What is DrSmile and what alternatives are there?
When you think of the “perfect smile,” most people immediately think of white, straight teeth. However, perfectly straight teeth are rare; it is much more common for small to complex tooth misalignments to develop, which are not only perceived as annoying, but can also lead to physical impairment and pain. Many such misalignments are treated in childhood and adolescence with loose or fixed braces. However, quite a few people did not receive appropriate treatment when they were young and are dissatisfied with the position of their teeth. Wearing fixed braces as an adult is not an option for many of those affected, be it for aesthetic, professional or financial reasons.
For several years now, providers such as DrSmile with virtually invisible tooth caps, so-called aligners, which are intended to straighten misaligned teeth quickly and inconspicuously. Appropriate offers appeal to numerous adults, which means that DrSmile quickly gained popularity. In this article you will find out who is behind DrSmile, how exactly treatment with transparent aligners works and what current alternatives are available.
What is DrSmile and who is behind it?
DrSmile was launched in 2016 by Urban Technology GmbH, a German startup based in Berlin. The brand's founders are Jens Urbaniak and Christopher von Wedemeyer. DrSmile offers aesthetic dental treatments with invisible aligners. With the help of such aligners, small to moderate misalignments of teeth can be corrected.
How does the treatment at DrSmile work?
If you decide on DrSmile, you will first have an appointment at one of the partner practices. The provider has partner practices in over 100 German cities, including Aachen, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Essen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Cologne, Mannheim, Munich, Nuremberg and Stuttgart and many more. The appointment can be booked online via the website. During the free information appointment, you will receive an initial consultation and a 3D scan of the jaw. Based on this appointment, the treatment plan will be created, which you will receive 14 days later. This includes costs, duration and a 3D simulation of the planned treatment and is initially non-binding. Only when the treatment plan is approved will the costs mentioned be incurred and the treatment begin.
The number of aligners required for the entire treatment period will then be made and sent by post. The transparent, thin aligners are intended to be worn 22 hours a day and replaced with the next models every two weeks. Meanwhile, the DrSmile app accompanies you through the treatment and is available around the clock if you have any questions. After the treatment, you will receive a so-called retainer, which ensures that the result is maintained and the teeth do not move again.
How long does treatment with invisible aligners take?
How long the aligner therapy needs to be carried out varies and depends primarily on the initial situation. The more complex the tooth misalignment, the more aligners will be necessary, which increases the length of treatment. Minor misalignments can usually be corrected within 6 months, while more complex misalignments may need to be treated for up to 12 months. In order to be able to assess how complex the misalignment of your teeth is and whether you are suitable for treatment with DrSmile, you can take a short Conduct an aptitude test.
How much does DrSmile cost?
The prices for the treatment also vary and depend on how much the teeth need to be corrected. Accordingly, the number of aligners required and the treatment duration also increase. Therefore, three price packages are offered depending on complexity: “Easy” for 1,790 euros, “Medium” for 2,490 euros and “complex” for 2,990 euros. DrSmile advertises that the final price is already transparently shown in the non-binding treatment plan and that there are no additional or hidden costs. The price can be paid either once or in installments with a term of up to 72 months. Financing is interest-free for up to 24 months.
What alternatives are there?
DrSmile is now very well known, but is not the only provider of tooth correction with invisible aligners. In order to find the best price-performance ratio, it is also worth looking at the alternatives.
Invisalign offers a similar approach, however, unlike DrSmile, the care is not primarily provided by the provider itself, but rather by an Invisalign user in your area. First, an initial consultation appointment is made with such a user, during which a 3D scan of the teeth and the treatment plan are created. Invisalign partners are represented in large numbers in Germany and Austria. Invisalign also offers a Questionnaire to find out whether therapy is an option .
After the aligners have been made, an initial fitting is carried out during which the Invisalign user checks whether they fit well and is available to answer any questions about the treatment process. While with DrSmile only a single in-person appointment is necessary and the rest of the care takes place via the app, with Invisalign the user has check-up appointments every 6-8 weeks to assess progress and receive the new aligners. The duration of treatment with Invisalign varies between 6 and 18 months, depending on the complexity of the case. As with DrSmile, you will receive retainers following your treatment to maintain the results in the long term.
Another special feature of Invisalign is that children and young people can also be treated with the aligner method, while providers such as DrSmile initially only offer their service to adults.
The costs for Invisalign therapy depend on the complexity and duration of the treatment. The financing options also depend on the offer of the respective Invisalign user and are not valid across the board.
At PlusDental, you first book an appointment at a partner practice to have a free 3D scan carried out. Similar to DrSmile, PlusDental also offers remote treatment, i.e. the care will take place digitally after the first appointment, so that there are normally no further practice appointments.
After the initial consultation, you will receive your treatment plan and can decide for or against PlusDental therapy. Four weeks later, the entire number of aligners you need for the treatment period will be sent to you. The progress of the treatment is monitored using photos via the PlusDental app. PlusDental advertises that the treatment duration is usually only 3-10 months. Here too, retainers are then made to stabilize the treatment results. The treatment is currently only intended for adults.
PlusDental offers three fixed, transparent price packages. Depending on the complexity, the treatment is classified into a price package from easy to complex. You will find out which price package is suitable for your teeth after the 3D scan. The “Easy” price package costs 1,690 euros, “Medium” costs 2,490 euros and “complex” 2,990 euros. Here too, payment in installments with a term of up to 72 months is possible.
You can also get an assessment from the provider SmileDirectClub using a small survey whether the form of therapy is suitable for you. If you are interested, you will then make an appointment to take a 3D image of the teeth or order an impression set so that you can take the impression yourself. However, an initial on-site appointment at a so-called SmileShop is still necessary for the treatment. In contrast to DrSmile and Invisalign, the SmileDirectClub SmileShops are not yet as well represented in Germany. After a treatment plan has been created based on the scan or impression and approved by the dentist, the alligners are created and sent.
One difference from other providers is that SmileDirectClub offers two different types of treatment: On the one hand, faster therapy through transparent aligners, which are worn 22 hours a day and lead to the desired result in just 4-6 months, and on the other hand, a slightly more time-consuming treatment with aligners that only have to be worn at night. According to the website, these lead to the desired result within approx. 10 months.
SmileDirectClub offers the treatment for 1,650 euros, regardless of the individual treatment plan. As an alternative to a one-time payment, the price can be divided into 24 monthly installments à 80 euros to be paid off. The price applies to both the traditional and the treatment with the transparent aligners for the night.
Similar to SmileDirectClub, Smileunion also advertises particularly quick results in 3-7 months. In contrast to the other providers, Smileunion works without on-site appointments. This means that no 3D scan is made, but rather we work with self-made impressions and photos. To get an initial assessment of the suitability of your teeth, Smileunion also offers a short Questionnaire.
If you choose Smileunion, you will first be sent an impression box. The finished impressions and photos of your teeth will then be sent back. Two weeks later you will receive your treatment plan by email. Based on the photos and the impression of your teeth, the treatment plan also includes a 3D view of the planned movement of the jaw and the final result.
Four weeks later you will receive the prepared dental aligners. As with most other providers, these must be worn for around 22 hours a day and changed every 14 days. The care provided by dentists is provided through Skype or telephone appointments, pictures of the current dental status or via email. The choice of communication method rests with the customer. The final result should be achieved after 3-7 months. A retainer ensures that it stays in position.
Smileunion initially charges 9 euros to order the impression box. The analysis and creation of the treatment plan based on this costs nothing and is non-binding. If you decide on treatment with Smileunion, there are also three price models: “Easy” for 1,390 euros, “Medium” for 1,790 euros and “complex” for 2,090 euros. The price can be paid in up to 60 monthly installments.
The comparison shows that the different providers approach the treatment process with transparent aligners very similarly. Ultimately, the decision mainly comes down to personal preferences. While Invisalign provides for regular check-up appointments with a trained Invisalign user in order to be able to assess progress in the best possible and professional manner, at Smileunion all communication takes place virtually. There is no need for an on-site appointment here. Other special features of the providers include the possibility of having children and young people treated with aligners with Invisalign as well as the option of transparent aligners for the night from SmileDirectClub. If you are interested in aligner teeth correction, it is worth looking into the different providers and their advantages and disadvantages.