Clear aligners are pretty much as convenient as orthodontic treatment gets. Still, wearing aligners all day takes some work. You need to take them out for every meal and any drinks besides plain water. Then you have to clean your teeth, and potentially the aligners as well, before putting them back in.
If that sounds like a pain, there is an alternative to the standard 22 hours of daily wear: nighttime aligners. Not all companies offer this option, but SmileDirectClub does. With their nighttime-only system, you wear your aligners for ten continuous hours each night. It might extend your overall treatment time, but you’ll achieve the same results.
Can you really get the same results in fewer hours each day? And could SmileDirectClub’s Nighttime Aligners be the right choice for you? Let’s find out.
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How Are SmileDirectClub’s Nighttime Aligners Different?
SmileDirectClub’s all-day system requires 22 hours of daily wear from the time you start your treatment until it is complete. Their Nighttime Aligners require just ten hours per day — but you cannot remove them at all during those ten hours. Given that they tout the same results as the all-day system, you might wonder what makes these aligners different.
As it turns out, SmileDirectClub’s Nighttime Aligners are the same as their all-day ones. They’re made from the same plastic and based on the same diagnostics. The only thing that changes is the wear schedule.
SmileDirectClub Nighttime Aligners Wear Schedule
Reducing your daily wear time from 22 hours to ten isn’t the only change in the Nighttime Aligners schedule.
With SmileDirectClub’s standard all-day aligners, you’ll wear each aligner set for a week before switching to the next one. You’ll wear each set of their Nighttime Aligners, however, for two weeks. The other distinction is how long it takes to complete treatment. SmileDirectClub’s all-day treatment plans are typically 4–6 months long, while Nighttime Aligners often take around ten months.
So, which is right for you: all-day or nighttime aligners? It depends on which schedule best meets your needs. If you want to see results as soon as possible, nighttime aligners are not for you. But if your goal is to minimize disruption to your daily schedule, give them a look.
Advantages of SmileDirectClub’s Nighttime Aligners
If you’re on the fence about nighttime aligners, knowing the advantages might sway you. Here are three big benefits of using SmileDirectClub’s nighttime system.
#1: They Offer Maximum Discretion
We know: all clear aligners are discreet. However, if you need to pop them out to eat and drink, you’ll probably have to let at least a few people outside your household in on your secret.
Nighttime Aligners give you the choice to only wear your aligners while at home, and mostly while you sleep. This means you won’t need to remove them around others, and you can avoid the typical aligner lisp many people experience in their first days of treatment.
#2: You Won’t Need to Alter Your Eating Schedule
One of clear aligners’ biggest benefits is that you don’t need to avoid certain foods; you just need to remove your aligners before eating, then brush, floss, and clean your aligners before putting them back in. This adds a few steps to your meals, and for working adults with limited lunch breaks, that can be a challenge. Some people who have clear aligners skip meals just to avoid this.
You won’t need to remove Nighttime Aligners to eat, unless you’re a big midnight snacker. This means there is no extra fuss.
#3: They Fit Right Into Your Evening Routine
Being consistent with your aligner wear requires establishing a routine. The problem with all-day aligners is that their typical routine is different from the routines you’ve already established in your life.
Nighttime Aligners, however, fit into your current bedtime routine. After dinner, you’ll brush your teeth, pop them in, then take your shower, do your self-care — whatever is normal for you. In the morning, take them out when you brush your teeth. Just make sure you get those ten full hours of wear time.
Drawbacks of SmileDirectClub’s Nighttime Aligners
Not everything about Nighttime Aligners is ideal. It is important to know the drawbacks as well as the advantages. Here are three big ones.
#1: Treatment Takes Longer
Most people receiving orthodontic treatment are itching to see their results as soon as possible. Maybe they’ve got a wedding or big conference coming up, or maybe they’re just excited about their new smile. SmileDirectClub’s Nighttime Aligners often take around four months longer than their daytime system, and for some, that can be a problem.
#2: Patients Experience More Discomfort
Your teeth might feel sore when you begin wearing any clear aligners and after you switch to each new set. That’s because it takes your mouth some time to adjust. With all-day aligners, this soreness usually subsides pretty quickly, since your teeth experience the pressure almost constantly and grow accustomed to it. You spend much less time wearing Nighttime Aligners, making it harder for your teeth to adjust to their presence.
Note: Some dental professionals believe this also causes greater strain on the tooth roots, which can make permanent damage more likely. However, the research isn’t extensive, so we cannot say with certainty how true this is.
#3: They Only Work on Minor Misalignments
All at-home aligners are only suited to mild and moderate cases of crowding or spacing. However, most nighttime aligners are even more limited. Since they exert less pressure each day, they have a limited scope of treatment. However, they can still make fairly small cosmetic changes.
Is SmileDirectClub the Only Company Offering Nighttime Treatment?
It’s always nice to have options, and if you want to straighten your teeth as discreetly as possible, you have two other at-home clear aligner companies to choose from: Byte and SmilePath.
Nighttime aligners from SmilePath and SmileDirectClub are pretty much the same. They are the companies’ daytime aligners, just worn at night and over a longer period of time.
Byte, however, takes a different approach. Byte At-Night also requires ten hours of continuous wear every day, but that’s where the similarities end. They make their nighttime aligners from a stronger plastic than their daytime ones, allowing them to facilitate more efficient shifts.
Plus, you use the HyperByte device for five minutes every day. This device uses micropulses that can encourage faster tooth movement for some customers, which means you don’t need to wear each aligner set for two weeks — just like with their daytime system, you wear each set for seven days. As a result, their average nighttime treatment plan length is 5–6 months.
Still Undecided? Here’s Our Recommendation.
SmileDirectClub’s Nighttime Aligners offer superior convenience when compared to their daytime option, for the same price. However, choosing them means sacrificing treatment speed and scope. If you are set on SmileDirectClub as your provider, we’d go with the daytime option.
If you are open to other companies, we think Byte At-Night is a great choice. It costs more, but Byte’s treatment speed matches SmileDirectClub’s all-day aligners, and they can typically address the same concerns.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are nighttime aligners as effective as all-day treatment?
Overall, yes. For most people, they will deliver the same results as daytime treatment, but over a longer period of time. The exception is that they are limited to mild cases of crowding and spacing, while all-day systems can correct moderate problems as well.
How are nighttime aligners different from standard ones?
For most companies, they are identical. The exception is Byte. They make their aligners from thicker, sturdier plastic, allowing them to make more radical shifts in those ten hours of wear.
How long does nighttime-only treatment take?
It depends on the company you choose. With Byte, nighttime treatment lasts as little as five months. With other companies, it can take as long as twelve.
How do I know if I am a candidate for nighttime aligners?
It’s up to each company to determine your eligibility. For most companies, you complete an impression kit and ship it back. However, some offer in-person scans.
Do nighttime aligners cost more?
They typically do, but not all companies charge more for their nighttime systems. For example, SmileDirectClub has the same price tag no matter which system you select. Byte charges more since their nighttime aligners are specially designed and crafted from premium materials.
How long should I wear my aligners each night?
Most companies suggest ten hours per night. Given that most people do not sleep ten hours every night, this means wearing them for a few hours while awake, but this can be done discreetly at home.
Can I switch to nighttime aligners in the middle of my all-day treatment?
Talk to the company you are working with. Some might allow it since the aligners are the same; they would just send you different wear instructions. Others may not, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Are nighttime aligners safe?
Nighttime aligners are considered safe, but the research surrounding them is somewhat limited. There is nothing to indicate that you need to be worried about using them, but it’s always a good idea to examine the most recent research before you buy.
Do nighttime aligners hurt?
It is generally accepted that they cause more tooth sensitivity to biting pressure than daytime aligners since the teeth do not grow fully accustomed to their presence. However, they should not be painful.
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