Is "6 Month Smile" a Good Alternative to Invisalign?

It seems "6 Month Smile" is being promoted as an alternative to Invisalign.
Is the importance of all the teeth being straightened to help retain the bite/straight teeth long term? Is straightening just the teeth that show ok if my bite feels ok? It seems too good to be true.

Doctor Answers 13


I am answering this from my hospital bed and just had my knee replaced this morning.  I can tell you I was very careful about picking my doctor and looked very hard at his training, experience and reviews.  Orthodontic specialists have between 5000 and 6000 hours of graduate training beyond first being a dentist.  The web site for these short term braces explains that they can give the non orthodontist dentist all the information they need to do these treatments in only two short days plus all marketing support they need  and they can charge as much almost as much as regular braces.    It is just very hard for me to see how they can do that without leaving the dentist and patient open to some difficulties if anything unexpected happens.  I have been an orthodontist for almost 40 years and have treated over 10,000 cases and there are still a lot of cases that are difficult and have unexpected things happen.  Even with all of the measuring and planning that I do for each case I still can't always tell which ones they are. The short term braces can probably move some of the teeth faster than aligners but they may not always move to a good place and your bite may feel kind of "off".  You might want to talk to some orthodontic specialists and tell them;  "OK, you have six months and I want you to do all you can do  in that time and I will accept whatever we are able to the end of six months" .  It would be good to see what they think can safely be accomplished and what it would cost.  Come back and check this answer again later and I will try to update it after I think about it some more.   I want to be just as impartial and objective as I can and I would like for you to end up with the best result you can get regardless of how you do it.

Phoenix Orthodontist

6 Month Smiles vs. Invisalign

As an orthodontist who uses all kinds of gizmos to straighten the teeth, there is no easy answer to your question. When I sit down and evaluate a new patient, I look at the face, the bones and gums, the alignment of the teeth, and the bite. In some cases aligning only the front teeth may be acceptable. This can be done with braces (6 Month Smiles or the equivalent) or aligners (Invisalign). The teeth really don't care where the force comes from. The more important decision is whether or not either system will address all of the problems that exist. A comprehensive evaluation to determine which teeth need to move and to where they need to go is necessary before choosing which appliance to use. Your orthodontist will explain all of this to you at your first visit. Good luck!

Greg Jorgensen, DMD, MS
Albuquerque Orthodontist

"Six month smile " is it a good alternative

In my opinion, a “Six Months Smile” is not possible with any type of treatment, whether it is with braces or Invisalign.  Teeth need time to move and must move within that bodies own natural physiological ability to adapt to the change in bone and soft tissue.  If one wanting to line up what we call the social six, which are basically the upper anterior teeth, this could possibly be done in six months without aligning the bite.  Otherwise, treatment at the quickest, can be done in about a year.  Our average treatment times are about a year and a half.  Even with Invisalign, it takes time to allow the teeth to be able to move.

Ron D. Wilson, DMD
Gainesville Orthodontist

Six Month Braces

Six Month Braces is limited orthodontic treatment. Orthodontists study for an extra 2-3 years after dental school learning how to align teeth, arches, bites, and jaw bones perfectly. 

Some patients don't want perfect. Some patients cringe at the idea of having braces on for 2-3 years. Some patients only want their front teeth straightened. Some patients are poor candidates for Invisalign because their teeth are too rotated or too crooked.

Six Month Braces is an alternative treatment. It may work some patients who fit the proper criteria. 

I personally don't do Six Month Braces, but there is a lot of controversy in the orthodontic community about this treatment option.

If you find a dentist who has done proper training, and who explains the limitations of the treatment, and if you understand the advantages and disadvantages, then this treatment may be right for you. 

Sylvan Fain, DDS
Miami Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

6 Month Smiles is a great alternative

The focus of 6 month smiles is the smile and not the bite, root angles or goals that take 2-5 years to complete.  It is an alternative to comprehensive ortho or Invisalign ONLY when the patient is not concerned with anything other than the appearance to the front teeth.  Teeth don't move faster than normal, the case is simply done 'early'.  An orthodontist would feel compelled to strive for "perfect" when many patients simply have different goals.


The brackets go back to the first molar, just like regular braces, and some posterior tooth movement DOES happen.  While it is called 6 month braces, some cases take 3-4 months and some closer to 9.  6 months is simply the average and is easier to market.


6 month braces is NOT comprehensive ortho, and "perfect" is not the goal.  If you have an overbite, you will still have one this way.  If you don't want crooked teeth, this is a great alternative.


Retention of cases after braces come off is determined by wearing retainers, no matter what method is used.

Lance Timmerman, DMD, MAGD
Seattle Dentist
4.3 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

6 month smile vs Invisalign...

Hello there Megan,
The short answer is that it depends on your specific case.  If you have a pretty normal bite and just some small spaces or gaps and want to adjust them, then a 6 Month Smile plan may fit you fine.  If you have additional issues besides very minor spaces and gaps, then Invisalign may be best for you.  If you have a lot of major issues, then traditional braces or instant ortho (smile design) by a cosmetic dentist may be perfect for you.  At the end of the day, make sure that you check your doctor's before and after photos before you choose him/her. The experience and actual results are far more telling than the length of time a doctor spent in school after dental school.

Sarah Thompson, DMD
Saint Louis Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

6 month smiles versus Invisalign

It is important to remember that a crowded mouth may not just  involve the front 6 teeth. THis is very rarely seen.

Most times posterior arch collapse leads to anterior teeth crowding.

So who would like a narrow posterior arch and then the front teeth pushed into an even narrower front segment.

In other words you are asking the dentist who uses 6 month smiles to give you a narrow arch/smile.

Invisalign if used properly involves opening up the dental arch to create space.


In 8 years of using Invisalign I have never seen an arch treated in 6 months.

Raj Kumar, BDS, LDSRCS
London Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Invisalign vs. 6 Month Smile.

There are many "products" today for straightening teeth. 

What we need to remember is that its not a product that straightens the teeth but rather your doctors thorough understanding of your goals and his/her expertise in orthodontics and tooth movement.  Now, 6 Month Smile is a great system that involved wearing traditional braces and concentrates on aligning the front 6 teeth.  It takes a relatively long time to move teeth and this "product" is a promise to do things quickly.  It works really well for some people, if the back teeth or not well aligned and there are bite issues then this may not be a good option, also since braces are still used this is really a short cut on traditional braces.

Invisalign is a "product" that utilizes plastic aligners to move ll or some of the teeth, therefore no braces.  One can concentrate on only moving front teeth similar to 6 month smiles, or correct the entire system.

Hope this helps shed some light.

Dan Hagi, DDS
Toronto Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Fixed VS Removable

Aligners aren't ideal for every patient. Some prefer the convenience of clear braces. You don't have to remember to wear them or worry about losing them. 

Six Month Smiles is the leading brand of cosmetic, short-term braces. That means, that these esthetic braces are designed to improve your front teeth or your smile cosmetically. It's different then comprehensive braces with an Orthodontist. Studies show that most adults would prefer to have braces for a short time to address their cosmetic needs, not for several years.  There's no bands or medal rings on your teeth and no metal brackets at all. Everything is white or clear, even the wires. They are invisible in photos, even!

Talk to your dentist about improving your smile and about your orthodontic options. Not all dentists are certified Six Month Smiles® providers. 

Kathryn Amanda Wilson, DDS
Danville Orthodontist

6 months smile good or bad

so called 6 months smile is just and advertisement gimmick to attract a patient. There is not such a thing. If you just want your front teeth to be straight without any regards to bite and function, you can get them straight in 3 months. So lets call it, "3 months smile" right? 
Stay away from those who advertise 6 months smiles. Just go to an established orthodontist for a second or third opinion before spending your money on something that does not really exists

Oleg Drut, DDS
New York Orthodontist
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.