What’s the Difference Between Invisalign and SmileDirectClub?


If you’ve ever considered straightening your teeth, you’ve probably already weighed up the differences between braces or Invisalign® treatment, which for many years have been the most popular orthodontic options. Another teeth alignment treatment that has started to gain more exposure in recent times is SmileDirectClub, which claims to be the fastest, cheapest method of straightening your teeth.

But what exactly is SmileDirectClub? And can it match Invisalign® results at a fraction of the cost?

We’ve answered some frequently asked questions on the difference between Invisalign® and SmileDirectClub below, to help you make the decision on which clear aligners are best for your needs.

Article Summary

  • What is Invisalign®?
  • Invisalign® Pros and Cons
  • What is SmileDirectClub?
  • SmileDirectClub Pros and Cons
  • Which is better, Invisalign® or SmileDirectClub?

What is Invisalign®?

Invisalign® treatment involves a series of clear, removable aligners (similar to a mouthguard) to gently move teeth into the desired position over a period of time. The aligners are worn for at least 22 hours a day, but can be removed when eating and drinking. 

The average Invisalign® treatment process for adults is 12-18 months, although can be quicker for simpler cases, or longer for extremely complex cases that require a lot of movement and adjustments.

How does Invisalign® work?

Invisalign® treatment is monitored by dentists and orthodontists, and you would go through the following steps when being treated by an Invisalign® doctor:

  1. Impressions of the teeth are made by inserting a tray filled with a type of putty into the mouth to make a mould of the teeth. A plaster or plastic 3D model of your teeth is then created using this mould, or your dentist may use an intraoral scanner, which is a device that can create a digital 3D picture of your teeth instead. X-rays are also taken to determine the bone and root structure in order to assist your Invisalign® doctor to create your treatment plan to get the best results when straightening your teeth.
  2. The models are then used by a lab technician to create your custom aligners that will move your teeth into the position planned by your dentist or orthodontist.
  1. You’ll pick up your trays at a dental appointment, where your Invisalign® doctor may also add tiny, tooth-coloured attachments (“buttons”) to your teeth to help the aligner trays grip on to the teeth, improving their ability to move.
  2. Follow up appointments will be booked every 4 – 6 weeks to check on your progress and to make any necessary adjustments to help ensure you reach the desired outcome in the shortest time possible.

How much does Invisalign® cost?

Invisalign® prices range from approximately $2950 – $8450 at your Gold Coast dentist, depending on how severe your case is and how much movement is required to achieve a straight smile.

Invisalign® Pros and Cons

Invisalign® advantages

  • The progress of your Invisalign® treatment is overseen by a dentist or orthodontist who you will regularly meet with in person
  • If you have crowded teeth, your Invisalign® doctor can use IPR, which is the process of creating tiny spaces between the teeth to remove crowding and allow the teeth to move into the correct position without protrusion at the front of your mouth
  • More difficult movements can be achieved by having attachments or “buttons” fitted by your dentist to help move the teeth
  • X-rays which help see the underlying structures of the teeth and catch and potential periodontal problems before Invisalign® treatment
  • Can correct more complex cases than SmileDirectClub, including mild to moderate crooked teeth, gaps, and malocclusion issues (overbite/underbite/crossbite)
  • An existing relationship with your dentist means they will know your dental history, and can assess your gums, having a better understanding of your suitability for treatment
  • Your dentist can help you make post-alignment decisions if any other work is required to create your perfect smile

Invisalign® disadvantages

  • More expensive than SmileDirectClub, accounting for the dentist’s time over the many visits
  • Treatment time is usually longer, due to being suitable for more complex cases than SmileDirectClub
  • Not as convenient for patients who may live far from their nearest Invisalign® provider

What is SmileDirectClub?

Similar to Invisalign® treatment, SmileDirectClub also uses clear aligners to move the teeth, except the treatment process occurs via remote teledentistry. This means the patient never has direct contact with an orthodontist or dentist but instead receives the trays in the mail, followed by uploading progress photos online.

The average treatment time is approximately 4 – 6 months.

How does SmileDirectClub work?

The SmileDirectClub process involves the following steps:

  1. To make impressions of the teeth, you can either visit one of their retail locations, a “Smile Store” where their staff can take a digital impression using a 3D scanner. If you aren’t close to a Smile Store, you will receive a kit in the mail with the instructions and products to take a mould of your teeth by yourself. You will also need to take photos of your teeth from several angles, from which the licenced dentist/orthodontist assigned to your case will design your treatment plan. 
  2. Your custom trays are then created from the impressions you’ve taken or the 3D scan from the Smile Store, then mailed to you with instructions for use.
  3. You’ll be contacted by your SmileDirectClub dentist every 90 days via your online account to provide updates and monitor your progress.

How much does SmileDirectClub cost?

SmileDirectClub treatment costs $1895, plus $49 for the initial impression kit delivered, and $99 for your retainers at the end of the treatment which are worn every night to hold your teeth in their new position.

SmileDirectClub Pros and Cons

SmileDirectClub advantages

  • Convenience for patients who find it difficult to visit the dental practice or don’t like to
  • More affordable than Invisalign®
  • Completed in the comfort of your own home
  • Average treatment time is faster

SmileDirectClub disadvantages

  • Only suitable for minimal gaps/crooked teeth
  • Not as suitable for crowded teeth as there is no dental visit available to provide IPR, meaning that there won’t be enough room for crowded teeth to move so they will be pushed forward/protrude.
  • SmileDirectClub focuses more on the 6 front, more visible teeth for visual appeal and less on the bite. Not capable of correcting significant bite issues
  • If there are errors/inaccuracies when creating your mould yourself, the aligners may fit incorrectly and results may not be as expected
  • Your progress can’t be monitored by your dentist in person, making it more difficult to make adjustments as you go
  • You are completely responsible for all risks and additional costs if there are any issues
  • If you lose or break your aligners, you will have to contact customer service team which will take longer for replacements to arrive than visiting your local dentist

Which is better, Invisalign or SmileDirectClub?

Based on the pros and cons of Invisalign® and SmileDirectClub, these alignment options are better suited to some patients more than others.

If you are unable to access an Invisalign® provider regularly and have a limited budget, SmileDirectClub may be a more convenient option for you. But, if you prefer face-to-face interaction and the most accurate results possible, while being willing to make a higher investment in the treatment, Invisalign® treatment is the way to go!

Gold Coast Invisalign®

If you want to find out more about Invisalign® treatment on the Gold Coast, Oasis Dental Studio offers free Invisalign® consultations at all three of our Gold Coast dental clinics. We also offer several payment plans to suit your needs, so you can afford to invest in the smile you’ve always wanted!

Get in touch with our friendly team today to find out more about how we can straighten your teeth:


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