Treatment decisions for malocclusions have become more accessible, especially for adults, since the introduction of Invisalign in 1998. Up until then, patients relied on traditional fixed appliance treatments. However, these treatments don't offer the same advantages as clear aligner technology, including aesthetics, comfort, and better periodontal health.
Undeniably, clear aligner technology might present some limitations to the types of tooth movements it can achieve. Still, research has shown that it is effective for several tooth movements. In this systematic review to update the evidence on clear aligner efficacy in non-growing subjects, the reviewers found that alignment and leveling with clear aligners are effective.
Anterior intrusion movement and upper molar movement are also effective with clear aligners. The review showed that traditional braces offer better rotations of rounded teeth and anterior movement, which Invisalign provides by adding auxiliaries like elastics.
Since clear aligners have become so popular, the time has come to have a deeper look at their effectiveness.
Different Clear Aligners
Clear aligner treatments consist of thermoformed BPA-free plastic worn over the teeth to help straighten them. Not all movements are possible with all clear aligners; some are only suitable for moderate malocclusions. They have become the perfect alternative for people who don't want to use fixed braces.
There are several alternative clear aligner treatments, but the two most significant categories are the aligners fitted by dentists and at-home alternatives.
In-Office Clear Aligners
Examples of clear aligners prescribed by dentists and orthodontists include Invisalign and ClearCorrect. These treatments require in-office consultation with 3D scanning to assess the treatment required. Once the treatment begins, consumers need to visit the dentist regularly for adjustments. More complex cases of tooth manipulation like severe overbites, tooth rotations, and anterior extrusions require the use of attachments and pressure points.
Align Technology's Invisalign has been around the longest and had no competition for the first ten years. Today they have a presence in 90 countries and have straightened the teeth of over 10 million people.
At-Home Clear Aligners
With at-home clear aligners, more people have access to teeth straightening. Companies like SmileDirectClub, Byte, AlignerCo, and Candid have managed to provide their clients with affordable, faster, and convenient teeth straightening from the comfort of their homes.
The companies provide an aligner kit based on the impressions or after an initial scan made at an in-office visit. After that, the consumer must change the aligners in the clear aligner kit periodically, according to the instructions received.
People with less severe issues and a tighter budget can benefit from at-home clear aligners to perfect their smiles.
Differences Between the Two
Since these in-office and at-home treatments are different, consumers should weigh the pros and cons before deciding.
One of the biggest pros of in-office treatments is their ability to treat more severe misalignments with attachments, and regular visits to the dental office ensure close monitoring and personalized attention. On the other hand, treatments like Invisalign are expensive because they must include the doctor's time. They also require regular in-office visits.
At-home clear aligners are considerably cheaper than in-office treatments. Customers also like them because they are less time-consuming, and treatment times are shorter. Their major drawback is that they don't treat more severe misalignment issues. Despite offering customer support, this service is not as personalized as visiting a dentist.
What Consumers Say
Clear aligners, whether in-office or at-home treatments, get positive reviews for their invisibility. When it comes to their effectiveness, Invisalign has the advantage because it can treat more severe issues.
Consumers agree that most at-home clear aligners are just as comfortable to wear as Invisalign; some have more customizing options than others. Both in-office and at-home treatments must be worn for 22 hours daily for effective treatment, but some at-home clear aligners have night-time aligners requiring only 10 hours.
Affordability is where consumers agree that at-home treatments win. In-office treatments like Invisalign don't have a set price, and their cost varies according to the time and treatment required. With at-home treatments, consumers know what their treatment will cost because they have a sticker price. Some at-home companies do charge extra for the retainers, but these are cheaper than the ones required for the Invisalign treatment.
Transparency is vital because it helps consumers make the right choice, prompting this in-depth look at clear aligner teeth straightening treatments. The effectiveness of clear aligners depends on the individual and the teeth straightening treatment required. At-home clear aligners cannot treat severe misalignments but are affordable and convenient for moderate ones.
Smile Prep understands how complex the process of deciding on an orthodontic treatment can be for adults. Their guides and reviews provide as much information as possible to help consumers decide. This comparison of Invisalign and SmileDirectClub offers a clear guide of what to expect when reading reviews when determining which is best to achieve the perfect smile.