In recent years, dental health and aesthetics have significantly transformed, largely fueled by technological advancements. Among these innovations, clear dental aligners have risen to prominence as a groundbreaking alternative to traditional metal braces. These virtually invisible aligners have changed how people perceive orthodontic treatment and opened doors to a more flexible, less invasive approach to achieving a perfect smile.

Two giants dominate this lucrative market: Invisalign and Smile Direct Club. Both have revolutionised orthodontic treatment, making it more accessible and less daunting for millions worldwide. However, while both companies promise straighter teeth without the hassle of metal wires and brackets, some key differences exist in their approaches, methodologies, and outcomes. This article aims to delve into these differences, focusing on the advantages that make Invisalign a superior choice for many patients.

It’s essential to recognise that choosing an orthodontic treatment is a significant decision with long-term implications for your dental health. Therefore, it is vital to make an informed choice. In the forthcoming sections, we will explore various metrics to offer a well-rounded view, such as treatment methodology, customisation and precision, duration, cost, quality of materials, aftercare, and even user reviews and clinical studies.

Stay tuned as we dissect the pros and cons, ultimately revealing why Invisalign often holds the upper hand in the battle for a better smile.

Historical Background 

The progression of orthodontic care has been remarkable, shifting from the obtrusive metal braces of yesteryears to today’s almost invisible aligners. This section traces the historical milestones that led to the prominence of clear aligner treatment, particularly focusing on the two market leaders: Smile Direct Club treatment vs. Invisalign.

The Dawn of Invisalign: A Revolution in Orthodontics

Invisalign entered the orthodontic scene in 1999, marking a watershed moment for the industry. The company was developed by Align Technology and leveraged advanced 3D imaging technology to create custom aligners that could treat a broad range of dental issues.

This significantly departed from traditional braces, offering an aesthetic, comfortable, and flexible treatment option. Invisalign’s aligners soon became the gold standard in the field, with dental professionals backing the technology.

Smile Direct Club: The Direct-to-Consumer Paradigm

Nearly a decade and a half later, Smile Direct Club burst onto the scene in 2014, positioning itself as a disruptive force in the industry. Their direct-to-consumer model aimed to bypass traditional orthodontic consultations, offering teledentistry as a convenient alternative. While this approach appealed to a demographic searching for affordable and quick solutions, it also raised questions about the absence of professional oversight in Smile Direct Club’s treatment plans.

In summary, both companies have had a transformative impact on orthodontics, making it more accessible and approachable than ever before. However, as we’ll explore in the subsequent sections, the differences in their methods and philosophies have significant implications for the quality of treatment and overall dental health.

Methodology of Treatment 

Regarding the treatment methodology for correcting misaligned teeth, Invisalign and Smile Direct Club take different paths. While both aim to deliver a straighter, more beautiful smile, their processes vary widely, especially regarding precision, customisation, and professional oversight. This section will delve into the intricacies of these methods, underlining why Invisalign often holds the advantage over Smile Direct Club in various key aspects.

Invisalign: Precision, Customisation, and Professional Oversightsmile direct club treatment burwood

Invisalign’s approach to treatment is meticulously crafted to meet individual needs. The journey typically begins with an in-person consultation with a qualified dentist, who thoroughly examines your teeth and oral health. They use advanced 3D imaging technology to create a detailed treatment plan that outlines every stage of your journey to a perfect smile.

The aligners are then custom-fabricated using high-quality, medical-grade, BPA-free plastic. These are designed for maximum comfort and efficiency, adhering snugly to your teeth to provide controlled force in shifting them.

Moreover, Invisalign can tackle a wide range of dental alignment issues, from simple cases to more complex ones that may involve rotating teeth or shifting molars. The dentist regularly monitors the progress, making necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.

Smile Direct Club: A One-Size-Fits-All Approach?

Smile Direct Club offers either an at-home impression kit or an in-store scan to get started with your treatment plan. While the process may seem convenient, it often needs more depth of a professional evaluation. The scans or impressions are reviewed remotely, and a general treatment plan is set forth without a comprehensive oral health check-up. Notably, the treatment is typically not overseen by a dentist, which can be a significant drawback for complex cases or if problems arise during treatment.

Smile Direct Club aligners are also made from a proprietary plastic material, but the lack of customisation can lead to discomfort or less efficient movement of teeth. The fixed treatment durations can make the approach less flexible, especially if you require alterations to the initial treatment plan.

Why Invisalign Holds the Upper Hand?

There are several advantages of Invisalign’s methodology over that of Smile Direct Club:

Professional Oversight: A dentist’s continuous guidance ensures a more effective and safe treatment plan.

Customisation: Invisalign provides a highly individualised treatment plan, crucial for effectively addressing complex dental issues.

Quality of Materials: Invisalign uses medical-grade materials that are both durable and comfortable, ensuring effective treatment and minimising the risk of irritation.

Flexible Treatment Duration: The adaptability of Invisalign’s treatment duration allows for a more personalised and responsive approach to dental alignment.

Customisation and Precision invisalign and smile direct burwood

Orthodontic treatment is not just about straightening teeth; it’s about creating a harmonious alignment that complements one’s facial structure and meets one’s specific dental needs. In this realm, customisation and precision play pivotal roles.

Both Invisalign and Smile Direct Club offer clear aligner solutions, but their approaches vary considerably in tailoring the treatment to individual cases. Let’s explore why Invisalign often stands out as the superior choice in these aspects.

Invisalign: The Pinnacle of Personalisation

Invisalign’s treatment process epitomises the essence of customisation. The journey begins with an in-depth consultation, where a qualified dentist evaluates the patient’s teeth structure, oral health, and alignment needs.

Using state-of-the-art 3D imaging technology, a detailed blueprint of the patient’s dental journey is crafted, ensuring each aligner is precisely designed for optimal movement at each stage.

Furthermore, Invisalign aligners are constructed using SmartTrack material, which fits snugly and offers controlled force, making intricate movements possible. This can be especially crucial when dealing with complex dental issues such as deep bites, rotated teeth, or significant overcrowding.

Smile Direct Club: A Broader Brushstroke

Though convenient, Smile Direct Club’s methodology offers a more generalised approach—their treatment plans, usually devoid of regular orthodontic supervision, lean towards a one-size-fits-most model. The absence of regular in-person consultations can sometimes lead to less accurate aligner fit or inefficiencies in teeth movement.

Invisalign’s Unparalleled Advantages

In the domain of customisation and precision, Invisalign’s advantages are twofold:

Detailed Blueprinting: With advanced imaging and professional oversight, each aligner is crafted to address the specific movement needs of individual teeth.

Material Excellence: Invisalign’s SmartTrack material ensures a better fit, offering a more comfortable experience and achieving desired results faster.

In essence, orthodontic treatment is an art as much as a science. The benefits of opting for a meticulously tailored treatment plan, as offered by Invisalign, are undeniable for a procedure that significantly influences one’s appearance and oral health. While Smile Direct Club provides a more generalised solution, Invisalign’s commitment to customisation and precision ensures a more harmonious, efficient, and lasting result.

Duration of Treatment 

One of the primary concerns for anyone seeking orthodontic treatment is the duration it will take to achieve the desired results. Whether it’s the teen wanting a flawless smile before graduation or the busy professional hoping for a quick transformation, time is often of the essence.

However, as we explore the treatment duration offered by both Invisalign and Smile Direct Club, we find that faster doesn’t always mean better. This section aims to elucidate why Invisalign’s approach to treatment duration often delivers more satisfactory and lasting results.

Invisalign: Tailored Timelines for Effective Results

Invisalign’s approach to treatment duration is as customised as its aligners. After an initial in-depth consultation, an individualised treatment plan is developed that outlines the estimated timeline for your specific case. This can range from as short as six months for simpler cases to up to two years for more complex dental issues.

The benefit here is the adaptability and the constant monitoring by a dentist. Should you face any issues, or if the teeth are not aligning as predicted, timely interventions can be made. The treatment plan is not static; it can be updated to ensure you are on the quickest yet most effective path to achieving your perfect smile.

Smile Direct Club: Fixed Durations and the Risk of Compromise

Smile Direct Club often markets a quicker treatment duration, usually around four to six months. While this may seem attractive at first glance, it comes with its own set of caveats. The rapid timeline can sometimes compromise the optimal movement of teeth, particularly in complex cases. The absence of regular orthodontic check-ups can also mean that any misalignments or issues that arise may go unnoticed or unaddressed.

Why Invisalign Holds the Advantage

Adaptable Plans: Invisalign’s flexibility allows for adjustments to the treatment plan, thus ensuring effective results.

Quality Over Speed: By not rushing the process and giving teeth the time they need to move, Invisalign often delivers more sustainable and harmonious outcomes.

Ongoing Professional Oversight: Regular check-ups ensure you are always on the right track, making predicting and adhering to the treatment duration easier.

In summary, while Smile Direct Club might entice you with the promise of speed, it’s essential to consider the potential compromises in treatment efficacy. Invisalign’s patient-centric, adaptable timelines, guided by professional oversight, make it a more reliable choice for those seeking a quick fix and a lasting transformation.

Cost and Payment Options 

The financial aspect of orthodontic treatment is often a critical deciding factor for many individuals. While budget constraints are undeniably important, viewing the cost of treatment as an investment in your long-term dental health and aesthetics is essential. In this context, let’s examine how Invisalign and Smile Direct Club compare in terms of cost and payment options and why Invisalign often provides better value for your investment.

Invisalign: An Investment in Comprehensive Care

traditional metal bracesburwoodThe cost of Invisalign treatment varies depending on the complexity of the dental issues being addressed. Generally, it ranges from $3,000, and this investment covers a complete treatment package. This package typically includes initial consultation fees, the custom design and fabrication of multiple aligners, and regular follow-up appointments with a qualified dentist for adjustments and monitoring.

Furthermore, Invisalign offers various flexible payment plans, including zero-interest financing options. Many dental insurance plans also cover part of the Invisalign treatment, making it more financially accessible.

Smile Direct Club: Affordability at a Price?

Smile Direct Club promotes itself as a more budget-friendly option, with treatment plans often costing around $1,950. While this upfront affordability may seem tempting, it’s crucial to consider what this price covers. Generally, the cost includes the aligners and perhaps a few remote check-ins but lacks comprehensive dental supervision.

Moreover, the cost-effectiveness could be better when considering potential additional expenses. If complications arise during the treatment, the lack of orthodontic supervision might necessitate separate professional consultations, thereby increasing the overall cost.

Why Invisalign Offers Better Value for Money

Comprehensive Treatment Plan: The cost of Invisalign covers an all-inclusive, personalised treatment plan managed by a certified dentist, offering a holistic approach to dental care.

Insurance Coverage: The nature of Invisalign’s treatment often qualifies it for dental insurance benefits, thereby potentially reducing your out-of-pocket expenses.

Flexible Financing: The various zero-interest and low-interest financing options make it easier to manage the cost of treatment over time, reducing the financial burden.

Quality and Effectiveness: While initially more expensive, Invisalign’s superior materials and customisation often mean less time and money spent on adjustments or corrections in the long term.

Post-Treatment Support: Invisalign’s treatment package often includes post-treatment retainers and follow-up consultations, ensuring you maintain your perfect smile.

When evaluating cost and payment options between invisalign and Smile Direct, it’s imperative to look beyond the initial price tag and consider the value and effectiveness of the treatment you are receiving. Invisalign’s focus on comprehensive, tailored treatment plans managed by certified dentists makes it a more sound financial investment in your dental health and aesthetic goals.

Quality of Materials 

In any orthodontic treatment, the materials used are more than just tools; they are the building blocks that determine the treatment’s effectiveness and the patient’s comfort and safety.

Invisalign and Smile Direct Club use proprietary plastic materials for their aligners, yet the quality, comfort, and durability they offer are quite different. This section outlines why, regarding the quality of materials, Invisalign often has a definitive edge over Smile Direct Club.

Invisalign: Medical-Grade Excellence

Invisalign aligners are made from SmartTrack material, a patented, medical-grade, BPA-free thermoplastic. This material was developed with extensive research and clinical testing to provide the optimum durability, flexibility, and comfort combination. The SmartTrack material is FDA-approved and designed to effectively apply the right amount of force on teeth, facilitating precise movements.

The quality of the material ensures that the aligners are effective and comfortable to wear for extended periods. They are virtually invisible and are specifically engineered to minimise irritation to your gums and cheeks.

Smile Direct Club: Functional but limited

Smile Direct Club aligners are made from a BPA-free plastic material. While functional and generally safe, they are not tailored to the same degree of specificity as Invisalign’s SmartTrack.

The material is less adaptive, which may result in a less snug or comfortable fit. Moreover, the durability of Smile Direct Club’s material has been occasionally questioned, with some users reporting that aligners can warp or discolour over time.

Why Invisalign’s Materials Stand Out

Medical-Grade Quality: Invisalign’s SmartTrack material meets the highest medical standards, ensuring a safe and effective treatment process.

Optimised Comfort: The flexibility and softness of the material reduce irritation and discomfort, making it easier to adapt to wearing aligners.

Durability: The SmartTrack material is engineered for long-lasting use, reducing the risk of aligner breakage or warping, which can disrupt the treatment process.

Precision in Force Application: The material is designed for optimal force application, which is essential for complex cases requiring targeted teeth movement.

Regarding the quality of materials, Invisalign’s investment in research and development is evident. The SmartTrack material provides unparalleled durability, comfort, and effectiveness.

While Smile Direct Club offers a functional alternative, the material’s quality and impact on the overall treatment experience make Invisalign a preferable option for those who prioritise excellence in every aspect of their orthodontic journey.

Aftercare and Retainers 

The end of the active phase of orthodontic treatment isn’t the finish line; maintaining that newly acquired perfect smile is equally important. A well-structured aftercare plan using retainers is essential to ensure your teeth don’t revert to their previous positions. Invisalign often takes a more comprehensive and effective approach than Smile Direct Club regarding aftercare and retainers.

Invisalign: A Comprehensive Post-Treatment Strategy

Invisalign treatment process provides a full-fledged aftercare program, which usually includes a set of Vivera retainers made from the same high-quality SmartTrack material as the aligners. These retainers are custom-fitted and are meant to be worn initially full-time and eventually only at night. Regular follow-up appointments with your dentist ensure that minor shifts are quickly corrected and the retainers are adjusted as necessary. This comprehensive approach ensures the long-term sustainability of your treatment results.

Smile Direct Club: A Basic Retention Plan

Smile Direct Club also offers retainers at the end of the treatment, but these are often less customised and not backed by ongoing professional oversight. The retainers are generally purchased separately, and while they serve their basic function, they lack the durability and comfort of Invisalign’s Vivera retainers.

Why Invisalign Takes the Leadsmile direct club burwood

Quality of Retainers: Invisalign’s Vivera retainers are made from superior, medical-grade material that ensures durability and comfort.

Professional Oversight: Including follow-up appointments ensures that any alignment issues that may arise post-treatment are promptly addressed.

Inclusive Cost: The cost of Vivera retainers is often included in the overall treatment package, providing better value for money.

In summary, the effectiveness of orthodontic treatment is measured by the results at the end of the active phase and how well those results are maintained. Invisalign’s focus on quality and comprehensive aftercare, backed by ongoing professional supervision, provides a more effective and reliable long-term strategy for maintaining your perfect smile.


Orthodontic treatment is a significant investment, both financially and in the time and commitment required.

As we’ve explored throughout this article, while both Invisalign and Smile Direct Club offer innovative solutions for teeth straightening, they differ markedly in various crucial aspects such as methodology, customisation, duration of treatment, cost, quality of materials, and aftercare. In each category, Invisalign consistently emerges as the more comprehensive and effective choice.

Choosing the right orthodontic treatment between Smile Direct Club and Invisalign is a personal decision that should be based on a variety of factors, including your dental needs, lifestyle, and budget. However, when you consider the long-term impact of this decision on your dental health and self-confidence, it becomes clear that quality should be a priority.

From its superior SmartTrack material to its custom-tailored treatment plans and robust aftercare programs, Invisalign offers a holistic approach that places the patient’s needs at the forefront. The advantages of professional oversight, better material quality, and comprehensive post-treatment support make it an option worth considering, even if the upfront invisalign costs appear higher. After all, you’re not just investing in clear aligners but a healthier, more beautiful smile that will last a lifetime.

If you’re ready to take the next step towards achieving the smile you’ve always dreamed of, don’t compromise on quality. Contact My Local Dentists at +61 2 9000 1239 to schedule a comprehensive consultation and discover how Invisalign or teeth straightening treatment can offer you a superior treatment experience.

Don’t wait to make your smile a priority. Call My Local Dentists at +61 2 9000 1239 today to begin your journey toward a perfect smile with Invisalign.