What’s the difference between clear aligner brands that are doctor-directed versus direct-to-consumer? Discover more & learn how to decide what’s best for you.

Young women with clear aligners

The Difference Between Clear Aligner Brands

With the advent of clear aligners, it’s now easier than ever to achieve the smile of your dreams. However, not all aligners are created equal. There are two approaches to using various clear aligner brands: doctor-directed and direct -to-consumer (or DIY aligners).

So, what’s the difference between the two, and which type of treatment is better? Check out our chart below to learn more about the pros and cons of each style so you can choose the best teeth aligners for you.

Doctor-Directed Aligners


Many cavities are hard to detect without a proper dental exam. A doctor will ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy.3

Bite Problems

An essential part of proper tooth alignment is your bite. Your top teeth are meant to overlap your bottom teeth a little bit, and your back teeth must touch. That’s not something you can see through photos and video. You must have an in-person exam to confirm bite alignment — not just tooth alignment.1

Short Roots

Short roots are relatively common and mean that your teeth respond more quickly to pressure than those with longer roots. You’ll need x-rays to determine the length of your roots and constant monitoring to ensure smooth progress during treatment.1,2

Direct-To-Consumer Aligners


D2C clear aligner brands don’t require an exam — just photos and at-home impressions. As a result, they miss cavities that aren’t clearly visible.1

Bite Problems

Many people have used D2C aligners and successfully achieved straighter teeth but later realized their bite is no longer aligned. Their jaw is skewed, or their back teeth no longer touch at all! The reason for this result is clear aligner brands that lack the guidance and hands-on support of a physician.2,3

Short Roots

Without x-rays, aligner companies won’t be able to tell if you have short roots. Their treatment plans and transitions won’t account for the more responsive root size, and you may end up over-correcting your condition.1

Guidance From An Expert

In short, doctor-directed aligners, like Spark Aligners, require a professional to diagnose and evaluate your case before recommending treatment. This type of aligner process also ensures you have constant contact and guidance from an expert throughout the entire treatment, just in case something unexpected occurs.3 If you want the best teeth aligners, choose a brand that offers professional, in-person guidance.

Spark Clear Aligners case

Get Started Today

Find a Spark Provider today to learn more about the personalized treatment you’ll receive with our clear aligner brand.