Invisalign versus low-cost aligners: which is the better choice?

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp

Aesthetic orthodontics has made significant advances over the past decade. The time when the only option for straightening your teeth was traditional metal braces is long gone. Today, both in Switzerland and abroad, numerous brands like Invisalign or Smiledirect manufacture transparent plastic aligners that move teeth.

The other advance in orthodontics over these past years is the number of adults who wish to straighten their teeth. Almost half of my patients are now adults!

If you aren’t satisfied with your smile and want straighter teeth without wasting your time or money, there are different elements that you should take into account.

In this comparison of Invisalign vs low-cost aligners,
I explain what you should know before making a decision !

Invisalign vs low-cost solutions: the comparison

Dental aligners: the concept

Following an Invisalign dental treatment plan involves wearing a transparent plastic aligner on your upper and/or lower teeth. Aligners progressively move your teeth in order to straighten them. These aligners must be removed to eat or to drink coloured liquids.

In general, you should wear each aligner for twenty hours a day for one week. After that, you change aligner. The treatment time varies from 3 to 24 months. Significant differences exist between Invisalign and low-cost solutions. I am going to provide an overview of these differences in order to allow you to make an informed decision and avoid frustration at a later date.

Treatment process

Invisalign
Invisalign treatment is recommended and supervised by a dentist specialised in orthodontic devices, namely an orthodontist. Before making a diagnosis, an orthodontist will take x-rays of your jaw and head, and will examine your gums. They will then make 3D moulds to study the relationship between your upper and lower teeth.

An orthodontist also checks all of the muscles working around your dental arches and most importantly, how you chew. After that, the manufacture of the first series of dental aligners begins. With Invisalign, your orthodontist will personally check the progress of your treatment at your appointments every 5 to 7 weeks.

At each of these appointments, they check that the aligners are going to fit well, are working properly and that there is no lack of control over a tooth, before making corrections if necessary.

- Dental Geneva
An in-depth orthodontic profile is carried out before each Invisalign treatment @DentalGeneva

Low-cost
The low-cost solutions available on the Swiss market have many points in common with Invisalign. They also consist of wearing a transparent plastic aligner for a specific period of time in order to straighten your teeth. However, the process is reduced to a minimum in order to offer a very low rate.

A non-specialised dentist examines you and does a 3D scan of your dentition. There are no x-rays or dental checkups included in this type of offer. You then receive a series of aligners by mail and a smartphone application to accompany you during the treatment.

Type of treatment

Invisalign
Invisalign allows to treat mild, moderate and severe dental misalignments, simultaneously correcting occlusion problems. It treats the alignment of your entire dentition in the upper and/or lower jaws.

“Low-cost treatment only straightens the six front teeth.”

Low-cost
Low-cost solutions only treat mild and moderate dental misalignments. The most significant difference of low-cost treatments is that they only straighten the six front teeth, from canine tooth to canine tooth. The remainder of your teeth will remain in their initial position.

Comparison of Invisalign versus low-cost aligners
The six front teeth are the only teeth straightened with Bestsmile Geneva treatment

Manufacture and safety of aligners

Regardless of the brand, transparent aligners are manufactured of flexible medical-grade plastic and do not contain bisphenol A or S (BPA or BPS). They are thin, transparent and perfectly adapted to your teeth, making them practically invisible.

Invisalign
Invisalign uses a patented material to manufacture its aligners. It is a highly innovative multilayer composite called Smart Track®, which is precisely moulded to the exact shape of your dental arch and cut to perfectly fit the shape of your gums.

Clinically recognised to improve dental movements, this is a major advantage when it comes to optimising the predictability of movements. Furthermore, it is very comfortable for patients.

- Dental Geneva
Invisalign dental aligners are cut based on your gum line for greater comfort and a more aesthetic appearance.

Low-cost
Contrary to Invisalign, low-cost aligners are not cut to the shape of your gums. They therefore have a straight edge along their entire surface, which can cause slight discomfort in certain cases. They are also somewhat thinner, which makes them less robust and more likely to crack or break.

Bestsmile Geneva dental aligners are not cut to the shape of your gums.
Low-cost dental aligners are not cut to the shape of your gums and can cause discomfort.

Treatment cost

The main perceived advantage between Invisalign and low-cost aligners is the cost. The price of low-cost aligners is widely advertised on social media as a starting at 2000 CHF, whereas the cost of Invisalign aligners is generally known as starting at 4000 CHF or more.

While low-cost aligners may appear to be the least expensive option of the two, apples should be compared to apples.

The cost of 2000 CHF for low-cost aligners refers to the least expensive option. This option only includes the treatment of six teeth, in a single jaw.

On the other hand, the advertised price of Invisalign refers to Invisalign Full, the unlimited option. To truly compare the cost, we should therefore compare the same options.

Cost comparison: alignment of one dental arch.

TYPE D'ALIGNEMENT:
UNE ARCADE, TRAITEMENT SIMPLE
Gouttières InvisalignGouttières
low-cost
Nombre de dents alignées16 (toute l'arcade)6 (canine à canine)
Bilan orthodontique- Dental Geneva- Dental Geneva
Analyse fonctionnelle- Dental Geneva- Dental Geneva
Radiographie panoramique- Dental Geneva100.-
Prise d'empreinte par le médecin-dentiste- Dental Geneva- Dental Geneva
Photographies de la mâchoire- Dental Geneva- Dental Geneva
Gouttières découpées selon votre ligne gingivale (confort optimal et meilleure esthétique)- Dental Geneva- Dental Geneva
Attachements- Dental Geneva400.-
Rendez-vous de contrôle- Dental GenevaUn seul, en fin de traitement
Finition post-traitement (limage éventuel et polissage des dents)- Dental Geneva300.-
Fil de contention post-traitement- Dental Geneva400.-
Gouttière de contention post-traitement- Dental Geneva- Dental Geneva
Tarif annoncé2000.-1990.-
Tarif réel2000.-3190.-

Cost comparison: alignment of two dental arches.

TYPE D'ALIGNEMENT:
DEUX ARCADES, TRAITEMENT SIMPLE
Gouttières InvisalignGouttières
low-cost
Nombre de dents alignées32 (toutes les dents)12 (canines à canines)
Bilan orthodontique- Dental Geneva- Dental Geneva
Analyse fonctionnelle- Dental Geneva- Dental Geneva
Radiographie panoramique- Dental Geneva100.-
Prise d'empreinte par le médecin-dentiste- Dental Geneva- Dental Geneva
Photographies de la mâchoire- Dental Geneva- Dental Geneva
Gouttières découpées selon votre ligne gingivale (confort optimal et meilleure esthétique)- Dental Geneva- Dental Geneva
Attachements- Dental Geneva2 x 400.-
Rendez-vous de contrôle- Dental GenevaUn seul, en fin de traitement
Finition post-traitement (limage éventuel et polissage des dents)- Dental Geneva300.-
Fil de contention post-traitement- Dental Geneva2 x 400.-
Gouttière de contention post-traitement- Dental Geneva- Dental Geneva
Tarif annoncé4000.-2990.-
Tarif réel4000.-4990.-

NB: In Switzerland, the majority of complementary insurance policies cover up to 80% of the cost of orthodontic treatment, in particular if it is deemed necessary from a medical viewpoint. As a result, the cost of treatment is less important than choosing the right dental treatment.

Clinical case study

I would like to share the case of a 30 or so year-old patient who came to my office just before quarantine started in March 2020. She felt like her jaw had been closing “strangely” for a while. She also complained about having headaches and tension in the muscles in her neck and jaw. She was visibly very tired.

I conducted the necessary examinations and rapidly diagnosed dental malocclusion due to poor tooth alignment. To put it simply, her upper and lower teeth did not close properly. When chewing, the distribution of forces was unequal across her teeth as a whole, causing premature fatigue of her temporomandibular joints.

Unsurprising to me, she then explained that only a few months prior, she had completed a dental alignment treatment using low-cost aligners. Thinking that she was saving money, this patient unfortunately ended up having to straighten her teeth with Invisalign to obtain functional and stable occlusion.

It is therefore very important to take into account the state of your oral and dental health as well as any potential malocclusion prior to, during and after wearing a dental device.

It is important to take into account any potential malocclusion prior to, during and after wearing a dental device.

Dr. Victoria Klimovich

Conclusion

By eliminating checkups and appointments, low-cost solutions can offer rates that look very enticing.

However, be warned. While it is appealing to not have to go to regular dentist appointments, you should be informed thatwith a low-cost solution, you risk being considered a customer and not a patient. That’s what makes all the difference. You purchase the aligners and then make do with them. Undertaking such a treatment at home without any real monitoring is very risky.

Getting a great smile in exchange for an undiagnosed infection is extremely expensive over the long term. For example, cavities aren’t generally painful unless they are close to the nerve. If bacteria cause bone loss or periodontal disease that goes untreated, this can result in tooth and bone loss, limiting the possibilities of getting back a great smile.

My advice: an appointment at an experienced orthodontist for an in-depth examination and x-rays before starting any tooth alignment treatment always guarantees a healthy smile!

Our experience is our advantage.

Set up an appointment

for an Invisalign consultation

Dr Victoria Klimovich
Dr Victoria Klimovich

Orthodontist at Dental Geneva practice.
Master of Orthodontics from the University of King's College London. Member of the European Orthodontic society and Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp