Candid entered the at-home clear aligner scene in 2017 and immediately started making waves. Their orthodontist-directed care, CandidMonitoring service, and top-notch customer support have helped them become the second-largest home aligner company in the business.
However, Candid isn’t the right fit for everyone. The good news is that you’ve got options, and we’ve researched the ins and outs of each one. Read on as we outline the 3 best Candid alternatives and explain how they compare.
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#1 Best Alternative
Since being founded in 2018, Byte has delivered efficient results for their customers and contributed innovative technology to the teledentistry space. Byte offers the industry’s fastest treatment times, personalized customer service, and competitive pricing. For all these reasons, we consider Byte the #1 best alternative to Candid for anyone seeking affordable and effective at-home treatment.
- Byte’s 3-4-month average treatment time is much faster than Candid’s average 6-month window.
- The Byte-for-Life warranty guarantees your smile forever. If your teeth ever shift after you’ve finished treatment, Byte will create new aligners to correct them, even if it’s years down the road. They’re the only home aligner company to offer this kind of guarantee.
- Byte provides financing plans for every customer, regardless of credit score. Candid’s financing requires a credit check (although nearly everyone is approved).
- If you’d rather not wear your aligners for 22+ hours per day, Byte offers a nighttime-only treatment that only requires 10 hours per day.
- Unlike Candid and SmileDirectClub, Byte does not yet have any physical locations. You’ll need to purchase an impression kit and submit molds of your teeth to get started, which can be difficult.
- Compared to Candid, Byte doesn’t provide the same level of clinical oversight during treatment.
byte - The Bottom Line
Do you like Candid’s commitment to quality, but wish that their treatment time was shorter? Byte provides all that and more.
2nd Best Alternative
Home aligners are already fairly affordable, but AlignerCo takes it to the next level. When it comes to affordability, this young upstart leads the pack. Not only do they have an attractive price tag, but they offer flexible financing plans to help make payments more manageable.
They don’t quite have the same convenience or experience that Candid does, but they accommodate with their attractive prices.
- At just $1,145, AlignerCo’s treatment price is by far the lowest in the industry.
- AlignerCo doesn’t require a credit check for their SmileFlex Easy financing plan, so everyone qualifies (their standard SmileFlex plan requires a soft credit check). Candid’s financing plan requires a credit check, although they accept almost everyone.
- Because they’re a smaller company, AlignerCo can provide more individualized customer service.
- Like Byte and SmileDirectClub, AlignerCo offers a nighttime-only treatment that only requires 10+ hours of wear per day.
- AlignerCo only has one physical location (in Long Island, NY), so most customers will need to take their own teeth impressions to get started.
- Their website boasts orthodontist-designed treatment plans, but AlignerCo actually uses both orthodontists and general dentists. So, you can’t be sure if you’ll have the most specialized professional overseeing your treatment.
AlignerCo - The Bottom Line
On a tight budget? AlignerCo might not have the pedigree of quality that Candid does, but you simply can’t beat their prices.
3rd Best Alternative
SmileDirectClub is the only home aligner company that outdoes Candid in size and experience. They helped kickstart home aligners’ popularity and since their beginning in 2014, they’ve successfully crafted over one million beautiful smiles.
SmileDirectClub has an even larger retail presence than Candid, with 300+ SmileShops nationwide, and they continue finding ways to facilitate more convenient treatment.
- SmileDirectClub makes it easier to get started with a more extensive network of physical locations. They have 300+ SmileShops compared to Candids 20+ Candid Studios. They also have a network of more than 1,000 dentist offices where you can kick off your treatment.
- Like Byte, SmileDirectClub’s financing options don’t require a credit check, so every customer has access to a payment plan.
- SmileDirectClub offers a nighttime-only option that only requires you to wear aligners for 10 hours per day instead of the typical 22. Candid does not have a comparable treatment option.
- While Candid works exclusively with orthodontists, SmileDirectClub’s network consists of general dentists who may not have the same level of expertise.
- Online reviews reveal that SmileDirectClub’s customer service has not always been as responsive or helpful as Candid’s.
SmileDirectClub - The Bottom Line
No home aligner provider has a longer résumé than SmileDirectClub, so if you’re looking for a time-tested company that offers superior convenience, give them a look.
What about Invisalign?
Invisalign is the original clear aligner system and the industry’s most well-established brand. They’ve transformed over 8 million smiles to date, and they’re widely respected by dentists and customers alike. So why aren’t they on this list? Because, while Invisalign might deliver a similar product, on the whole their processes are quite different.
Unlike the other companies on this list, Invisalign is developed and administered completely in-office by your dentist. At-home systems like Candid have licensed dental professionals that develop aligner treatment plans remotely, but customers must administer them from home.
Over 100,000 dentists and orthodontists in 90 countries are trained and licensed to offer Invisalign treatment. Choosing Invisalign would mean that you must make regular office visits for your dentist to monitor and adjust your aligners (if necessary). Further, it also allows them to apply attachments like elastics and expanders that induce more intricate tooth and jaw movements.
This makes Invisalign more expensive ($3,000 – $8,000) and more time-intensive (12 months on average), but it also means that Invisalign’s treatment is capable of correcting a wide scope of severe conditions (including bite issues like overbite, underbite, and crossbite). If your condition turns out to be too severe for home aligner treatment, or if you’re simply more comfortable seeing your dentist face-to-face each month, you won’t find a more effective option than Invisalign.
How Should I Evaluate My Options?
Every home aligner company excels in different ways, so when making a decision, you should consider your timeline, budget, preferences, and more. It’s important to avoid focusing too much on just one aspect of a particular company, like price or treatment time. When evaluating your options, we recommend researching and considering all of the following categories:
- Effectiveness: Who is in charge of your treatment plan? Where are your aligners manufactured? How are they designed? All of these things can influence a treatment’s effectiveness and efficiency. Dig into these details to know whether you’re receiving safe, high-quality products.
- Affordability: If you’re on a budget or just a habitual bargain hunter, low costs might be your priority. This isn’t just the initial cost that you find on a company’s homepage. You should also consider their financing options, payment plans, and what items the sticker price includes.
- Convenience: Eliminating office visits means that all home aligner treatments are more convenient than in-office options, but certain companies take extra steps to be even more user-friendly. Providing various ways to get started and multiple treatment schedules, while reducing wait times, help increase a company’s convenience.
- Appearance: Clear aligners are pretty discreet, but by experimenting with different plastics, surfaces, and designs, home aligner companies have made them even more so. Aesthetics somewhat depend on personal preferences, though, so what looks “best” might vary based on a customer’s tastes and style.
- Customer Friendliness: Because customers complete their treatment entirely on their own, home aligner companies need to be on their customer service game to answer questions and resolve issues. Contact channels, responsiveness, helpfulness, and refund policies all play into the quality of a company’s customer care.
While you should consider all of the aspects above, it’s natural to focus on one or two in particular. That’s why we’ve created guides showing which home aligner companies excel in each category:
At the end of the day, Candid is an excellent all-around option that prioritizes product quality and customer safety. There’s a reason that they’re #2 in our overall rankings. Despite all of Candid’s advantages, we understand that they won’t be a perfect fit for every situation.
Your teeth are important, so make sure to carefully evaluate all of your options before making a final decision. In the meantime, we’re here to help you measure each one up against your unique priorities so you can take a confident step toward your smile goals!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the cheapest alternative to Candid?
While Candid is an effective, convenient option, their price is just average for the industry. If you’re looking for quality aligners on a budget, AlignerCo has the lowest prices out there. They’re not the only company that’s dedicated to working with your finances, though. Our review of the Most Affordable Clear Aligners offers a full overview of the most cost-effective clear aligners on the market.
Are home aligners better than Invisalign?
Invisalign is a very effective option, although it’s not one that you can complete from home like the companies outlined in this guide. Instead, your dentist will create and administer your treatment during regular office visits. This makes Invisalign a bigger investment of time and money ($3,000 – $8,000 on average), but it also allows your dentist to treat more severe cases of crowding and spacing, as well as bite issues.
If you’re worried about the severity of your condition or would rather have one-on-one dentist interaction as part of your treatment, Invisalign could be a great fit.
Which at-home aligner companies offer nighttime-only treatment?
SmileDirectClub, Byte, and AlignerCo. Byte and AlignerCo charge more for nighttime treatment than daytime treatment, while SmileDirectClub charges the same amount. Candid recommends wearing your aligners for 22+ hours per day for best results, so they don’t offer nighttime treatment.
Which clear aligners work the fastest?
No other aligner company can compete with Byte’s exceptional 3-4-month treatment time. Their unique HyperByte device allows their aligners to shift teeth more quickly. Most home aligner companies are somewhat efficient, but others take an average of 6 months to transform your smile.
Which at-home aligner company is right for me?
Our opinion? Byte is the best all-around option. But it depends on your condition and priorities. We recommend evaluating each company’s effectiveness, affordability, convenience, appearance, and customer service. For comprehensive analyses of the top companies, see our top 5 home aligners guide.
What is the most convenient alternative to Candid?
All home aligner companies tend to be convenient, but SmileDirectClub takes it a step further. They have easier startup options and more flexible treatment plans than most competitors. If convenience is your top priority, read our review of the Most Convenient Clear Aligners for the full scoop on some other great options.
Which conditions can at-home aligners treat?
Home aligners are primarily designed to treat mild-to-moderate cases of crowding and spacing, along with some mild bite issues. If your case is severe or includes a jaw misalignment like overbite or underbite, home aligners might not have the capacity to induce the larger tooth and jaw shifts you’re after.
Does insurance cover clear aligner treatment?
It depends entirely on your provider and plan. For example, Candid has partnerships with Anthem, Empire, and Aetna to provide in-network coverage. But having orthodontic benefits doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be covered. You should check with your insurance provider to find out for sure.
Which clear aligners are the least noticeable?
The truth is that all clear aligners are relatively discreet, especially when compared to traditional braces. However, there are slight differences between the appearances of various companies’ aligners, making some less noticeable than others.
While each customer has their own tastes and preferences, we think that Candid creates the least noticeable aligners, with Byte, SmileDirectClub, and AlignerCo not far behind. Why? Check out our review of the Best Looking Clear Aligners to find out.
How do I get started with home aligners?
You’ll need to order an impression kit and create molds of your teeth, then send them to your company of choice. If you go with Candid or SmileDirectClub, you can visit one of their physical locations for a free teeth scan, which replaces the impression kit process.
Are home aligners safe?
Yes! While administering treatment from home might seem daunting, the process is very safe. Home aligner companies use licensed dentists to create your treatment plan and design your aligners.
Even though you won’t meet with them in person, each company offers robust customer support services if something doesn’t feel quite right. Read our guide to safe home teeth straightening treatment for more information.
Do clear aligners hurt?
Customers often report experiencing tightness or discomfort during the first 1-2 days wearing a new set of aligners, after which the discomfort subsides. Some companies provide “chewies” or other devices to help ensure a more comfortable aligner fit.