Looking to straighten your teeth but unsure which clear aligner treatment is right for you? When it comes to Invisalign versus Spark aligners, you may be wondering – what’s the difference? Which system is more affordable and effective at shifting teeth into place? Can they both yield successful and lasting results?
This article explores some key questions around these two clear aligner brands. We compare and contrast Spark versus Invisalign treatment including a look at their aligner materials, accuracy, treatment times, and technologies. Read on to learn the main differences between these clear aligner systems to determine which solution may work best to achieve your smile goals.
What is Invisalign
Invisalign, developed by Align Technology in 1997, revolutionized orthodontic treatment by introducing a clear aligner system as an alternative to traditional braces. This system utilizes digital treatment planning and mass customization, enabling a discreet and personalized approach to teeth straightening. Over 25 years Invisalign has treated approximately 16 million patients worldwide.
These removable aligners, crafted from the FDA-approved SmartTrack material, combine comfort with effective tooth movement. Managed by dentists and orthodontists, the treatment is personalized for each patient. Invisalign’s design includes discreet SmartForce attachments that enhance precision in tooth alignment, making it a versatile and aesthetically pleasing choice for a wide range of orthodontic needs.
Who Is the Candidate for Invisalign
Invisalign is a versatile orthodontic solution designed for a wide range of users, including both teens and adults with fully grown permanent teeth. It’s also suitable for younger children, aged 6-10, with its Invisalign First program aimed at early dental development. The system effectively tackles various dental issues, from straightening crooked, gapped, or crowded teeth to correcting more complex conditions like overbites, underbites, crossbites, and open bites.
PROs and CONs of Invisalign
Let’s explore the pros and cons of undergoing Invisalign treatment.
PROs of Invisalign
- Highly Trusted and Recognized Brand: Invisalign is a reputable brand with over two decades of experience and a track record of successfully treating 16 million patients.
- Patented SmartTrack Material: Unique to Invisalign, this material enhances comfort and enables precise, predictable tooth movement, often reducing treatment duration.
- Effective for a Broad Spectrum of Dental Issues: Invisalign is versatile in treating a wide spectrum of dental conditions from simple alignments to complex bite issues.
- Suitable for Kids: Invisalign offers specialized aligners for children as young as 6-10 years old. Invisalign First is designed to address their unique dental needs while their jaws and teeth are still developing.
- Easy to Find Providers: Widely available through both dentists and orthodontists, Invisalign is accessible for many patients.
CONs of Invisalign
- Higher Price Point: Invisalign’s technology and brand prestige make it more expensive than many other clear aligner options.
- Need for Regular Dental Visits: Despite incorporating remote monitoring, Invisalign treatment still requires consistent in-person dental visits.
- Not Suitable for All Cases: Invisalign may not be as effective as traditional braces in treating certain complex orthodontic problems, especially those involving significant jaw realignment or the rotation of severely angled teeth.
See also: ClearCorrect vs Invisalign
How Invisalign Works
The Invisalign treatment process begins with an evaluation at a dental office. During this initial visit, patients undergo a series of digital scans, x-rays, and a thorough dental examination to assess their orthodontic needs. Finding an Invisalign provider is typically straightforward, as the service is widely offered by many local dentists and orthodontists.
Once the initial diagnostic procedures are completed, the orthodontist collaborates closely with Invisalign to develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to the patient’s specific dental structure and alignment goals.
The patient then receives their first set of custom-made aligners. These aligners are designed to be worn continuously and are replaced with a new set periodically, usually every one to two weeks. Throughout the treatment, patients are required to attend regular monthly check-ups. In some cases, the treatment involves the use of additional orthodontic tools, such as attachments and elastics.
At the end of the Invisalign treatment, the patient receives retainers. The retainers help prevent the teeth from shifting back to their original state.
Types of Invisalign Aligners
Treatment of Adults and Teenagers
The Invisalign Express 5 is tailored for adults and teens with very mild malocclusion issues, involving up to 5 trays for mild spacing, crowding, or orthodontic relapse. For those needing a bit more care for similar mild malocclusions, the Invisalign Express Package offers up to 7 trays, focusing on minor tooth movements and anterior esthetic alignment.
The Invisalign Go Package caters to adults and teens with mild to moderate malocclusion, specifically targeting Class I malocclusions without AP correction. This package, suitable for non-extraction, pre-restorative cases, includes up to 20 trays and is ideal for addressing mild to moderate crowding or spacing.
For patients with mild to moderate malocclusion, Invisalign Lite is an optimal choice, providing up to 14 trays for Class I cases with mild crowding or spacing. This package is also tailored for non-extraction, pre-restorative conditions.
The Invisalign Moderate Package, designed for adults and teens, addresses a broader range of mild to moderate malocclusions, including Class I and mild Class II cases, mild to moderate crowding or spacing, and mild AP and vertical discrepancies. This plan offers up to 20 trays.
For more complex dental issues, the Invisalign Comprehensive Package is available for adults and teens with moderate to severe malocclusion. It covers Class I, II, and III cases, including moderate to severe crowding or spacing, AP and vertical discrepancies, and complex pre-restorative cases requiring extractions. This treatment offers an unlimited number of trays.
Treatment of Children
Focusing on children, Invisalign provides the First Comprehensive treatment for early interceptive Phase 1 care. This plan includes predictable dental arch expansion and effective management of erupting dentition, offering an unlimited number of trays.
Lastly, the Invisalign First Comprehensive Phase 2 Package continues the care from the First Comprehensive plan for children requiring Phase 2 treatment, also with an unlimited number of trays.
What is Spark
Spark Aligners are clear orthodontic trays produced by Ormco Corporation, an industry leader in orthodontic products. They are available throughout the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and China.
Spark aligners are crafted from TruGEN™ material, designed for comfort, clarity, and reduced staining. Free from BPA, mercury, latex, and phthalates, Spark Aligners come in two varieties, TruGEN and the more rigid TruGEN XR™, to cater to diverse orthodontic needs.
Spark Aligners stand out for their near invisibility and comfort, with smoother edges than competitors like Invisalign. They are also more resistant to staining from beverages and are engineered for efficient and effective tooth movement, offering sustained force retention and improved tooth contact.
See also: Review of Spark Clear Aligners
Who Is the Candidate for Spark
Spark clear aligners cater to a broad spectrum of patients, including adults, teens, and children, as long as they have all their permanent teeth, including the second molars.
These aligners are adept at correcting various malocclusions: open bites with vertical gaps between teeth, deep bites with excessive upper teeth overlap, overbites where upper teeth significantly protrude, and underbites marked by lower teeth extending forward. Additionally, they effectively align teeth in cases of crossbites, crowding, and spacing.
However, it’s important to note that Spark aligners are not recommended for patients with severe periodontal disease unless this condition is under effective management and control.
In 2021, the Spark Clear Aligner System was granted FDA clearance for use in younger patients.
PROs and CONs of Spark
Here are the advantages and disadvantages of undergoing Spark treatment.
PROs of Spark
- Orthodontist Supervised Treatment: Spark aligners are exclusively provided and managed by orthodontists, ensuring specialized and high-quality care.
- Discreet Appearance: Designed for near-invisibility, Spark aligners are less noticeable compared to many other aligner brands.
- Enhanced Comfort: These aligners feature smooth, scalloped edges, reducing irritation and providing a more comfortable fit than some other brands.
- Stain-Resistant Material: Spark aligners resist staining effectively, maintaining their clear appearance even when exposed to common staining agents like coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.
- Efficient Tooth Movement: Using TruGEN™ material, Spark aligners offer improved force retention for more efficient tooth movement, ensuring better contact with tooth surfaces for optimal alignment results.
- Wide Range of Treatable Cases: Capable of correcting various malocclusions, from minor spacing issues to more complex bite problems.
CONs of Spark
- Cost Factor: Spark aligners tend to be on the higher end of the price spectrum, similar to Invisalign, potentially making them less accessible for budget-conscious patients.
- Limitations in Severe Cases: While effective for many types of malocclusions, they may not be the best solution for extremely severe orthodontic cases.
- Need for Regular Dental Visits: The treatment necessitates routine check-ups every 4 to 10 weeks with an orthodontist.
- Provider Availability: Finding a Spark provider can be more challenging as these aligners are available exclusively through orthodontists, not general dentists.
How Spark Works
The Spark aligner treatment process, exclusively available through a network of Spark-affiliated orthodontists, starts with an initial consultation. In this stage, an orthodontist examines the patient’s teeth and introduces the Spark system. Following the consultation, the orthodontist takes a digital scan of the patient’s smile to create a treatment plan using Approver™ – Spark’s proprietary 3D software.
Custom aligners are then manufactured based on this treatment plan. In some cases, attachments are added to certain teeth to aid in movement. The actual treatment begins when the patient receives their first set of aligners. During this visit, the orthodontist checks the fit, explains the treatment process, and schedules subsequent aligner pickups.
Patients are expected to wear their aligners for 22 hours a day, changing to a new set every week as per their treatment plan. Regular orthodontist visits, typically every 4 to 10 weeks, are required for monitoring progress and making adjustments. After completing the treatment, patients must wear retainers to maintain teeth alignment and ensure the stability of the results.
Types of Spark Aligners
Spark™ Aligners offer three distinct treatment options: Spark Advanced, Spark™ 20, and Spark™ 10. All systems require continuous wear, without a specific night aligner option.
The Spark Advanced system is intended for the comprehensive treatment of complex malocclusions. It provides an unlimited number of aligners and unlimited refinements for thorough and precise results. Suitable for both single and double-arch treatments, patients wear each aligner set for one week, maintaining 22 hours of daily wear.
Spark™ 20 is designed for moderate malocclusions, offering up to 20 aligners with up to 2 refinements. This system, too, can be used for single or double-arch treatments, requiring the same 22-hour daily wear. Each aligner is worn for a week before progressing to the next.
Spark™ 10 addresses relapse, prerestorative, and minor malocclusions, providing up to 10 aligners with an option for 1 refinement. Adaptable for both single and double-arch treatments, it follows the same usage pattern – each aligner is worn for one week with 22 hours of daily wear.
Byte vs Invisalign – Main Differences
Spark Aligners are adept at treating a broad spectrum of malocclusions for a wide age range, including children, teens, and adults with fully erupted permanent teeth. They effectively manage various dental issues such as open bites, deep bites, overbites, underbites, crossbites, crowding, and spacing. In contrast, Invisalign extends its treatment to a broader demographic, encompassing not only teens and adults but also younger children aged 6-10 through Invisalign First, which focuses on developing jaws and arch foundations.
While both aligner systems offer versatile and discreet solutions for many cosmetic and functional orthodontic problems, Invisalign’s ability to cater to very young children with still-forming teeth and jaws sets it apart. This makes Invisalign slightly more comprehensive in the range of ages it can serve. Nevertheless, for patients with fully erupted permanent teeth, Spark and Invisalign demonstrate comparable effectiveness in treating a wide array of orthodontic issues.
Both Spark and Invisalign aligners are provided through in-office, doctor-driven treatments, but with key differences in their processes. Spark aligners are available exclusively through orthodontists, offering specialized care. They use TruGEN™ material for efficient tooth movement and require regular orthodontist check-ups for monitoring and adjustments.
In contrast, Invisalign treatment is accessible via both dentists and orthodontists, broadening its availability. The treatment includes personalized planning with regular specialist visits for progress checks and aligner updates.
In essence, while Spark focuses on specialized orthodontic care with its unique material, Invisalign offers wider accessibility and a more generalized approach to dental alignment.
The cost of both Spark and Invisalign clear aligners is influenced by the complexity of the orthodontic case and treatment duration, with prices for both typically falling in a similar range. Spark aligners cost between $3,500 and $8,000, inclusive of initial consultations, custom aligners, and ongoing monitoring. Invisalign, meanwhile, ranges from $3,000 to $7,000. While both have comparable price brackets, the exact cost for each patient will depend on their specific treatment needs, length of treatment, and the pricing policies of their chosen dental professional.
The treatment duration for both Spark and Invisalign aligners is influenced by several factors including the patient’s age, the severity of teeth misalignment, and patient compliance in wearing aligners for at least 22 hours daily. For Spark aligners, treatment typically ranges from 12 to 36 months, with those having mild malocclusions often finishing in about 12 to 15 months. Similarly, Invisalign treatment time varies widely, from as short as 6 months to up to 2 years.
Spark vs Invisalign: Choosing the Right Treatment
When it comes to clear aligners, both Spark and Invisalign offer versatile and effective teeth straightening solutions for a wide variety of orthodontic issues. They demonstrate similar treatment capacities across malocclusions like overbites, underbites, and crowding. However, Invisalign extends treatment options to younger children still developing jaws and tooth foundations through Invisalign First.
Both feature clear tray protocols administered by dental specialists, but Spark exclusively utilizes orthodontists while Invisalign offers broader doctor availability. And while their price ranges are comparable based on individual treatment complexity and duration, Spark leverages its proprietary TruGEN material to enable more efficient tooth movement.
Ultimately, Spark and Invisalign have more similarities than differences, but factors like pediatric treatment, doctor access, and efficiency of alignment may steer patients toward one brand over the other when evaluating these two leaders in clear aligner therapy. Either way, both systems give consumers modern, discreet solutions for transforming smiles.
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