What’s the Best Clear Aligner? (Buyer Beware!)

A close-up of a person holding a clear aligner to their teeth
A close-up of a person holding a clear aligner to their teeth

Want to straighten your teeth without metal wires or brackets?

Clear aligners are an excellent choice.

But:

Not all clear aligners are the same.

Each has its own set of policies that you should be aware of as a buyer. So read this blog to learn what you should ask and consider when seeking the best clear aligners.

What is an aligner?

An aligner is a clear orthodontic device that looks like teeth whitening bleaching trays, but they are used to straighten teeth.

A series of aligners are used to make incremental movements to your teeth, as an alternative to orthodontic braces.

They are popular because they are clear, comfortable, and removable for eating, brushing, flossing, and dental visits.

What’s the best clear aligner?

There are many different aligner systems, all using proprietary materials and design software.

Some cost less, and some claim to be more efficient.

Some are constructed in labs, others in orthodontic offices.

But the focus of this post is the companies’ policies and how they potentially affect you as a patient.

What you need to know about clear aligner policies

When it comes to aligner treatment, I use the Invisalign system.

Why?

Here’s one of many reasons:

When you pay the Invisalign lab bill for comprehensive treatment through your orthodontist, you’re entitled to five years of treatment with no new lab bill.

No one wants to be treated that long, but there are often circumstances where bite or alignment refinements are done a while after the original treatment is complete. This gives you and the doctor a lot of leeway.

Keep in mind that aligners come in a series, anywhere from a few to even 40+ aligners. Multiple series of aligners are typically needed to complete a treatment properly.

What’s nice about the Invisalign system is that if you move or simply change orthodontists, the case follows you.

Switching orthodontists with aligners

I recently saw a patient for a transfer examination. The treatment was started in another state, using another aligner system. When I called the aligner company to ask how the case could be transferred to me, I was informed that the case stays with the original treating orthodontist, and it does not follow the patient.

I asked what happens when a patient moves, and I was told that if another series of aligners are needed, a new lab fee would be incurred.

To that, I asked, “How does this align with the best interests of the patient?” No sufficient answer followed.

So, what does that mean for you, the patient?

If you’re seeking orthodontic treatment with aligners, you should ask:

  • What brand the treating doctor is using
  • If you’ll be penalized with additional lab fees if you change doctors for any reason and end up needing another aligner series

Have a question about clear aligners in the Greater Seattle Area?

Contact our award-winning orthodontist, Dr. Jeff Schur!

Schur Orthodontics offers a range of orthodontic treatments, including the most popular clear aligner, Invisalign!

Our office is located in Bellevue, WA and sees patients from all over the area, including Redmond, Kirkland, Seattle, Renton, Eastside, and Woodinville.