In the digital age, convenience is king. With a computer, tablet, or smartphone, consumers can take care of an entire day’s worth of errands and appointments without getting out of bed.
Health care is no different. The appeal of at-home services, such as telemedicine and virtual visits, is on the rise and at-home treatment options are turning heads for their convenience and cheaper prices.
One area that is growing more and more popular is at-home clear aligners similar to that of Invisalign. These services often boast no doctor visits, shorter treatment times, and lower costs, but are you actually getting more bang for your buck? Let’s dive into the differences between Invisalign and at-home clear aligners and find out!
WHAT ARE CLEAR ALIGNERS?
Clear aligners are, as the name indicates, a clear alternative to traditional braces, using plastic trays (also known as aligners) to straighten teeth instead of brackets and wires. It is a popular option for patients who wish to straighten their teeth discreetly.
TRADITIONAL BRACES VS. CLEAR ALIGNERS
Traditional braces consist of bands, wires, and brackets that move teeth toward their targeted position. Clear aligners move teeth in a similar way but are less noticeable and utilize a series of custom-made trays that move teeth toward their desired position.
INVISALIGN VS. AT-HOME CLEAR ALIGNERS
Invisalign has long been synonymous with clear aligners, but the emergence of at-home options has leveled the playing field in the eyes of many consumers. Both options provide an “invisible” way to straighten teeth over time using a series of trays and both options require discipline and commitment (aligners should be worn at least 22 hours a day and should only be removed when eating, drinking, or brushing), but that is where the similarities end.
Invisalign treatment is done under the careful guidance of a licensed dentist or orthodontist through regular dental visits. At-home treatment options use direct mailing of aligners to patients and the lack of in-person dentist appointments as a selling point. This may be appealing for those with busy schedules, but it comes at the cost of expert supervision during treatment. In fact, it is highly recommended to schedule a comprehensive in-person exam prior to starting orthodontic treatment, as oral health problems such as gum disease and cavities can be overlooked with at-home impression kits.
Treatment duration is another bragging point for at-home clear aligners, with treatment lengths ranging from three to six months. That may be due to the fact that at-home clear aligners are designed to treat minor to moderate teeth misalignment and some bite correction. Invisalign is capable of fixing mild, moderate, and severe teeth misalignments as well as correcting issues with the bite, which can result in longer treatment times depending on the severity of one’s case. It is worth noting that for more complex cases, traditional braces may be the only option (this is something an in-person consultation can determine).
Cost is another element that separates Invisalign from at-home clear aligners. Because at-home clear aligners do not require doctor visits, they are more affordable than their Invisalign counterpart, but the tradeoff comes at the expense of customer service. Organizations that provide at-home treatment options utilize customer support teams but waiting times can vary depending on the brand you choose and it can take days before you receive a response. In-office treatment provides peace of mind with patients being able to schedule an appointment with their doctor in the event of emergencies or unforeseen circumstances.
At-home clear aligners can be a viable option for straightening teeth for those who qualify for treatment but it has its share of shortcomings that may not overcome its proposed convenience and eye-catching price tag. When it comes to getting that perfect smile, there is just no substitute for seeing a dental professional in person.
Capital Dental Group’s orthodontics department offers traditional braces and Invisalign. In fact, Capital Dental Group treats more Invisalign cases than any general dentist in Kern County! Orthodontic consultations are free and in-house financing with low monthly payments is available so schedule an appointment today and get the smile you’ve always wanted!