Clear teeth aligners have been around as alternatives to braces for a few decades now. But not all brands of clear aligners are created equal. If you’ve been wanting to get invisible braces but still have questions about the different brands and types of teeth aligners, read on.
Before looking at specific brands, let’s review what you should be looking for:
- Expertise. Make sure that your aligners are being designed and created by licensed professionals with experience, using proven design software and materials.
- Planning. You should have a series of aligners that map out your mouth’s movement through time to a final state. Your orthodontist should have access to the software tools needed to properly oversee this journey.
- Durability. A thinner aligner will use less material, and so might be a little cheaper. But those savings evaporate if you have to get another tray at extra cost. Make sure your aligners are durable!
- Comfort and concealment. Clear teeth aligners are supposed to be less noticeable than traditional braces. Still, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice comfort just to get a slightly-less-noticeable aligner. (The fact that they are removable should mean that comfort is a top consideration!)
Invisalign Teeth Aligners
Invisalign was the first brand of clear aligners available to the public. The Invisalign process slowly shifts teeth into the correct position through a series of aligners, according to a carefully laid-out plan using sophisticated mapping software. The aligners themselves are made of smooth, comfortable, BPA-free clear plastic.
Having treated hundreds of patients in North Carolina and Southern Virginia, we’ve found that patients prefer Invisalign for three main reasons:
- The aligners are clear and fit your teeth, making them much less noticeable
- The aligners are removable, which makes them easier to clean and easier to leave out for important events, such as job interviews or dates
- No metal means less irritation of gums, lips, and tongue, so they are more comfortable
Many of these benefits apply to other brands of teeth aligners, too. What makes Invisalign different is the wealth of resources available to ensure success. The Invisalign company can draw upon thousands of successful cases and the most precise design software to map out the exact course your teeth need to take. There are more tools for your orthodontist, too, which means better planning and easier troubleshooting.
Clear Correct Teeth Aligners
Clear Correct clear plastic aligners are provided through an orthodontist, much like Invisalign aligners. They are built in a similar way, except that Clear Correct aligner trays tend to be thinner. This makes the aligners less visible, but also less sturdy. (Also, the newer Invisalign now uses the patented smart track material, which many patients report a more comfortable feeling in the mouth.)
Results with both are comparable. Still, many orthodontists prefer the Invisalign brand because it comes with more resources, such as top-notch planning software, making successful treatment easier.
Smile Direct Club for Teeth Aligners Delivered to You
Think of it as the Dollar Shave Club for clear plastic aligners. Clients use a special kit to send a scan of their mouth to a remote orthodontist that then creates a treatment plan. Clients are then mailed their teeth aligners at home.
Using the kit to get an accurate measure of your mouth can be tricky, and can potentially cause problems down the road. If something does go wrong (because of the kit or otherwise), getting the problem fixed is much more difficult and takes longer–naturally, since you are not seeing a local orthodontist where you live.
So why do people use Smile Direct? In short, price: Smile Direct Club can be as little as half the cost of a full course of treatment with Invisalign or Clear Correct. It’s better than nothing, but when it comes to investing in your own body and smile, those extra dollars are worth it…especially if there’s a problem down the road.
Making Teeth Aligners at Home?
With YouTube videos and the recent craze of DIY, it was only a matter of time before people tried making their own aligners at home. Don’t do it.
The practice of DIY orthodontics isn’t just being bad-mouthed by orthodontists who fear losing clients. The damage done by DIY orthodontics have been highlighted in news outlets such as ABC News and The New York Times. The problem is that there too many ways in which the process can go wrong– either the teeth aligners fail to do their job, or they create new problems.
Think of it this way: Why do we seek out IT professionals to fix a computer? Or an auto mechanic to fix a car? The professional has seen more, and can help when the procedure takes a turn we did not expect. The same goes for an orthodontist. The only difference is that, if we wreck a computer or a car, we can always buy another. But you only have one mouth.
Alternatives to Braces?
Are clear plastic aligners the only alternative to traditional metal braces? Not necessarily. For example, there are different types of braces to consider. When deciding, you might want to weigh the pros and cons of braces vs. Invisalign. (You can see a full list of the orthodontics we offer here at MyOrthodontist to get a feel for your best options.)
If you have more questions about Invisalign and why we prefer it here at MyOrthodontist, just reach out. We are not only licensed orthodontists well-versed in teeth correction using Invisalign… we’re named one of North Carolina’s only Elite Invisalign Providers.
So we know a thing or two when it comes to finding the best in clear teeth aligners for your smile