Put your money where your mouth is: Why the clear aligner you choose can make or break your smile

A man is visiting the dentist and getting his Invisalign aligner fitted.
A qualified dental professional can examine your smile to determine the best treatment option for you for optimum results. Photo credit: Supplied

When it comes to getting your dream smile, it's never been easier to find a solution. 

From the traditional railway track-style braces to plastic plates and clear aligners, social media has been flooded with a plethora of teeth straightening products in recent years. 

But Kantar research commissioned by Invisalign in 2021 found not even a third of Kiwi adults are completely certain of the brand of teeth straightening solution they use. 

While social media has exposed consumers to the full spectrum of teeth straightening products, the quality of these products varies widely, making it more difficult than ever to know which solution will work best. 

Dr Emily McBurnie, Manager, Clinical Education at Invisalign ANZ, a leading provider of removable clear aligners, says "all aligners can move your teeth - but how predictable the results are is very different". 

She goes on to say: "Teeth straightening is a medical procedure, so it’s important to have a qualified dental professional examine your smile to determine the best treatment option for you for optimum results. Having an in-person assessment also helps make sure your teeth and gums are in top health to avoid any unnecessary risk, such as tooth loosening, loss, or damage to your bite."

Girl is happy with Invisalign.
Photo credit: Supplied

Regardless of straightening complexity, research by Invisalign* reveals that New Zealand based consumers are weighing up health care professional care, cost and comfort in making their solution decision. With 45 percent of adults being most concerned about comfort, while 41 percent of adults are most concerned about getting expert care from a dentist or orthodontist.  

Dr McBurnie says the key to making the decision that best suits the needs of your teeth is to do your research. This is why Invisalign ANZ launched 'Be Clear on the Facts' - a guide for consumers who are considering teeth straightening options, to know the facts and know what to ask.  

With many Kiwis not completely certain of the brand of teeth straightening solution they are even using, it's important to be equipped with questions to ask your healthcare professional. If it's the Invisalign system you are being promised, you can check it's the actual thing by looking for the Invisalign starflower mark printed on all aligners. Whilst, other aligners may look similar, what they are made of and the technology behind them to move your teeth can be completely different.  

Dr McBurnie explains: "Invisalign clear aligners can only be prescribed by doctors who have completed an Invisalign training course. They are then equipped with the knowledge to help them design a predictable treatment for their patients. If you are on the hunt for a doctor, you can actually search for providers in your area on the Invisalign website."

A man is looking at his Invisalign aligner.
Look for the starflower on Invisalign aligners. Photo credit: Supplied

"Over 15 million** patients have been treated globally with the Invisalign system, yet no two smiles are the same. Your Specialist Orthodontist or Dentist will assess your teeth and take into consideration the complexity of your case as well as your treatment goals and other factors to determine your customised treatment plan" she says.  

As no two smiles are the same, the Invisalign system uses 3D printing technology to create highly accurate, customised aligners for each patient to move their teeth into the sequence that's been determined by their doctor.   

"Align Technology, the creator of the Invisalign System has developed many patented technologies over the last 25 years of innovation, including  SmartTrack™, SmartForce™ and SmartStage™. The Invisalign system is the only clear aligner with these '3 Smarts' and it’s these technologies combined that move teeth with the right amount of force, in the right direction into planned space at the right time, to achieve more predictable tooth movement*** that's comfortable and help delivers the smile you expect," she says.  

For Dr McBurnie, the message to those in the market for  discrete and predictable teeth straightening solution is simple: know the facts, know what to ask, and know what you are getting. 

To find out more about Invisalign's Be Clear on the Facts campaign, including a checklist of questions to ask your dentist or orthodontist at your first consultation to ensure you get the right treatment, visit the website here

Article created in partnership with Invisalign

* Kantar research for Invisalign October 2021 

** Data on file at Align Technology, as of March 31, 2023 

*** Compared to Invisalign aligners previously made from single-layer (EX30) material. 

**** Study sponsored by Align Technology and based on adult Class I, nonextraction, mild to moderate crowding cases with SmartTrack material. David W. White, Katie C. Julien, Helder Jacob, Phillip M. Campbell and Peter H. Buschang, Discomfort associated with Invisalign and traditional brackets: A randomized, prospective trial. The Angle Orthodontist Nov 2017, Vol. 87, No. 6 pp. 801-808