Candid vs Smile Direct Club

Written by Josh Beechraft

February 03, 2021

There are four main contenders sitting at the top of the clear aligner food chain: InvisalignⓇ, ByteⓇ, CandidTM, and SmileDirectClub. Each of these companies has a pretty good reputation for making smiles more beautiful.

Two of the more affordable brands are SmileDirectClub and Candid. We will do a thorough comparison to see how they stack up against one another.

Each of these aligner companies seem to offer similar programs for straightening the teeth. Yet they are certainly not identical in their offerings.

This piece will show you the comparison of SmileDirectClub and Candid, the good, the bad, and … well, not much ugly.

Let’s check out both companies …

SmileDirectClub vs Candid

two man in a boxing match


The SmileDirectClub Scoop

Alex Fenkell and Jordan Katzman founded the company in 2014. It’s headquarters reside in Nashville, Tennessee. It all began with a little dream to make beautiful smiles affordable and available to people everywhere.

According to the SmileDirectClub website: “Our clear aligners and retainers are Made in the USA, BPA-free and precision cut for a smooth, comfortable fit. We manufacture an aligner every 6 seconds in our state-of-the-art 3D U.S. printing facility.”

SmileDirectClub is the biggest at-home aligner company in the industry and they have beautifully revamped over 750,000 smiles.

The Candid Story

Several years ago, a group of five people were sitting around chatting about their teeth. None of them were happy. They all wanted straighter teeth, but none of them were willing to pay $5,000 to make it a reality.

That conversation sparked a little fire that led them to research aligners. They reached out to Dr. C. Lynn Hurst, a well-known orthodontist. Together in 2017, they founded Candid.

The goal at Candid is to put the client’s needs above their bottom line.

Snow teeth whitening kit

Candid makes it a priority to hire orthodontists rather than dentists. According to their website, the people at Candid “believe that outcomes can only be as good as the training and experience of the people designing treatment. So we work exclusively with a carefully curated network of expert orthodontists, not general dentists or ‘dental professionals.’”

Candid became SmileDirect’s first true competitor for at-home aligner service. At first glance, it seems like they had an impossible task in front of them.

They took the bull by the horns and capitalized on having excellent customer service as compared to SmileDirectClub. It served them well. They rank second in home aligner companies.

SmileDirectClub and Candid are both clear aligner companies with affordable, at-home treatment plans. Both companies are great choices.

If we were to pick a winner, it would be Candid.

What is it that makes Candid the winner?

There are a couple of reasons that we believe Candid edges out SmileDirectClub for the win.

  1. Top-Notch Customer Service: Candid came out of the gate fully committed to great customer service. Their clients love them and they respond to their needs quickly.

    SmileDirectClub has not had such great luck with their display of customer service. Over the years, they have struggled to maintain positive feedback for their customer service. SmileDirectClub is trying to right that ship and is making strides to improve their level of customer service.
  2. Managed by Orthodontists: Candid only works with licensed orthodontists. Those same orthodontists develop and track individual treatment plans.

    Regular remote check-ins are done. The orthodontists are available for all of these online visits.

    SmileDirectClub is monitored by dentists. Orthodontists have six years of additional training when compared to dentists.

Who sets your smile as a top priority? That’s what you must ask yourself. Candid puts your mouth first.

Which brand works better, SmileDirectClub or Candid?

The point of getting clear aligners is to straighten your teeth. So, it’s a big deal if they don’t do their job. Nobody wants to go through the trouble of getting clear aligners if they don’t do the job.

That being said, you need to think about how much shifting of teeth must happen in your mouth to result in your desired smile.

Ask yourself:

  • How severe is my overbite?
  • Do I have an underbite?
  • Are my teeth extremely crowded?
  • Am I missing teeth?
  • Do I have a crossbite?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may not be a candidate for SmileDirectClub or Candid.

Ask yourself:

  • Do I have a mild overbite?
  • Do I have mild protrusions?
  • Did I already have braces?
  • Do I have minor spacing issues?
  • Do I have minor crowding?

If this sounds more like you, then at-home treatment with SmileDirectClub or Candid may be the solution that works for you.

Now, you may be saying to yourself how exceedingly helpful that was. It was almost as helpful as offering fresh eggs to a chicken.

Still the question remains unanswered. Which treatment plan is proven to be more effective, SmileDirectClub or Candid?

A Side-by-side Effectiveness Comparison of Candid and SmileDirectClub

Candid SmileDirectClub
Only works with orthodontists Works with orthodontists and dentists
Regular orthodontist meetings No regular check-ins
Top-quality manufacturing with ClearCorrect Manufactures aligners in-house
Straight-cut aligners for more force Scalloped aligners use Comfort SenseTM


Network of Professionals

Candid’s commitment to only working with licensed orthodontists puts them at a higher standard of care than SmileDirectClub. As previously stated, orthodontists go to school for an additional six years compared to dentists. They are trained to recognize every alignment problem that arises.

Orthodontists are trained to help people achieve their perfect smiles. The level of expertise they offer prevents many bumps in the road from becoming problems.

Every time you switch to a new set of aligners, another picture of your mouth is reviewed by orthodontists at Candid. This step in treatment reduces their overall treatment time.

In contrast, there is no guarantee that you will be paired with an orthodontist when you work with SmileDirectClub.

LED Electric Toothbrush

Let’s talk tech

When they were starting out, SmileDirectClub joined forces with Align Tech (the manufacturers of Invisalign) to produce their clear aligners. This was such a great choice because Align Tech has a fantastic reputation for producing a consistently reliable, quality product.

Today, SmileDirectClub has brought their manufacturing in-house. We can’t really comment on the quality of the aligners since producing them in-house.

On the flipside, we have Candid. True to form, Candid sought high quality in their production and partnered with ClearCorrect. ClearCorrect is the main competitor to Align Tech and is trusted by thousands of dentists across the country. ClearCorrect is known for creating top-quality products.

What about the cut?

Candid and SmileDirectClub use different cuts.

Candid’s aligners are cut straight across the top and partially cover the gum line. This gives them more leverage and allows for more force to be exerted on the teeth.

SmileDirectClub uses Comfort SenseTM tech to create precision-cut aligners that match the line of the teeth and gums. They incorporate graduated plastic. It starts soft, moves to medium, and then to firm plastic for applying the most pressure to the teeth.

Which company is more affordable, Candid or SmileDirectClub?

For the average person, taking cost into consideration is a must. Adults and teens across the globe have looked in the mirror daily to face crooked teeth because they either could not afford braces or insurance wouldn’t cover the cost of braces, putting straight teeth out of reach due to a higher cost.

Invisible aligners have changed that for the better. More people can afford invisible aligners. Candid has a higher price point than SmileDirectClub due to their Remote Monitoring services.


  • $2400 price point
  • Down payment and credit check required with payment plan
  • $95 impression kit (free at Candid Studios)
  • Free retainers


  • $1950 price point
  • Down payment and NO credit check
  • $59 impression kit (free at SmileShop)
  • $99 retainers

Price Point

If you choose Candid it will cost you more than SmileDirectClub. Candid comes at a price of $2400, and SmileDirectClub comes at a price of $1950.

However, that higher price comes with free retainers and a higher level of customer service.

How do you pay for Candid and SmileDirectClub?

It doesn’t matter what the price tag is on invisible aligners if you don’t know how you can pay for them. There are some distinct differences in the financing options for Candid and SmileDirectClub.

  • Candid has financing options that range from six to twenty-four months. Customers are required to go through a credit check. Typically, there is a $399 down payment followed by monthly installments of $99.
  • SmileDirectClub has one financing option. Their customers do not submit to a credit check. You can expect to make a $250 down payment followed by monthly installments of $89.

This leaves some serious consideration on the part of the buyer. Do you have good credit? Then, Candid may have better options for you. Are you lacking in the credit department? Then, SmileDirectClub is going to be your best choice.

Always keep in mind that choosing to participate in a payment plan will result in paying more money overall.

What about extras?

Candid has a fantastic Remote Monitoring system included in their price.The system includes a nifty device that takes pics inside your mouth with your cell phone, as well as consistent online meetings with your orthodontist.

Candid and SmileDirectClub include free tooth whitening in their aligner kits. Candid takes it a step further and gives clients a handy dandy tool for removing those aligners. Clients with poor dexterity can really use this extra help!

Which company is more convenient, Candid or SmileDirectClub?

Convenience is important. When you have a packed schedule, you do not want one more thing to keep up with. You don’t want one more thing taking extra time from your day.

SmileDirectClub has the whole notion of convenience wired. They know how to make their product very convenient.

Candid SmileDirectClub
No nighttime aligner option Nighttime aligner option
Straighten and whiten at same time Straighten and whiten at same time
Over 20 Candid Studios provide free scans of teeth Over 300 SmileShops provide free scans of teeth


The first thing you’ll do when beginning your clear aligner process with SmileDirectClub or Candid is to put images of your teeth into their capable hands. You can either order an impression kit and do it yourself, or pop into their brick and mortar locations for a free scan.

Keep in mind that doing your own impressions might be a bit of a challenge. If you’d rather not deal with the hassle, then go into a local Candid Studio or Smile Shop.

Obviously, your chances of getting into a SmileShop are greater than your chances of being near a Candid Studio.

Whiten while you straighten

As far as whitening goes, you can’t go wrong with Candid or SmileDirectClub. They both give their clients whitening agents in the aligner kits.

Candid and SmileDirectClub enable their clients to whiten their teeth while they are going through the straightening process.

Who has convenient nighttime aligners?

Candid does not have a nighttime aligner option for its customers. That’s a bummer.

SmileDirectClub does have the nighttime aligner option available to their clients. Wearing aligners for ten hours per night is much more appealing to some people, as opposed to wearing them twenty-two hours per day.

How do they look?

Candid and SmileDirectClub have a similar appearance, however they do have a little bit of a difference.

Candid SmileDirectClub
Resistant to stains Resistant to stains
Durable, firm plastic, cut straight Pliable plastic, cut in scallop shape


What are the aligners made of?

SmileDirectClub has chosen a more flexible plastic to create their aligners. Conversely, Candid uses a stiff plastic material to produce their aligners.

Candid’s material makes them more durable, more powerful, ensures a more snug fit, and makes them less visible.

This little difference sets Candid a bit above SmileDirectClub when choosing the better material.

Do they stain easily?

How awesome would it be to wear coffee-stained aligners? Eww. Not awesome at all. Fortunately, Candid and SmileDirectClub both make clear aligners that resist stains to stay clear.

Side-by-side Customer Service Comparison

Candid and SmileDirectClub pretty much have the same guarantees and customer care options available. This one comes down to execution. And Candid just executes better.

Candid SmileDirectClub
Wonderful customer reviews Negative past reviews, working to improve
Consistent orthodontist communication No regular communicationNo regular communication
Multiple support options, plus video chat Multiple support options, no video chat
Modifies plan to satisfaction, no refund Modifies plan to satisfaction, offers refund


You can reach Candid and SmileDirectClub during regular business hours through webchat, email, and phone. Candid also offers a personalized video chat with your orthodontist.

Candid’s clients have consistently stated that they receive great customer care from Candid, including fantastic responsiveness.

SmileDirectClub’s customers have not felt quite so blessed over the years. They have reported many complaints about the service given to them. In recent years, they have made a concerted effort to improve upon their customer care efforts.

Each of the two brands agree that they want their customers to be completely satisfied. They do this by adjusting treatments to keep teeth heading toward the right alignment.

SmileDirectClub will give their new patients a refund in full if they are unhappy in the first thirty days.

Customer Reviews

It’s a mixed bag for SmileDirectClub. Here’s why.

Their people seem to really like the product and the results achieved. What they don’t appreciate is the lack of customer support.

Overall, Candid receives positive feedback. Their clients appreciate the high level of customer support and the quality of their products.

Which is the right choice, Candid or SmileDirectClub?

So, who’s it gonna be? There are many similarities when you compare the two companies. Similarities don’t help when you’re making a decision. You must investigate the differences.

SmileDirectClub offers longevity and over 300 SmileShop locations. If you can deal with delays and less-than-ideal customer care, they are a solid choice.

Candid offers fantastic customer service, consistent care from highly-trained professionals, and many budget options.

All in all, they are both solid choices for clear aligner treatment plans. Please review our other posts about clear aligners for a more thorough understanding of what each company offers.