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What Is The Difference Between Getting Your Invisalign With A Dentist vs Online?

Today we’re going to talk about what the difference is between getting Invisalign with a dentist versus doing it online with something like SmileDirect.

Hi, my name is Dr James, and I’m one of the principal dentists here at Elevate Dental at Richmond and Hawthorn in Melbourne.

Yesterday, I was speaking to one of my patients, Sean from Southbank, during his smile makeover consultation. He was considering his options for straightening his teeth and was talking about comparing Invisalign versus SmileDirect. He asked me, well, what’s the difference between the two, especially considering the price difference? So I thought I’d make a video to share with you my thoughts on this.

So if you have been considering Invisalign or online tooth straightening, here are some things to consider when you’re straightening your teeth with either one of those options.

Are your teeth and gums healthy enough for orthodontic treatment?

Teeth and gums that aren’t healthy won’t move accurately. In fact, straightening teeth that aren’t healthy may cause more longterm damage. Imagine building a house. If the foundation is not strong and you’re building on sand, what do you think will happen to the house in the long term? It will collapse. Teeth are the same. We need to make sure the foundations are sound and they are ready to be aligned into an ideal spot.

Is the proposed treatment the right one for you?

When straightening teeth and planning a smile, it’s important to look not just at teeth but also at the facial structures like your lips, your chin, nose and how everything fits together.

Your smile and your face altogether determine whether the final position of the teeth is a good one. That’s what we analyse and diagnose when we’re designing the ideal smile for each person. We also want to make sure that we’re not pushing the natural boundaries and pushing teeth outside of their natural envelope of movement.

Because if that happens, you start to see things like loose teeth and shrinking gums. That’s when you hear stories where teeth have fallen out when someone’s tried to remove an aligner.

Now, the next consideration is during treatment, what happens if the trays aren’t working and the teeth aren’t moving as planned? Is there something that you can do about that?

This is actually not uncommon. Even with Invisalign, I’ve used the Invisalign system for almost a decade, and I have seen how sophisticated this technology has become. However, despite this, we still need to make minor tweaks with our patients. We still need to monitor each person closely. And the main reason here is because each person is an individual, we’re all different and teeth responded differently. There’s no one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter solution. And when you have someone, a professional, looking over and monitoring every single movement, we can catch things early and fix them before they get too major.

Who can you contact if you have issues with the product.

Is there someone looking over your treatment who you can contact straight away if things aren’t looking right? Is there a physical location you can go to?
With Invisalign, the dentist is always there to look after you. Here at Elevate Dental, we have two convenient locations for you to come to.

The fourth consideration is the actual design of the product.

How do the aligners accurately move the teeth.
Imagine trying to move a mug without a handle. If you try rotating it by itself, it’s really, really hard, because it’s so slippery and it’s curved. But if you have a handle on that cup and you use that handle to rotate it, it’s a lot easier. The same applies to tooth straightening.

With Invisalign treatment, we often bond little attachments to the teeth so we can make accurate movements. It means that treatment is faster and more predictable.

Another thing to ask yourself is how is the fit of the aligners on the teeth. For example, Invisalign is very precisely cut to fit only on the teeth themselves. It doesn’t actually fit over the gum because when you’re constantly taking it out and putting it in when you’re eating and cleaning your teeth it can cause pain, gum shrinkage and permanent damage.

I had a patient come in a few weeks ago and he wanted to know why he was getting this divet in his front tooth and why one of his gums was shrinking. And the reason was he had started SmileDirect a couple of months ago and that constant wear and tear and the pressure on the teeth had worn a hole in his front tooth and caused the gum to irreparably shrink. So that’s one of the things that can happen.

I hope this gives you a little bit more insight into what some differences are between the two. If you are looking at straightening your teeth, we would love to help. Why not give us a call at +61 3 9428 2424, send us a direct message on social media, or complete the enquiry form on our website at, and we will help you organise your complimentary smile consultation. We look forward to meeting you.



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James Wong is a wonderful Dentist. The communication and patience through the procedure was first class.

James B


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James Wong is a wonderful Dentist. The communication and patience through the procedure was first class.

James B


What a professional and friendly team at Elevate Dental Richmond. Dr Judith’s infectious smile is matched only by her highly competent dentistry.
Richmond is lucky to have such a caring practice! Thanks guys.

Peter O


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