We’re going to say it -- adult braces feel archaic. Through all of the tech advancements we’ve gone through, a mouth full of metal doesn’t really scream, FUTURE. However... invisible braces has a much better ring.
Clear aligners are invisible, discreet, and straighten your teeth just as well as metal braces. With less time, fewer check-ups, and way less cuts and brackets, we’re recommending aligners to anyone and everyone.
As at-home teeth aligners become more and more popular, the market has become so saturated we don’t even know where to start. To keep it simple, we’re going to review top-rated clear aligner brands in areas like price, results, and overall experience to see who has the best invisible braces.
We’ve had our eyes on SmileDirectClub, so we’re putting them against Invisalign, Byte, and Candid.
Here’s what we found:
- All are made from clear plastic
- All are less visible than regular braces
- All are designed to give you straighter teeth
- All are prescribed and monitored by state-licensed doctors
- All involve check-ins with your treating doctor
- Treatment with SmileDirectClub costs about $1950 for either Daytime Aligners or Nighttime Aligners™
- Treatment with Invisalign costs between $3000 and $5200
- Treatment with Byte costs $1,895 for All-Day Aligners and $2,295 for At-Night Aligners
- Treatment with Candid starts at $1895 for All-Day Aligners only; they don’t offer Night Wear Only Aligners
- Byte takes around 3 - 4 months
- SmileDirectClub takes between 4 - 6 months
- Candid takes about 6 months
- Invisalign takes an average of 12 to 18 months
- SmileDirectClub gives you virtual access to your treating doctor via telehealth
- Invisalign involves regular in-person visits to your dentist
- Candid only works with Orthodontists
- SmileDirectClub guarantees results for life
SmileDirectClub was founded on the idea that affordable and premium dental care should be available for everyone. They are doctor-directed, so you’ll be connected with a dentist or orthodontist who is licensed in your state who will be with you every step of the way conducting regular, virtual check-ins.
To get started on your Smile Journey, SmileDirectClub will first get a better understanding of the shape your teeth are currently in. You can either order an impression kit to your home that you send back in a prepaid mailer, visit a SmileShop for a 3D image, or book an in-office visit with a dentist within the SmileDirectClub Partner Network.
Once SDC has received the impressions of your teeth, your custom-made aligners are shipped directly to you in just a few weeks. You can track your progress through their app and you have access to their dental team 24/7. Unlike Invisalign or normal braces, SmileDirectClub never requires you to shave your teeth or have buttons and attachments glued to your teeth.
Treatment takes an average of 4-6 months to complete because of their 22-hour continuous wear plan, and they have flexible alternatives for every kind of lifestyle. For those who don’t want to wear aligners during the day, SmileDirectClub offers Nighttime Aligners™ which are only worn at night. Since you’re wearing the aligners less than the typical 22-hours, the Nighttime Aligners™ are worn for 10 hours every night and take around 8-10 months for completion.
SmileDirectClub comes with a Lifetime Smile Guarantee™* so you qualify for a free aligner touch-up each year if you ever need one, so long as you wear your retainers as prescribed and replace them every 6 months.
The impression kit, aligners, and Lifetime Smile Guarantee, come in at $1,950 whether you’re going with the daytime aligners or their Nighttime Aligners™.
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To start treatment with Invisalign, you can answer a few questions on their website to see if you qualify. After you find out if they’re the right treatment for you, you'll need to visit an Invisalign-approved doctor in-person to assess your teeth and establish a treatment plan. Invisalign creates and sells the aligners to your doctor instead of you, which means they have to mark up the price.
While Invisalign seems the most thorough in terms of in-person visits and selling the aligners to doctors, the convenience aspect of fixing your teeth right from home is lost.
Some orthodontists may prefer you to shave down your teeth in order to start with Invisalign (tooth shaving can end up accelerating tooth decay- yikes!). They may also require the use of attachments and buttons. Invisalign also recommends using Vivera retainers after your process to ensure your teeth don’t shift anymore.
Invisalign treatment lengths vary from case to case, but can be as short as 6 months to as long as 18 months.**
Invisalign costs $5200 on average, with the Vivera retainers coming in at $200 for a set.
To start with Byte, you order an impression kit for $95 that they ship directly to your door. Similar to SmileDirectClub, they offer aligners for day-time wear as well as night wear. While day aligners typically take around 3-4 months with 22 hour wear, the nighttime option takes around 5-6 months with 10 hour wear.
Once your impression is received, Byte will design a personalized treatment plan that’s been approved by a licensed dentist or orthodontist. The regular check-ins are done virtually with no need for in-person visits.
Byte also includes their Hyperbyte which is a retainer that uses high-frequency vibrations to help reduce discomfort and make your teeth easier to straighten in almost half the time. They also include a month's supply of BrightByte™ with every treatment which lets you brighten your teeth while you wear your aligners.
Byte is priced at $1,895 and ranges from 3-6 months, but is priced at $2,295 for their At-Night Aligner System.
Candid is an orthodontist- only directed teeth aligner brand. First, you take a quick survey to see if you’re eligible to become a candidate. Once you’re approved, you can either visit one of Candid’s studios, or receive an impression kit to send back from home. Then, they’ll send you the personalized aligners so you can begin your treatment and you will have regular, virtual check-ins with your appointed orthodontist. With CandidMonitoring, you’ll send in photos and scans of your teeth, so your orthodontist can keep track even without two-week appointments.
On average, Candid treatment plans typically take around 6 months due to their concept of “health first, speed second,” and cost $1,895. However, Candid doesn’t offer nightwear, only clear aligners, which can make teeth straightening less convenient and accessible.
While we were pretty blown away by all the unique offerings each brand included, we’re going with SmileDirectClub. Straightening your teeth can be pretty daunting, but having access to your progress on the app and a dentist available 24/7 gives us peace of mind that we’re always on the right track.
SmileDirectClub really meets us on our level and offers the best results. Not only do the virtual visits accommodate peoples’ lives, but the option to choose between wearing the aligners at night or during the day makes it universally accessible for every lifestyle. They offer both options at the same price, and even have financing options - choose a one-time payment of $1950 or get started with just $250 down followed by less than $89/month.
With their Lifetime Smile Guarantee that comes with a 30-day money-back promise and lifetime touch-ups, we know we’re not just getting 6 months of treatments, but a lifetime of support.
*See SmileDirectClub.com/guarantee for details.