Invisalign vs. other clear aligner systems

Why Invisalign

Recently, I’ve been asked a lot of questions about why I choose to correct teeth alignment using Invisalign instead of some of the other options available. I decided to put together this article to help answer those questions. Companies like ClearCorrect, SmileDirectClub, Candid Co, and Invisalign all offer an alternative to traditional wire braces by using custom-fit clear aligners to move your teeth gently. So what sets Invisalign apart from the rest?

1. Metal brackets are traumatic.

First, I should say that prefer clear aligners over metal brackets because aligners use more incremental force to shift your teeth. Traditional metal braces exert a very strong force whenever the wires are first tightened, which then progressively decreases over time. The initial force can be traumatic for your teeth and cause issues like root resorption or shortening of the tooth roots. I’ve seen several people who now have root resorption due to aggressive orthodontic treatment in the past (including myself!).

2. Invisalign works well for more than just small, aesthetic improvements.

Clear aligners are a great way to move the teeth in a non-traumatic manner, but you need to make sure that you pick the right system. Some options are indicated for small, primarily aesthetic improvements that can be achieved through just minor tooth movements. When function takes a back-seat to aesthetics, biting forces may not be evenly distributed over all your teeth at the end of treatment. Invisalign is as much about the health of your teeth as the look.3.

3. The Invisalign pre-treatment process is easy and transparent. 

Some clear aligner systems won’t let you know if you’re a good candidate until after you spend $75 to $95 on impression molds that you actually need to take yourself. If your molds are not satisfactory, you could be charged for an additional set. With Invisalign, you can have an easy go-free 3D scan that produces a treatment simulation video in just 15 minutes. You’ll know right away how long your treatment will take and what the outcome will look like. Competitors can take weeks or even months to develop your treatment simulation video. Invisalign also shows me, your dentist, what your final bite will look like. I find this information paramount because your bite is one of the most important things when it comes to the health and longevity of your teeth. Because of technology, treatment with Invisalign is faster, more predictable, and comprehensive.

4. We’ll be by your side throughout the Invisalign process.

Some clear aligner systems don’t involve direct supervision by a dentist. You may have undiagnosed cavities or gum disease that can progress during treatment. With Invisalign, you’ll be coming to see us in person to make sure your treatment is going as planned. We can correct course if necessary and help you reach all of your oral wellness goals. Other companies offer very little support. Depending on which system you choose, you might never be directly seen by a doctor, so there’s no way to know accurately whether your treatment is on-track or not.

5. Invisalign is continuously developing their technology to make your treatment fast and successful.

Invisalign has superior technology over their competitors. Their team is continually advancing everything from their materials to their digital imaging and software. It is the only clear aligner company that recommends switching aligners every week rather than every two weeks. Older technology can equal treatment that might take longer with less predictable movements.

6. Your doctor has top-notch support from Invisalign. 

Another reason I choose Invisalign is their superior clinical support. If I ever have a question, there will be a representative readily available to help expedite and improve your treatment.  Invisalign also has excellent continuing education for us as doctors. They have an endless array of continuing education courses to help us improve our clinical outcomes. Moreover, the Align technology representatives are always updating us on the newest additions to their software and treatment simulations.

7. Invisalign offers excellent customer service 

Once you start Invisalign treatment, your account stays active for 5 years. If something happens and you stop mid-treatment, you can restart treatment and have new trays fabricated at no additional charge while your account is active. If you’re finished with your treatment but aren’t happy with your smile, you can have additional trays fabricated at no charge. With other systems, more trays are associated with an additional cost so you won’t be as free to tweak certain things after the initial treatment.

8. Invisalign has the power of the iTerro scanner.

Finally, I prefer Invisalign over other aligner systems because of their iTero scanner. The iTero scanner is a great tool to track the progression of tooth movement during Invisalign treatment, to assess the general health of the teeth and gums, and to indicate which patients may benefit from teeth alignment. It has three exceptional features that are beneficial for my patients (even people who aren’t in active Invisalign treatment) and for me.

Initial impressions: Scanning your teeth with the iTero is much more accurate than taking a physical mold.

Progress Tracking: The scanner allows me to compare where your teeth are relative to where they should be during treatment so I’ll be able to immediately detect any teeth that might not be moving on track. Early detection is better than waiting until the end of treatment to discover that the teeth haven’t moved according to plan.

Time Lapse: Taking a series of scans allows me to assess the wear and movement of teeth over time, and detect teeth that have shifted. I have numerous patients who have been trying to determine whether or not they grind and/or clench their teeth, and this is a great way to determine that.  Time lapse will also let me keep an eye out for gum recession. If gum recession over time is significant, then aligning the teeth and distributing the bite evenly over all the teeth may be recommended to prevent its progression. On the same note, time lapse will let me track abfractions, or notches where the tooth and gum meet. These divets are a result of traumatic forces on the teeth. When the bite is not even, and teeth collide into one another, the teeth flex, and this flexion causes parts of the tooth to flake off around the neck portion of the tooth. This is usually a result of grinding/clenching and/or an uneven bite. If the number of abfractions and/or the size of the abfractions increase, then aligning the teeth and distributing the biting forces evenly over all the teeth may be beneficial.

Conclusion

I hope this overview brings light to why I prefer Invisalign over the other clear aligner competitors. I left out fees in this article, but intuitively systems that don’t include any check-ins with a qualified dentist are significantly less than systems that do. Customer service and cost go hand in hand. Even systems that do offer provider supervision don’t always provide the same level of quality customer service as Invisalign. Ultimately, I decided to undergo Invisalign treatment over its competitors due to its first-rate technology resulting in faster more predictable and comprehensive treatment, excellent clinical support allowing favorable outcomes and customer satisfaction, and the iTero scanner with its Progress Tracking and Time Lapse features.

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