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

Differences in cost, case selection, number of aligners, treatment times and the way the aligners are made.

What are the differences between these systems?

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

But in terms of cost, case selection and manufacturing, there are significant differences among them. And it's these factors that play the determining role in deciding which one makes the most appropriate or cost-effective choice for a patient's case.

A) Treatment fees.

Cases 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 really 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®.

Cost comparisons.
  • Invisalign® Express, the company'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 Orthodontic Lab systems are used to treat less involved cases.

In general, individual tooth aligners are used to create tooth movements on the order of 1/2 mm (a little more than 1/64th of an inch). That means a system that offers more aligners can be used to treat more difficult cases.

  • The standard Invisalign® system is fairly robust. Cases typically involve the use of 20 to 30 sets of aligners, possibly more. And for this reason, it can be used to treat a wide range of malocclusions. Even Invisalign® Express utilizes up to 10 aligners.
  • In comparison, the Simpli 5®, Red White & Blue®, and RW II® products are, respectively, five, three and two aligner systems. And they are only intended for treating minor misalignments of just front teeth.

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

Details about AOA Orthodontic Laboratory systems -

1) Simpli 5® - 5 aligners. / Treatment for both upper and lower teeth.

Simpli5® is a five-aligner system that can be used to treat one or both of a patient's dental arches (an "arch" is either the patient's upper or lower teeth). In the case of dual-arch treatment, a total of five pairs of aligners are worn.

Simpli 5® was introduced as a new product in 2006. From a practical standpoint, however, it is simply an extension (in terms of the number of aligners and arches treated) of the previously available Red White & Blue® system.

2) Red White & Blue® - 3 aligners. / Treatment for upper or lower teeth.

The Red White & Blue® orthodontic system is a three-appliance product that's used to treat just one dental arch (either upper or lower).

As compared to Simpli 5®, this system is intended for use with less involved cases. This diminished capability, however, is only due to the reduced number of aligners that are worn. The aligners themselves are the same.

The name Red White & Blue stems from the fact that each aligner is tagged with a small colored dot so the patient can easily identify the sequence in which it should be worn.

3) RW II® - 2 aligners. / Treatment for upper or lower teeth.

The RW II® system involves the use of just two aligners and is used to treat just one dental arch (either upper or lower).

RWII® aligners are different than those used with other removable braces systems. These are lined with a soft, flexible inner lining that is supposed to allow for more tooth movement, while using a lighter orthodontic force.

Other advantages of this lining are that it increases aligner retention and makes these appliances more comfortable to wear. Even with their soft lining, RW II® aligners are clear and, when worn, look like normal invisible braces.


Pictures of Invisalign aligner accessories.

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Innovative devices and solutions for the issues Invisalign® wearers encounter.

What types of cases can these systems treat?

The Simpli5®, Red White & Blue®, and RW II® systems are used to treat cases that only involve minor to moderate misalignments of just anterior teeth (front teeth). Examples include:

  • Correcting minor malocclusions. - Situations where the corrective measures needed just involve small tooth rotations, minor tooth torquing or tipping, or else closing in narrow spaces between teeth.
  • Post orthodontic refinement. - For example, placing the finishing touches on a case after the patient's wire braces have been removed.
  • Correcting orthodontic relapse. - Like that that has taken place because the patient did not wear their retainer.
  • Making minor alignment improvements in preparation for dental work. - Such as improving the alignment of teeth before placing a set of porcelain veneers.
  • For use with patients who want invisible/removable braces treatment but do not need the intensity of the Invisalign® system (or even Invisalign Express®).

Related information: Details about the types of cases Invisalign® and Invisalign Express® can be used to treat.

C) Treatment times.

The individual tooth aligners of the AOA Orthodontic Laboratory systems are worn on the order of two to four weeks each. Simple math implies the following treatment times for each product.

  • Simpli5® - 5 aligners X 2 to 4 weeks = 10 to 20 weeks of treatment time.
  • Red White & Blue® - 3 aligners X 2 to 4 weeks = 6 to 12 weeks of treatment time.
  • RW II® - 2 aligners X 2 to 4 weeks = 4 to 8 weeks of treatment time.

In comparison, Invisalign® aligners are typically worn for two weeks, possibly longer. Once again, using simple math.

  • Standard Invisalign® - 20 to 30 aligners X 2 weeks = 40 to 60 weeks of treatment time.
  • Invisalign® Express - 10 aligners X 2 = 20 weeks of treatment time.

D) Aligner fabrication.

The Invisalign® system is very high-tech.

One of the biggest differences between the AOA systems 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.

The way AOA Ortho Lab systems are made is much more basic.

In comparison, the fabrication process used to create Simpli 5®, Red White & Blue®, and RW II® aligners is much more hands-on.

  • The dentist takes an impression and from it a plaster cast of the patient's teeth is made.
  • The teeth needing realignment are cut off and then reattached. When they're reattached, they're given a slightly better overall alignment than before.
  • An aligner is then made on this cast.
  • The process is then repeated until the patient's entire series of aligners has been fabricated.

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