You’re about to embark on an exciting new smile journey with Candid. You can already feel the aligners snugly against your teeth, forming them into the grin you’ve always wanted. There’s just one thing standing in your way: the impression kit. Before you can put a single aligner in your mouth, you need to submit molds of your teeth so that Candid’s orthodontists can craft a personalized treatment plan.
If you’ve never taken teeth impressions before, it can be an intimidating prospect, and we won’t lie – sometimes it can be tricky. But it doesn’t have to be a struggle. We went through the process ourselves and made all the mistakes so you don’t have to. In this guide, you’ll find an in-depth, step-by-step guide to kicking off your Candid treatment, so you can set off on the road to a transformed smile ASAP.
Table of Contents
What to Know Before Getting Started
Before Candid’s orthodontists can develop your treatment plan, they need to get a look at your teeth. This way, they can accurately evaluate your condition and design aligners to correct it. Using the molds you make with your Starter Kit, these orthodontists will create a digital model of your smile. By analyzing this model, they can determine whether or not you are a good candidate for treatment. If you are, they will use your impressions to assist in their development of precision aligners that fit your smile perfectly.
This is why companies have high standards when it comes to your molds. Perfect aligners begin with perfect impressions. But don’t worry, with the help of this guide, you’ll be able to nail those impressions and get started with treatment right away.
Keep in mind that some conditions, like bite issues and severe crowding or spacing, are best treated with an in-office option like Invisalign or braces. If your condition is too severe for Candid’s aligners, they will refund the cost of your Starter Kit.
Step 1: Place Your Order
Before you do anything else, you need to get your hands on Candid’s Starter Kit. A Starter Kit from Candid costs $95, but you won’t always need to pay the full price, as they sometimes offer promotional discounts. We’ve seen it as low as $19.
Go ahead and click “Buy Kit” and you’ll be directed to a page where you can enter your contact and shipping information.
Enter the appropriate information and click the “Continue to payment” button. On the next page, you can enter your payment information.
After you hit “Pay Now,” your order is complete! Before Candid ships your Starter Kit, however, you will need to create an account and complete their consent form. After logging in, the site will send you directly to the electronic form, which asks a series of questions about your medical history, dental history, and treatment goals.
This information is important, as Candid’s orthodontists will use it to determine the most effective treatment for your specific condition. Then, you’ll receive an order confirmation email, followed by a “Your Starter Kit Has Shipped” email once it’s sent out.
Candid’s shipping time is fairly true to their 3-5 day estimate, so you should find a Starter Kit on your doorstep within a few days.
Step 2: Unbox Your Starter Kit
So, what’s included in a Candid Starter Kit? The idea of taking teeth impressions might be a foreign concept, but Candid gives you everything you need to complete the process – all inside some pretty stylish packaging. Here’s what you’ll find when you open up your Starter Kit:
Putty Catalyst and Base: These are two different types of putty that you’ll mix together. When you bite into the mixture, it will hold an impression of your top and bottom dental arches. Candid provides enough putty for three molds of your top teeth and two of your bottom ones.
3 Top Trays and 2 Bottom Trays: After mixing your putty, you’ll divide it into these top and bottom trays, which you will bite down on to take your impressions.
A Cheek Spreader: This handy plastic device pulls back your lips and cheeks so you can take clear photos of your teeth (also required for evaluation).
Rubber Gloves: To keep the whole process sanitary!
A Prepaid Shipping Box: When you’re finished with your impressions, you can package them up and send them right back.
The kit also includes an instruction card that includes allergy and safety information and directs you to portal.candidco.com, where you can log in to your account for further instructions.
Step 3: Take Photos of Your Teeth
Your impressions are important, but to create the most accurate aligners possible, Candid’s orthodontists also need to see photos of your actual teeth. You will need to take and upload eight total photos. The first set of three is pretty simple. You can use the selfie camera on your phone.
- Front-facing with no smile
- Front-facing with a big smile
- Profile (right side of your face) with no smile and your full jawline visible
The next five are slightly more complicated, and this is where the cheek spreader comes in. Place the spreader on either side of your mouth with the larger tabs on the inside. This will give a clear view of all your teeth. You will need to use your phone’s regular camera (it takes higher-quality photos than the selfie camera) and a mirror. Each of these photos should be a close-up.
- Front bite – bite all the way down and shine a light into your mouth (don’t use flash!) and take a photo from the front.
- Right bite – pull one side of the cheek spreader to reveal your teeth all the way to the back. Bite all the way down and take a photo of your right-side bite.
- Left bite – follow the same procedure as the right bite, but on the other side
- Upper teeth – Tilt your head back until you can see the bottom surfaces of all your back teeth and take a photo of your top dental arch.
- Lower teeth – Tilt your head forward until you can see the top surfaces of all your back teeth and take a photo of your bottom dental arch.
When you’ve got all of your photos, you can upload them to your account at portal.candidco.com. Candid’s team will review them and let you know if you need to retake any within 24 hours. After you upload your photos, you’re ready to start on your impressions.
Step 4: Nail Your Impressions
Alright, now it’s showtime. Even though you’ll be taking the impressions on your own, Candid gives you a fairly comprehensive set of instructions. Before you begin, be sure to watch this video and log into your Candid account, where they provide step-by-step directions.
Before doing anything else, make sure to brush and floss. You don’t want anything in your teeth that could interfere with the impressions!
In total, you’ll be taking five impressions: three of your top teeth and two of your bottom, although the procedures are pretty similar for both. First, mix one container of blue putty with one container of white putty in your hands until it’s one solid shade of light blue without any white streaks.
Roll the mixture into a 4-inch long cylindrical shape, then place it in one of the top trays. It should form a horseshoe shape.
Using a toothpick, poke two holes at the front of the putty, right in the center. This is where your two front teeth will go.
With your front teeth in line with the holes, bite down on the putty. Push the tray into place using your thumbs.
Keep pushing until your teeth touch the tray and the putty slightly overlaps your gum line. Your upper lip should come over both the putty and the tray. Leave everything in place for 3.5 minutes, then pull down on the sides of the tray to remove it. Voilá! You’ve got your first impression.
Repeat this process with the other two top trays and two bottom trays. A few notes on what makes a good impression: first, your front and back teeth should touch the bottom of the tray to ensure that orthodontists get a full view of your teeth. The putty should also overlap your gum line so that orthodontists can see where your gums begin.
There will be drool involved when taking your impressions. It might not be pretty, but it’s unavoidable if you want perfect impressions. Just keep some paper towels nearby to clean up.
Take a look at the impressions below. The one on the left likely wouldn’t be accepted. Why? Because the back is too shallow and the front doesn’t show the full gum line. By contrast, the impression on the right is deep enough and gives a better view of the gum line.
What if I Mess Up My Impressions?
We won’t lie: taking impressions can be slightly difficult. This is why Candid gives you multiple attempts at it. Still, it might take a few tries to get it right.
When you pull that putty out of your mouth and it looks wrong, it can be discouraging, but don’t panic! Candid has you covered if you mess up your impressions. If you’re not sure whether your impression will be acceptable, send them off anyway.
Candid’s orthodontists will let you know if you need to take another shot at it before sending another Starter Kit. And if you’re certain that you botched them, give customer support a call or email (any day between 9am-7pm EST). They’ll send you a replacement right away.
3D Teeth Scanning: A Convenient Alternative to Impression Kits
Even with the assistance of guides like this one, impression kits can be tricky if you’ve never used one before. If the prospect of administering your own teeth impressions is intimidating, Candid has an alternative. They’ve opened 30+ retail locations (called “Candid Studios”) across the U.S.
Make an appointment at one of these locations and a technician there will take scans of your teeth for free. Then, they’ll send the images directly to Candid, taking the place of impressions. It’s a cheaper, quicker, and easier alternative to taking impressions on your own. If you live near a Candid Studio, you don’t necessarily need an impression kit. But if you don’t, you’ll still need to order and complete a kit.
Step 5: Review Your Treatment Preview
Congratulations! You finished your Starter Kit, and Candid makes it easy to return your impressions. Just place the completed trays in the included prepaid box and send it off. Don’t put the trays in plastic bags. You can simply put them directly into the box.
Once Candid receives it and determines that the impressions are acceptable, their orthodontists will use them to determine if you’re a good candidate for treatment.
Not everyone is an ideal candidate for home aligner treatment. For example, Candid’s treatment might not be able to effectively correct certain bite issues (like overbite or underbite) or severe cases of crowding or spacing. Your photos and impressions will provide enough information for orthodontists to determine whether Candid can treat your condition. If you don’t end up being a good candidate, Candid will issue a refund for the cost of your Starter Kit.
But if you’re deemed a good candidate, a state-licensed orthodontist will create your full treatment plan and send you a preview.
This preview shows an interactive digital before and after of your treatment, allowing you to see how Candid’s aligners will move your teeth every step of the way. You can look at your smile from every angle and see how it will look with each new aligner set.
On average, it takes Candid around 2 weeks to evaluate your impressions and prepare your plan. Once you receive it, a Treatment Plan Coordinator will follow up to arrange a call where they will go over the plan and answer any questions you might have.
Before Moving Forward: Is Candid Right For You?
At this point, you’re at a crossroads. You can either choose to continue with Candid treatment or not.
There’s no obligation to continue, so you can back out with no consequences (although you won’t get a refund for your Starter Kit). But if you choose to move forward with treatment, Candid will manufacture your aligners and ship the complete set to your home. This process typically takes another 3 weeks.
If you choose to move forward with Candid treatment, you will need to either pay the full $1,895 treatment cost or enroll in a payment plan. Candid offers two different financing options. Their in-house option requires a soft credit check (although nearly everyone is approved) and a $199 down payment, followed by $65 monthly payments for 36 months. The second option involves a third-party company called Affirm. It requires a more selective credit check, but has 0% APR and no down payment.
$1,895 isn’t exactly pocket change, so you should take stock of your financial situation before making a final decision. And for around the same price, you might also want to check out Byte. They’re our top-ranked home aligner system and offer the industry’s shortest treatment timelines.
If you’ve followed all the instructions listed here, then you’ve taken your first step toward your new smile. Even though impression kits can sometimes be difficult, when you consider the fast treatment times, lower prices, and time you’ll save with Candid’s treatment, this minor inconvenience is well worth it.
With the help of this guide, you’ll have the information and confidence you need to take amazing impressions right off the bat. Then, you can look forward to the rest of the journey toward a dazzling transformed smile.