In our dental practice we are providers for both Six Month Smiles and Invisalign because we believe they’re both fantastic options for getting a knock out smile. Both options offer great results, they just vary a little in the way they go about it. Of course, they both have pros and cons – here is a little run down of the differences in 5 categories. How each system works, treatment length, esthetics, convenience and cost.
“On a personal level, I’ve used both systems on my closest loved ones. I’ve treated my mom using Invisalign and we completely changed her smile, and the freedom with which she flashes it. Without a doubt one the most gratifying things I’ve done in my career. And just this week my wife had her impressions made to start her Six Month Smiles treatment. She’s looking to fix some mild crowding issues. Let the record show that I think she’s perfect just the way she is and needs absolutely no cosmetic enhancement of any kind, in any way, in perpetuity.” – Dr. Alex
Invisalign takes a modern approach to achieving a straight smile. It uses a series of clear aligners, or trays, that gradually straighten teeth. The trays are replaced every 1-2 weeks, depending on the severity of the case, until the desired outcome is achieved. The aligners are removable, allowing you to take them out to eat or for those engagement photos and events, which is nice, yes? Afterwards you just brush and floss and pop your trays back in.
The Invisalign trays are made of a space age clear plastic that needs to hug your teeth for at least 22 hours per day to be effective. Remember, if you don’t wear them as directed, they won’t work as expected. So you have to be disciplined with your trays. Be zen about your trays grasshopper, yet even for the most disciplined among us, treatment with Invisalign will take a bit longer than with Six Month Smiles, – typically about 50% longer to accomplish the same amount of movement.
Six Month Smiles
Their slogan is, “Straight teeth. Less time.” It’s a system designed for adults who want to correct gaps or crowding in their smile. Six Month Smiles uses clear, plastic brackets and white wires that are virtually invisible. Honestly, unless you have a piece of spinach wrapped around one of the brackets, they’re really hard to see. Thankfully the plastic brackets are also much gentler on the gums than metal ones are, and anyone who’s had to use ortho wax knows what we’re talking about. For the dentist, the biggest benefit to Six Month Smiles is the speed and predictability it provides. Brackets and wires are capable of shifting teeth faster and more precisely than clear aligners can. Teeth can be very stubborn sometimes and getting them to go where you want them can be complicated, and aligners sometimes have a hard time.
Now, wouldn’t you know it? As the name implies the average case takes about six months to complete, and rarely do cases take longer than 9 months. The one downside is that you have to spend another couple of minutes a day cleaning around your brackets, and certain foods just don’t jive with brackets and wires. Water-piks, Superfloss and Proxabrushes are all tools we provide our patients with to help keep their teeth healthy while we straighten. In all, Six Month Smiles is a great system designed for adults looking for a straight smile fast.
When planning your Six Month Smiles before your wedding, it is important to discuss your event timeline in detail. Since they aren’t easily removable, this straightening option is something you will want to fit in early, or between your engagement photos and the big day. The brackets can be removed and placed back on if necessary, but will require a couple more visits to your dentist and a little extra cost.
As far as cost goes, the fee is about $1200 less for Six Month Smiles than for Invisalign. This indisputably factors into the decision making process, but it is an investment in you – your beautiful smile will last long after your big day. Ultimately, there is no best straightening option, Six Month Smiles vs Invisalign. It all depends on what you’re smile goals are and what your timeline is before your wedding day. Both options will deliver on the smile you’re dreaming of and a detailed conversation with your treating dentist is the only way to determine what option is best for you. Whatever route you decide, do it. You’re gonna be so happy you did when you see your new smile in those wedding photos that will last a lifetime.