We’ve got more options for teeth-straightening treatment than ever before. No longer are we tied to the office visits of braces and Invisalign, because companies like Byte and SmileDirectClub have developed treatments that let people straighten their teeth entirely from home.
These are two of Australia’s best and most popular at-home clear aligner companies. They both deliver clear aligners directly to you, and they’re both affordable, convenient alternatives to traditional orthodontics, but they’re far from identical. In this article, we’ll walk you through a detailed comparison to help determine which one is best for you.
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Overview and Recommendation: Byte Wins
Both companies are reliable, respected, and can align your teeth efficiently and affordably. However, we think Byte is the better choice for most of our readers. Here’s why:
- Efficient Treatment Times: There’s evidence that Byte’s HyperByte device, which emits gentle vibrations, can help teeth shift faster for some people, giving Byte an average treatment plan length of four months. Dentists often charge upwards of $1,000 for similar devices, but Byte includes it in your aligner bundle.
- Exceptional Customer Support: Byte assigns each customer a personal advisor, who checks in to answer questions and concerns throughout the treatment process. Plus, once you’re done with treatment, their Byte-for-Life guarantee protects your smile forever.
Is Byte Right for You?
In our opinion, Byte is the best option available in Australia for at-home teeth straightening services. SmileDirectClub also made our list of the top companies, in third place. Your perfect match for orthodontic treatment will depend on your priorities, budget, and dental condition, but Byte is an affordable, high-quality option for most people with mild-to-moderate misalignments.
Byte and SmileDirectClub sell safe, durable clear aligners manufactured without BPA or phthalates. Both companies have plenty of experience too, as Byte has aligned thousands of smiles and SmileDirectClub is now past the 1.5 million customer mark. Neither is as powerful or intensive as the hands-on care you’ll get with Invisalign, but they’re both extremely effective for minor misalignments.
- Backed by Dentsply Sirona, a widely respected dental supplies manufacturer.
- Recommends virtual check-ins, but only requires them in certain cases.
- Cuts their aligners straight across the gums, increasing their power.
- Produces their aligners in-house.
- Requires virtual check-ins every 90 days throughout treatment.
- Aligners slightly overlap the gums, providing extra power.
Clinical Expertise and Oversight
Since you’ll never meet a dentist in person during Byte or SmileDirectClub treatment, you’ll probably want to know who’s behind your care. Byte maintains a team of Australian-licensed dentists and SmileDirectClub says their team includes Australian-licensed dentists and orthodontists. It’s reassuring to know that these experts will review and approve your aligner plan before you begin.
In-person clear aligner treatments like Invisalign typically involve office visits every 4–6 weeks, and certain at-home aligner services have attempted to replicate this oversight with remote monitoring. SmileDirectClub, for example, has every customer upload photos of their teeth every 90 days, so their dental team can make sure things are progressing as planned. It’s not as robust as hands-on treatment, but it provides some peace of mind. Byte recommends that you upload photos of your teeth to the My Byte app every two weeks, but they only require it if you have certain conditions. If you choose to complete every check-in, you’ll have pretty regular oversight. If not, you won’t have any.
SmileDirectClub once had a manufacturing partnership with Align Tech, Invisalign’s parent company, but it ended in 2019. These days, SmileDirectClub produces most of its aligners in-house. They’ve implemented a design they call “Comfort Sense,” which is a “proprietary soft, medium, and firm aligner plastic progression to ease teeth more comfortably into place.”
In late 2020, Byte was acquired by Dentsply Sirona, a reputable dental manufacturing company that makes cleaning instruments, scanning machines, retainers, and virtually any other dental equipment you can imagine. So you can be sure that Byte’s products are trustworthy and well-designed.
Both companies use the best software solutions and 3D printing tech to produce their aligners. We’re impressed by SmileDirectClub’s in-house manufacturing and Comfort Sense system, but they don’t have an answer for Byte’s HyperByte device, which sends micropulses into the gums and jawbone to facilitate tooth movement. No other at-home aligner company has a similar device, and there’s evidence that it can help encourage faster dental shifts.
Byte also designs their aligners with a software called Smile Science, which considers all your facial features when crafting your perfect smile. SmileDirectClub’s software still creates effective aligner plans, but it’s not quite as comprehensive.
Byte and SmileDirectClub both produce aligners that overlap your gums, which can help them exert more force on your teeth. These overlapping aligners use your gums as a point of leverage to pivot and push the teeth into alignment, which makes Byte and SmileDirectClub’s aligners more effective than scalloped ones that match the gum line.
In-person clear aligner treatments like Invisalign typically involve office visits every 4–6 weeks, and certain at-home aligner services have attempted to replicate this oversight with remote monitoring. SmileDirectClub, for example, has every customer upload photos of their teeth every 90 days, so their dental team can make sure things are progressing as planned. It’s not as robust as hands-on treatment, but it provides some peace of mind. Byte, however, only requires virtual check-ins if you have certain conditions.
For anyone on a budget, orthodontic treatment can be stressful because it’s not exactly cheap. Byte and SmileDirectClub can be thousands cheaper than Invisalign and braces, and both provide accessible financing plans, but neither one is the most affordable home aligner service on the market.
- $2,749 sticker price ($3,399 for night-only aligners).
- Includes one set of aftercare retainers for free.
- Includes free whitening products.
- Their impression kit costs $95.
- They have multiple financing options through Humm, but these might require a credit check.
- $2,965 sticker price for all-day or night-only aligners.
- Does not include aftercare retainers ($167 per set).
- Includes a free whitening kit.
- Their impression kit is built into the cost of their aligner bundles, but scans at a SmileShop are free.
- Financing requires a down payment but not a credit check.
These companies are both on the higher end of the price spectrum for at-home clear aligners in Australia. At $2,749, Byte has a lower price point for all-day aligners, compared to SmileDirectClub’s $2,965 price. However, SmileDirectClub charges that same $2,965 for their nighttime alignment plan, whereas Byte At-Night — which uses premium plastic and specially designed aligners — costs $3,399.
Beyond that, Byte chips in some additional value by providing your first set of retainers at no extra charge, while SmileDirectClub charges $167 for each set. However, Byte charges $95 for impression kits; SmileDirectClub includes theirs in their aligner bundle and also offers in-office 3D scans for free at their SmileShops.
Payment Plan Options
If you don’t have roughly three thousand bucks lying around, you’re not alone. That’s why these companies both have payment plans to help make their services accessible to a wide variety of people.
Byte offers payment plans through Humm, a third-party financing company. The rates for these plans depend on whether you choose the All-Day or At-Night plan, and whether you want their protection plan, which includes two sets of retainers per year for five years.
- All-Day with Byte Protection Plan: Fortnightly payments of $57 for 30 months.
- All-Day without Byte Protection Plan: Fortnightly payments of $54 for 24 months.
- At-Night with Byte Protection Plan: Fortnightly payments of $69 for 30 months.
- At-Night All-Day without Byte Protection Plan: Fortnightly payments of $67 for 24 months.
SmileDirectClub’s one payment plan doesn’t require a credit check, but you’ll need to pay a $299 deposit, followed by 24 monthly payments of $125. This plan includes all your aligners plus two sets of retainers (which are not included if you pay the full price upfront) for a total of $3,299 — the same as if you purchased the aligners and retainers separately.
Byte and SmileDirectClub both offer bonus items to give you more bang for your buck. They both throw in free whitening products that you can use simultaneously with your aligners. Byte also includes your first set of aftercare retainers and the HyperByte device. However, SmileDirectClub offers free in-office scans, while Byte doesn’t have any in-person clinics.
SmileDirectClub and Byte are both much less of a hassle than braces or Invisalign because traditional orthodontics require frequent in-office appointments, while at-home services send everything you need directly to you. Even when compared to other at-home aligners, however, these two go above and beyond to give their customers a smooth and streamlined experience.
- No office locations in Australia — you must use an at-home impression kit.
- The average treatment plan is four months (five months for Byte At-Night).
- Byte At-Night allows you to wear aligners for just ten hours per day.
- Six office locations in Australia that provide free 3D scans; at-home kits also available.
- The average treatment time is 4–6 months (around ten months for Nighttime Aligners).
- Nighttime Clear Aligners allow you to wear aligners for just ten hours per day.
The first step on your smile straightening journey is submitting high-quality impressions and images of your teeth. This enables the company to determine if you’re a suitable candidate for their treatment and produce a preview image of your corrected teeth.
Your first option is to purchase either company’s impression kit and use it to create molds of your teeth. This lets you complete the process from home, but some customers find it difficult to make perfect impressions and end up needing multiple kits. That’s why SmileDirectClub also has six clinics across Australia where you can get a free professional teeth scan instead. Byte doesn’t have any office locations, so you’ll need to use their impression kit.
Most SmileDirectClub customers complete their standard treatment in 4–6 months, or their nighttime-only treatment in around ten. Byte says their treatment plans are typically four months long (or five for their nighttime plan), thanks in part to the HyperByte, which can induce faster teeth shifts for some customers. Ultimately, your treatment might take longer or shorter, depending on the severity of your misalignment. The more complex the case, the longer it takes to correct.
These timelines are much shorter than in-office options, which often take 12–18 months. Just remember that Invisalign and braces take longer because they take on more severe misalignments, while at-home aligners stick to milder cases.
If you’re constantly attending important business meetings or social engagements, you might not be comfortable wearing clear aligners for 22 hours per day. That’s why Byte and SmileDirectClub both offer alternative alignment plans that only require ten consecutive hours of daily wear.
Byte At-Night takes roughly five months to align your teeth and costs $3,399. Meanwhile, SmileDirectClub Nighttime Clear Aligners are $2,965, but they often take around ten months.
All clear aligners look much more natural than braces. However, people are often surprised by how much their appearance can differ between brands. Everyone has different tastes and aesthetic preferences, but some subtle differences between Byte and SmileDirectClub’s aligners could swing your decision one way or the other.
- Uses smooth, transparent, shiny plastic.
- Cuts their aligners straight across, so they overlap the gums.
- Cannot incorporate attachments.
- Reasonably stain-resistant.
- Uses frosted, translucent plastic.
- Cuts their aligners straight across, so they overlap the gums.
- Cannot incorporate attachments.
- Reasonably stain-resistant.
Byte uses smooth, transparent plastic for its aligners, but SmileDirectClub uses a frosted, translucent material. It might sound like 100% clear aligners are the better choice, but that’s not always the case.
Your teeth are porous, which gives them a matte appearance. Frosted aligners do a much better job of replicating the look of your real teeth because the translucent material isn’t nearly as reflective as smooth, transparent aligners. When Byte’s aligners reflect light, they can make your teeth look artificially shiny and more noticeable. However, some people like that extra gleam in their smile.
Straight-cut aligners that overlap the gums are more powerful than ones trimmed to follow the gum line, but they’re also more visible, since people nearby might notice the overlap. Both Byte and SmileDirectClub’s aligners overlap your gums, so you’re getting aligners that are slightly less discreet than ones trimmed to match your gum line.
When treating particularly complex cases with Invisalign, a dentist or orthodontist can affix small attachments to your teeth, which make the aligners more powerful. These attachments are usually clear or tooth-colored, but they still make your aligners slightly more visible. Since Byte and SmileDirectClub don’t require any office visits, there’s no opportunity to apply attachments, and while that makes them less effective, it also means you won’t have any extra hardware in your mouth.
SmileDirectClub and Byte aligners are fairly stain-resistant, but we would still never eat or drink anything other than plain water while wearing them. You might stain an aligner and have to keep wearing it until your teeth are ready for the next set.
Customer Experience Comparison
With any at-home aligner treatment, you’ll communicate directly with the company rather than a specific dentist like you would with Invisalign. So you want a company who will provide helpful answers, address your concerns, and deliver on their promises.
In-office treatment is ideal for customer care, since you’ll have face-to-face interactions with dentists and staff who know you personally. It’s tough for remote services to match that individualization, and while SmileDirectClub has made efforts to provide helpful customer care, Byte goes even further to deliver a supportive, personalized customer experience.
Byte Customer Experience
SmileDirectClub Customer Experience
- You can contact them by phone, email, Facebook Messenger, and mobile app.
- Provides each customer with a personal Byte advisor.
- Receives primarily positive customer reviews.
- Will create refinement aligners if your results don’t match your treatment preview.
- The Byte for Life Guarantee ensures your smile forever.
- Offers support via phone, email, web chat, and mobile app. Will also respond to messages on social media.
- Has received mixed customer reviews.
- Will create refinement aligners if your results don’t match your treatment preview, plus they offer a full refund within 30 days of starting treatment.
- Their Lifetime Smile Guarantee protects your smile forever.
Both companies are available during standard business hours on a variety of support platforms — phone, webchat, email, and mobile app. Byte is very active on social media and will respond to questions and concerns there as well.
SmileDirectClub allows you to track your progress on a mobile app and have regular virtual “Smile Check-ins” with their dental team. According to the SmileDirectClub website, this dental team is available via chat and text for questions 24/7. Not to be outdone, Byte created the My Byte app, where you can get notifications on when to change your aligners, track your HyperByte usage, upload photos of your teeth, and chat with customer support.
Responsiveness and Helpfulness
We’ve reached out to both companies personally, and both have responded quickly with helpful information. However, it’s important to make sure our experiences line up with those of most customers, which is why we took a deep dive into each company’s customer feedback.
Both Byte and SmileDirectClub have thousands of customer reviews available online, but there’s a major difference in the quality of feedback. Aside from a few reviewers who were disappointed in their results, Byte’s customers seem to love their treatment experience. The company assigns each customer their own personal advisor, who answers questions and checks in via email throughout the process, personalizing their customer support.
SmileDirectClub has received mixed reviews over the years. The volume of negative reviews and complaints increased around 2017 as SmileDirectClub attempted to grow its business extremely rapidly, creating inconsistencies in its customer support. Since then, SmileDirectClub has improved its service quality and support — especially with their Smile Check-ins and mobile app — but their reviews are still a mixed bag.
These companies will both refund your initial impression kit if they determine you’re not a suitable candidate for treatment. Beyond that, SmileDirectClub offers prorated refunds that pay you back for any unused aligners. And if you finish treatment and your smile doesn’t match your preview, both companies will work with you to create more aligners and finish the job.
Additionally, SmileDirectClub offers a 30-day full refund window from the start of treatment. So if you change your mind right away, you can get your money back. Even after that window has closed, you’ll still be eligible for a prorated refund on unused and returned aligners. Of course, the longer you wait, the less money you’ll be refunded, but a generous policy like this can still give you some peace of mind.
On top of that, both have policies that protect your new smile for life. Byte’s is called the Byte for Life guarantee, and SmileDirectClub calls theirs the Lifetime Smile Guarantee. They might have different names, but they operate the same way.
Imagine that your teeth shift five years after you complete treatment. Byte or SmileDirectClub will send you new aligners to shift them back. Ten years? New aligners. Twenty years? You guessed it — they’ll send you new aligners. However, to qualify, you must order two sets of retainers per year and wear them as prescribed.
SmileDirectClub was the first company to offer at-home clear aligners in 2014. They started in the U.S., but expanded rapidly and now serve customers in nine different countries. To date, they’ve aligned more than 1.5 million smiles, giving them more experience than most of the other companies in this industry combined.
Founded in 2018, Byte hasn’t treated as many patients, but they have taken impressive steps in reducing treatment times and prioritizing customer service. Co-founder and Chief Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Jon Marashi has a star-studded portfolio of A-list patients, but started Byte to bring his Hollywood-tested treatments to the mainstream. They’re making waves with their innovative technology and exemplary customer support, and have quickly become one of the industry’s top competitors.
Which Should You Choose?
There are a lot of similarities between Byte and SmileDirectClub, so it’s understandable if you haven’t picked one yet. Ultimately, neither will be the best for every person. So, which is right for you?
Choose Byte if You Are:
Seeking efficient alignment times, looking for outstanding customer support, or interested in a company that receives overall great customer feedback.
Choose SmileDirectClub if You Are:
Seeking the most experienced at-home aligner company in the industry or wanting to save some money on nighttime-only treatment.
We Recommend Byte for Most Readers
We think both companies are excellent options for teeth alignment and you can get a stunning new smile from either one. That said, in our opinion, Byte’s efficiency, innovative technology, and personalized customer support make them the best overall at-home clear aligner company in Australia.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I choose Byte or SmileDirectClub?
They’re both outstanding companies, but we prefer Byte. They have efficient treatment times for many people, receive outstanding customer feedback, and they’ve created a responsive and personalized customer support model.
How do I get started with Byte or SmileDirectClub?
To get started with any teeth alignment company, you need to provide high-quality images of your teeth. With Byte, you’ll need to use an at-home impression kit to make molds of your own teeth. SmileDirectClub offers customers a choice of either using an impression kit or visiting one of their retail locations to have their teeth professionally scanned for free.
What are customers saying about Byte and SmileDirectClub?
Both companies have thousands of customer reviews available, but Byte has a much better ratio of positive to negative feedback. Customers of both companies love how convenient they make the teeth alignment process. In the past, SmileDirectClub customers have complained about inconsistent customer support responsiveness, but the company has made improvements since then.
What is the most effective clear aligner company?
It’s tough to beat the power and versatility of in-office options like Invisalign and ClearCorrect. With hands-on care and orthodontic attachments, a dentist can use them to treat severe misalignments and even bite issues.
How do I know which option is right for me?
You should evaluate each company on its customer support, appearance, convenience, affordability, and effectiveness, which will help you determine which one is best for your teeth, goals, and budget.
Will home aligners work for me?
It depends on the severity of your misalignment. Home aligners are a great option for minor issues like crowding and spacing, but if you have a more severe condition, like an overbite, crossbite, or underbite, you may need to pursue traditional orthodontics.
How do Byte and SmileDirectClub compare to Invisalign?
All three shift your teeth using clear aligners, but that’s where the similarities end. Invisalign is much more expensive because it involves frequent in-office visits with your dental professional to evaluate your progress and add attachments. However, those office visits and attachments also allow Invisalign to correct much more severe cases.
How long does home aligner treatment take?
Your alignment times can vary depending on your specific alignment issues, as well as which company you choose. Most home aligner companies take around 4–6 months, and nighttime-only treatment typically takes a couple of months longer.
What other companies should I consider?
We think EZ Smile is a solid option thanks to its well-rounded service, reasonable prices, and money-back guarantee. SmilePath is always worth a look because of its low rates.
How much do home aligners cost?
It depends on which company you choose, whether you want all-day or night-only alignment, whether you use a payment plan, and more. You can get home aligners from SmilePath for just $1,899, while SmileDirectClub charges $2,965.
Does insurance cover home aligners?
Insurance rarely covers home alignment because it’s considered an optional cosmetic treatment. However, it still doesn’t hurt to ask your insurance company.
Are home aligners safe?
They certainly are. We understand if you have some reservations about aligning your teeth at home, but the aligners you’ll use are still professionally designed and implemented. Millions of people have already successfully aligned their teeth using home aligners.
Do home aligners hurt?
It’s possible that you will experience some mild discomfort when you switch to a new set of aligners because they fit tightly over your teeth. However, it’s likely that this discomfort will fade quickly, and you’ll barely even notice your aligners within a day or two.