Regular Aligners vs Invisalign
Some smile problems have a clear answer, but there are so many different solutions you can easily become overwhelmed. You know you want to straighten your teeth and have a picture-perfect smile, however it isn’t always easy to pick the right treatment option. Potential orthodontic patients should do their own research to gather as much information as possible, then visit a professional orthodontist to determine the correct course of action.
Aligners have become a popular pick for people looking to subtly straighten their smiles since first transforming the tooth world in 1998.
Do you need to buy name brand aligners?
No, you do not have to buy brand name aligners, but it is recommended by most orthodontists.
Brand name aligners have staying power for a reason: they work, they’re backed by industry professionals, and they are safe.
Many brand aligners have exploded onto the market, they don’t always have the same quality, customer support, or expert supervision required to deliver results. A lot of these brands are what are referred to as “mail-order aligners.” These companies send their products directly to consumers without requiring any orthodontic or dental support.
These business models can be dangerous as they don’t necessarily have industry professionals on their team, but rather employ technicians who lack education in the field and don’t have relevant experience.
Buying a brand name aligner that utilizes orthodontic professionals is worth avoiding the aftermath of getting a seemingly more convenient or less expensive alternative. Some people who have opted for mail-order aligners have actually worsened their smiles, reporting painful experiences that ended up later requiring professional attention.
What are the most popular name brand aligners?
The most popular brand name aligners are Candid, Byte, 2U Smiles, and SmileDirectClub. Invisalign was the first prominent clear aligner on the market, and after the company found incredible success, many brands followed suit.
Their ads pop up on your social feeds and their marketing campaigns grace the presence of your television screens.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is by far the most well-known brand in the clear aligner realm. Invisalign was the first FDA-approved clear aligner brand in 1998. They are founded by Align Technologies.
Founder Zia Chisti was an adult orthodontics patient himself and his post-treatment retainers inspired his research into creating Invisalign. Christi thought that If retainers could maintain your smile after braces, perhaps something similar could be used as a braces alternative.
Chisti’s idea went farther than he could have ever imagined, and Invisalign has now helped over 12 million people get the smiles they have always wanted. Invisalign proved its effectiveness and reputation over time though it wasn’t initially accepted by the orthodontic and dental industry. In 2007, the Academy of General Dentistry signed off on Align Technology’s Program Approval for Continuing Education (PACE) which provides essential resources to dental practitioners.
How long does Invisalign take?
Just like traditional braces, the treatment time for your aligners will vary depending on the state of your smile but the average treatment time for aligners generally runs anywhere from 12 to 18 months. Results will begin to show within just a few weeks, and some clients may be able to complete treatment in as early as six months.
However, in order to address all orthodontic issues, you’ll need to wear your aligners for as long as your orthodontist recommends
How does Invisalign work?
An Invisalign-trained orthodontist will meet with you for a consultation to go over the current state of your smile and point out the issues they identify. The practitioner will then map out a treatment protocol customized to your teeth and go over how the process works.
Your orthodontist will use digital modeling technology to show you how your teeth will move and shift (as long as you wear the aligners as prescribed), so you can envision what your new smile will look like.
The orthodontist will create a custom mold of your teeth and bite. This is used to create trays that will shift your smile. Once you receive your aligners, you’ll wear them for 20 to 22 hours a day. You will get a new set every week as you move through your treatment plan and your teeth begin to move. Each new set will be shaped differently than the last, gradually correcting your smile as time goes on.
How much is Invisalign?
The cost of Invisalign treatment is comparable to or more than what a patient would pay for traditional braces. As with any medical or dental treatment, price points will vary depending on an individual’s particular needs and the complexity of their problems. For an average patient with mild to moderate orthodontic issues, the cost for Invisalign is around $5,700 to $6,500.
Many insurance plans will cover part of the cost of Invisalign, while others consider aligners cosmetic in nature. It’s best to shop around for the right plan and find an orthodontist who is well-versed in getting you covered. Many orthodontic offices also offer payment plans to break down the expense and make the process more affordable.
How Much is Invisalign Without Insurance?
You will pay $5,000 to $6,500 for Invisalign for average treatment without insurance.
The Best Aligner Brands
Just because a brand is smeared across your social channels doesn’t mean it is the top choice for your chompers. Doing your research is key, and relying on professional opinions is the best way to ensure you’re making the right decision. Gather as much information as possible and schedule a consultation with an orthodontist in your area. An aligner brand that worked for someone else might not necessarily work for you, so it’s always safest to get an expert’s advice before picking a brand.
Other top aligner brands are:
Candid clear aligners are an excellent alternative to traditional braces. The popular brand is well-respected in the field because the first step in the process requires patients to visit an approved orthodontist for a consultation to receive a professional evaluation.
Once the initial assessment is complete, you’ll receive your full set of aligners, your CandidMonitoring™ materials, and premium teeth-whitening kit. Every two weeks, patients send progress pictures to the same orthodontist who will be able to track their progress and point out any possible obstacles. Then there is only one more in-person visit at the end of your treatment to get fitted for retainers.
Candid costs $3,995 for the full treatment and materials, but patients can opt to make reasonable payments through a monthly payment plan. It is an affordable, convenient option that is backed by professionals, making it a top choice for someone looking to save on orthodontic treatment.
Byte clear aligners are another trending treatment option for those looking to avoid metal braces. The clear aligner company is somewhat of a hybrid between the Invisalign/Candid model and the direct-mail options that are available. Byte is a mail-in aligner brand. If you use this brand, you will order an impression kit through the mail and send it back. Byte then uses a network of licensed dentists and orthodontists that other mail-model companies don’t have access to. Each treatment is designed and approved by a licensed practitioner, and the company says they don’t take clients who aren’t a good fit.
Byte’s All-Day aligners cost $1,895, while the At-Night aligners are $2,295. Patients can choose which option they’d prefer, but the length of treatment time will extend if they decide to go with the night-only aligners. Payment plans are also available through Byte, $82/month for the all-day sets and $99/month for the night-wear alternative.
SmileDirect Club is possibly the most well-known mail-order aligner currently on the market. The business allows customers to take total control of their treatment plan and allows for convenient, “do-it-yourself” type of care.
You make the molds and mail them yourself, then receive your aligners to begin your treatment. The company says it has served over one million people with its aligners, and there are locations across the U.S. to get a free scan. However, the convenience does come with a cost, as the company doesn’t use a network of professional orthodontists to consult with its consumers beforehand or during the process.
SmileDirect Club costs $2,050, with plans of $250 down and $89/month. Some insurance plans do cover the cost of the aligners, but you may have to pay in full and get reimbursed.
Which aligner brand should you buy?
After reading through the guide on clear aligners, we hope you have a better idea on what will work best for your smile and your budget.
Our team is most confident using Candid clear aligners, not only because they’re effective and affordable, but because the treatment is monitored by professionals to ensure your process is safe and comfortable.
Making the decision to get orthodontic treatment is an investment on all fronts; financially, physically, and even mentally. We hope this article gave you some insight into what to look for in a clear aligner brand and how to best prepare yourself for your first consultation. Your smile sticks with you for life, so don’t skip out on quality care just to save a buck or two.