There’s no question that young adults today lead busy lives — it’s always one thing after the next. And when your calendar and to-do list are packed, wearing clear aligners all day long might seem like a tall order. To help you out, SmileDirectClub, byte, and AlignerCo each recently developed aligner plans that only require nighttime usage.
That’s right. These plans only require you to wear aligners 10 hours per day instead of 22. Sign me up, right? But before committing, you should evaluate your options to determine which of these three nighttime treatments, if any, are a good fit. Fortunately, this guide has everything you need to make your decision.
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How Are Nighttime Aligners Different?
With SmileDirectClub and AlignerCo, they aren’t. You’ll receive the same aligners whether you choose daytime or nighttime treatment. The only difference is the amount of time you’ll wear them. On a standard schedule, you’ll wear each set of aligners 22 hours per day for one week before moving on to the next set. With nighttime-only treatment, you’ll often wear each set 10 hours per day for two weeks instead of one.
byte’s nighttime aligner program, called byte At-Night, designs and manufactures their nighttime aligners differently from their daytime ones. They use a thicker, medical-grade plastic that facilitates faster teeth movements over shorter daily wear periods. Plus, HyperByte device sessions for byte At-Night last for ten minutes a day rather than the usual five. As a result, byte’s nighttime aligners are almost as effective as their daytime ones. You’ll wear each aligner set for one week and see results in 4-6 months.
What Providers Offer Nighttime Aligners?
At the moment, SmileDirectClub, byte, and AlignerCo are the only companies offering a nighttime-only option. SmileDirectClub was the first to advertise it, then byte and AlignerCo followed suit. Even so, their treatment plans aren’t exactly the same. If you’re considering nighttime treatment, it’s a good idea to examine each program before choosing one over the other.
When it comes to efficiency, byte is the best option available. They’ve made it their goal to provide faster results than any other home aligner company, and they’ve succeeded. Unlike any other provider on this list, byte uses specially-designed aligners for nighttime-only treatment. Their thicker plastic exerts more power on your teeth, even on a 10-hour-per-day schedule. And let’s not forget the HyperByte, a proprietary device that gently vibrates your teeth to achieve a better aligner fit and teeth movements.
Standard treatment requires you to use the HyperByte for 5 minutes a day, while nighttime treatment requires 10 minutes per day. Together, these innovations facilitate a 4-6 month timeline, which isn’t far behind their standard three months. This is a massive advantage because you can get all the benefits of nighttime-only treatment without missing a beat.
They’re the new guy in town, but they’ve quickly established themselves as the most affordable home aligner option. AlignerCo’s $1,145 price tag is several hundred less than the competition, and they have flexible financing plans too. While they’ve prioritized savings, it appears that they’re committed to providing a convenient customer experience as well.
Like SmileDirectClub, AlignerCo’s nighttime option (called NightOnly) provides the same aligners that you’d receive from their standard daytime plan. You just wear them on a different schedule: 10 hours per night, changing aligner sets every two weeks. Unsurprisingly, the entire process takes slightly longer: 8-12 months rather than around 6.
NightOnly treatment costs $1,345, which is slightly higher than AlignerCo’s usual $1,145 price tag. But that price point still makes this the cheapest nighttime treatment on the market. And financing is available too. If you don’t mind a credit check, SmileFlex is 12 monthly payments of $125. And if you’re not quite as confident in your credit score, SmileFlex Easy requires a $345 down payment, then 11 monthly payments of $105.
SmileDirectClub has been in the home aligner game longer than just about anyone. They hit the market in 2014 and have transformed over 750,000 smiles since then, so they have a lot more experience than newer companies like byte and Candid. And with SmileDirectClub’s 300+ physical locations offering free teeth scans, it’s easier than ever to get started with treatment.
They were also the first home aligner company to offer a nighttime-only option, although the Nighttime Aligners themselves aren’t any different than those used for their standard treatment. You simply wear them for shorter amounts of time per day on a longer overall timeline. For nighttime-only treatment, you wear each aligner set 10 hours per day for two weeks before moving on to the next set, and the whole process takes 10 months on average (compared to the usual 6).
SmileDirectClub’s Nighttime Aligners are cheaper than byte’s ($1,895 vs. $2,295), but they also take longer to achieve the desired results. byte’s nighttime option advertises a 4-6 month treatment time, while SmileDirectClub’s version typically takes 10 months. This is primarily due to byte’s specific nighttime aligner design and HyperByte device, which uses gentle vibrations to induce faster dental shifts.
Advantages of Nighttime Aligners
If you didn’t think that at-home clear aligner treatment could get any more convenient, guess again! Nighttime-only aligners take this convenience to a whole new level. Just take a look at a few of the advantages:
1) Nobody Has To Know
There’s no doubt that clear aligners are already much more discreet than traditional metal braces. Modern clear aligners blend in very well and are hardly noticeable unless you’re getting up close and personal. Still, they’re not completely invisible and can sometimes create a slight lisp. Looking for the most low-key treatment? Nighttime-only usage means that you won’t have to wear anything during your workday, lunch outing, social gathering, or any other daytime activity. You’ll only wear your aligners overnight, while no one else is around.
2) Worry-free Eating and Drinking
Every time you eat, you need to remove your aligners. After you finish, you’ll have to brush and floss before putting them back in to maintain good oral hygiene. Since you typically eat several times throughout the day (excluding the intermittent fasters out there!), you’ll be removing and reapplying your aligners often. Unless you’re a frequent midnight snacker, nighttime treatment can avoid this whole routine. You can simply pop them in after dinnertime and forget about them until the next morning.
3) Easy to Incorporate Into Your Evening Routine
Forming a routine is the easiest way to stay consistent with your aligners. This consistency is vital for ensuring your treatment’s effectiveness, no matter which company you choose. Otherwise, you run the risk that your aligners could stop fitting correctly, which can extend the duration of your treatment by several months and require costly modifications to your treatment plan.
Nighttime-only treatment makes it incredibly easy to follow a plan. Whether you’re a night owl or an early riser, it’s pretty effortless to introduce nighttime aligners into your bedtime routine. After brushing your teeth and flossing, simply pop in your aligners and do your typical nighttime activities. Wash your face, read a book, journal, catch up on some work, do the dishes, or just climb right into bed. In the morning, you can remove your aligners and go about your day.
Drawbacks to Nighttime Aligners
At this point, nighttime-only aligners might sound too good to be true, but they’re not without flaws. Before you make your final decision, it’s important to understand the drawbacks that come with this unique treatment schedule.
1) Longer Correction Time
byte estimates that most nighttime-only treatment plans will last roughly 4-6 months, which is 1-3 months longer than their standard daytime option. SmileDirectClub’s Nighttime Aligners take 10 months on average, and AlignerCo’s NightOnly aligners take 8-12. If you’re hoping to improve your smile ASAP, whether for a specific event like a wedding or because you just can’t wait for your new, more comfortable smile, you’re likely better off going with an all-day treatment plan. It might require more discipline, but you’ll enjoy a shorter overall treatment window.
2) Treatment May Be More Uncomfortable
Since Invisalign developed the first clear aligner treatment, plans have required patients to wear them 22+ hours per day. This hasn’t changed in two decades because there’s a good reason for it. When you remove the aligners, your teeth start to shift back to their original positions. The longer you go without them each day, the more your teeth shift. Not only does this slow down treatment, but it also puts additional strain on your teeth, continually shifting them in and out of their new position. This back and forth can cause additional discomfort and if you’re a light sleeper, it could mean some restless nights.
There’s one more thing we should add here: the extra strain on your teeth may carry a small added risk of injuring your tooth roots. This is always a risk (albeit a minimal risk) when undergoing any kind of orthodontic treatment, and we have to assume the good folks at byte, SmileDirectClub, and AlignerCo took appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of their nighttime aligners before bringing them to market.
All the same, for years dentists and orthodontists have been advising their patients to keep aligners in place as much of the day as possible. It’s not just to speed up treatment, but also to support a safe and healthy adjustment process. If you’re as cautious about your teeth as we are about ours, this is something you’ll probably want to consider before signing up for a nighttime-only plan.
3) Only Suitable for Minor Misalignments
In general, at-home aligners are better-suited for milder cases of crowding and spacing. As an even less intensive treatment, nighttime-only aligners are not designed to treat more severe cases. In fact, SmileDirectClub explains on their blog that Nighttime Aligners are not well-suited for patients with moderate-to-severe crowding, spacing, or bite misalignments.
byte requires special approval from their dentists and orthodontists for byte At-Night treatment. They’re more effective at treating mild crowding and spacing, and minor bite issues. If you have a more substantial issue, there’s a good chance you may not qualify for nighttime-only treatment. Even if you do qualify, you may not be able to achieve the same quality of outcome that you could with regular, all-day aligners.
Plus, because of the additional back-and-forth wiggling involved with nighttime-only treatment plans, your teeth may be more likely to shift back to their original positions after you wrap up treatment. It’s an especially big risk if you don’t consistently wear your post-treatment retainer – which is a good habit no matter which provider and treatment you choose.
Is Nighttime Aligner Treatment Safe?
Your teeth are valuable, so you never want to jump into a treatment option without being 100% sure that it’s not dangerous. Both SmileDirectClub and byte guarantee that their nighttime-only aligners are completely safe, but you should still understand the potential risks.
As we mentioned above, every orthodontic treatment comes with a small risk of injuring the roots of your teeth. Plus, when you’re not wearing your aligners, your teeth are liable to start shifting back to their original positions. So, wearing them for fewer hours per day could cause more back and forth movement. If you still have questions or concerns about nighttime aligners, reaching out to customer support can be helpful.
Nighttime aligners are so new that there are very few customer reviews on them. Since they’ve only been available for a few months, we assume that customers simply aren’t far enough along in their treatment plans to report on the results. We’ll be closely monitoring these reviews as they start to flow in over the next several months so we can see how pleased customers are with their treatment’s effectiveness.
Which Nighttime Aligners Should I Choose?
If you’ve come this far and you’re all-in on nighttime aligners, your next task is choosing a company. As always, choosing an orthodontic treatment is a highly personal decision that depends largely on your unique goals and priorities. First of all, you should submit an impression kit or teeth scan to determine whether you’re a good candidate for home aligner treatment. If your condition is more severe, you might see better results from an in-office option like Invisalign.
Let’s say you’re a candidate. Great! If you’re on the fence between nighttime and standard aligners, we recommend standard, all-day treatment for most cases because it’s faster and has a longer track record of successful results.
But if you’re set on nighttime-only treatment, we think that byte At-Night is the way to go. Not only do they offer a faster treatment time, but they also provide personal customer service advisors to every customer. And after your treatment wraps up, byte guarantees your smile for life, so if your teeth shift years down the road, they’ll send you new aligners to fix it!
For an in-depth review of byte, SmileDirectClub, and AlignerCo’s standard treatments, take a look at our comparative review of the Top 5 Home Teeth Aligners.
Nighttime-only treatment is an exciting new development in the world of home aligners. It’s still relatively untested, so standard home aligner treatment remains our recommended option for the time being. Still, nighttime treatment is a potential game-changer for anyone who would have difficulty wearing their aligners 22 hours a day. While it might take longer to see your desired results, nighttime-only aligners give you a more flexible, convenient option for getting the smile you want.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are nighttime aligners as effective as daytime treatment?
When it comes to your end results, yes. Nighttime aligner treatment can achieve the same smile transformations that daytime treatment can. However, nighttime treatment moves slower because you’re wearing your aligners for less time each day.
How long does nighttime treatment take?
It depends on which company you choose. SmileDirectClub’s Nighttime Aligners take 10 months (on average), AlignerCo’s NighOnly takes 8-12, and byte At-Night delivers results in just 4-6.
Am I a candidate for nighttime aligners?
If you have a mild case of crowding or spacing and no jaw misalignments, then you’re likely eligible for nighttime treatment. To find out for sure, you’ll need to complete and submit an impression kit or visit a SmileShop.
Do nighttime aligners cost more?
For SmileDirectClub? No. For byte and AlignerCo? Yes. SmileDirectClub’s nighttime treatment uses the same aligners as its standard daytime treatment, so the price is identical ($1,895). byte At-Night uses aligners specially designed for nighttime treatment and provides fast results, so it costs slightly more ($2,295). AlignerCo doesn’t use special materials in their NightOnly aligners, but they still charge more ($1,345).
Which company should I choose for nighttime aligner treatment?
SmileDirectClub, byte, and AlignerCo’s nighttime treatments are all safe and effective, but we recommend byte. Their industry-leading treatment times, orthodontist-only care, and excellent customer service give them (in our opinion) the best home aligner treatment out there.
How long do I need to wear my aligners each night?
10+ hours. We realize that you probably don’t sleep for ten hours, so just pop them in a couple of hours before bed and you’ll be good to go.
Can I switch from daytime to nighttime aligners mid-treatment?
SmileDirectClub allows you to change treatment schedules in the middle of your treatment since both options use the same aligners. This isn’t an option for byte, since they use a different type of aligner for nighttime treatment. AlignerCo doesn’t say whether they allow mid-treatment switches, so it’s best to ask them directly if you’re considering it.
Do nighttime aligners hurt?
Most customers find home aligners fairly comfortable. Nighttime aligners allow your teeth to shift back and forth a bit more, which can cause some additional discomfort. But you’ll be asleep most of the time you’re wearing them anyway.