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  • Writer's pictureElite Dental Studio Essex

Invisalign vs. Online Options

As an Invisalign specialist for over ten years, we understand the difference between (and much prefer) the world-leading clear Invisalign aligners system compared to some online straightening companies. Not many people know or understand the differences between the two . . . As a Platinum Invisalign provider, we are extremely concerned about the growing number of companies offering online or ‘by post’ teeth straightening services. We wish it could be as simple as that; but the reality is very different when you compare it to treatment with an Invisalign specialist.

At home aligners - what are they?

There are multiple names for these online / postal companies along with the products that they offer such as clear aligners, home straightening, invisible braces and teeth aligners to name a few. Yes, they may offer a cheaper alternative to Invisalign but are they all really cheaper in the long run and are they all even healthy for your teeth? Most of these companies do not include visits to the dentist / orthodontist and this can mean that there is no professional in-person assessment. An in-person assessment is vital to make sure that you have no underlying issues and to check that you are a suitable candidate for the treatment in the first place.

This could potentially mean paying out and going through the whole treatment process and not getting the results you desire.

Instead, you get a ‘do it yourself’ kit to take your own impressions or your teeth. If you talk to any dentist they will tell you that creating an accurate mould (even for professionals) is extremely difficult and can sometimes take several attempts to get it right.

‘Do it yourself’ moulds can lead to improper impressions which can cause ill fitting, too loose, too tight and / or painful aligners that don’t sit right in the mouth. How is this expected to create your desired smile?

In comparison, we here at the Elite Dental Studio use the industry-leading iTero handheld scanner to build a fully 3-D and accurate scan of your teeth and mouth to get your Invisalign trays custom made to work perfectly (and safely) for you.

Such is our level of concern of this trend that we want you to be informed of all the potential dangers of what can happen with ‘do it yourself’ aligners. Here are just a few reasons patients should be very careful when considering an unmonitored treatment plan:

  • What are the long term effect of these ‘do it yourself’ treatments?

  • What if you have any dental issues that you are unaware of and could potentially be made worse by an unmonitored treatment?

  • Problems could occur during your treatment and as it is unmonitored by having no in-person follow-ups, they could go unnoticed.

  • There are no safeguards in place to guarantee that you will be happy with the results.

  • No professional adjustments can be offered that may be required during the straightening procedure such as extractions or interproximal reductions. If this space isn’t made, the teeth can end up tilting out further to make room by pushing them out of the bone.

  • At the end of your treatment there is not always an in-person consultation to make sure that the treatment has been a success or that your even happy with the results. If you need retainers like most people do (either fixed or removable) these are not always provided.

  • Cheaper materials can be used when creating your aligners to keep a lower price point.

  • There may be no assurances that your teeth won’t get damaged in the process.

  • Patients can receive anywhere up to twenty trays at a time and then they are completely unmonitored except for ‘online’ check-ups; so nobody actually sees them and lots of things can go wrong in that time.

So how is Invisalign different?

Invisalign uses higher quality materials, specifically a patented thermoplastic material called Smart Track created exclusively for Invisalign treatment. Invisalign has long-established itself as the world’s most innovative and successful clear aligner system available and here are just a few reasons why.

  • Your teeth and requirements are assed in-person and throughout your whole treatment plan with your dentist / orthodontist.

  • We don’t take moulds / impressions, your aligners are created using a modern 3-D scanner where we take an accurate image of your teeth. This is taken by a fully trained professional to make sure your aligners are accurate and precise to ensure the best possible fit. We also don’t only do this at the beginning of treatment, we can also take scans throughout your journey to ensure things are going according to your treatment plan.

  • You are given a set number of aligners to take home and swap roughly every seven days. You also attend for in-person visits with to ensure everything is going as it should and to address any issues or concerns which may crop up.

  • Included in your treatment are attachments which helps provide extra grip for the aligners.

  • If your teeth are overcrowded then treatment will be provided before we even start on your Invisalign. This can include interproximal reductions (known also as IPR) which is a thin sandpaper strip that is used in between each tooth to create the space required so your teeth can move properly.

  • With a professional, skilled, qualified team on your side from the very beginning all the way through and into aftercare (in-person!), you are guaranteed the best possible results for your teeth.


We understand why patients would want to save money wherever possible but the question you should ask yourself is why would you want take shortcuts when it involves the health of your teeth? When building your house for example would you employ ‘Joe Bloggs’ from an online social media site or would you research, take recommendations and go with a fully licenced, respectable company and pay that little bit more?

Why would you want to risk your money or the health of your teeth just to save a few pounds? In fact what may be a more attractive price point to begin with can actually become much more costly down the down if follow-up treatments, refinements and corrections are needed . . .

When it comes to any dental treatments, we encourage you to do your research and if you source recommendations or testimonials from previous patients (of which we have plenty).

We will always advise that any dental treatments of any sort are carried out under the supervision of a qualified specialist (in-person!) and it is for a very good reason. We just want what is best for your teeth. If you are serious about teeth straightening or would like more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We are here, we have been helping our patients for over ten years and we are always happy to help! Click / Tap here to contact us and to start working on getting the smile you have always wanted to have!


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