In-Office Invisalign vs At-home Clear Aligners: What's the Difference?

In-Office Invisalign vs At-home Clear Aligners: What's the Difference?
Posted on 07/28/2022
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At Beverly Hills Orthodontics, we are not shy to say that we love Invisalign. Comfortable for patients and versatile enough to treat complex issues, Invisalign gives patients and physicians something to smile about.

Approved by the FDA in 1998, Invisalign introduced the world to clear aligner treatment—an orthodontic process that uses sets of transparent, removable aligners to gradually straighten misaligned teeth. When Invisalign first hit the market, many were hesitant to believe that clear aligners could successfully correct alignment issues as promised. But patients and orthodontic professionals alike quickly realized that Invisalign was the real deal, and clear aligners soared in popularity.

 

 

In decades since then, clear aligner treatment has changed in a number of ways. For instance:

  • Clear aligners can now correct issues faster
  • More patients qualify for treatment thanks to hardware improvements
  • Orthodontists can use clear aligners in combination with advanced procedures to treat severe alignment problems

Beyond these changes, we’ve also seen the rise of at-home aligner kits.

Offered by companies like SmileDirectClub, Byte, and AlignerCo, at-home aligners promise to bring orthodontics directly to the patient. Everything from impressions to aligner successions is handled in the home by the patient, with no orthodontic office visits necessary. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, there’s a good chance that it is.

If you’re considering one of these options, exploring in-office Invisalign vs at-home clear aligners can help you choose a safe, effective treatment path.

In-Office Invisalign Vs. At-Home Clear Aligners: Treatment Possibilities

As we touched on above, clear aligner treatment has improved substantially since Invisalign hit the market in the early 2000s. Today’s aligner treatment is faster, more accessible, and capable of correcting more complex issues than older aligners could. However, some of these benefits only extend to in-office aligner treatment.

In broad terms, clear aligner treatment alone can only treat mild-to-moderate alignment issues, such as:

  • Light crowding
  • Small overbites
  • Minor tooth gaps

But severe misalignment and significant tooth overlap require additional procedures

If you partner with an orthodontist like BHO’s own Dr. Monica Madan, this isn’t a problem. Dr. Madan has years of experience using Invisalign to treat all types of alignment problems. To do so, she creates custom treatment plans that include innovative procedures and hardware—something at-home clear aligner companies can’t offer. When considering in-office Invisalign vs at-home clear aligners, that makes a huge difference.

With the guidance of an orthodontist, in-office Invisalign provides a path to the perfect smile for virtually anyone.

Because of the demand for fast treatment for minor alignment issues, we have developed BHO Direct. This is a discounted program for minimal tooth movements. It’s meant to give patients an affordable option but still have the oversight of an orthodontist. This is a new and special offering for those who may feel they may be priced out of seeing an orthodontist in office.

In-Office Invisalign Vs. At-Home Clear Aligners: Reliability

If you’ve seen an at-come clear aligner commercial before, you’ve likely heard that at-home clear aligners are just as effective as Invisalign. We’re very skeptical of this claim. After all, once you take the orthodontist out of orthodontic work, things can go very wrong, very fast.

At-home aligners are associated with numerous problems, including:

  • Acute jaw pain
  • Migraines
  • Worsened orthodontic problems
  • Broken aligners

In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists has issued a consumer alert to warn against the use of at-home aligner treatment. As they point out, incorrect aligner treatment “could lead to potentially irreversible and expensive damage such as tooth and gum loss, changed bites, and other issues.”

In-office Invisalign under the guidance of an orthodontist, on the other hand, is incredibly safe and reliable. Orthodontists receive years of in-depth training to treat complex issues and can prevent many of the problems associated with clear aligner treatment, including posterior open bites. When you choose to work with an experienced orthodontist, you can be confident you’ll get the best outcome.

In-Office Invisalign Vs. At-Home Clear Aligners: Cost

At-home clear aligner companies often tout cost as one of their biggest advantages. For example, SmileDirectClub and Byte commercials often feature seemingly incredible prices for 6 and 12-month treatment plans. Who doesn’t want an improved smile for cheap?

Unfortunately, as the old adage goes, you get what you pay for.

While it is true that you can save money by eliminating the orthodontist from your orthodontic treatment, this comes at a cost: no one is there for you if something goes wrong. When you enter into treatment without a doctor, you won’t have anyone available to:

  • Examine your teeth and gums to ensure that you are a good candidate for Invisalign
  • Monitor your progress and keep treatment on track
  • Make adjustments to your treatment plan in case complications occur

When you work with a professional orthodontist, your oral health is a priority and your treatment plan is perfectly built for your personal needs.

That’s one of the most important things to consider when looking at in-office Invisalign vs. at-home clear aligners. At-home clear aligner companies simply can’t provide the personalization and instant support provided by an orthodontist. Your health is worth the investment.

Dr. Madan with a patient.

Have More Questions? Beverly Hills Orthodontics Has Answers

As a VIP Diamond Plus Invisalign provider, Beverly Hills Orthodontics takes clear aligner treatment seriously. Although at-home clear aligners may provide some patients with straighter smiles, they can also cause permanent damage and lackluster results. When it comes to in-office Invisalign vs. at-home clear aligners, there is simply no replacement for professional orthodontic care.

Here at BHO, we take pride in creating outstanding experiences for our patients. We provide:

  • Comfortable treatment
  • Excellent results
  • Continuous support

From initial consultation to follow-up care, we’re with you every step of the way to ensure treatment success.

Want to know more about in-office Invisalign vs. at-home clear aligners? Call us at 310-785-0770 or visit our contact page to book a complimentary consultation.