Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign Review
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Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign
Who doesn’t love a bright, shiny, and straight smile directed their way? Braces aren’t always cost-effective for families, and I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not a look anyone is a fan of rocking at any age.
Save the stress and sliced gums, instead turning to take a look at some of the other teeth straightening options on the market.
About Smile Direct Club
Smile Direct Club came to the market in 2014 as a simple and affordable method to correct minor concerns of straightening in smiles. Beginning with a quick online test to determine the eligibility for the program, those who fall under the accessible category are able to complete this home process in a matter of months.
Focusing on teens, young adults, and even those well into their adult years who need a bit of a fix, this brand is happy to lend a helping hand in setting things right.
Invisalign is about as close to the orthodontist and braces experience as you can get without actually going that route. The business began in 1998 by a Stanford student looking for an alternative to wearing clunky braces for years.
This company is all about communication, making customers begin the process through meeting a doctor and getting official scans done to map the treatment route before starting down the path.
This Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign review will take a look at the teeth straightening process, each brand’s practices, and consider what each company brings to the market.
What to Consider
Before beginning any teeth straightening program, there’s a lot to keep in mind. Each brand has their own practices and services available despite a similar end goal.
But before breaking down the businesses, we need to outline exactly what customers need to consider in reading this Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign review before committing to a purchase:
- Both brands market to those who need minor corrections to their teeth. This includes overbite, crowded jaw, and gap teeth.
- Both businesses recommend older teenagers and above as their target demographic as using these methods on individuals too young can alter their still growing jaws. Better safe than sorry.
- When it comes to costs, Smile Direct Club takes the lead. This brand is all about affordability. They estimate the process to cost between $2,000 to $2,400 depending on the payment plan chosen.
- Invisalign meanwhile maintains that costs depend on doctor fees and aligners required as the range of treatment can span 12 to 18 months. While it’s easy to see one as cheaper than the other, both businesses offer manageable payment plans for customers to handle the costs.
- Smile Direct Club really wants to offer customers that shining smile, so one of their options comes with the inclusion of whitening treatment upon the completion of the straightening process.
- Invisalign doesn’t offer this service but has whitening products available separately.
- The beauty of Invisalign is that many insurance plans include them in coverage, similar to braces. That means a substantial portion of their costs is typically covered for customers.
- Smile Direct Club may be eligible for these Orthodontic Benefits as well, so be sure to check with your insurance provider on specific coverages.
- As Invisalign involves doctors from day one, the potential risks are less than those of competitors. That said, there are always concerns, the biggest of which is damage to the teeth. This mainly occurs in individuals who don’t take the proper time to care for their liners and instructions. Smile Direct Club has had issues of misalignment raised from some customers.
- As with any orthodontic treatment, there’s always a follow-up regarding care. In the case of both Invisalign and Smile Direct Club, individuals must wear a retainer following completion of their aligners.
- For about two weeks following final treatment, retainers are required for up to 22 hours a day. Once this period has passed, it’s recommended to continue wearing retainers as long as possible to maintain the new placement.
Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign: How Do They Work?
When it comes to these brands, they both share a similar starting point before diving into the consultation element. It seems only fair to compare the whole process in this Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign review to get a clear picture of what to expect from either route.
When it comes to Smile Direct Club, they begin with a quick “Am I Candidate?” quiz for users to identify the issues they’d like corrected. This quiz only takes a few clicks to complete, asking users:
- Reason for wanting aligners
- History (if existing) with aligners
- Degree of teeth crowding (from mild to moderate+)
- Degree of teeth spacing (from mild to moderate+)
- Contact information
Once customers have submitted the response, Smile Direct Club will identify if they qualify for use of the product as severe cases are not recommended for this company. Once approved, customers either go into a Smile Shop for a scan or order an At-Home Kit to take indentations of their teeth. A plan and aligners are created from this indentation with progress tracked online and virtual check-ups with their team of orthodontists.
Invisalign begins with a similar method to determine whether individuals qualify for the use of aligners rather than braces. Their “Smile Assessment” quiz keeps things concise with only three questions for potential customers:
- Age range
- Description of the smile (based on example diagrams)
- Reason for wanting aligners
After that, fill in contact information and wait for the assessment. Once approved, all customers meet with doctors for scans and mapping of their treatment plans. Here, clients will have the chance to discuss the timeline and treatment along with any questions they may have about the process.
Once a plan is agreed upon, aligners will be created, and customers will have monthly check-ups to assure that things are moving along according to plan.
While both brands begin with a similar process, I have to note how Invisalign uses diagrams and official terminology in their quiz, following up the process with a required in-person consultation for scans and mapping out the process.
When it comes to this Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign review, I’m leaning towards Invisalign’s process from step one.
Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign: What to Expect During a Consultation
Beginning any orthodontic venture is always best when paired with an in-person visit with a professional. Both Smile Direct Club and Invisalign offer an option for consultation, but what’s the difference between these visits?
Smile Direct Club makes their consultations an option for customers, giving them the choice between in-person scans or At-Home Indentation Kits. Those who choose the visit are granted a few more opportunities than those who remain at home.
The first difference? In-person scans done with a mock-up of the “fixed” smile by the end of the 30-minute appointment.
Smile Club Direct pairs this in-person consultation with the gifting of a whitening pen and LED light upon leaving the visit. A plan will be mapped out for aligners and the process along with the 3D scan taken that day will be emailed to the client to monitor all progress.
Invisalign operates a little differently in that all customers must continue to see their orthodontist on a monthly basis throughout treatment. This isn’t a one-off meeting, but rather an introduction to the individual who helps clients through the process.
Invisalign highly encourages prepping a list of questions to bring to the doctors for day one to get any nerves out and clear the air. During this consultation, individuals can get all the answers they need in addition to a scan being professionally taken.
Smile Direct Club Teeth Whitening 2.5 ml Touch-Up Pen vs Invisalign Whitening Pen Review:
After nailing that straight smile, it’s only natural to want those teeth to shine for the public. That means constant care and often an additional element of whitening. Teeth whitening results can vary, but these brands both offer their own solutions to the problem.
Smile Direct Club offers a Teeth Whitening 2.5 mL Touch-Up Pen that makes quick whitening on the go an easy solution to common stains. Whether battling morning coffee or black licorice, this gel-based pen keeps fingers away from the process with a simple application via pen.
The vegan and gluten-free gel comes in a cool minty flavor that makes the use all the more pleasant for customers in gaining that shining smile.
Apply the gel twice a day for five-minute periods and results will appear within a few days. All it takes is a few minutes of dedication per day to brighten that smile.
Invisalign’s Whitening Pen ups the ante with the use extended up to 4 times daily. Utilizing a gentle formula, this pen is all about a fresh breath and a brighter smile.
This brand recommends use after brushing teeth, requiring customers to dry all teeth prior to use, wait 30 seconds before closing the mouth, and a further 15 minutes until eating, drinking, or applying any aligners.
There are definitely more steps and cautions listed when it comes to the Invisalign option. We have to appreciate the careful instructions and open communication of concerns involved in the whitening process.
When it comes to picking on in this Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign review, it really comes down to what the customer is looking for as both products run around the $20 mark (Smile Direct is slightly cheaper).
Those who want a quick application on the go should turn to Smile Direct Club for their gel pen. It’s easy to use and effective in its method. Anyone who wants something added to the routine should check out Invisalign for their thorough instructions and involved process that guides the user along the way.
Smile Direct Club Smile Journey™Starter Kit vs Invisalign Starter Bundle:
Those starting the journey will want to know what’s in it for them. Beyond the straightening and whitening, what do both brands have to offer the customer in their beginner’s kit? Our Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign review looked into just that.
Starting with Smile Direct, this business goes all out in welcoming customers to the process. For $49, customers can purchase their Smile Journey Starter Kit containing multitudes of goodies. Ready for the line-up that Smile Direct provides their customers?
- Aligner-Seating Mints
- 32 Cleaning Tablets
- Lip Balm
- Travel Bag
- Travel Toothbrush
- Whitening Floss
- Whitening Toothpaste
- Hand Sanitizer
All that in one easy and accessible travel bag that’s ready for any trip at a moment’s notice. This brand wants to ensure that no matter where customers go, they have no excuse not to take care of their oral hygiene. I will say the one thing not included in this aligner beginner’s kit is a case for said aligners.
Invisalign simplifies things with their Starter Bundle available for half the price of Smile Direct Club’s own (i.e. a cost of $25). Instead of flashy travel accessories, Invisalign stays focused on the smile, including only a case (with textured lining to prevent slipping), a Pultool (handy for taking retainers out in a hygienic manner), and a pack of Cocofloss (super soft and great for a full flossing experience; popcorn kernels beware).
While they only have three simple pieces to their kit, they focus on the essentials when it comes to aligners and retainers. They want customers to take care of not only their teeth but the aligners they’ve invested this money in. Easy storage, easy removal, easy cleaning.
While I love the flash of Smile Direct Club’s travel bag centralized kit, I’d likely go with Invisalign for this one. With a cheaper price and all the essentials for cleaning and care, what more do you really need?
Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign: Price & Value
Let’s get down to the part of this Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign review we’re all interested in: the prices. A big part of selecting an alternative to braces is the overall cost and time invested in the straightening process.
So, let’s break down what each of these brands offers in return for the investment.
Smile Direct Club is probably one of the cheapest options on the market when it comes to teeth straighteners right now.
Their plans can be partially covered by insurance (depending on the plan and provider), but those without insurance can expect a treatment that ultimately goes for around $2,000 to $2,400 in a span of 4 to 8 months. While treatments can fluctuate in terms of time and price, this business is known for fast results and low prices.
The real saver in terms of money here comes from the At-Home method used in the process. Though customers have the option to visit a doctor while beginning their work with Smile Direct, after that consultation, all work is done from home.
Visits are virtual and photos taken by the customer are sent off as evidence of progress saving money on doctor’s visits and further scans.
In terms of accessories, Smile Direct Club tries to keep prices lower, but the majority of their stock isn’t specific to aligners. In fact, most of what’s available from their online store works in terms of general oral hygiene, which is great for long-term use, but not as ideal when in need of aligner-specific tools.
Invisalign is one of the more expensive options on the market, but they were also the first in the game when it came to a braces alternative. Prices fluctuate with this company due to the monthly orthodontist visits and appointments. The cost runs similar to that of braces, into the $4,000 to $6,000 range depending on the doctor and length of treatment.
With that being said, Invisalign is partially covered by insurance and breaks down payments into affordable monthly costs rather than a bulk fixed price.
Turning the thousands of dollars into a $200/month thing doesn’t seem nearly as bad. In addition to that, customers get the removable element of aligners (which braces don’t) and the expert advice and monitoring of orthodontists (which Smile Direct doesn’t).
In terms of their online shop, Invisalign keeps prices manageable for products specific to aligners and their needs. In addition to these accessories, they also offer further products for oral care and bundled options to cut costs on products often purchased together.
While both brands offer payment plans and insurance coverage, it’s clear that Smile Direct Club is the cheaper of the two. However, when it comes to the value of what’s being paid for, I lean more towards Invisalign.
While Invisalign’s aligner can be two to three times the cost of Smile Direct Club, I love the direct involvement and constant check-ups done by professionals to ensure that the progress looks healthy along the way.
Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign: What Do Customers Think?
We couldn’t have a true Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign review without taking a glance at the customer ratings online. I’ll say off the bat that Smile Direct Club shows off their high numbers in ratings proudly while Invisalign’s ratings are a harder nut to crack.
Smile Direct Club has their own review page, boasting 4.9/5 stars based on over 57k ratings. That’s thousands of customers in love with this brand and their service. A further 1.7k customers join the crowd on Consumer Affairs, rating this brand 3.7/5 stars.
Based on these ratings, customers absolutely love the ease of instructions and At-Home process that keeps them from having to arrange appointments in their already busy schedules.
Cost is another well-loved aspect that keeps popping up in these reviews with customers incredibly thankful for a great smile at an affordable price. Fantastic packaging, straightforward instructions, and a cost that won’t cause bankruptcy – it’s easy to see why customers love this one.
Need some first-hand evidence? Check out these reviews:
- “It went very well, super easy! Thank you for the opportunity for a better smile!”
- “Impression instructions were easy to understand and the four impressions that I took were approved on the first try.”
- “I am very happy to have had the opportunity to meet Smile Direct Club. In the 4 months of the treatment I had the opportunity to learn how to care for my mouth and notice the evolution of a much more beautiful smile.”
- “It was a lot more affordable than my personal dentist. I went to one of the pop-up stores and they scanned me and talked to me about the options. From there, it kind of took off and it was easy.”
- “The kit came fast and in a cute box that made me feel like an honored guest to your online dental experience. It was like getting a warm smile from a live dentist when I opened it.”
In terms of the other side, there have been some customers that had concerns about being misdiagnosed. With that in mind, the thousands that have seen gorgeous smiles come from this process would argue that it all depends on the case and the overall mild straightening cases have come out strong and stunning.
Invisalign doesn’t actually offer reviews on their own page, choosing to let orthodontists do their marketing for them. Even on sites such as Consumer Affairs (with a rating of 3.9/5 stars) this platform only finds 45 customers to make up the rating. Best Company sees a bit more in terms of numbers with this brand sitting at 4.4/5 stars based on over 145 ratings.
Despite the lower numbers, many adore this brand for all they offer. They love the personal care of orthodontists and their close monitoring of the process in appointment times that take no more than 10 minutes.
The best part of that interaction is the easy adjustment of the plan should things need more or less time to improve. Most importantly, they love the incredibly clear aligners that straighten out their smiles without a hint of the look that braces force upon the face.
Don’t just take our word for it though – this brand has some great reviews that offer up the same opinion:
- “Invisalign really lives up to their name. While you are wearing braces, they are hardly noticeable and near to invisible. They’re comfortable and don’t get in the way of normal activities like eating and chewing. “
- “I really love my smile now and it makes me happy. Invisalign is not uncomfortable and is really fast. With insurance it’s totally doable as it’s a lot cheaper than other ones I have seen. It only took under a year to get the smile I have been wanting.”
- “Invisalign is the best invisible braces out there and the trays are very convenient. The buttons on the teeth are also very good and they help a lot. This takes a very short time and is easy to adapt to.”
- “Our overall experience has been very good. The timeline for straightening teeth is shorter than with braces and provides great results. Orthodontist appointments are quick, usually around 10 minutes, and the process can be adjusted along the way.”
- “Invisalign provides great results, comparable to traditional braces. A huge benefit is the ability to take the aligners out to clean teeth without maneuvering around all the brackets and wires. It’s much easier to keep teeth clean when appliances aren’t fixed to the teeth.”
While Smile Direct Club far surpasses Invisalign in terms of numbers for customer ratings, I’m apt to go with Invisalign here as they keep their focus on customer satisfaction and have fewer complaints listed under their name.
This brand doesn’t showcase their results, instead letting their partner orthodontists spread the word as to what the options available are for teeth straightening.
Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign: Promotions & Discounts
Rather than spend time breaking down both in this Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign review, I’ll just put this one out here – Smile Direct Club offers way more promotions than Invisalign. A large part of this is due to their process.
Invisalign’s cost comes in part from the orthodontists that customers will be working with and, let’s be honest, not many doctors are giving out discounts in terms of treatments.
Smile Direct Club works alone, meaning this company can play with pricing as they see fit. When it comes to holidays and seasonal sales, discounts do appear.
Don’t expect half off or anything wild like that, but it’s always easy to spot up to 30% off on accessories and discounted rates for kits around the holidays.
Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign: Shipping & Returns
Another part of this Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign review I can be quick with! The fact is, as Invisalign deals with monthly appointments, no shipping is required.
All aligners are delivered to the office upon appointment. So, anytime customers head in to get their process checked, they’ll receive the next set of aligners to last until the following appointment.
Invisalign trusts that customers can care for all the aligners needed, but instead reduces that required storage space and just sends clients home with the next four or five sizes. No shipping costs, storage requirements, or missed deliveries. Just an easy pick-up.
I will say this company isn’t known for returns. It is recommended that you discuss the possibility of a refund with your orthodontist should you really feel the need, but I’d suggest this within the first portion of treatment rather than mid-way through. Other than that, not much is known or said about returns with this brand.
Smile Direct Club is all about At-Home service, meaning pretty much every part of the process is shipped to customers. The good thing about this brand is they include shipping costs into the price of the aligners themselves. That means customers can do a one-time payment to receive their product or monthly payments beginning with a $300 deposit.
This brand allows returns within the first 30 days of receiving the aligners. All aligners are sent in one shipment so customers won’t be waiting for the next set to arrive. It’s all arranged according to plan.
I’m always happy to see that shipping costs aren’t required, especially when shelling out big money for the product itself. It really comes down to storage and returns with this one.
Those who want an assured chance to return the product should check out Smile Direct, while those who are confident in the choice and don’t want to store months of aligners will be happy with Invisalign.
Who Will You Shop With?
When it comes to the final decision, it’s always important to take time and really weigh the pros and cons of all possibilities. I’ve thrown out a lot of information in this article, but ultimately, if I had to choose who I’d shop with, I’d go with Invisalign.
While I love the affordable costs and minimal appointments involved in Smile Direct Club’s process, I’m a bigger fan of having monthly check-ups to be assured of progress and health.
It’s always easier to trust an orthodontist’s promise that things are looking good than guessing it ourselves or using a virtual appointment.
It’s all about that slightly more professional touch when it comes to Invisalign. The brand is right up there with braces in their reputation for teeth correction without many risks brought to the table. I’ll always take minimal risks over a cheaper option. It’s well worth the additional value.
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