The Best Clear Aligner Solution

When invisible teeth aligners are mentioned, chances are Invisalign comes to mind. In fact, many of you out there actually believe those little pieces of plastic are called “invisaligners.”

It’s not hard to comprehend why most people think Invisalign is responsible for birthing removable teeth aligners … It’s just that most people are wrong.

You have to go all the way back to the 1940s. Harold Kesling designed a removable appliance that is somewhat akin to a mouthguard. He called it the tooth positioner.

The tooth positioner was used in addition to metal braces for shortening the duration of treatment. It is the true founding father of clear aligners.

About twenty years after the tooth positioner was invented, people found themselves using plastic splints to straighten minimal teeth corrections.

Teeth splints. Those sound fun.

Bring on the ‘80s. Silicone elastomer devices could move teeth a whopping 3mm. That was pretty exciting.

gorgeous young lady sitting above a cube

 

Even though the ‘80s were an absolutely fabulous decade for fashion, music and hairstyles, when it comes to advances in teeth straightening, the ‘90s put all the others to shame.

John Sheridan created the very first clear aligner system in 1993. What?! Yep. He came up with a plan … it was just pretty limited. His device was limited to minimally moving the front teeth.

But the’90s were not done.

Once upon a time, a question bubbled to the surface in the minds of two brilliant, young college students: Why are we limited to metal braces for correcting our smiles?

Those two twenty-somethings took their question, turned it into a problem to be solved, and came up with a solution. In 1997, that innovative solution gave birth to the first invisible aligners that could correct as well as metal braces.

Soon the world would say hello to InvisalignⓇ.

What are clear aligners and how do they work?

Clear aligners are made of special plastic polymers. The composition differs slightly among manufacturers.

Aligners work a lot like thumbsucking. When you suck your thumb (if you are still doing it, stop that) you are putting consistent force on your teeth, forcing changes in the tissues that results in tooth movement.

So, when you wear clear aligners they are applying regular, direct force on the teeth. To put it technically:

“When a clear aligner tray puts force on a tooth, it creates inflammation in the periodontal ligament, the tissue that connects your teeth to the alveolar bone underneath. This inflammation activates cells that break down bone (osteoclasts) in the direction of the force, while cells that build up bone (osteoblasts) create new bone in the space left behind. As a tooth moves, the bone around it is essentially remodeled.”

The actual appearance of your smile is solely dependent on their designer. Every professional has their own visual opinion, technical ability, and creativity. No two smiles are completely identical. There is a simple beauty in that.

Invisalign cornered the clear aligner market

Seriously. Invisalign hit the market in the late ‘90s and they pretty much had the clear aligner market to themselves for ten years. Ten years!!

The two young people who created Invisalign used their computer skills to do something nobody else had done. They created models of the teeth from an impression.

What seems like such an elementary thing today was very new in the late ‘90s. Doctors would have to use the computer system specifically designed to work with Invisalign if they wanted to offer this new treatment to their patients.

Invisalign partnered with Align Technology who would secure a patent for making three aligners from a single impression.

This Intellectual Property gave them instant major exclusivity in their industry. All of this to say that they had absolutely no competition. In fact, they had no competition for years.

Many tried and failed to jump in on the aligner game. But the clock was ticking.

Then 2017 came and the patent ran out. Other companies were just waiting for their chance to throw their proverbial hats into the ring.

Let the competition begin.

The Two Treatment Plans: In-office or At-Home

doctor in white apron sitting in his chamberbeautiful wooden house

First, in the most general sense, there are basically two types of aligner treatment plans: in-office and at-home.

What are the best and worst parts of at-home and in-office programs?

In-office treatment plans are just that—in the office. The at-home treatment plans are a real mystery … Just kidding. They are plans that you take care of at home.

Now that the mystery is gone, you can make a decision and pick the perfect aligner.

Okay, not so much.

We know. You just want to know which aligner company is better. To find out, you’ll need to keep reading to decide which type of aligner you need and then compare each brand to determine the best fit.

What do people like about in-office treatment plans?

  • Seeing dental professionals on a consistent basis means that customers’ teeth are observed and adjusted as needed throughout the process.
  • In-office treatment plans allow for professionals to provide hands-on treatment for clients who have teeth that need treatment beyond the mild to moderate help.
  • Treatment plans that occur in an office offer more one-on-one treatment and individualized discussions between patient and professional.

What don’t people like about in-office treatment plans?

  • In-office treatment means more time and inconvenience.
  • In-office treatment means more money. Basically, it’s more expensive.

What do people like about at-home treatment plans?

  • At-home treatments have a shorter duration for their programs, averaging six months.
  • At-home treatments are more affordable than in-office plans.
  • At-home treatments allow for convenience.

What don’t people like about at-home treatment plans?

  • At-home plans are not designed to straighten extremely crowded teeth, severely spaced teeth, or serious bite issues.
  • At-home plans do not have face-to-face interaction.

Which candidate are you, in-office or at-home?

The purpose of getting clear aligners is to correct your alignment and improve your smile. If the aligners don’t do that, then you will have wasted months of your time. So, it is very important for you to think about all the movement that must happen in your mouth in order to create your desired smile.

Ask yourself:

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


If you find yourself answering yes to these questions, then it is likely that in-office treatment may be your best bet.

Now ...

Ask yourself:

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


If you are able to answer yes to these questions, then you may be a candidate for at-home treatment.

Which is better, an in-office or at-home treatment plan?

To be completely honest, it is up to you. We cannot answer this for you because it is a matter of your preference and needs.

If your needs are such that you prefer personal, hands-on interaction, you may not like the at-home option. What’s more, if you have teeth issues that lean toward the severe side of crowding, spacing, and bite, at-home treatment may not suit you.

If budget is a concern, you want speedier results, and your teeth have mild to moderate issues, then an at-home solution may be just what you need

Who are the main in-office treatment plan contenders?

Ummm … I think we can only ask: who IS the main in-office treatment plan contender? It’s Invisalign.

Invisalign has been going strong for over twenty years. It is the most well-known brand of clear aligners.

Their entire in-office treatment process is hands-on.

The first thing you will do is head on over to Invisalign.com, go to the top right, enter your zip code in the box to find a doctor, and find out if there are any Invisalign doctors in your area. If there are any doctors available in your area, then you can take their Smile Assessment.

If the Smile Assessment shows that you are a candidate for their aligners, you can go ahead and make an appointment with a doctor.

When you visit the doctor, your mouth will be introduced to the iTeroⓇ Element scanner. Their special scanner allows the doctor to take a quick, pinpointed 3D digital scan of all of your teeth.

The doctor will in turn use the scan to map out a customized plan tailored to your specific treatment needs. Your dentist will also create a set of impressions of your current teeth.

Last, but not least, the impressions and scans will be sent away to an Invisalign lab.

When the Invisalign lab receives your impressions and scans, they will collaborate with your dentist to make your custom-fitted aligners and develop a personalized treatment plan.

After a treatment program is designed, Invisalign puts your brand new aligners in the mail and ships them to your dentist. You can schedule an appointment now that the aligners have arrived at the office.

So, head into the office and check out your new clear aligners. Your dentist will have you try them on for size. The dentist will then take a close look at your aligners and check to see how well they fit. (Hopefully, they are a perfect fit!)

During your visit, the dentist will give you all of the pertinent instructions for wear and answer any questions you may have.

Like the other daytime aligners, Invisalign must be worn for twenty-two hours each day and only removed when drinking, eating, and brushing your teeth. This routine will continue daily for twelve to eighteen months.

Throughout your treatment you will have regular checkups with the doctor every six to eight weeks. At each doctor’s visit, you may get your next set of aligners in the phase of your treatment.

Remember that if you have questions you can always give a jingle to the Smile Concierge team at Invisalign.

As you can see, Invisalign is a fully in-office treatment program for clear aligners.

Who are the At-Home Aligner Contenders?

Allll the other clear aligner companies are pretty much considered to be at-home treatment plans. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

At-home plans entail absolutely zero dental office visits. So you can participate in treatment while wearing your pajamas.

To participate in this type of treatment plan, you will first need to be evaluated for eligibility. Most brands will have a quiz on their website to see if you are a candidate for particular clear aligners.

If you seem to be a candidate, then it’s time for the next step. The next step can go one of two ways depending on the aligner company.

  1. You go online and order an impression kit from your brand of choice. Once you receive the kit, you will take the impressions on your own. For several companies, taking intraoral selfies is another step in the process. Next, you put those babies in the mail and ship them off to your clear aligner company.
  2. You go to a brick and mortar location of your selected clear aligner company. When you are there, they will take special scans of your mouth for free. After completing your scans, they handle the paperwork and ship them directly to the clear aligner company for creation.

Alrighty, you probably have a clue which type of aligner is going to be the best choice for you. If you fall into the in-office category, Invisalign is going to be the option that will serve you well.

On the other hand, if you fall into the at-home category, you have some reading to do. There are many different companies who offer at-home treatment plans.

Here we go …

These are the at-home clear aligners worth mentioning:

  • AlignerCo
  • NewSmile
  • CandidTM
  • SmileDirectClub
  • ByteⓇ

AlignerCo

AlignerCo catches the attention of clear aligner inquiries for one, big reason: It is the absolute cheapest clear aligner company on the market.

Consumers that choose AlignerCo are able to get straighter teeth for as little as $945. While the actual list price is $1145, they regularly offer a discount that brings the total to $945.

At this price point, they are about 40% cheaper than their competitors.

Keep in mind that AlignerCo is an at-home treatment plan, so the process is designed for mild or moderate cases of crowding, spacing, or bite issues.

Like all of the other daytime aligners, you will wear them for twenty-two hours per day, only removing them to eat, drink, or brush your teeth.

What do people love about AlignerCo?

  • Nighttime aligner option called NightOnly
  • Made of Essix plastic
  • Lowest price clear aligners available
  • Multiple payment plan options


What don’t people love about AlignerCo?

  • No brick and mortar locations giving customers free scans of their teeth
  • Slower treatment time of six to eleven months
  • Longer prep and mail time to receive aligner kit


How well do they work?

So far, so good. That’s right. AlignerCo doesn’t have a ton of experience under their belt like many other clear aligner companies. And yet, they are producing high-quality results so far.

Keep in mind, these at-home aligners are a better choice for issues that are less severe. To better understand if you qualify for AlignerCo, you would need to consult with their orthodontists and dentists.

AlignerCo customers will be working with a combination of dentists and orthodontists. There is no guarantee which type of professional you will speak to.

Orthodontists have an additional six years of specialized training, so they are the most qualified to develop a treatment plan. Ideally, they would be in charge of your program, but that is definitely not always the case.

With AlignerCo, you run the risk of having your plan developed by someone who is not the most qualified.

Does AlignerCo use a quality manufacturer?

Yep. They sure do. AlignerCo works hand-in-hand with RaintreeEssix to produce their clear aligners.

Fortunately, Essix has a great reputation with nearly-veteran experience in producing dental supplies since 2005. Thanks to Essix, AlignerCo offers its customers a great product that withstands the rigors of treatment.

What about tracking?

Clients will take mouth selfies every other week. Those photos are then sent in to AlignerCo contacts within customer support for review.

They will forward it to the dentist or orthodontist you have been partnered with for review. It allows those professionals to take a look at your progress. They can tell if you are staying on target with your plan.

Are they convenient?

Convenience is a big factor for most people in the American culture. We keep hectic schedules. So, running into an appointment every month can be a huge pain.

Not to mention, in-office treatment just takes longer. That means when you have a big event coming up that you want to look your best for, you’re going to want those teeth to be straightened as quickly as possible.

Good news. AlignerCo mails your aligners right to your door. No monthly dental visits for you!

AlignerCo is definitely more convenient than standard metal braces or Invisalign.

How long is the startup process?

The first thing you’ll need to do is order your impression kit. Once the kit arrives, you’ll make the putty and bite down to make your impressions.

This sounds simple. But for those of us who have molded mouthguards for our kiddos, we know it can go very wrong.

AlignerCo predicted this as a very real possibility and came up with a plan to help. They make themselves available to get online with clients and walk them through their impression process.

It certainly helps to do this, but it does not eliminate the challenge of making a good first impression.

Once you mail those impressions in, you can expect to wait four to five weeks before your aligner kit arrives in the mail.

In the meantime, a preview of your treatment plan will arrive. This is when you will make the decision to move forward with AlignerCo to realign your smile. Should you approve, you will wait two to three weeks from that point.

How long will treatment last?

Be prepared for your treatment with AlignerCo to last six to eleven months. The duration of your treatment depends on your mouth.

If patients have a bite or alignment issue that is more severe, then the treatment duration is longer. This is typical for most of the at-home treatment plans.

Listen. Don’t expect treatment to work as fast as possible if you won’t wear your aligners for twenty to twenty-two hours every day. If you won’t wear the aligners, your teeth will not move quickly.

How do clients pay for AlignerCo?

The average price tag for clear aligners is $1,600 to $2,400. As we’ve already shown, AlignerCo beats those prices by several hundred dollars.

AlignerCo has an upfront price of $1145 when paid in full. This includes the cost of their impression kit, but does not include the $99 retainer fee. It’s important to note that they have discounts offered that bring that price tag down to $945.

Not only are they affordable but they also provide two financing options for their clients: SmileFlex and SmileFlexEasy.

For the SmileFlex plan, AlignerCo works alongside Splitit to offer customers a plan of twelve monthly installments of $110. Customers will be expected to undergo a soft credit check. This means you may not qualify for this plan.

SmileFlexEasy works differently. There is no credit check. However, a down payment of $275 must be made, followed by eleven monthly installments of $95.

As with most payment plans, it raises your final price. So, it is cheaper to pay it all on the front end.

What about refunds?

Guess what?! They do have a decent refund policy.

From the beginning of their process, AlignerCo wants you to be completely satisfied. When your impressions are evaluated, they determine whether or not you are a candidate. If you are not, then they will refund your money.

After your treatment plan is completed your teeth should be in their desired alignment. If you didn’t stick with the plan and your teeth didn’t cooperate, you can request a refinement. The refinement to get you back on track will cost you $200.

Are there extras?

Nope. No special devices. No whitening treatments. AlignerCo is a very basic aligner package. Zero frills.

How do they look?

Let’s start by saying that AlignerCo claims they have the clearest aligners available on the market. Yep. Their aligners are pretty darn transparent. Plus, they are stain resistant.

Looks are still a matter of personal preference. So we cannot say whether the transparency is a good or bad thing.

How’s the cut?

AlignerCo has decided to go with a scalloped shape. They have their aligners precisely cut to match the outline of the teeth and gums.

Is this a good thing? Well, it means less force on the teeth. Aligners that are cut straight across slightly cover the gums and apply more force on the teeth and gums for faster movement.

What are their customers saying?

As a newcomer on the aligner scene, AlignerCo doesn’t come with a huge customer base. This means less reviews.

Less reviews does not mean poor reviews. In fact, AlignerCo customers love their brand. They love their service and their product.

AlignerCo offers customer support seven days a week from 9 am to 9 pm by phone, and through web chat or email at any time. They promise to return your emails within twenty-four hours.

Not too shabby, newbie.

AlignerCo Overall

Overall, we would say that AlignerCo is a decent option for clear aligners. They do not have much of a track record to say definitively that you can expect excellent results.

If your teeth just need a bit of adjusting, AlignerCo may be a company you want to consider. Besides, who can ignore that price tag? Straighter teeth for about $1,000? Yes, please.

Next up …

NewSmile

NewSmile is new to the clear aligner game. They became available in 2020 as an affordable at-home treatment option.

Just like most of the at-home aligner brands, they can treat the more mild cases of misalignment. Their treatment is considered more cosmetic in nature.

They were founded in Vancouver, British Columbia, and are available in Canada and the United States.

Getting Started

To get yourself started with NewSmile, you will need to visit their website and answer their starter questionnaire.Then, you order an impression kit.

Once you receive your impression kit, follow their directions and take your impressions. After that is completed, send them in to NewSmile for review.

What do people love about New Smile

  • Low price of $1,195
  • Kit includes aligners, whitening treatment, retainers
  • Four to six month treatment time
  • Nighttime only treatment plan
  • 100% approved financing, no credit check

What don’t people love about NewSmile

  • No retail locations for free in-office scan of teeth
  • At-home impression kits are challenging
  • Very little feedback for reviews

Do they work?

NewSmile clear aligners work for mild to somewhat moderate issues. They will not work for any crowding, spacing, or bit issues that are more severe.

When you follow the protocol, the NewSmile treatment plan will realign your teeth. They do the work in an average of four to six months for aligners worn during the day for twenty-two hours.

The nighttime treatment plan means wearing the aligners for 10 hours per night for eight to ten months.

How affordable are NewSmile clear aligners?

For one upfront payment of $1,595, customers receive the entire aligner system. Their system comes with aligners, whitening treatment, and retainers.

And retainers? Yep. It’s all included.

Plus, that $1,595 is not fixed! They knock the price down by several hundred dollars, making the NewSmile system as cheap as $1,195.  

What about financing?

If you can’t swing the entire fee upfront, then you are sure to be approved for NewSmile’s no-credit-check payment plan.

NewSmile has the most affordable payment plan on the market. Customers pay a deposit of $295, followed by twenty-four monthly installments of $58. Sure it costs a bit more in the long run, but it’s still pretty darn cheap!

Is NewSmile convenient?

NewSmile is every bit as convenient as the average at-home clear aligner treatment plan. And it works in the same way.

Customers go online, take the quiz, order the impression kit, do the impressions, and mail them back in. After receiving them, the impressions are reviewed and an aligner kit is created.

From that point, you are on your own to keep up with the aligner process. A process that will take four to six months on average for daytime. 

NewSmile does offer the added convenience of having nighttime aligners. Those aligners only need to be worn at night for ten hours. It extends treatment duration to somewhere between eight and ten months.

How do they look?

NewSmile touts their aligners as being the most clear in the market. 

That may be true. They may very well be made of the most transparent material on the market. But that doesn’t mean you can’t see them.

You can definitely see them. They are made of a shiny plastic material that is not natural in appearance.

NewSmile cuts its aligners according to the shape of the gum line. That makes them slightly less conspicuous.

Customer Care

The customer care team is available through email, phone, and social media. Unfortunately, they have the shortest availability time of all the aligner companies. They are only available from 12:30 pm to 6:00 pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. 

Yeah. That is not exactly what you want from a customer service department.

How about a refund policy?

Well … their refund policy is almost as exciting as their customer service hours. NewSmile offers no refunds for anything other than manufacturer defects.

Who loves NewSmile?

Their clients. The level of feedback is exceedingly positive. The clients of NewSmile pretty much gush over them. They’re a little crowd, but loud.

NewSmile Overall …

Overall, NewSmile is a pretty good option. They are the absolute newest aligner brand on the market. 

Being a newbie means they do not have much of a following or the longevity to have built a solid reputation. NewSmile is off to a great start and we will be watching for them to continue growing.

The BIG THREE: Candid, SmileDirectClub, and Byte

Now we will hit the high points of our better-known clear aligner companies, Candid, SmileDirectClub, and Byte.

Candid

candid storefront

 

Candid clear aligners were first thought of by a small group of people who wanted to make it more affordable to straighten teeth. They reached out to well-known orthodontist Dr. C. Lynn Hurst. Together, they founded Candid in 2017. 

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

Who are the Candid professionals?

Candid makes it a priority to work exclusively with orthodontists. No other clear aligner companies can make this claim. 

It makes sense that the professional determining whether or not invisible aligners will work for an individual’s teeth is someone who intimately studied orthodontia. 

Each client is paired with an orthodontist according to his or her location. Candid wants the whole process to be as personalized and hassle-free as possible. 

What makes Candid Clear Aligners stand out from the competition?

Candid wants every single client to love their new smiles. So before your kit arrives, they want you to schedule a video chat. 

Having a live video chat helps the orthodontist to create your aligners while keeping your face in mind. If there are any inaccuracies in the pictures sent to Candid, having this call should clear it up.

It is one step that the competition doesn’t typically take.

Customer Service at Candid

At Candid, your customer care experience is chiefly dependent upon the orthodontist. They are available to you throughout the entire program. 

That’s right. The same doctor who helped to design your aligners and your treatment plan is the one who will monitor your progress during your entire treatment program with Candid.

You can contact Candid’s customer service team via telephone, online chat service, or through email communication.

New patients can feel free to communicate with Candid as much as they want while waiting for customized aligners. It is a bit of a waiting process. You can expect to wait two months for your magic teeth movers.

How much does Candid cost?

Candid Co. aligners come at a price of $2400 for an adult set. To buy the treatment program for teens, it will cost you $2800. These fees will be required in one, lump sum. 

These fees do not include retainers. Retainer pricing depends on each individual’s needs. 

In addition to the aligner fees, Candid will supply an $95 impression kit and your first retainer set at no cost to you. For any retainers needed after the first set, you will pay $95.

If you cannot pay upfront, try the payment plan. This option requires a deposit of $399 and 24 monthly installments of $99. That brings your total to $2775 for adult aligners.

How do client’s get started with Candid?

You have two options. You can either swing by Candid Studio and have impressions made. Or you can go online, take their 30-second survey, and find out if you are a candidate. 

If you move forward, you will order the starter kit, follow the included instructions, take impressions of your teeth, and send them in for review. 

If you mess up the impressions, Candid sends you a free backup. Bonus!

What comes with the Candid starter kit?

candid starter kit

 

If you accept and approve of the plan they’ve devised, then Candid will manufacture your custom-fit aligners. 

The forecasted images of corrected smiles should be pretty spot on to the final results, but only if you follow directions and stick to the guidelines given by the orthodontist.

How long is treatment with Candid?

The orthodontist will determine the duration of the treatment plan based on the condition of their teeth. Treatment may be complete in as little as three months, or as long as ten months.

The orthodontist you are partnered with decides how long your treatment lasts.They use their online dental monitoring service to ensure you stick to the plan.

Candid’s Remote Monitoring

Your aligner kit contains materials that allow you to keep up with your treatment without attending a Candid Studio.  

A great feature of Candid is their phone app. You need the app for remote online monitoring. The monitoring will be done by the same orthodontist who created your aligners and the treatment program.

Candid Overall ...

Due to the fact that they follow your progress, the outcome for most clients is on the positive side.When a patient is unsatisfied, Candid doesn’t leave you high and dry. They want you to achieve your desired smile.

Candid claims that they cannot only correct moderately crooked teeth they are able to correct overbites and underbites. This is a correction that many aligner companies do not make. 

Candid is a good choice for mild to moderate teeth issues.

SmileDirectClub

Alex Fenkell and Jordan Katzman founded SmileDirectClubin 2014. It is a teledentistry company. Teledentistry uses telecommunications and information technology for all things virtual in dental care—education, consultation, and public awareness.

Their aligners are said to be so effective that they reposition teeth within four to six months. Now you can understand why people are attracted to SmileDirectClub.

young lady dentist treating a patient

 

SmileDirectClub has its own dental network.

This means they are designed and prescribed for every SmileDirectClub client by a true, certified dentist. When you choose SDC, you get the benefit of having dentists to use without making a trip to the dental office. 

Getting Started …

Jump online and take their quiz to see if you qualify, if you do you can choose to sign up to go see a person at one of the SmileDirectClub locations to have your bite analyzed, or you may choose the at-home option.

If you go with the $45 at-home impression kit, you’ll just need to carefully do your own molds in the comfort of your own home and mail them in. (If you are not a candidate, you can expect a refund.)

Paying for SmileDirectClub

If you happen to qualify for the SmileDirectClub treatment plan, you can expect to pay $1950 upfront and an additional $99 for the retainers. Or, you can go for their payment plan and pay a downpayment of $250, followed by $89 monthly installments.

There is no credit check, so everybody qualifies for financing.

Prepping for your aligner kit

Should there be a SmileShop location near you, you can make an appointment to see someone live and in-person. This route involves wand imaging technology. 

While using a plastic appliance (which I’ll describe below), you open wide as they run this nifty wand around your teeth.They take that photo and turn it into a model of your smile. It is that model that SmileDirectClub will use to make your custom aligners. 

If you go the DIY route, you will fill each tray with putty and then clamp your chompers down into them. And then you pretend like you’re playing Speak Out.

Speak Out is the game with the plastic mouthpiece that keeps your lips from touching and pretty much makes you look like you have horse teeth. Then, you have to read phrases and your team tries to guess what you’re saying.

You put a similar-looking plastic doohickey in your mouth to keep your mouth open wide. Your glorious photo will be used in conjunction with the impressions to create your fitted, invisible aligners.

So, what’s the plan, Stan?

The plan you receive from SmileDirectClub will show you exactly how your teeth will move into alignment. They use a 3-D rendering for you to see the way it works. If you like it, then you can have your aligners shipped to you.

Do you still have a permanent retainer? No problem. SmileDirectClub will create your aligners to fit right over it.

What’s in your aligner kit? 

Everything comes with the arrival of your SmileDirectClub box. You will get each progressive set of aligners, an aligner case, LED whitening kit, and a thingamabob to remove the aligners. (Yep. It’s called a thingamabob!)

Now that you have your aligners, what’s next?

Pay attention to your timelines in order to effectively wear your aligners. There are three separate sets of aligners to wear in your first several weeks. 

There is a little pressure for the first month as your teeth are moving into alignment. After that, the pressure barely registers in your mouth.

The aligners are barely noticeable. Many people have reported that others do not even notice they are wearing anything on their teeth. Nice.

How long do you wear SmileDirectClub aligners?

This depends on the option you choose! SmileDirectClub has daytime and nighttime aligners

Daytime aligners are worn an average of twenty-two hours per day. This will typically shorten the duration of treatment for obvious reasons. The more time spent in the aligners, the faster they work. You will wear them an average of five months.

Nighttime Clear Aligners® is the first aligner system on the market that safely allows customers to wear clear aligners for only 10 continuous hours per night. Wearing Nighttime Clear Aligners® while you sleep is more convenient to many people's lifestyle.”

Nighttime aligners increase the duration of your treatment by a few months.

What about insurance?

It states on the SmileDirectClub website that they are considered in-network for quite a few insurance providers.These include: Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Empire BlueCross BlueShield, and UnitedHealthCare.

What if you don’t have insurance through any of those providers? SmileDirectClub is happy to help you reach out to your current insurance provider to see if you’re eligible.

Every insurance plan varies. Some of them will cover about half; it all depends on the company and the plan you are under.

SmileDirectClub customer service is decent

SmileDirectClub offers its clients the convenience of calling a customer care representative 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Clients can choose to reach out through a live chat or by giving them a jingle.

What are customers saying about SmileDirectClub?

For the most part, the clients who have chosen to use invisible aligners from SmileDirectClub have reported very positive results. But there was a period of time when they received a lot of complaints.

According to the Better Business Bureau, there have been quite a few complaints regarding refunds, exchanges, and customer service issues. It also states that SmileDirectClub has submitted responses indicating that they have an app to help with customer service issues.

In addition, SDC has also made strides to address complaints regarding refunds and exchanges. 

SmileDirectClub Overall …

The reviews for SmileDirectClub are mostly positive. Their invisible aligners are an affordable and effective alternative to orthodontic braces. That is a pretty great thing.

Be sure to check out our other posts on invisible aligner options and how they compare.

Byte

What do we know about Byte aligners?

Dr. Jon Marashi created Byte aligners in 2017 and the company was launched to the public in 2019. Marashi is known around the world as a cosmetic dentist for celebrities. Who doesn’t want a celebrity-perfect smile?

Their treatment plans are directed by a team of over 200 licensed doctors, dentists, and orthodontists, spanning the United States. These professionals remotely prescribe and supervise each client’s Byte treatment plan. 

You have two choices: Byte All-Day or Byte At-Night.

Byte All-Day Aligners

Byte’s All-Day Aligners are made from medical-grade, BPA-free, tear-resistant polymer film. Science has shown that they are much more stain-resistant than other invisible aligners, and they also have a much smoother surface.

Each aligner is custom-made to gently encourage the teeth to move into their desired destination. To achieve your new smile, you will wear each set of aligners for one week before moving on to the next set for the remainder of your treatment.

Twenty-two hours of your day will be spent wearing your Byte All-Day Aligners. Basically, the aligners are only to be removed when you eat and drink. 

Byte At-Night Aligners

These magical trays straighten your teeth while you sleep. The nighttime aligners are made with a thicker version of BPA-free, grind-resistant, medical-grade polymer. 

Byte At-Night Aligners must be worn for at least ten continuous hours and coupled with daily ten-minute HyperByte sessions.

It is important to note that the nighttime aligners take five to six months to complete the treatment plan, and they are more expensive than the All-Day Aligners.

The nighttime aligners can be purchased for one payment of $2295, or with a down payment of $449 accompanied by twenty-nine monthly payments of $99. The monthly payment plan will cost $3336 in total. 

What is the process to use Byte?

The only way to do your teeth impressions is the DIY way. You never deal with a brick and mortar store. Everything is done via snail mail. 

To get started, request an impressions kit through the Byte website. The impression kits are usually priced at $95. However, you can regularly find them at a discounted price of $29.95.

Next, you wait patiently for your impressions kit to arrive in the mail. Your new kit contains the supplies you need to make impressions of your teeth.

Finally, follow the directions to take impressions of your teeth. Next, pack those puppies up, and use the complimentary shipping label that is included in your supply kit to send your new impressions to Byte. 

This is the point in the process when Byte’s Smile Science comes into play. When Byte receives your impressions, they are reviewed by their team of orthodontists. The orthodontists will use the five-point analysis SmileScience to decide how your teeth should be aligned.  

By using SmileScience, the Byte team will develop a 3-D image of your new smile plan. The images lay out a visual plan that reveals how the plan will work in the weeks and months ahead, as well as what your resulting smile will look like. 

It should take somewhere between five to seven weeks before your smile-making happies make their way to your mailbox. Follow the instructions and put in your first set of aligners. Then, the magic begins. 

Depending on which Byte aligner option you have chosen, you may wear them twenty-two hours per day, or ten hours per night.

You will also receive BrightByte in your new kit. This is Byte’s version of a whitening treatment for your evolving smile.

Byte also offers access to Snow At-Home Teeth Whitening System. The Snow system safely whitens teeth with no harmful effects. The whitening gel is soy-free, gluten-free, vegan, and lactose-free. Results can be seen in three days.  

Your Smile Maintenance Plan.

Byte has designed their aligners to work rather quickly. On average, their aligners straighten teeth within two to four months. They are the fastest invisible aligners on the market.

After your teeth reach their desired alignment, you begin wearing retainers. You will wear Byte retainers 24/7 for two weeks (minus when you eat and drink.) Then, you only keep them in for 8 hours per night.

And, guess what? Your first set of retainers comes at no cost. Yep, they are free. Each set after that is $129.

What is the cost of a new smile created by Byte?

  1. BytePay: This is the payment plan specific to Byte aligners. You will make a downpayment of $349, followed by twenty-nine monthly payments of $83. This adds up to a grand total of $2756.
  2. One Lump Sum: You will save money by choosing this option. If you choose to make a single payment, it will cost you $1895.

What about insurance?

Well, Byte doesn’t take insurance. They will, however, give you the appropriate forms to turn in a claim to your insurance. From that point, it’s up to your insurance company as to whether or not they will reimburse you for your treatment.

How is Byte’s customer service?

Clients appear to be very satisfied with the customer service they receive. Byte has a customer support team that you can reach through Facebook messenger, email, phone, or text.  

Byte was given a score of 9.9 out of a possible 10 by Best Company in their evaluation. What’s more, nearly 3,000 customers give Byte 4.8 stars on a scale of 5.

Needless to say, Byte’s clients like them.

What do people love about Byte?

  • Byte aligners come with its Byte for LifeTM guarantee! This means the smile you achieved through Byte is guaranteed for your entire lifetime and they will provide you the means to get your pearly whites back on track should they ever move out of place by providing new tools for FREE.* 
    *If teeth alignment has been altered due to trauma or an accident, that will not be covered.
  • Byte comes with free stuff. And who doesn’t want a few extras? Free whitening tools and a set of retainers are included at no extra charge.
  • Byte treatment is fast. Unlike most invisible aligners, which take ten to twenty-four months, Byte treatment is complete within two to four months. 
  • Byte treatment comes with their exclusive HyperByte device. Hyperbyte has an amazing effect on reducing treatment duration. Just five minutes each day with this handy-dandy high-frequency vibration device and you could see a new smile in two months.
  • Byte is monitored by doctors. Byte uses teledentistry to hop online and visually check in with each client to track their progress.
  • Byte is done 100% from home. Many people don’t have time or won’t take the time to go to a doctor’s office. Byte makes it easy for them to straighten their teeth from home.

What don’t people love about Byte?

  • Safety first: The American Association of Orthodontists have expressed pretty major concerns about straightening teeth from home. The AAO believes this choice for treatment may cause dental issues down the road, leading to teeth issues and/or gum loss. 
  • Payment plan cost: Byte charges $861 more for their treatment plan if you choose their monthly payment option. That is a pretty big penalty to be paid for using this choice to buy your invisible aligners. 
  • Not for severe alignment problems: Byte aligners can only be used to effectively treat teeth with fairly minor alignment problems. 
  • No in-person contact with dental professionals: Byte clients cannot visit a live orthodontist to discuss their treatment. 
  • Cumbersome insurance reimbursement procedure: Byte does not directly communicate with any insurance companies. Clients must get the claims form(s) from Byte and handle all reimbursement paperwork and follow-up on their own.

Overall … 

Byte’s treatment plan is much more affordable than the $5000 you can expect to pay for braces. 

Thanks to HyperByte technology, Byte straightens teeth much faster than a mouth full of metal wires and brackets. 

If your smile could use a little pickmeup, Byte is a fantastic choice.

an empty stadium

 

Who Offers the Best Clear Aligner Solution?

We’ve already established that Invisalign is the best clear aligner solution for people with more complex alignment issues and who prefer in-office treatment. They are the choice.   

But.

There are so many other factors to consider. We’ve taken countless hours and thousands of words to review and compare the top four aligner brands in our series on clear aligners. And it all points to one brand.

Byte.

The little company with the big ideas takes the top spot on our clear aligner podium. They may not have paid their dues, but they have most certainly earned their spot.

Byte is a great value at $1,895. Nope, they are not the cheapest like AlignerCo, but neither are they the most expensive like Invisalign.

Their innovations set them above the competition. Nobody offers anything like Hyperbyte vibration technology to their customers. And Byte does it absolutely free. 

It is this cutting edge innovation that enables Byte to boast the fastest treatment time in the industry. Byte gives you a new smile in three short months. That is incredible.

There you have it.

man raising two hands in the air

Byte is the clear winner.