SureSmile vs. Invisalign: Which is Right for Your Smile?
Written by: Dr. Laura Edwards, Diamond Braces orthodontist
Date: November 24, 2020
Interested in removable clear aligners to correct your smile imperfections?
You may have heard about several different brands of clear aligners, each of which use their own technology to move teeth and create better smile alignment. Today, we’ll discuss the difference between two of these brands: Invisalign, the original clear aligner treatment, and SureSmile, a newer brand on the market that offers a cut-cost version of clear aligner.
What is the Difference Between SureSmile and Invisalign?
Invisalign – an orthodontic appliance offered by the company Align Technology – was introduced on the market in 1997 and rapidly transformed the field of orthodontic care. Its central design is now used by all its competitors.
Invisalign – and rival brands – use custom-designed clear, plastic aligners that fit snugly over the top and bottom teeth, to slowly and safely move the teeth into their correct positions. Rather than using a bulky, bonded appliance like the metal brackets and wires used in braces, clear aligners like Invisalign are discreet and nearly invisible when worn.
By removing them for meals and to brush your teeth and clean the appliance, clear aligners are much easier to keep clean, without worrying about food or other debris getting caught under wires or between brackets.
While the general design is the same, Invisalign and SureSmile are not the same. Invisalign has been in the orthodontics industry longer than rival companies such as SureSmile, so they’ve had a significant advantage in developing patented technology for the effective movement of teeth. Simply put, Invisalign aligners have corrected many millions more smiles than SureSmile aligners – and that expertise matters.
Invisalign offers access to its superior technology, including its patented materials, predictive modeling technology, and iTero digital scanning.
How Much Does SureSmile Cost - Explained
Some orthodontists tout the lower cost of SureSmile as compared to Invisalign: but what’s really included in the cost?
Unlimited Aligners vs. Pay as You Go
SureSmile’s comprehensive package offers unlimited aligners for only 3 years of treatment, compared to the 5 years of unlimited aligners included in Invisalign. The difference matters: it often takes more aligners than expected to fully complete and refine an orthodontic case, and without unlimited aligners, your orthodontist may be forced to cut corners on completing your case. If re-treatment is required, the 3-year expiration means you will have to pay for another round outside of this window of time.
Furthermore, SureSmile’s lower cost option doesn’t actually include unlimited aligners: rather, they offer a pay as you go option, which requires patients to pay for each separate aligner. This total number of aligners is limited by the amount of money the orthodontist is willing to pay in lab fees for production of each individual set of aligners, so this can reduce the quality of the aligners used in treatment.
Lab fee costs are slightly lower for SureSmile aligners than Invisalign aligners, which largely explains the difference in price. However, lower lab fees are due to limitations in the SureSmile product, including an inferior plastic material used in the aligners. Essix ACE, the material used in SureSmile aligners, lacks the precision, comfort, and predictable movement of Invisalign SmartTrack™ material.
Invisalign Can Treat Younger Patients More Effectively
SureSmile is engineered to correct adult dentition, but may be less effective at improving smiles for growing children and adolescents. Clinical trials of Invisalign have found that its technology is effective in treating orthodontic cases for adolescents 11 to 19 years of age.
SureSmile lacks tools to aid pediatric orthodontics in this way, particularly for children with mixed dentition (eg, a mix of baby and adult teeth). For this reason, many doctors prefer Invisalign for treating younger patients, especially Invisalign Teen, which is especially designed for younger patients.
Only Invisalign Offers SmartForce™ Attachments
In addition, SureSmile prices are lower due to lower-quality attachments, or treatment without attachments altogether. Invisalign’s patented SmartForce™ attachments are clinically proven to enhance the precision and efficiency of orthodontic treatment, but can only be used with Invisalign treatment by expert Invisalign providers.
SureSmile Lacks Patient Engagement Tools
Finally, the added patient benefits offered by Invisalign result in a slightly higher price, but a markedly smoother patient experience. Patient engagement resources such as the Invisalign patient portal and the Invisalign app allow patients to connect with Invisalign representatives and customer service, whereas SureSmile works directly with dental professionals and do not offer communication outlets for patients.
SureSmile does offer benefits for patient-centered care, as noted in a review by the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics, but Invisalign’s patient engagement tools are an added benefit to this treatment.
Why Should You Choose Invisalign For Your Smile?
Of all the clear aligner technology available on the market today, Invisalign is the original and still leads the field in precision, speed, and predictability of movement. Studies have repeatedly found the advantages of Invisalign in patient quality of life, including a 2011 study out of the University of Louisville.
Only Invisalign uses SmartForce™ attachments, which are clinically proven to enhance the speed and precision of your orthodontic care, leading to faster, more beautiful smiles. And only Invisalign uses SmartTrack™ materials for it aligners, which is a unique biocompatible formula designed exclusively for use in Invisalign treatment. It is comfortable, durable, easy to clean, and perfectly molded to fit snugly over your teeth. A comprehensive review shared by the National Institute of Health found Invisalign to as highly effective in correcting smiles traditional braces.
And with unlimited aligners, state-of-the art digital technology, a wide array of patient support tools, and treatment from the nation’s most experience clear aligner professionals, a slightly higher cost is nearly always worth it.
After all, your smile is an investment in your lifelong health and happiness: don’t cut corners when it comes to your future. Get the highest-quality care you can find: that’s Invisalign.