Simpli5®, Red White & Blue® and RW II® vs. Invisalign®. How do they compare?

What are the differences between these systems?

In terms of patient experience, each of the removable braces products, Simpli 5®, Red White & Blue®, and RW II® (all made by AOA Orthodontic Laboratory, Inc.) and Invisalign®, are essentially identical.

There are, however, cost, case selection and technical differences among them. And these considerations usually play a determining role in deciding which system makes the most appropriate or cost-effective treatment choice for a patient's case.

[Simpli5, Red White & Blue, and RW II are registered trademarks of AOA Orthodontic Laboratory a subsidiary of Sybron Dental Specialties, Inc.  /  Invisalign is registered trademark of Align Technology, Inc.]

A) Treatment fees.

Having your case treated using Simpli 5®, Red White & Blue®, or RW II® will probably cost less than Invisalign®.

Due to the fact that the dentist doesn't have to buy a more full-featured product than is needed, if a patient's case can be treated using one of the AOA Laboratory systems, the dentist's costs will be less, possibly significantly so, than when treating a case using Invisalign®.

Invisalign Express®, Invisalign's® lowest priced system, costs the dentist on the order of $750 per case (2008). In comparison, the RW II®, Red White & Blue®, and Simpli 5® systems cost the dentist around $180, $225, and $600, respectively (2008).

Of course, our statement regarding the relative cost of treatment using these various systems assumes that the dentist passes their cost savings on to the patient.

Related information: Costs for orthodontic treatment.

B) Case selection.

The AOA Laboratory systems are used to treat less involved cases.

Due to its technologically advanced nature, the Invisalign® system can be used to treat a wide range of malocclusions. The fact that a single case may require the use of 30 or more sets of aligners is testament to this fact.

In comparison, the Simpli 5®, Red White & Blue®, and RW II® products are, respectively, five, three and two aligner systems. And they are only used to treat minor misalignments of just front teeth.

This doesn't mean that these systems are lacking in any way. It's just that their intended purpose is different.

C) Treatment times.

Invisalign® treatment might be expected to take longer, because it can treat more involved cases.

Only due to the fact that it is used to treat more difficult cases, treatment using Invisalign® might be expected to take longer. The typical Invisalign® case takes about a year, Invisalign Express® on the order of 6 months.

Treatment times for Simpli 5®, Red White & Blue®, and RW II® cases can be expected to take around 10 to 20, 6 to 12, and 4 to 8 weeks respectively.

For all practical purposes, treatment using any of these systems vs. Invisalign® (assuming that the product makes an appropriate choice for treating that case) would be expected to take the same amount of time.

D) Aligner fabrication.

The Invisalign® system is more high-tech.

One of the biggest differences between the AOA Laboratory removable braces products and Invisalign's® is the way their aligners are made. The manufacturing process associated with Invisalign® is very sophisticated. It involves the use of CAD/CAM technology (computer-aided design/computer-aided modeling), which is all very modern stuff.

In comparison, the fabrication process used to create Simpli 5®, Red White & Blue®, and RW II® aligners is one where a plaster cast of the patient's teeth is made. The teeth requiring realignment are cut off and then reattached using an arrangement that represents an incremental step towards the final orthodontic goal. From this model an aligner is made. This process is then repeated until the patient's entire series of aligners has been fabricated.

This process is probably much easier said than done. But from a technical standpoint, it is simple enough that some orthodontists have been using this technique, including making their own aligners right in their own office, for decades.

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