Interested in removable clear aligners to correct your smile imperfections?
You may have heard about several different brands of clear aligners, each of which uses its 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 a clear aligner.
Invisalign aligners – orthodontic appliances offered by the company Align Technology – were 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 treatment – 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, Invisalign clear aligners are discreet and nearly invisible when worn.
By removing them for meals and brushing your teeth and clean the appliance, clear aligners are much easier to keep clean, without worrying about food or other debris getting caught in underwires or between brackets.
While the general design is the same, Invisalign treatment and SureSmile are not the same. Align Technology 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 of more smiles than SureSmile aligners – and that expertise matters.
The Invisalign system offers access to its superior technology, including its patented materials, predictive modeling technology, and iTero digital scanning.
Some orthodontists tout the lower cost of SureSmile as compared to Invisalign treatment: but what’s really included in the cost?
SureSmile’s comprehensive package offers unlimited aligners for only 3 years of treatment, compared to the 5 years of unlimited aligners included in Invisalign treatment. 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 the 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 SmartTrack™ material.
SureSmile is engineered to correct adult dentition but may be less effective at improving smiles for growing children and adolescents. Clinical trials of Invisalign treatment 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 treatment for treating younger patients, especially Invisalign Teen treatment, which is specially designed for younger patients.
In addition, SureSmile prices are lower due to lower-quality attachments, or treatment without attachments altogether. Align Technology’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.
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 does 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.
Of all the clear aligner technology available on the market today, the Invisalign system is the original and still leads the field in precision, speed, and predictability of movement. Studies have repeatedly found the advantages of Invisalign treatment in patient quality of life, including a 2011 study out of the University of Louisville.
Only Invisalign treatment uses SmartForce™ attachments, which are clinically proven to enhance the speed and precision of your orthodontic care, leading to faster, more beautiful smiles. Only Invisalign treatment uses SmartTrack™ materials for its 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 treatment 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 treatment.