Here we’ll review the four options currently available on the market, along with some ways to make Invisalign treatments less expensive. In short, we feel that Invisalign is the most worthwhile option. But, as in all things, do your research and look at some Invisalign alternatives.
Invisalign Alternative #1: Clear Correct
Clear Correct is an Invisalign alternative that produces a system of clear plastic aligners that your orthodontist can use to straighten teeth. The total cost of the system is usually less, though the aligners are often thinner than those for Invisalign. This makes the aligners less visible, but also less sturdy.
Results with both are comparable. That said, many orthodontists prefer Invisalign because it comes with more resources, such as top-notch planning software, making successful treatment easier. Then again, this might not matter if you have an experienced orthodontist.
Finally, Clear Correct uses the same plastic that Invisalign used to use (and was successful with), but Invisalign now uses the patented smart track material, which many patients report a more comfortable feeling in the mouth.
Invisalign Alternative #2: Smile Direct Club
Smile Direct Club introduces the idea of “remote” teeth aligning: Clients send a 3-D scan of their mouth, and a remote orthodontist creates a treatment plan. Clients are then mailed their teeth aligners at home (and possibly a retainer) to wear on their own.
At $1850 a treatment (not including the scan or retainer), Smile Club does offer a much cheaper option compared to other Invisalign alternatives. However, there are some serious downsides as well:
- The at-home kit for getting impressions can be tricky, and getting this stage wrong will cause problems in your treatment down the road. (The kit also costs $95). You can get a professional scan from one of their physical locations, but this costs, too.
- You don’t get the 1-on-1 time with an orthodontist to check your progress, provide encouragement, and possibly alter treatment if needed.
- If something goes wrong, it is much more difficult to fix the problem.
While Smile Direct might be appealing for adults on a strict budget, we find that having an orthodontist you can physically go and see is well worth the money, especially if there is a problem or concern.
Invisalign Alternative #3: Overseas Products (ClearPath and K-Line)
ClearPath is a newer company based in the Middle East, and it is becoming a popular alternative for adults seeking teeth aligners in the UK and India (though people in the U.S. try them, too). The company is newer, and so there are not as many reviews and case studies available by which to judge their success.
Like Clearpath, K-Line is an overseas company, based in Germany but also popular in the U.K. That being said, not many orthodontists in the U.S. use K-Line or get training in it.
The technology behind these overseas competitors is largely the same as that used for Invisalign. But, as many orthodontists point out, Invisalign has a decade of research that goes into its product, along with great treatment planning tools and some of the best certification training and ongoing continuing education programs for professionals. These are important to consider, especially if you have a more complex case. For simpler cases, though, these Invisalign alternatives may well provide a less expensive choice.
Invisalign Alternative #4: Ormco Aligners
Ormco is a huge dental supply company, and some dentists will use their aligners. We also suspect that more online-at-home solutions (like Smile Club, above) will turn to using these aligners as more of them pop up.
Ormco aligners tend to be smoother, lacking the ridges that Invisalign aligners have. This might matter for comfort, but it is a personal preference–it does not alter the outcomes significantly.
One important difference to keep in mind, however, is that Ormco aligners are usually created with a digital tool, with a technician creating the plan and the aligners with some input from your orthodontist. With Invisalign, your orthodontist herself or himself creates the overall plan. This puts more control in the hands of your orthodontist, and in yours.
Also, we have found that Ormco is not necessarily less expensive than Invisalign. Again, if you are paying good money to get straighten your teeth, it’s worth going with the brand that puts years of research into their product. Why choose Invisalign alternatives that cost the same but are less reputable?
DIY Solutions: Invisalign Alternatives at Home?
Note: We strongly recommend against DIY solutions for straightening teeth.
“DIY” solutions cover at-home kits that come to your door, along with tips you can find on the internet.
These practices haven’t just been rejected by orthodontists in fear of losing clients. The damage done by DIY orthodontics have been highlighted in news outlets such as ABC News and The New York Times.
Consider: There is a reason why Orthodontists need a degree and a license. It’s a complex process, with many things that can go wrong. It’s best left to a professional in a close working relationship with you.
Sure, DIY is all the craze, and there’s plenty on Pinterest and Youtube that make DIY orthodontics look doable. But we all know what happens when someone attempts a complicated DIY project they find on Pinterest, right? The results are not always what you want:
Making Invisalign Affordable
Most importantly, keep in mind when looking at Invisalign alternatives to use what you find comfortable and effective. This goes for both the teeth aligners themselves and for the experience as a whole. If you feel more at ease working with a professional who can guide you through the process, going the at-home route is probably not a good idea. Better to pay a little more and get the white-glove service.
Another part of comfort is making sure that the treatment can fit your budget, of course. You should work with an orthodontist that will:
- Work with your insurance provider, if you have one.
- Work with you on a payment plan, if you don’t have dental insurance.
As a provider ourselves, we work with patients all the time to make Invisalign (and other options) work for them. In fact, we make most of our Invisalign deals public and open to all. And we are one of the few Elite Invisalign providers in the North Carolina area. To see our current deal, just click below–and then be sure to schedule that initial consultation!
Want to explore Invisalign as it compares to braces?
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