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  • Danielle Godley

Are all clear aligners the same?

Updated: Apr 26

Invisible clear aligners
Invisible clear aligners

If you have been looking into clear aligners as an alternative to braces, you have probably heard of the commonly known brand Invisalign®. Many people are less familiar with aligner systems such as Spark™, Clarity™, and custom in-office aligners. How are these systems different? Do they all work successfully?

Before we look at differences between invisible aligner treatments, let’s look at the similarities that these aligner brands share.


1. The Majority of Patients Can Qualify to Use Them

If treated by a knowledgable orthodontist, patients of all ages can be candidates for treatment with invisible aligners. With a carefully designed plan, often the same level of results that we can achieve with braces can also be achieved with aligners.

2. Advanced Technology

Though Invisalign® has been around longer, other respected brands such as Spark™, Clarity™, and custom in-office aligners also utilize advanced, digital technology. These aligners are custom fabricated for each patient based on a reconstruction of their bite using 3D digital images. An orthodontist then carefully plans out tooth movements, customizes any necessary attachments, and programs the number of trays to achieve the desired results.

3. Consistency Needed

All aligners require a dedication to both daytime and nighttime wear in order to achieve effective, successful orthodontic treatment. Trays are typically worn at least 20 hours a day, but removed to eat and brush.


1. Materials

Though each of these aligner brands use clear materials to create aligners that are strong, durable, and clear, they all utilize slightly different plastics. Some are a bit clearer, others slightly stronger, and some more resistant to stains.

2. Cost

Some aligner brands come with a higher lab fee, which may increase the cost of your treatment. Ask your orthodontist about alternatives.

3. Providers

While brands such as Invisalign® are offered by some general dentists, other aligners are exclusively offered by orthodontists. It is important to note that orthodontists have specialized training in tooth movement to be able to execute your treatment flawlessly.

4. Attachments

Treatments using clear aligners generally require small temporary tooth colored "attachments" to be bonded to certain teeth. Because these attachments come in various shapes and sizes, they need to be designed by an orthodontist specific for your treatment. Attachments help guide movement of your teeth, and provide extra gripping surface for your trays. In contrast, mail-order DIY aligners are extremely limited and do not utilize attachments that allow an orthodontist to treat and stabilize tooth movements.


It can be tough to figure out the differences between aligner options from one article. When you visit us here at Godley Family Orthodontics, you'll get facts directly from Dr. Godley so that you can make an informed decision you'll be happy with!

To learn about dangers of DIY aligners, please view our blog post here.


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