Teeth crowding occurs when there isn’t enough space in the dental arches, causing tooth displacement, overlap, and rotation. It’s typically not a dire medical concern, but crowding can cause difficulty brushing and flossing, which can accelerate tooth and gum decay. Plus, it can have you doubting yourself and your smile.
If you’re one of the many adults seeking corrective treatment for your crowding, home aligners are an excellent option. These systems offer inconspicuous, affordable crowding treatment from home, so they’re ideal for busy adults on a budget. But it’s important to do some research before diving into treatment. This guide will discuss the types of crowding that respond to home aligners, a few of the best home aligner brands for teeth crowding, and some alternatives in case home aligners aren’t a good fit for you.
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How Do Home Teeth Aligners Work?
Home teeth aligners are exactly what they sound like: aligners designed to treat dental concerns from home, without the added cost or hassle involved in traditional orthodontic treatment. But what does the process of home teeth alignment actually entail?
To get the ball rolling, you’ll take impressions of your teeth using the kit your provider sends you (we’ll go over our recommended providers shortly). Then, you’ll mail the impressions back to them for one of their dentists to review. If the dentist in charge of your case determines that home aligners aren’t the right fit for you, the cost of this step (between $49-$99) is fully refundable. Some companies also offer the option of visiting a physical office to get your teeth scanned for free instead of buying a home impression kit.
After this step, your provider will design a series of custom aligners based on your impressions, and send them to you within about one month. From there, it’s up to you to keep up with the treatment plan (wearing your aligners for the required amount of time each day, keeping up with oral hygiene, progressing through the series of aligners as prescribed) to make sure you get the results you were promised!
Are Home Teeth Aligners Effective for Teeth Crowding?
Yes! Home teeth aligners were originally developed as a more discreet solution to minor or moderate crowding and spacing issues, and they’ve only grown more effective over time. So, it’s likely that they could be a viable option for you.
Cases that include only irregular teeth alignment – not the result of an undersized jaw or bite misalignment – are often simple fixes and great candidates for home aligner treatment.
But when the jaw is too small for all the necessary dental eruptions, it can also cause teeth to overlap, twist, and protrude at different angles. A disharmony between teeth and jaw may be accompanied by a bite condition (like overjet or overbite), making treatment somewhat more complex. This isn’t to say that home aligners are completely ineffective in these cases, but you may be seeking skeletal and dental shifts that require a more robust treatment plan. It’s best to have your smile evaluated by a dental professional first, if you think your case may be too complex for home aligners.
Even so, home aligners have proven effective at correcting crowded teeth time and time again, so they could very well be an ideal option for your unique case.
With all this in mind, let’s take a quick look at some of the best home alignment services for teeth crowding.
What Home Teeth Aligners Can I Choose From?
Perform a quick Google search for home aligners and you’ll find a handful of companies offering quick, convenient, and affordable at-home treatment. But each provider is different, and some are simply more versatile and reliable than others. We’ve combed the Internet for information on these companies and developed a comprehensive profile for each. And after all that, we’ve narrowed our list down to three of the best home aligner options for treating your crowding issue:
If you’ve got a special occasion coming up in just a few months, speed is the name of the game. And no home aligner company is faster than byte. Plus, they maintain affordable prices, flexible financing options, and an unrivaled lifetime guarantee.
- byte’s dental team includes both dentists and orthodontists, but they guarantee that an orthodontist will be involved in every case.
- byte’s 3-month average treatment time is the fastest in the industry
- The byte-For-Life guarantee provides new aligners if your teeth ever shift
- Their financing plans don’t require a credit check, so everyone qualifies
- byte-At-Night only requires 10 hours of continuous wear per day instead of the usual 22
- byte includes aftercare retainers for free
- byte doesn’t currently have any retail locations, so you’ll need to order an impression kit to get started
- Still young, byte doesn’t have an extensive track record of results yet
- byte’s $1,895 price tag is just average for the industry
If your crowding condition falls into the “mild to moderate” category, byte will likely deliver the results you’re after. Of course, not every case is eligible, so you’ll need to submit impressions of your teeth for byte’s team of dentists to review before proceeding with treatment.
Candid’s dedication to quality makes them well worth considering for anyone interested in home teeth alignment. Candid is the only provider that makes sure an orthodontist manages your treatment plan. And they’re the only home aligner company to offer Remote Monitoring, which gives you regular virtual check-ins with your assigned orthodontist.
- Candid prioritizes customer safety by using an orthodontist-only network
- Physical Candid Studios provide free teeth scans that allow you to skip the impression kit
- Remote Monitoring with your orthodontist keeps your treatment on track from start to finish
- Candid’s aligners are manufactured by ClearCorrect, the 2nd-largest clear aligner producer
- Candid offers your first set of retainers free of charge
- Candid treatment costs $2,400, which is more than the competition
- Their financing plans, which run through Affirm, require a credit check to qualify
- Candid’s 6-month average treatment time is middle of the road
Candid can confidently treat mild to moderate crowding cases that are uncomplicated by bite misalignments or other conditions. Their aligners are capable of treating some, but not all, more complicated cases involving bite issues. Just like with byte, a dentist will have to review the condition of your teeth to determine your eligibility. However, unlike byte, Candid has physical office locations in several major U.S. cities where you can go to get your teeth scanned for free.
All home aligners are fairly affordable, but AlignerCo takes it to another level. They offer the industry’s lowest prices, plus accessible financing, all while producing quality products. If your budget is top-priority, AlignerCo is the best bet.
- AlignerCo’s $1,145 price tag makes them the most affordable option in the home aligner industry
- They don’t require a credit check for their SmileFlex Easy financing plan (their standard SmileFlex plan requires a soft credit check)
- AlignerCo uses plastic from Essix in their aligners
- They’ve received consistent praise for their attentive, helpful customer service
- AlignerCo doesn’t have any physical locations that offer free teeth scans
- They use a mixed team of orthodontists and general dentists
- AlignerCo’s treatment often takes 6-11 months, slower than the industry average
AlignerCo’s website states that their aligners can correct a variety of crowding cases. Like other home aligner treatments, however, they’re often restricted to mild and moderate conditions. Complete and submit an impression kit and AlignerCo’s dental team will let you know if you’re a good candidate.
SmileDirectClub is easily the best-known brand of home teeth aligners on the market today. They’ve been straightening teeth since 2014 and served over 750,000 customers to date. With over 300 SmileShops and a nighttime-only option, they’re a highly convenient option.
- SmileDirectClub is more experienced than their competitors
- SmileDirectClub has over 300 SmileShops located across the U.S. where you can get a free teeth scan and skip the impression kit
- Through SmilePay, every customer can receive financing, no credit check required
- SmileDirectClub’s Nighttime Aligners allow you to complete your treatment by wearing aligners just 10 hours per day
- SmileDirectClub has a mixed track record of customer service quality
- SmileDirectClub uses a mixed team of orthodontists and general dentists
- They used to have a manufacturing partnership with Align Technology (makers of Invisalign) but now they produce their aligners in-house
- SmileDirectClub charges an additional $99 fee for retainers after treatment
All that said, SmileDirectClub’s aligners have shown great success in treating mild to moderate crowding issues. Submit your teeth impressions and a licensed dentist will determine whether or not to get the ball rolling on your treatment.
Need More Information?
Choosing a treatment option is a big, personal decision, so of course you’ll want to gather as much information as possible. If any of the services above caught your eye, take a look at our deeper dive into the home aligner world in this comprehensive review of the top 5 options. There, you’ll find information about the advantages and drawbacks of each provider.
What Are My Other Options?
Everything you’ve read so far might make home aligners sound like an unrivaled solution to teeth crowding. And while it’s true that it’s a great option for a large percentage of crowding cases, it’s not the only one. If you discover that you’re not a candidate for home aligners, or you’d simply be more comfortable with in-person treatment, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the alternatives.
Braces: The longest-standing crowding treatment, braces achieve impressive results via sturdiness and consistency. Since braces are administered and monitored in-office, your dentist can also supplement them with various appliances – like elastics, palatal expanders, forsus springs, and more – to facilitate more drastic or complex tooth and jaw movements.
When they think of braces, many adults picture the traditional, highly-visible metal brackets, but that’s not the only option anymore. Now, they come in lower-profile styles, like clear or sublingual (behind the teeth) braces. They may be more expensive (around $5,000) but they can definitely deliver dramatic, versatile results.
Invisalign: This is the original clear aligner system, backed by more than two decades of results. If you’re looking for clear aligner treatment, but don’t feel comfortable doing it at home, Invisalign could be a great option. It’s handled entirely during office visits with your dentist, so they have the ability to course-correct along the way by implementing Invisalign appliances like “Smartforce” attachments, or more traditional ones like elastics.
This increased face-time with your dentist may provide more confidence in your smile transformation, but it will come at a larger cost, at about $3,000-5,000.
ClearCorrect: If you’re set on in-office clear aligner treatment, but aren’t sold on Invisalign, look into their biggest competitor: ClearCorrect. Their process is almost identical to Invisalign – your dentist or orthodontist will evaluate your condition, then administer them and evaluate your progress during regular office visits.
These aligners can also incorporate attachments to treat severe cases and bite misalignments. ClearCorrect isn’t quite as experienced or prolific as Invisalign, but they charge dentists less for lab fees, and your treatment might cost less as a result.
Teeth crowding might have you stressing about your smile, but don’t worry, because there are plenty of treatments that can give you newfound confidence in those pearly whites, including home aligners. Companies like byte, Candid, AlignerCo, and SmileDirectClub are revamping the way adults with teeth crowding transform their smiles, offering a solution that’s convenient, unobtrusive, and affordable all at once. If one or more home aligner providers caught your eye, order an impression kit and if you’re not a candidate, they’ll provide a full refund.
Of course, your teeth are solely your business, and choosing a treatment (or declining treatment altogether) is a distinctly personal decision. Using the research in this guide, paired with a dentist’s consultation, you’ll be equipped to weigh each option and choose the ideal treatment path for your lifestyle, finances, and unique, beautiful smile.