Teeth spacing is a common dental condition among adults and children alike. Rarely does teeth spacing present a dire medical situation, and in many cases, it’s totally harmless. Even so, it can lead to gum decay and make you uncomfortable flashing your pearly whites.
The good news is that spacing is easy to treat, and there are numerous effective options, including home aligners. These innovative companies deliver Invisalign-esque aligners directly to you, providing affordable spacing correction from the convenience of your home. While they sound fantastic, home aligners aren’t a perfect fit for everyone. This guide is your roadmap to home aligner spacing treatment: which types of spacing respond well, which companies are the best, and which alternate routes you can take.
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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 Spacing?
Absolutely! Cases of mild-to-moderate teeth spacing and crowding are home aligner companies’ bread and butter, so they can easily correct most spacing issues.
Many cases of spacing are confined to just a few teeth, caused by irregular eruptions or childhood habits like thumb-sucking and tongue thrusting. In these cases, spacing often has no effect on bite alignment and is not complicated by other issues, making the gaps more conducive for home aligner treatment.
Teeth spacing can also stem from periodontal disease (gum disease). In patients with gum disease, the bone holding the teeth in place begins to deteriorate from a heavy buildup of plaque. As a result, the teeth begin to shift, often causing them to become loose and displaced.
Spacing cases accompanied by bite issues (like overbite or overjet), or caused by oversized jaw and/or gums, however, are more complicated and may require more robust treatments to achieve the significant jaw and tooth transformations you’re after. Consult your dentist if you think your spacing is compounded by other conditions.
But once again, a large majority of spacing issues are minor, so there’s a good chance that home aligners could be an option for you. With all this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best home aligners for teeth spacing.
What Home Teeth Aligners Can I Choose From?
Home teeth alignment companies might be new to the market, but they’re backed by research and have already achieved a lot of impressive results. While most home aligner systems can effectively correct spacing issues, choosing a treatment is a big decision, and you shouldn’t go all in without doing adequate research. We started that process for you, compiling information on various home aligner providers from across the Internet and narrowing it down to three excellent choices.
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
Spacing and crowding issues comprise a large percentage of byte’s cases, so the company is confident in its ability to treat them. That said, if you have a severe case or one that’s complicated by a jaw alignment condition, they can’t guarantee you’ll be a candidate. Your first step will be submitting impressions of your teeth so byte’s team of dentists can determine whether their aligners can induce the results you want.
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 effectively treat many spacing conditions as long as that’s the only issue present. Cases accompanied by bite misalignments, however, may or may not be eligible. 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
According to their website, AlignerCo’s aligners can effectively close spaces between teeth, but it depends on the size of the gaps. They can correct minor and moderately-sized gaps, but severe spacing might require more intensive treatment. You’ll need to complete an impression kit to know for sure if your condition is a good match.
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
Just like the other companies, SmileDirectClub can treat a majority of spacing cases, but only if spacing is the sole issue. If you also have a bite misalignment, it doesn’t automatically disqualify you, but it does make your case more complex. Either way, the SmileDirectClub network dentists will need to review impressions of your teeth before making the call.
Need More Information?
Choosing a treatment option is a big, personal decision, so 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?
If you discover that you aren’t a candidate for home aligners, or simply want to assess all your options, the good news is that there are plenty of other options out there, each with its own advantages and drawbacks. Evaluate each one and you’ll be able to confidently choose the best route for your unique circumstances.
Braces: There’s a reason why braces have been around for so long: they’re extremely effective. Their durability and sturdiness allow for consistent results and the application of supplemental attachments (like elastics) by your dentist for increasingly intricate tooth and jaw movements.
The biggest qualm most adults have with braces is their visibility. But like other treatments, braces have evolved over the years and now you can opt for more discreet types, like clear and sublingual (behind the teeth) braces. The other big drawback is cost, as braces typically cost around $5,000.
Invisalign: Another popular and effective treatment, dentists have been using Invisalign to successfully correct spacing issues for more than two decades. Invisalign’s trays are invisible and removable, plus they’re administered and monitored by a dentist, so like braces, they can employ other dental attachments like elastics or the company’s “Smartforce” attachments to correct accompanying conditions like bite misalignments.
Your dentist will also be able to address any underlying issues that may potentially affect your treatment. This additional dentist face-time also ensures that the aligners are functioning correctly every step of the way. The downside is that Invisalign is considerably more expensive than home aligners and even slightly more than braces.
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.
Veneers: In certain, minor spacing cases, veneers can provide instantaneous results. A dentist can bond these small, durable porcelain tabs to your teeth, effectively hiding your gaps. Most often, veneers are used for small gaps in the front six teeth, so they may not be suitable for acute cases or spaces elsewhere on the dental arches. And while they offer instant results, veneers must be replaced after 7-20 years and don’t correct the underlying issue.
Veneers also require the irreversible process of “prepping” your teeth by shaving down the enamel, which can result in the weakening of your teeth down the line. If you’re seeking more permanent results, you might think about spending the $500-$2,000 per tooth elsewhere.
Bonding: Bonding is a strong composite resin that dentists use in a variety of procedures. In very minor cases of spacing, it can fill small gaps between teeth, providing a transformed smile in just one office visit. By molding and polishing the bonding resin, your dentist can match it’s color and shape to the surrounding teeth.
Like veneers, bonding is a purely cosmetic procedure that doesn’t solve the root spacing issue. However, bonding is typically much less durable than veneers and has the potential to break or crack more easily. Still, if you want instant results without having to move your teeth, it could be a good option. Some dentists will even offer their regular patients temporary bonding for free, so they can try out the treatment before making a commitment.
Teeth spacing might make you want to hide your smile, but the good news is that there’s no shortage of corrective treatments. Any of the home aligner companies outlined here can treat a large percentage of spacing issues without breaking the bank. If you’re interested, there’s little to no risk to get started. Order an impression kit, send in your impressions, and if you’re not a candidate, they will refund your money.
But after all the research, consultations, and option evaluation, the decision is yours to make, whether that means choosing a home aligner system, taking an alternative route, or not pursuing treatment at all. As long as it fits your unique goals, finances, and expectations, be confident in your decision and smile, because you’re on the right track.