SureSmile vs Invisalign: What’s the Difference?

Holding sure smile clear braces
14 Sep 2023

SureSmile vs Invisalign: What’s the Difference?

Are you considering undergoing treatment to straighten your teeth this fall? You’re in excellent company.

Research shows that about four million Americans receive orthodontic treatment at any given time. One-quarter of them are adults.

Many orthodontic patients are turning to clear aligners instead of traditional metal braces. That’s because they’re less noticeable and more comfortable. Two major companies offer these aligners: SureSmile and Invisalign.

What’s the difference between these two companies? Let’s explore SureSmile vs Invisalign and which option might be best for you.

Clear Aligners

A clear aligner is a clear, removable, custom-fitted orthodontic device. It’s designed to help straighten your teeth discreetly. SureSmile and Invisalign aligners may correct several alignment issues, including:

  • Gapped and widely spaced teeth
  • Crowded teeth
  • Crooked teeth
  • Overbite
  • Crossbite
  • Underbite

An overbite is where your top front teeth vertically overlap your bottom front teeth. This condition may lead to discomfort when your bottom teeth bite into your mouth’s roof.

You have an underbite if your bottom front teeth vertically overlap your top front teeth. Underbites cause problems with chewing and biting, resulting in headaches and jaw pain.

Crossbites are where people’s top and bottom teeth don’t align properly. Bone loss, tooth wear, and gum disease may occur in a dental patient with a crossbite.

How Clear Aligners Work

Clear aligners may move all of your pearly whites and even fix some jaw misalignments. Your dentist might combine the aligners with attachments to make this happen. These attachments might include the following:

  • Elastics
  • Expanders
  • Engagers

Elastics are small latex rubber bands. They help shift teeth into their proper positions.

Expanders widen people’s palates (their mouths’ roofs). This gives teeth more space. Engagers are tooth-colored buttons added to teeth to help with movements.

Your dentist will examine your pearly whites to decide if you’re a good candidate for clear aligners. They might recommend conventional metal braces for a complex misalignment case.

Maintaining Clear Aligners

Clear tooth aligners are relatively simple to use. You won’t struggle to floss and brush your teeth since these aligners are removable.

There’s also no need to change your diet to accommodate the aligners. Patients must avoid hard foods when wearing traditional braces to avoid damaging their appliances. These include nuts, popcorn, and raw carrots.

Remove your aligners when drinking or eating anything other than plain water. Then, place them in an aligner case. Clean your teeth and aligners before putting your aligners back in your mouth.

Invisalign Tooth Aligners

Many people recognize the Invisalign brand since they pioneered clear aligners. More than 11 million people have undergone Invisalign treatment globally.

Align Technology, the maker of Invisalign aligners, launched in 1997. They introduced Invisalign to the world in 1998.

Suppose you choose Invisalign clear aligners. Your dentist will produce a three-dimensional scan of your teeth and create custom aligners based on this. You’ll then wear the aligners for up to 18 months (more on this later).

Invisalign uses an iTero scanner, which uses advanced laser and optical technology. Patients like it since it is reliable, comfortable, and quick.

SureSmile Tooth Aligners

SureSmile maker OraMetrix launched in 1998. They didn’t start creating aligners until 2007. That’s 10 years after Invisalign.

This is because OraMetrix produced archwires before entering the clear aligner market. These are wires attached to braces’ brackets to help move teeth. Dental product maker Dentsply acquired OraMetrix in 2018.

SureSmile has helped several hundred thousand patients straighten their teeth since its debut. They’ve become an increasingly popular alternative to Invisalign. They utilize board certified orthodontists to treatment plan each case and is not all AI based. There is an actual orthodontist behind each treatment plan that your dentist has access to during treatment for anything that comes up.

SureSmile treatment starts with a Primescan, Orascanner or iTero intraoral scan. This digital scan will generate a precise representation of your teeth.

Primescan is a SureSmile-certified third-party device. It can integrate with your dentist’s software to make your dental treatment process more efficient.

Orascanner is SureSmile’s patented scanner. It’s a user-friendly, portable device that can scan your mouth in under 10 minutes.

Your dentist will send your 3D scan to SureSmile’s digital lab. This lab will use it to create your custom aligners. Your dentist will determine how many aligners you need and how frequently you must change them during treatment.

SureSmile is newer than Invisalign, but Dentsply’s technology and innovation experience spans more than 120 years. Their vast experience and longevity have inspired dentists and patients to choose them. The company continues fine-tuning its software and products to produce the best patient results. 

SureSmile and Invisalign Similarities

Prepare to wear your aligners between 20 and 22 hours a day with both SureSmile and Invisalign aligners. Neither product is designed to be worn just at night. You’ll need to switch your aligner set every couple of weeks to gradually adjust your smile.

SureSmile and Invisalign are both faster than traditional orthodontic treatment. Treatment with conventional braces may take 24 months. Your treatment with these clear aligners might take just six to 12 months based on your unique case.

SureSmile vs Invisalign

SureSmile and Invisalign may produce similar results, but aligning teeth with SureSmile is less expensive (more on this later). SureSmile aligners might also work more quickly and require fewer dental office adjustments.

Another benefit of SureSmile is that these aligners may lead to more accurate teeth alignment and fit better than Invisalign aligners. This is due to the high quality of Dentsply’s imaging software.

Advanced Orthodontic Treatment

SureSmile may be the best option if you need advanced orthodontic treatment. That’s because Invisalign uses clear aligners only. SureSmile typically begins treatment with clear aligners, custom archwires, and traditional brackets.

SureSmile’s use of multiple traditional orthodontic devices allows for advanced teeth alignment adjustments that Invisalign may not be able to duplicate. Clear aligners from either SureSmile or Invisalign are best reserved for smiles requiring minor adjustments.

Treatment Speed

Choose SureSmile if you’re seeking a faster orthodontic process as mentioned earlier. Invisalign treatment typically takes a year to 1.5 years, although five years may be necessary.

SureSmile treatment may take half a year to 1.5 years. Most treatments are completed within 2-3 years.

SureSmile is faster because the treatment offers straight-cut clear aligners.  Invisalign offers only scalloped aligners (more on this later).

The straight-cut ones provide greater force. This is especially true when combined with attachments. The result is quicker tooth shifts.

Remember that your treatment timeline depends on your dental condition’s severity. More complex dental misalignment will take longer to treat with SureSmile and Invisalign.

Clear Aligner Coverage Timeline

SureSmile treatment includes enough aligners to cover your teeth for three years. Invisalign treatment offers aligner coverage for five years.

This means you’ll need to pay for more aligners after year three of treatment with SureSmile. Many patients are finished with the SureSmile process long before the four-year mark, so this brand’s coverage may be sufficient for your case.

Aligner Material

Both SureSmile and Invisalign are nearly invisible. Their materials are not the same, though.

Invisalign aligners are made using a plastic called SmartTrack. This durable material offers predictable movement, making it popular among patients requiring very tiny smile adjustments.

SureSmile uses a plastic called Essix ACE by Dentsply’s Raintree Essix company. Dentists and patients embrace this plastic’s superior clarity and comfort.

Essix ACE aligners are also strong enough to maintain their shapes for two weeks. Another benefit of Essix ACE is its flexibility. This may help prevent tooth soreness. 


Select SureSmile aligners if aesthetics is a major factor in your clear aligner choice. SureSmile’s shiny, textured tooth aligners are virtually undetectable since they somewhat match your natural teeth. Use them to straighten your teeth without attracting attention to your mouth.

Invisalign’s SmartTrack plastic is slightly thicker than SureSmile’s Essix ACE plastic. This makes it easier to spot in the mouth. The textured, frosted plastic is designed to match your tooth surfaces, though.

Some patients like SureSmile’s shiny plastic since it gives the smile a gleam. Others prefer Invisalign’s matte plastic since it mimics the teeth well. 

Aligner Trim Line Options

A major advantage of SureSmile aligners is you can choose between straight-cut and scalloped aligners. This makes SureSmile more customizable than Invisalign, which provides the scalloped option only.

Scalloped aligners match the gum line for a beautiful aesthetic. Straight-cut ones overlap the gums and are more effective since they generate more tooth-shifting force as mentioned earlier. Your dentist may set this overlap to 2-4 millimeters depending on your needs.


Beginning SureSmile or Invisalign will require finding a doctor and scheduling a consult. The next step is to have your dentist examine your teeth and capture images of them to start your treatment.

The challenge with SureSmile is that there aren’t as many providers as with Invisalign. Many suburban areas and major cities offer several SureSmile providers, so finding one should still be relatively easy.

A major benefit of SureSmile is that it requires fewer dental visits as mentioned earlier. You may see your dentist quarterly with SureSmile versus every month or 1.5 months with Invisalign.

Treatment Cost

Choose SureSmile if cost is a top factor in your clear aligner brand decision. Invisalign usually costs more since it offers enough aligners to cover treatment for five years. SureSmile makes more financial sense for anyone needing just 1-2 years of orthodontic treatment.

SureSmile Cost

This option costs $2,000 to $4,500 for SureSmile’s Select plan. This is where you pay for each aligner separately.

Expect to pay $4,000 to $6,000 for SureSmile’s Complete plan. The Complete plan includes three years’ worth of aligner coverage.

Invisalign Cost

Invisalign treatment typically costs $3,000 to $8,000. Many patients pay $5,000+.

Why SureSmile Is Less Expensive

Dentists who use SureSmile can choose from several three-dimensional scanners. Invisalign requires dentists to use the iTero scanner, which can be expensive. This is one reason why SureSmile is more cost-effective than Invisalign.

Another reason for SureSmile’s lower cost is the brand’s lower laboratory fees. Leading Invisalign providers receive significant discounts to help with this.

Yet another reason for SureSmile’s more competitive pricing is that it isn’t as widely recognized as Invisalign. Providers usually charge more money for bigger brand names.

Important Cost Considerations

Your clear aligner treatment costs will depend on your treatment time and the number of aligner sets you’ll need to achieve your desired results.

Remember to factor in the cost of aftercare retainers from your dentist. Your dentist might not include this in their SureSmile or Invisalign treatment estimate.

These may cost between $100 and $500. You’ll need to wear your retainers long-term to help maintain your brand-new smile. A few types of retainers are available.

A Hawley retainer is made of acrylic and metal. It fits over the upper palate. These retainers are adjustable and durable.

Clear plastic retainers are made of polyurethane or plastic. They’re a top choice since they’re not noticeable. These retainers are also more comfortable and thinner than Hawley retainers.

Paying For Your Treatment

Dental insurance typically covers part or all of a patient’s Invisalign or SureSmile treatment. This is true if the patient’s dentist is in the insurer’s network.

Ask your prospective dentist to check your dental benefits. They can do this during your clear aligner treatment consultation.

You might not have dental insurance. Your dentist’s office may offer an interest-free treatment payment plan, so explore this option during your consultation.

Consider applying your health savings account (HSA) or flexible savings account (FSA) funds to your treatment if you have some. FSAs are employer-owned accounts used to store pre-tax dollars for covering qualified medical expenses. HSAs serve the same purpose but are individually controlled.

The Clear Orthodontic Treatment Winner

Both Invisalign and SureSmile are popular clear aligner treatment options. SureSmile is the best choice for advanced smile changes. Invisalign is a common choice among patients requiring only small adjustments.

SureSmile isn’t as widely recognized as Invisalign, but it remains a top competitor. It’s the ideal choice for treating all dental misalignment problems while saving you money and time. You can also expect the same personalized attention from a SureSmile dentist that you’d get from an Invisalign provider.

Help With Dental Alignment

Are you wondering about to choose SureSmile vs Invisalign? SureSmile may save you a thousand dollars or more on orthodontic treatment. That’s because it costs about $4,000 versus Invisalign’s $5,000.

You may also find SureSmile more convenient since you won’t have to visit your dental office as often. Invisalign requires dental visits monthly or every 1.5 months versus SureSmile’s quarterly visits. Dr. Katie Hicks is a leading provider of SureSmile orthodontic treatment. Schedule a consultation to learn more, and let’s straighten your smile today!

Leave a Reply