invisalign treatment costs anywhere from $3,500 to $8,500.
Both types of clear aligners accept HSA, FSA and may even be covered partially by your insurance plan.
Should I do Invisalign or Smile Direct Club?
You can take an online Smile Assessment to see if you're eligible for at-home aligners. You can also consult with a dentist whom you know to be unbiased and honest to get a second opinion.
Most cases can be treated with mail-order brands like SDC and Candid, but if your case is very severe, Invisalign or even traditional braces may be a better route for you.
Is Smile Direct Club or Invisalign 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. However, if you're having your treatment monitored remotely, then you may prefer to choose a brand like Candid which only works with orthodontists, who are specialists in teeth straightening.