You’ve decided to improve your smile. Good on you! Self-improvement is always in style. But how you straighten your teeth is a big decision.
Thankfully, old-school braces aren’t the only option anymore. Clear aligners offer a more convenient, more comfortable, and in many cases, more affordable way to straighten your smile.
We’re here to help you find the clear aligner service that best fits your needs. That’s why we’ve created a guide to the best clear aligner options in all 50 states. To get started, simply select your state below.
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What Are Clear Aligners?
In the short time they’ve been on the market, at-home teeth aligners have become a popular alternatives to braces and Invisalign. And it’s no surprise why: they’re discreet, affordable, and incredibly convenient. The best part? With home aligners, you don’t have to step foot in an orthodontist’s office, making it a great option for busy adults.
What makes at-home aligners possible? Long story short, at-home aligners are the culmination of decades (and even centuries) of orthodontic research. The concept of braces has been around for hundreds of years, but we’ve come a long way since then, moving from crude brackets and wires to clear trays and even teledentistry, or remote dental care.
If you’re considering at-home aligners to treat your smile, you’ll want to be fully informed about them. That’s why, in this article, we’ll give you a fly-by of the history of home aligners and how the treatment works. By the end, you’ll know exactly what to expect.
Invisalign & The Clear Aligner Revolution
At-home aligners would not exist without Invisalign, the pioneer of what we like to call the Clear Aligner Revolution. In a sense, Invisalign invented the clear aligners we know today. The concept was simple: why not use something clear to pull on the teeth instead of metal?
Thanks to extensive research and innovation, Invisalign was able to introduce their clear aligners as the top alternative to braces. Unsurprisingly, the concept took off. All told, clear aligners from both Invisalign and other companies are much less noticeable than braces—for both the user and everyone else. The clear material is nearly invisible, and it doesn’t cut into your cheeks and gums much. (Granted, there is still some discomfort, but it’s far less than braces).
Even though a lot of competitors have emerged, Invisalign still reigns supreme as the most popular alternative to braces. They largely owe their success to the sheer versatility of their treatment process. In fact, thanks to their SmartTrack technology and SmartForce attachments, Invisalign is just as powerful as braces.
In practice, treatment with Invisalign and home aligners looks pretty similar: you wear your clear aligners religiously, and those aligners exert gentle force on your teeth, pulling them into new positions. At-home clear aligners use the same basic technology as Invisalign, but they simplify the process even more (see below).
Smile Direct Club and Other At-Home Services
At-home aligners are a recent development in dentistry; the first company, Smile Direct, got started in 2014. Then some competitors broke into Smile Direct’s at-home monopoly in 2017. So all in all, at-home aligners are just getting started.
Thankfully, though, at-home aligners use proven, established technology to administer your treatment; they just take out the middleman. Instead of picking up your aligners at your orthodontist’s office, the at-home aligner company you choose will send your aligners directly to you. Once you receive them, the day-to-day of your treatment looks really similar to Invisalign: you wear your aligners for about 22 hours a day, moving on to the next aligner as prescribed. With Invisalign, you’d need to go to regular check-ups with your orthodontist.
Office visits are the primary difference between in-office and at-home treatment, and with those visits comes extra cost and time. (In-office treatment methods can handle a wider variety of cases, though).
For most busy adults, at-home treatment is a much better option. Office visits won’t put any additional stress on your already busy schedule. Plus, at-home treatment is considerably cheaper, and it’s typically faster. The speed, convenience, and affordability is a win-win.