Woman hand comparing Invisalign clear aligners.

Clear aligners are a godsend for a lot of patients wishing to straighten their smile. Aligners offer several benefits over traditional braces, including looking almost invisible, being incredibly comfortable, and requiring fewer office visits, just to name a few!

But are all clear aligners created equal? We know you have heard of Invisalign, as they were the first company to patent clear aligners. But in recent years, other brands have come along claiming that you can get all the benefits of Invisalign with a lower price tag and the added convenience of mail-in treatment.

Benefits of Invisalign

Is the promise of mail-in DIY clear aligners seems too good to be true? DIY aligner brands make a lot of claims about their cost and speed of treatment that can be pretty enticing. We look a little deeper into the benefits that professional treatment with Invisalign offers so you can feel confident you did your research when making your choice.

Professional Treatment

While some mail-in companies may claim that professional providers will oversee your treatment, you will likely never meet or speak directly with a licensed dentist or orthodontist. More importantly, you certainly will not get the hands-on in-person treatment you receive when you choose a dental office.

Invisalign is administered by a professional with regular follow-up appointments to ensure treatment is progressing as intended. Your dentist or orthodontist will directly observe and evaluate your teeth and be able to tailor your treatment in a way that a mail-in service never can.

If your provider determines x-rays are needed, he or she can take them at your appointment. Your provider can see your progress and course-correct when needed, as well as answer your questions in a more personal way throughout treatment. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists have warned against mail-in treatments and does not recommend them.


Invisalign was also the first company to patent the special plastic used in the aligners, so they’ve had more time to perfect the technology. The patented materials in Invisalign aligners are far superior to the generic plastics used by many mail-in brands.

In addition to top-of-the-line materials, the Invisalign brand, coupled with treatment by a professional, allows for more advanced techniques, such as attachments, which are used to treat more complex cases faster.


This brings us to the effectiveness of your treatment. Of course you want to quickly achieve your optimal results. While DIY invisible aligner brands make claims about treating misalignment in short time frames, each case is unique, and no provider can accurately predict a timeline for all patients without a thorough assessment. Some treatment plans for mild cases may be completed in just a few months, but depending on the severity of your misalignment, as well as other factors, your course may take longer.

Moreover, using inferior materials without the ability to utilize attachments may result in the need for longer treatment. Better materials and more advanced treatments mean better, faster results.


While mail-in aligners can be cheaper, this is typically because there is less expertise behind them and the costs don’t involve key components of treatment planning. In addition, this low advertised price is incomplete or only accounts for the mildest of cases.

First, a cheaper price tag means cheaper materials. Furthermore, the quality of care is inferior. The quoted cost does not include any exams, x-rays, attachments, retainers, or additional aligners that may be needed when the initial treatment trajectory requires a change of plans.

This price is often only applicable to mild or moderate misalignment that can be corrected in six months or less, which is not the case for many patients. What’s more, insurance may be less likely to cover mail-in programs. Several aspects of your in-office treatment may qualify for insurance coverage, therefore reducing overall cost.

Which Option Should You Choose?

It is always a good idea to explore all our options before making an important decision. But when it comes to your dental health, your smile is something worth investing in. Our conclusion is that Invisalign is always going to be safer, more effective, and more predictable than a more DIY orthodontic treatment option.

If you want to find out more about why we recommend Invisalign clear aligner treatment overseen by an experienced professional, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation!