SmileDirectClub is a cheaper, direct to consumer alternative to Invisalign and braces. The concept seems appealing to a lot of people but the consequences of choosing one option over the other can have a huge and long lasting impact on your smile and oral health.
Our goal here is to highlight the differences between SmileDirectClub and Invisalign. Are you undecided between the two? We don’t think it’s a tough decision after you know the facts. Please keep reading and you be the judge!
With SmileDirectClub, you don't even know who's treating you!
How would you feel about medical decisions made for you by someone you’ve never met and who’s not even a licensed physician? Every now and then, we hear a horrifying story about a dentist or a doctor practicing without a license and what his/her patients have to go through. SmileDirectClub certainly falls in this category of unlicensed, unsupervised and unattended dental procedure. You certainly do not want to find yourself in a similar position when something goes wrong with your treatment.
With SmileDirectClub, you are never examined by a licensed dentist or orthodontist! Your orthodontic treatment is planned by an unlicensed individual who knows nothing about you or your dental condition.
You either go to a scan shop or do your own impressions at home, and a full fledged orthodontic plan is designed and built on these records without taking anything else into consideration.
Orthodontics involves a lot more than "straightening" teeth. A functional bite and healthy gums are even more important than how straight your teeth are. SmileDirectClub does NOT take any of that into consideration.
What may appear to you as a simple crowding issue may be a lot more than that. Most orthodontic problems are not noticed or recognized by the lay person. It does not mean they are unimportant. While having straighter teeth may be your only goal, the consequences of this “limited” approach may be damaging to your bite, your teeth and your gums. As an example, your crowded teeth may already be in a good comfortable bite, but after they’re straightened without proper planning, the bite can dramatically change creating discomfort, pain and jaw pain.
Another important example is gingival health (gums). Moving teeth excessively in one direction can cause gum recession, bone loss and even tooth loss in some cases. This can definitely occur without proper examination or planning by a licensed provider.
But SmileDirectClub is waaaaay cheaper, or is it really?
The initial cost of SmileDirectClub may be significantly cheaper than Invisialign or traditional braces. But what if you’re not satisfied with the results? You’ll end up paying full orthodontic treatment fees on top of what you’ve already paid to SmileDirectClub to fix the newly created problems. What if you end up with gum recession or bone loss? You’ll end up paying additional fees to a periodontist fix these newly created problems. What if you end up losing one or more teeth in the process? You’ll end up paying additional fees to get dental implants and the list goes on…
What's the difference between SmileDirectClub and Invisalign?
Both systems comprise of a series of clear plastic aligners that are intended to shift teeth gradually until the desired outcome is achieved. There are however major differences between Invisalign and SmileDirectClub:
1. The biggest and perhaps the most important difference is that Invisalign can only be provided by a licensed dentist or orthodontist. While Invisalign is the tool, your provider is responsible for properly planning your treatment
2. SmileDirectClub utilizes an older, less effective type of plastic that Invisalign stopped using a few years ago
3. Invisalign utilizes attachments in addition to aligners. These small bumps/knobs placed on teeth make tooth movements a lot more predictable and effective. SmileDirectClub does not utilize attachments, results are therefore compromised
4. Invisalign utilizes a far more advanced and sophisticated tooth movement system that can be used to treat the majority of orthodontic problems. SmileDirectClub is intended to be used for very minimal cases
5. With SmileDirectClub, you’re on your own! No monitoring, no follow up visits, no professional help or whatsoever!
Not sure what do next?
Investing thousands of dollars in your smile is not an easy decision which is why we offer complimentary smile consultations at our office. If you’ve been considering SmileDirectClub we kindly ask you to consider us before you make your final decision. We will gladly explain the differences between different treatment options and help you make the right decision for your smile.
Dr. Ramzi Daibis is a board-certified orthodontist and the owner of Band & Wire Orthodontics in Clarendon Hills, IL. He specializes exclusively in braces and Invisalign for children and adults. Band & Wire Orthodontics serves Clarendon Hills, Hinsdale, Westmont, Downers Grove, Oak Brook, Willowbrook, Burr Ridge, Western Springs, La Grange, La Grange Park and Chicago.