Is Invisalign the same as clear aligners?

Orthodontic technology has significantly advanced over the years, offering people different options to achieve a straighter and more confident smile. Invisalign and clear aligners have become increasingly popular as they provide a discreet alternative to traditional braces. However, although they may seem similar, it is essential to understand their differences.

Here is a detailed insight to help you make an informed decision on your journey toward a beautifully aligned smile. Let’s start with understanding what Invisalign is and its key differences.  

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a brand name for a specific type of transparent aligner system. Developed by Align Technology, Invisalign is a widely recognized and reputable orthodontic treatment option. Invisalign aligners are created from a thermoplastic material called SmartTrack, which is comfortable and nearly invisible when worn. The treatment involves a series of custom-made aligners that gradually help move the teeth into their desired position.  

Key features of Invisalign:  

  • Customization

Invisalign treatment begins with a digital scan or impressions of the patient’s teeth. These images are then used to create a precise 3D model, allowing for custom-fit aligners tailored to each individual’s unique dental structure.  

  • Smart Track Material

The aligners are crafted from SmartTrack, a flexible and durable thermoplastic material designed to apply gentle yet consistent pressure on the teeth.  

  • Removability

One of the standout features of Invisalign is the ability to remove the aligners for eating, brushing, and flossing, which enhances oral hygiene and allows for more flexibility in daily activities.

  • Virtual treatment monitoring

Invisalign uses current technology to offer virtual treatment monitoring. Dental professionals can track the patient’s progress remotely, reducing the need for frequent in-person visits. This makes the treatment process more convenient while allowing for any necessary adjustments.  

Understanding Clear Aligners

While Invisalign is a specific brand of clear aligners, the term ‘clear aligners’ is a broader category that includes various brands and systems beyond Invisalign. Clear aligners generally share the same basic principles of gradual teeth movement. While the fundamental idea involves using transparent, removable trays to apply controlled pressure, encouraging teeth to shift gradually over time, this method is a popular alternative to traditional metal braces.

  • Diverse brands

Unlike Invisalign, clear aligners include a variety of brands, each with its unique approach to treatment. Some well-known alternatives include ClearCorrect and SureSmile.  

  • Material Variations

Clear aligners are made from different materials, but most commonly, they are composed of clear, BPA-free plastic. The material is chosen for its transparency and comfort.  

  • Customization

Like Invisalign, clear aligners are customized based on digital scans or impressions of the patient’s teeth, ensuring a snug fit and effective treatment.  

What kind of imperfections can be treated by Invisalign or Clear Aligners?

Clear Aligners, including Invisalign, have evolved to address many orthodontic issues, making them suitable for correcting imperfections in teeth alignment. These aligners are particularly effective for treating mild to moderate cases. The types of common imperfections that can be successfully addressed include:  

  • Crowded Teeth:

Clear aligners, including Invisalign, gradually align crowded teeth by creating space and allowing them to shift into proper alignment.  

  • Spacing Issues:

Whether due to gaps between teeth or irregular spacing, these clear aligners bring the teeth closer together for a more uniform and aesthetically pleasing smile.  

  • General teeth straightening

Invisalign and clear aligners are versatile in straightening teeth, providing a discreet and safe alternative to traditional braces for achieving a more aligned and visually appealing smile.  

  • Overbites, underbites and crossbites

Clear aligners effectively correct overbites, underbites, and crossbites. Gradual movement aids in achieving proper alignment and enhancing oral health and smile aesthetics for these issues.

While Invisalign is a specific type of clear aligner, not all clear aligners are Invisalign. Invisalign has gained recognition for its precision, comfort, and brand reputation. However, clear aligners, as a category, provide a range of alternatives, allowing individuals to choose the option that best suits their preferences, budget, and orthodontic needs. Consulting with a dental professional will help you determine the most suitable treatment plan for achieving your desired smile transformation.  

If you are interested in getting Invisalign or clear aligners, contact Dearborn Family Smiles. Our dentist provides personalized treatment to help you restore your smile. Consult us in Dearborn to determine if Invisalign is right for you.