You may have heard the news: Smile Direct Club is about to open locations inside hundreds of CVS pharmacies nationwide. That’s an exciting development for people who have always dreamed of having straighter, more even teeth. Your local Invisalign dentist, on the other hand, may have a thing or two to say about the trendy new DIY approach to teeth straightening.
By significantly expanding its physical presence in CVS stores, SDC ups the ante against a competitor (and self-proclaimed inventor of clear aligners therapy) Invisalign, and dentists are determined to defend their Invisalign turf against the newcomer.
Invisalign Dentist vs. Smile Direct Club: What’s the Difference?
While both brands, Invisalign and SDC, arguably sell highly similar products, their differences can mostly be found in the associated services and what’s happening behind the scenes.
SDC relies on a teledentistry model to achieve the desired teeth straightening results, and all interactions with the company(aside from an in-person 3D scan that can be performed at an SDC SmileShop) happen remotely. There are no visits or consultations with a personal dentist, and exchanges occur by postal service, email and, if needed, via 800-number. The patient takes his or her own teeth impressions, sends in the molds, and receives custom-made clear aligners in the mail. The process is, according to the company, monitored by professional dentists.
Invisalign, on the other hand, follows a more traditional method of patient care. Teeth impressions are taken by a dentist onsite, in his or her office. Regular in-person follow-up visits are required to monitor progress, make adjustments if and as needed, and continually guide the process until the desired results are achieved
Let’s get this important point out of the way first. Smile Direct Club is hands-down the less expensive option. A course of treatment with SDC is the more affordable option at a price point of only $1,850, with the option of paying in monthly installments of just $80.
As for Invisalign, patients must be prepared to invest $3,000 and up in their straighter smile, although special offers by a local Invisalign dentist may advertise lower pricing. Invisalign dentists may also offer affordable payment plans that allow patients to pay for the cost of treatment in monthly installments over time.
Cost winner: Smile Direct Club
Unless you like sitting in the dentist’s chair and spending time in waiting rooms, Smile Direct Club tempts with convenience. For most of us, that’s a no-brainer. SDC clients take their own dental impressions in the comfort of their homes, receive all supplies by mail, and switch to the next retainer according to the time schedule provided. Six months later, if all goes well, treatment will be complete – without ever setting foot into a dentist’s office.
For Invisalign clients, regular dentist visits play an important role in successful treatment. Depending on the complexity of the case, the entire course of treatment can last 12 months or longer.
Convenience winner: Smile Direct Club
Your Invisalign dentist is your very own, very personal customer service representative. Thanks to regular check-ups, the dentist can spot right away if adjustments to the clear aligners are needed or if the switching schedule needs to be modified.
Trying to get that same care and service from an 800-number…well, we all know how these things can go. Yet that’s the position Smile Direct Club members may find themselves in if they have questions or, worst case scenario, treatment doesn’t go according to plan.
Customer service winner: Invisalign
Here is where things get really complicated.
Smile Direct Club can absolutely achieve great results in mild to moderate cases of teeth misalignment. That’s if all goes well:
- the patient takes perfect teeth impressions AND
- switches aligners exactly on schedule
- there are no complications on the horizon
- other dental treatments like an emergency tooth extraction or crown don’t throw treatment off course
- the desired results are achieved and the patient is satisfied with his or her new smile
Invisalign is geared toward patients who suffer from mild to moderate cases of misalignment, as well as more severe cases who would in all likelihood be unable to achieve the results they want with SDC. Thanks to ongoing professional care by a dentist, in person, Invisalign clients receive superior monitoring and “trouble-shooting”. From the get-go, Invisalign patients are set to likely experience better results from professionally taken teeth impressions alone.
Professional results winner: Invisalign
We’re talking about your teeth here and – regardless of investment – you want to be sure that you get your money’s worth when you look in the mirror once treatment is complete. After all, you are considering a teeth-straightening journey for a reason, and even $2,000 is a big expense when the result doesn’t match your expectations.
Do your research, weigh the pros and cons, know what’s important to you, and you’ll be well on your way to a straighter smile!