Clear Aligners vs. Invisalign: Are There Differences Between The Two?

braces smiling woman

Clear aligners (also known as invisible aligners) and Invisalign are clear plastic trays that are fitted over the teeth, making them almost impossible to notice. These orthodontic devices apply gentle pressure on the teeth to correct problems like crowding, crooked teeth, wide gaps, and misaligned jaws. Since both orthodontic devices do the same job, they are often confused with each other. Below, we highlight the differences between the two orthodontic devices. 

Differences in Thickness

Clear aligners are thinner than Invisalign. When you opt for a clear aligner, you will get an aligner built from thinner material, which may feel more natural when worn but may not be as sturdy and may break more easily. Conversely, Invisalign is thicker, which means they are sturdier and more durable and may feel bulky when worn. 

Differences in Price

One of the main differences between clear aligners and Invisalign is price. Clear aligners cost  between $1,200 and $8,000, whereas Invisalign costs between $1,800 and $9,500. If you are working with a limited budget, you should consider getting a clear aligner; however, if you have a few hundred dollars to spare, you can opt for Invisalign. If you have dental insurance, there is a possibility that your policy offers partial coverage for either device, helping reduce your out-of-pocket costs. 

Clear Aligners are Built Differently than Invisalign

To create a set of clear aligners, an orthodontist will scan a patient’s mouth and use a 3D printer to create the model. After creating the model, the orthodontist will manually cut the aligners to fit over the patient’s teeth. 

To create Invisalign, an orthodontist will use a computerized model of a patient’s teeth and a 3D printing technology to create the Invisalign. The process produces a set of aligner trays that fit over the patient’s teeth like a glove. The Invisalign are clear; however, they are made of thick material, which securely holds the teeth in place. 

Clear aligners are made of thinner material, making them less noticeable. They do not use the same technology Invisalign does to digitally move patients’ teeth to the ideal position. Because of this, clear aligners may not accurately fit over the teeth and may fail to make the teeth movements needed to correct orthodontic issues. 

Overall Oral Comfort

The materials used to produce clear aligners and Invisalign are different. Clear aligners are made using a light plastic material. As such, they are easy to put on and take off and are more comfortable in the mouth. On the other hand, Invisalign are made using hard plastic, and in the first week of wearing them, you can feel as though you are wearing a bulky mouth guard, and chewing may be uncomfortable.

Clear Aligners and Invisalign Are Different Orthodontic Devices

The above orthodontic devices do the same job; however, they each have their differences and should not be mistaken for the other. If you want to correct problems with your teeth and are not sure which device to use, talk to your dentist, who will help you determine the best option.