At-home teeth straightening is changing the way people transform their smiles. Historically, the only way to improve your smile was to see a dentist or orthodontist for braces or Invisalign®. At-home clear aligner products like Candid make getting the smile you want affordable and convenient.
Candid stands out from other home aligner companies by making safety and treatment quality their top priority. While Candid wasn’t the first home aligner company to hit the market, they were the first to guarantee that all treatment plans are managed by an orthodontist. Read on to find out if Candid is the right option for you based on your smile goals.
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What is Candid?
Based out of New York City, Candid is a company that offers a convenient and affordable teeth aligner product that helps improve the appearance of your smile. Their clear aligners look and feel similar to Invisalign — they are made of a clear plastic that fits right over your teeth and are much less visible than traditional braces. However, unlike Invisalign, treatment doesn’t require a single trip to the dentist. Instead, your treatment plan is prepared and overseen remotely by one of Candid’s orthodontists, licensed to practice in your state.
Candid is just one of many online companies to offer home-based clear aligner treatment. Candid’s competitors include SmileDirectClub, Byte, Smilelove and Snapcorrect. Candid started selling aligners in 2017, making it among the older companies that we have reviewed.
Overall, Candid aims to stand out by offering the most professional at-home teeth straightening service through care plans crafted exclusively by orthodontists.
Like other home-based clear aligner products, Candid is primarily a cosmetic treatment. Their aligners are only designed to treat mild to moderate cases of spacing and crowding, and minor bite issues. If your case is severe, you will see better results from a treatment plan that is managed in-person by a dental professional, such as braces or Invisalign.
How Does Candid Work?
Before getting started, you’ll take a 3D impression of your teeth using a special kit that you order online from Candid or visit a Candid Studio for a teeth scan. The company uses this impression or scan to prepare your custom treatment plan. Once you confirm your treatment plan, they produce your clear aligners and ship them to you by mail. By wearing your aligners for about 22 hours each day, your teeth will gradually shift over roughly 6 months.
Is Candid a Good Option? Our Perspective.
For patients with minor teeth misalignments, Candid can deliver satisfying results on a much faster time frame and at a more comfortable price point than braces or Invisalign. Based on our research, Candid users typically report positive results and high levels of satisfaction with their overall customer experience.
Out of the top five home-based clear aligner products we reviewed, we rank Candid as tied for #1 overall. This is based on our 5 point comparison of each company in terms of effectiveness, affordability, convenience, aesthetics and customer support.
We’ve provided a lot more detail on how Candid stacks up category by category, but here’s a quick summary of the biggest pros and cons as of Summer 2019:
- Candid is among the more well-established at-home clear aligner companies. They have treated tens of thousands of customers, meaning they are more experienced than most of their competitors.
- Candid prioritizes customer safety by working only a network of over 50 premium orthodontists.
- With Candid, you can book an in-person teeth scan by an orthodontist at one of their Candid Studios, making getting started fast and easy.
- Candid works with a highly respected clear aligner manufacturer, ClearCorrect, meaning their aligners are made by a trusted company.
- Candid is a rapidly growing company. They plan to open 50 retail locations in 2019.
- Candid only offers financing through Affirm, which means customers who choose to finance their care may be subject to a credit check. Byte and SmileDirectClub offer their own financing options.
- Candid is not the fastest treatment option. Treatment with Candid takes 6 months on average, double the average treatment plan of Byte, which takes only 3 months.
Who is Candid Right For?
If you’re interested in at-home teeth straightening and prefer your care to be overseen by an orthodontist, Candid may be a great option for you. You should also check out Byte, the most similar alternative to Candid.
Orthodontic treatment is an investment, so you want to make sure the treatment option you choose gives you the results you’re looking for. In this section, we’ll go over what type of results you can expect from treatment with Candid.
Candid, just like other home-based clear aligner treatment products, is intended to address simple misalignment issues. It is limited in its ability to correct more advanced dental misalignments, such as bite disorders or severe cases of spacing or crowding. To make sure Candid is a good treatment option for you, the company provides you with a 3D preview of how your teeth will look after treatment. You can then determine whether you would like to continue.
To ensure patient safety and great results, Candid works only with orthodontists to create your treatment plan.
For patients with mild teeth misalignment, Candid does a good job improving the appearance of their smiles and ensuring the safety of their treatment.
The skill and experience of the person in charge of your care can have a significant impact on the outcome of your treatment. That’s why Candid chooses to work solely with their network of over 50 licensed orthodontists to prepare customer treatment plans and oversee their care. Orthodontists receive 6 years of post-graduate training to master the art and science of adjusting teeth. An orthodontist is trained to take into account how you face, neck and jaw come together to ensure a safe, comfortable, and lasting adjustment.
Most other clear aligner companies, including SmileDirectClub, work with less specialized dental professionals such as general dentists. Candid’s commitment to quality treatment and customer safety by working only with orthodontists makes them a competitive option. It’s important to note that Byte also works only with orthodontists.
Candid aligners are made by a trusted manufacturer.
In addition, Candid’s clear aligners are of good, reliable quality. Candid partners with ClearCorrect, the second-largest manufacturer of invisible aligners in the US, meaning their aligners are made by an experienced and trusted manufacturing company.
Based on our research, it appears that Candid has partnered with ClearCorrect to create their clear aligners. ClearCorrect aligners have been FDA-approved since 2009 and it is the second-largest manufacturer of invisible aligners in the US (after Invisalign). Their aligners are made with a high quality plastic material called Zendura, which is BPA-free that is able to move your teeth gently and effectively. This is the same plastic that Invisalign used for almost a decade before switching to a new material called SmartTrack.
Candid aligners are cut straight across (rather than trimmed along the gumline), making them more powerful
Most home aligners, including Candid, are cut straight across, rather than scalloped along the gumline. They are cut this way for an important reason.
With in-office clear aligner treatment options like Invisalign, a dentists typically apply attachments to the teeth that help hold the aligners in place. For this reason, it’s okay for the Invisalign aligners to be trimmed to follow the gumline.
With fully remote treatment plans like Candid (no visits to the dental office), adding attachments to your teeth is not possible. Instead, Candid’s aligners cover the gums so that they can use gums as an anchor to apply more force on the teeth movements. This makes it possible to move the teeth effectively without the need for adding any attachments. For this reason, when choosing a home aligner company, it’s best to go with a company that cuts aligners straight across, rather than trimming them to follow the gum-line. scalloped aligners just aren’t as effective for at-home teeth straightening.
Working only with orthodontists and a well-known manufacturer positively gives us confidence in Candid’s effectiveness, especially compared to most home aligner options. We rank Candid 4/5 on effectiveness
Historically, the high price tag for braces and Invisalign has made getting straighter teeth a substantial financial burden. Making matters worse, health insurers seldom cover this type of treatment, and dental insurance will typically reimburse just a small fraction of the cost .
A major benefit of home teeth straightening like Candid is the price point compared to alternative treatment options. Through the innovation of at-home teeth straightening, orthodontic treatment is now much more accessible. Home aligner products typically cost around $2,000, which is significantly more affordable than Invisalign which usually costs more than $4,500.
The total cost to purchase an aligner kit from Candid is $1900, which is slightly higher than most other home aligner options, but it includes retainers and whitening.
This sticker price covers the cost of your treatment plan, clear aligners, and teeth whitening. Candid also includes your first set of retainers with the purchase price, which will save you some money at the end of your treatment. Other services like SmileDirectClub do not include retainers in the price of treatment, and instead upsell the retainer at the end of treatment for around $100.
Candid offers a payment plan option, but it requires a credit check and some may not qualify.
Even though Candid is much cheaper than braces or Invisalign, not everyone has that kind of money ready to use at a moment’s notice. To make aligner treatment more accessible for all, Candid offers payment plans through a 3rd party company called Affirm. By financing with Affirm, you can pay down your treatment through monthly payments. To avoid accruing interest, we recommend choosing the fastest payment plan they offer if you can make the finances work.
The downside to financing through Affirm is that you’ll need to qualify based on your credit score, so the company will need to perform a credit check. It’s worth noting that SmileDirectClub and Byte both offer their own payment plans (not through Affirm) for all customers. Their payment plans don’t require a credit check.
Overall, Candid offers excellent affordability and flexible payment with financing with Affirm, but other companies like Byte and SmileDirectClub offer financing with better terms. Even so, the price can’t be beat compared to traditional orthodontics. — 4/5.
Aside from cost, one of the biggest barriers to pursuing a more comfortable smile is the time commitment of traditional orthodontics. We all have busy lives and repeated visits to the dentist office don’t exactly count as leisure. Nevermind taking time off work every month to make a trip to the dentist. Not only that, but perhaps you have a big event coming up this year (not two or three years down the road) and you want to finish treatment ASAP.
Home aligner companies like Candid make this kind of treatment much more convenient by shipping the aligners to your home so you’re not spending time in the patient chair. Additionally, with most home aligners (Candid included) you can usually complete treatment in about half a year or less – much faster than the typical 18 months for braces and 12 months for Invisalign.
With all that said, Candid is unquestionably more convenient than Invisalign or braces. However, among the popular at-home aligner companies, there are some differences that make certain brands stand out as more or less convenient.
We determined our Convenience rating by considering how difficult it is to get started, how long it takes to receive your aligners in the mail, how long the overall treatment plan takes.
Candid makes it super easy to get started with treatment by offering Candid Studios
Many customers find most difficult part of at-home teeth straightening is the process of getting started. In order to create your treatment plan, the company will need a way to analyze your current smile. All companies, including Candid, offer a kit that you can use at home to make a mold of your teeth called an impression. To make the impression, you mix together two different types of putty and place the mixture in a teeth tray. When you bite down on the prepared tray, the putty surrounds your teeth, creating a mold. The company will use these molds to inspect the condition of your smile and prepare a treatment plan.
Completing the impression kit can be challenging since most people don’t have experience doing them. To help customers succeed, Candid sends three sets of putty and teeth trays, giving customers three chances to make a good impression of both their top and bottom teeth arches. Candid support is also available to go through the process with you and make sure everything goes smoothly. Still, some customers find that getting this process right can be surprisingly tricky, and may end up needing to mail in a second impression kit before getting approved for treatment.
To remedy this, Candid offers free 3D teeth scans at their retail locations called Candid Studios as an alternative to completing the snail mail impression kit. Simply book an appointment online at your local Candid Studio. When you arrive, an orthodontist will use a handheld device to take images of your teeth. When booking your appointment, you’ll see that some appointment dates come with a free whitening pen. We recommend taking advantage of this promotion (if available at your local Candid Studio) so you can start your smile transformation journey even before your aligners arrive in the mail.
While Candid Studios are currently only available in select citites, it’s impotyant to note that many more will be opening soon. Candid recently set a goal of opening over 50 Candid Studios by the end of 2019, so one may be opening in your town in the near future. SmileDirectClub are currently the only two at-home aligner companies that offer retail locations where you can have your teeth scanned. If you go with another company, taking a self impression is your only option.
Expect to wait around 5 weeks total before you start treatment.
After you complete your Candid Studio visit or mail in your impression kit, Candid usually takes around 2 weeks to process your impressions and prepare your treatment plan. Other companies do this much faster. For instance, SmileDirectClub promises to complete this step in just 72 hours. Once you have approved your Candid treatment plan, you’ll need to wait an additional three weeks for Candid to produce and ship your aligners – about average among at-home aligner companies. All said, it will take about five weeks between the time you send in your impression kit (or scan) and when you’ll be able to start treatment.
Start to finish, treatment takes 6 months on average.
Like most at-home aligner treatments, expect to wear your aligners for around six months. While Candid treatment is much shorter than options like Invisalign or braces, it is not as fast as Byte, which takes on average 3 months to complete treatment. We recommend you consider your timeline for orthodontic treatment when exploring your options.
Teeth whitening is included as part of your aligner treatment.
With Candid, you’ll be able to use the whitening foam they provide while you straighten your teeth. Simply pump the whitening foam into your aligner trays and go about your day! With other clear aligner companies, teeth whitening cannot start until after you complete your correction due to the material used in their aligners.
Candid’s retail locations and the opportunity to whiten your teeth during your treatment process make getting started very convenient — 4.5/5.
When it comes to getting straighter teeth, most adults agree that the best looking option is the one that is least visible. A key selling point of all clear aligner products is that they are much less noticeable than braces. For this reason, all clear aligners products tend to score well in terms of Aesthetics, and Candid is no exception.
With that said, not all clear aligners are created equal in terms of appearance. While all clear aligners are made from transparent, BPA-free plastic, each brand looks a bit different due to variations in materials and manufacturing processes.
Candid aligners are less noticeable than some of the alternatives.
Candid aligners are made of a frosted-appearing plastic. The aligners look this way as a result of the 3D-printed molds used by Clear Correct, their manufacturing company, to shape the aligners. The frosted appearance of the aligners is an added bonus compared to alternatives like Smilelove (which uses a shiny plastic) because less-shiny aligners look most natural. Natural teeth are porous (that’s why teeth can absorb stains from coffee and red wine). Those pores make natural teeth appear more matte. Our opinion is that less shiny clear aligners look most natural for this reason.
Candid aligners are cut straight across at the top of the aligners (rather than scalloped to follow the gum-line like Invisalign), which affects both the appearance and effectiveness of the aligners. Since the aligners cover the gums, you may be able to see where the aligners cover the gums if you have a gummy smile, but most customers don’t find aligners that cover the gums to be more noticeable than ones which are scalloped.
As with other clear aligners brands, you’ll want to take out your aligners before eating & drinking to avoid staining
All clear aligners are susceptible to stains from food and beverages — that’s why it’s important to remove them before eating or drinking anything other than plain, cool water. Our current understanding is that Candid aligners are reasonably resistant to staining, although we certainly wouldn’t recommend drinking coffee or red wine with your aligners in.
Due to the way Candid aligners are manufactured and trimmed, the aligners are generally less noticeable than some alternative companies — 4.5/5.
Dental treatment is expensive, and you only have one set of teeth. It’s important that you feel completely confident that the company you decide to work will treat you right and have your back in the event that something goes wrong.
Customer support appears to be more responsive than most of the alternatives.
Candid is a highly customer-oriented company in most respects. They provide many ways to contact support and offer extensive resources online to help customers have a great experience. Their refund policy is standard for home aligner companies, however. Candid is available by phone every day (including weekends) from 9am-7pm. They are also available via chat and email. If you reach out on social media, expect a response within 24 hours on average.
Candid wants to make sure you are happy with your smile transformation.
Candid’s refund policy is standard compared to most other home aligner companies. In the event that your Candid orthodontist determines you are not a good candidate for treatment, they will refund the cost of your impression kit and/or up-front payment for your entire treatment if you visited a Candid Studio.
While they don’t usually offer a refund in the instance that your treatment isn’t progressing as you expected, they are willing to work with you to change your treatment plan with your Candid orthodontist free of charge.
Focus on customer support and generous refund policies both make Candid a good company to work with in terms of customer friendliness — 4.5/5.
What Are Candid Customers Saying?
When we review a company like Candid, we start out by digging through customer reviews to understand the common issues customers face.
With Candid, there are many online reviews that appear honest and straightforward, and don’t appear to be sponsored by the company.
The overall sentiment we’ve seen with Candid is that people feel generally positive about their experience. They generally choose Candid because they like knowing their treatment plan is being managed by an orthodontist and the convenience of getting their teeth scanned at a Candid Studio.
Most people appear to have very few issues with their clear aligners, and most feel excited about starting and continuing their treatment. In cases where something has gone wrong, Candid seems to have done a good job making sure customers feel good about how to the problem has been resolved.
With that said, here are a couple of videos we found especially useful:
Alternatives to Candid
While Candid is a great clear aligner company, there are other options to consider, both in-office and others that you can do from home. Invisalign is the primary in-office option, and while it is more expensive than home aligners, dentists can achieve more advanced teeth movements with attachments they place on your teeth to work with the clear aligners. There are also several other home aligner options that are worth looking into, especially if you want the shortest treatment time or want to get started ASAP.
Invisalign vs Candid
While Candid works exclusively with orthodontists to create their at-home treatment plans, for more intensive cases of teeth misalignment, in-person care can’t be beat. If that sounds like you, Invisalign treatment may be the best option, as you may end up dissatisfied with Candid’s treatment outcome given the limited ability to move the teeth without special attachments that are possible with in-office care like Invisalign.
Byte vs Candid
Like Candid, Byte works only with orthodontists to create treatment plans. The company is also newer to the home aligner market than Candid. Byte stands out in their innovation — they offer a treatment plan that takes only three months, thanks to their Hyperbyte system. They don’t have any retail stores yet, but if a short treatment time and orthodontist oversight are most important to you, Byte may be a good option.
SmileDirectClub vs Candid
SmileDirectClub stands out as the largest and most popular at-home clear aligner brand. They don’t work exclusively with orthodontists like Candid does, but they do have more retail locations, which makes getting started a bit easier depending on where you live. They’ve also treated over 500,000 patients, making them the most experienced home aligner company.
Out of the top five home-based clear aligner products we reviewed, we rank Candid #1 overall. If you want your treatment to be overseen by an established company that works only with orthodontists, Candid is the best company for you. If you’re interested in an orthodontist-overseen treatment plan, but want a shorter treatment time, you might check out Byte.