Cosmetic Dentistry

Dr George Connell

Invisalign vs other aligners: What’s the *real* difference?


You’ve made the decision to straighten your smile.

And you’ve also decided that clear aligners are the right orthodontic treatment for you.

But here comes the tricky part…

There are currently *so* many different clear aligner systems out there in the market. And choosing the right one can be tough.

Do you go with Invisalign — a tried and tested clear aligner system delivered by your dentist?

Or do you try out another aligner brand that offers remote treatment?

On the surface, Invisalign and other clear aligner systems look *fairly* similar.

Both use clear, custom-moulded aligners. Both are more discreet (and more comfortable) than braces. Both are removable and give you the flexibility to straighten your teeth on your own terms.

But look a little closer and you’ll find that there are a few *very* important differences between Invisalign vs other aligners.

We’re here to help you set the record straight on these popular teeth straightening treatments and make a more informed decision.

In this article, we’ll compare Invisalign vs other aligners on a few key areas, including:

- Treatment Style

- Types of Aligners

- Success Rate

- Comfort Level

- Cost

- Risks

Let’s bust through the misinformation, get clear on the reality of at-home aligner treatments and discover the *real* difference between Invisalign vs other brands.


Treatment Style: Is Invisalign treatment different to other clear aligners?

Like we said earlier, Invisalign and other aligner systems share some similarities.

All clear aligners work by using a series of aligner trays to gently and gradually move your teeth into the ideal position using a series of clear aligner trays. The trays are custom-moulded to your teeth for a snug and comfortable fit. Plus, given that the trays are made from clear, thin plastic, they’re barely noticeable in the mouth. This means you can straighten and correct your smile much more discreetly than you could with traditional metal braces.

Plus, all clear aligner systems tout the benefits of being able to remove their clear aligners for eating, drinking, brushing, flossing or for a special event. But the trays must be worn for at least 20 to 22 hours a day for the aligner treatment to be effective.

Invisalign clear aligners
Invisalign clear aligners are so discreet, you’ll barely notice them in your mouth — and neither will anyone else!

What’s the difference between Invisalign and other aligners?

The major difference between Invisalign and other aligner treatments is in how they are administered and supervised along the way.

With Invisalign treatment, you’ll attend regular, in-person check-ups with an Australian registered dentist so they can keep a close eye on your progress.

If you opt for another aligner brand, you’ll still be supervised by an Australian licensed dentist but your appointments may not be done in-person. Many alternative clear aligner brands only offer remote treatment, meaning you won’t have any in-person consultations throughout your entire treatment.

What’s involved in Invisalign treatment?

Step 1

You’ll see your Invisalign dentist for an in-person consultation where they will determine if the treatment is suitable for you and discuss which type of Invisalign is best for your smile, such as full Invisalign, Invisalign Express or Invisalign Teen.

Step 2

X-rays and photos will be taken to ensure you do not have any underlying issues that could impede your treatment. Your dentist will then take digital scans of your teeth for your aligner trays and start planning out your treatment using the special Invisalign software. This gives your dentist precise and predictable control over the movement of your teeth.

Step 3

Once your custom clear aligners are ready, your dentist will issue them to you and talk you through the first steps of your treatment.

Step 4

Over the following months, you’ll visit your dentist in-person every 6 to 8 weeks so they can monitor the movement of your teeth and make any necessary adjustments to ensure you achieve the best results.

A patient discusses Invisalign treatment with their dentist at Green Door Dental
At Green Door Dental, we’ll be by your side at every stage of your Invisalign treatment to ensure your new smile stays on track.

What’s involved in remote clear aligner treatment?

Step 1

You’ll use an at-home impression kit to get impression moulds of your teeth.

Step 2

You’ll have a remote suitability assessment done online to determine if the treatment is right for you. Next, the remote dentist will put together your treatment plan and have your aligner trays created from the custom moulds.

Step 3

Your aligner trays will be delivered to you with instructions on how to use them and the guidelines for your treatment.

Step 4

Throughout your treatment, all of your regular check-ups will be done remotely with no in-person monitoring from your dentist.

Remote-only check-ups for the entirety of your treatment may seem like a huge benefit, right? But think about this: teeth straightening is a major dental procedure. Any movement of your teeth or jaw can have a big impact — not just on your oral health, but on your whole body. This is why it is recommended that any orthodontic treatment be closely monitored in person by your dentist.

Which treatment is faster?

Whether you opt for Invisalign or another clear aligner brand, there are a few key factors that will affect your treatment time, such as:

- The complexity of your case

- How much your teeth are required to move

- How well you adhere to your treatment guidelines

This means the length of your treatment will solely depend on you and your unique case. There’s really no definitive answer as to whether Invisalign is faster than other brands because treatment time will always vary from person to person.

We may not be able to tell you exactly how long your treatment will take (unless you book in your Invisalign consultation, of course!), but we can tell you that clear aligner in general tend to have a quicker treatment time than traditional braces — win!

What are the average treatment times for Invisalign vs other brands?

Invisalign treatment time varies depending on the type of Invisalign used and the complexity of the case. For example, the average treatment time for Invisalign Express is around 3 to 6 months while Invisalign Full can take anywhere between 6 to 36 months.

Meanwhile, some clear aligner systems advertise that their average treatment time is approx. 4 to 6 months.

It appears that these other aligner brands have a shorter treatment time than Invisalign, right?

But don’t be fooled!

The reason why other clear aligners advertise a shorter treatment time is because they are not suitable to be used on more complex or severe cases. They are only effective on minor to moderate cases, hence the shorter average treatment time.

Invisalign, on the other hand, has been proven to be effective for even the most complex cases, including severe overcrowding and major bite corrections. In these cases, the teeth require more time to move into the perfect position.

Is Invisalign right for you?

Book your Invisalign consultation online now to find out — or download our New Patient Guide for more info about our fees and services.

Types of Aligners: Do other brands use the same type of clear aligners as Invisalign? 

No, Invisalign has developed its own unique patented materials and technology for its aligner trays. This means no other brands can offer the same clear aligners as Invisalign.

Invisalign uses SmartTrack

SmartTrack is a revolutionary thermoplastic material that was developed exclusively for invisalign after 8 years of in-depth research, development and testing. The highly elastic, multi-layered material was specially designed to improve the control of the movement of the teeth, enhance the aligner comfort and make it easier for wearers to put on and remove.

It’s important to note that while each clear aligner brand uses different technology and materials for their trays, there is currently no research to suggest Invisalign’s aligner trays are better than others.

Invisalign SmartTrack clear aligners
Invisalign clear aligners are made from SmartTrack material for improved control and a more comfortable fit.

Success rate: Is Invisalign more effective than other aligners? 

Regardless of whether you choose Invisalign or or another clear aligner brand, the success of your treatment will largely fall into your own hands. Generally, clear aligner systems require you to keep your trays in for at least 20 to 22 hours per day. How strictly (or loosely) you follow these guidelines will greatly impact your results and how long it takes you to get there.

Other factors such as the complexity of your case and underlying periodontal issues can also affect the success of your treatment.

This is why it’s so important to ensure you choose an aligner treatment that can effectively address and correct your issues. If you have a more complex case and you go with a treatment designed for only minor to moderate corrections, you might find yourself disappointed with your results — or lack thereof.

When weighing up Invisalign vs other aligners, a big factor to consider is the difference in each treatment’s success rate on more severe and complex corrections.

How effective is Invisalign?

Invisalign is proven to be effective on cases varying from mild to severe. This means that even the most complex bite corrections, overcrowding, spacing and misalignments can most likely be corrected with Invisalign.

Before starting your treatment, your dentist will take digital scans and x-rays of your teeth. This will allow them to see if you have any underlying issues under the surface of your teeth or gums that could affect the success of your treatment. If they do catch any dental issues, they’ll be able to develop a personalised treatment plan to restore your oral health and ensure your teeth straightening treatment is effective. Invisalign also uses specialised software that gives your dentist precision control over the movement of your teeth, allowing them to achieve a more predictable outcome.

A patient smiles after Invisalign treatment
We use special software to plan out your entire Invisalign treatment for the most precise and predictable results.

How effective are other clear aligners?

Many other clear aligner systems are advertised for mild to moderate cases only. As such, this type of treatment is not suitable nor effective for those who require complex corrections. Plus, if you’re receiving remote-only treatment, it may also be difficult for the remote dentist to determine whether or not the treatment will be effective for your issues as they cannot take x-rays or scans of your mouth.


Comfort Level: Is Invisalign treatment more comfortable than other brands?

Let’s be honest — teeth straightening isn’t *exactly* a walk in the park. It doesn’t matter whether you choose Invisalign or another brand, you’re bound to experience some mild discomfort and sensitivity as your teeth start to move.

But hey! At least you can find solace in the fact that clear aligner trays are certainly more comfortable than traditional metal braces. Thanks to their specialised smooth plastic, you won’t have to deal with any nasty cuts and irritation to your cheeks, lips or tongue when they’re in your mouth.

Currently, there’s no evidence to suggest that Invisalign aligner trays are more comfortable than other aligners. But there is a small difference in how the trays are designed that could impact your personal comfort level.

Invisalign precision-cuts its trays to perfectly match the shape of your teeth and gum line. This technique is designed to improve comfort and reduce any irritation or friction along the gums.

Other aligner brands offer trays that are straight across the top and not trimmed down to match the gum line. The wearer must then use scissors to trim their own aligners to their preference and file down any rough edges.

Invisalign software monitors the progress of Invisalign treatment
We use special software to plan out your entire Invisalign treatment for the most precise and predictable results.

Cost: What is the cost difference between Invisalign vs other aligners?

Cost will *always* play a major role in your decision to straighten your teeth. And it’s likely one of the biggest factors influencing your choice between Invisalign vs other brands.

Let’s explore the cost of Invisalign and why you may have seen cheaper prices from other aligner brands.

How much does Invisalign cost?

The average cost of Invisalign in Australia ranges from $3,500 to $8,500.

That’s quite a ballpark, right? Well, this is because there are a number of factors that can influence the price of your Invisalign treatment, such as:

- How complex your case is

- How much your teeth need to move

- How long your treatment is expected to take

- How experienced your Invisalign dentist is

- How much your private health insurance may cover

Want to get into the nitty-gritty of the cost of Invisalign? Be sure to check out our blog on Invisalign cost where we take a deep dive into all of these factors.

At Green Door Dental, we’ve closed the door on the financial stress of teeth straightening. With our easy and affordable Invisalign payment plans, you can start perfecting your smile today and pay for your treatment in comfortable instalments over time.

A discusses Invisalign payment plans at Green Door Dental
Concerned about Invisalign costs? Leave your worries at the door! With our flexible finance plans, you can start your Invisalign treatment now and pay in easy instalments over time.

Why are some other aligner brands cheaper than Invisalign?

Great question! The answer is simple: 

It usually comes down to the fact that you don’t get any in-person visits with a dentist.

And in the next section, you’ll discover why this *may* not be such a good idea…


Risks: Is Invisalign safer than other brands?

Teeth straightening isn’t a simple, throw-caution-to-the-wind kind of treatment. It’s a major dental procedure — one that can have a huge impact on more than just your teeth. It requires the same level of care and precaution as any other medical procedure.

Here’s the bottom line: any movement of your teeth will have a domino effect on your bite, jaw, facial muscles and even your neck, back and posture. This is why professional supervision and regular in-person monitoring by a dentist is a crucial part of this treatment. And unfortunately, this is what some other clear aligner systems lack.

When it comes to other clear aligner brands that offer remote treatment, there are a few risks you should take into consideration:

You will not get x-rays

X-rays are a vital first step in any major dental procedure, especially teeth straightening. But this step is completely missed in remote-style treatment. Not only do x-rays help your dentist see the bone and root structure of your jaw and teeth, but they also give them a clear picture of what’s going on below the surface of your smile. If there are any underlying periodontal issues, your clear aligner treatment may not work as effectively.

A dentist talks with an Invisalign patient at Green Door Dental
It’s important to know what’s going on under the surface of your smile before beginning any teeth straightening treatment. That’s why we always start your Invisalign treatment with digital x-rays and scans.

Your results may not meet your expectations

Without visiting your dentist in person for x-rays, you won’t know if you have any underlying issues in your jaw, teeth or gums that could hinder the success of your treatment. And if you do have these issues, you simply won’t be able to achieve the results you want with a clear aligner system aimed at mild to moderate corrections.

Also, if you need major corrections or realignments, many other clear aligner systems will not be suitable for you. As we mentioned before, this style of treatment is designed for minor to moderate cases only. Invisalign, on the other hand, has been proven to tackle even the toughest cases, making it the better choice for more complex corrections.

Moving teeth may cause problems

Remember how we said the movement of your teeth has a flow-on effect on everything from your bite to your posture? Well, this can have great results and improve these areas… Or it can have catastrophic results.

Changes in your bite alone can have a big impact on your oral health. A misaligned bite can affect how you eat and chew, and quickly wear down your enamel, leading to cavities. This is why having your dentist assess your bite before and after your treatment is so important. There are also serious dangers in your teeth moving too much or too quickly. Without proper dentist supervision to identify any issues early and take corrective action, you could end up with major dental problems — or even be at risk of losing your teeth.

There’s no one to turn to if something goes wrong

When it comes to your dental health, minor issues can turn into major problems a lot quicker than you’d expect. If your teeth straightening treatment hits a snag and you don’t have a dentist who you can see in-person to quickly correct it, you may find yourself forking out hundreds (or thousands) in future to fix the damage.

Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign before and after photo
This patients ‘before’ pic was taken AFTER finishing treatment with an online teeth straightening
provider. Not happy with his results he then went for Invisalign treatment and well, the results
speak for themselves.


Having trouble deciding between Invisalign vs other brands?

Don’t worry! You’re certainly not alone. We’ve seen many patients at our Gregory Hills and Moss Vale dental practices grapple with the same dilemma.

The good news is that we’re always here to help if you’re feeling confused or want to talk to an expert about which teeth straightening treatment is right for you — just get in touch.

At the end of the day, all we want is for you to feel good about your treatment and achieve the best outcome possible for your smile.



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