At-home teeth straightening treatments are changing the way people transform their smiles. Historically, the only way to correct teeth gaps, crowding, and bite issues was having your dentist or orthodontist administer braces or Invisalign, but that’s no longer the case. At-home clear aligner companies like Candid make achieving your ideal smile both affordable and convenient.
Candid stands out from other home aligner companies by making safety and quality their top priorities. In particular, it was the first at-home aligner company to guarantee that all treatment plans would be managed by an orthodontist. Read on to find out if Candid is the right option for your smile goals.
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What is Candid?
Based out of New York City, Candid is a company that offers convenient and affordable teeth aligners, empowering you to transform your smile from home. Their clear aligners look and feel similar to Invisalign — they are made from clear plastic and fit snugly over your teeth, much less visible than traditional braces. However, unlike Invisalign, Candid’s treatment plan doesn’t require a single trip to the dentist. Instead, your aligners are prepared, approved, and monitored remotely by one of Candid’s licensed orthodontists.
Because of at-home aligners’ recent popularity, numerous new aligner companies have hit the market, and Candid is just one of many. That said, Candid started selling aligners in 2017, so they have slightly more experience than younger competitors like byte.
Overall, Candid aims to stand out by offering the most professional at-home teeth straightening service through treatment plans crafted exclusively by orthodontists.
Like other home-based clear aligner products, Candid is primarily a cosmetic treatment. Their aligners are designed specifically to correct mild-to-moderate cases of spacing and crowding, along with some minor bite conditions. If your case is severe, you may see better results from a treatment plan managed in-person by a dentist, like braces or Invisalign.
How Does Candid Work?
Candid wants to ensure that their aligners are capable of delivering your desired results. Before getting started, they’ll send you a special kit to collect a 3D impression of your teeth. Or, if you live near a Candid Studio location, you can schedule an appointment for a free teeth scan by a certified dental professional. This may be a better option for anyone who is uncomfortable taking the impression themselves.
If you’re a good candidate, Candid’s network of orthodontists will use this impression or scan to develop your customized treatment plan. After you confirm the plan, they will produce and ship your clear aligners. Over the next six months or so, wear the aligners for at least 22 hours per day and they will gradually shift your teeth to the desired position.
Is Candid a Good Option? Our Perspective.
For patients with minor teeth misalignments, Candid offers quicker results and a more approachable price point than either braces or Invisalign. Plus, our research shows that Candid users typically report positive results and high levels of satisfaction with the customer experience.
Out of the top five home-based clear aligner companies we reviewed, Candid took the #1 spot. We based our rankings on a comparison of five elements: effectiveness, affordability, convenience, aesthetics, and customer support.
We’ll provide a lot more detail on how Candid stacks up category by category later on, but here’s a quick summary of their biggest pros and cons:
- Candid is among the more well-established at-home clear aligner companies. They’ve successfully transformed tens of thousands of smiles, making them more experienced than most competitors.
- Candid prioritizes customer safety by working with a network of over 50 experienced orthodontists.
- With Candid, you can book an in-person teeth scan at one of their Candid Studios, so it’s easy to get the ball rolling.
- Candid works with a highly-respected, trustworthy clear aligner manufacturer called ClearCorrect, ensuring a top-quality product.
- Candid offers your first set of retainers free of charge, ensuring that after-care and maintaining your new smile are both easily accessible and affordable.
- Candid is a rapidly growing company, and they plan to open 50 retail locations in 2019.
- Customers who choose to finance their care may be subject to a credit check. byte and SmileDirectClub, in comparison, offer financing options that don’t require a credit check.
- Candid is not the fastest treatment option available. Their plans take an average of six months, double the three-month average reported by byte.
Who is a good match for Candid?
Interested in at-home teeth straightening for your mild-to-moderate condition? Want your aligners designed and monitored by an orthodontist? Sticking to a budget? Candid may be a great option for you. You should also check out byte, the most similar Candid alternative.
Special Offer: 65% off the purchase of your Candid Starter Kit
Orthodontic treatment is an investment, so you don’t want to dive in without being sure that it can deliver the results you’re after. In this section, we’ll go over what type of results you can expect from a Candid treatment.
Just like other home-based clear aligner products, Candid is designed to address simple misalignment issues. Severe cases of crowding, spacing, or bite conditions might require a more robust, in-office treatment. To make sure Candid’s system is well-suited to your smile goals, the company provides a 3D preview of how your teeth will look after treatment. This way, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting into.
To ensure patient safety and great results, Candid works only with orthodontists to create your treatment plan.
Patients with mild teeth misalignment can be confident that Candid will correct their condition while guaranteeing treatment safety.
How? By working solely with a network of over 50 skilled, experienced, and licensed orthodontists who design and oversee all Candid treatment plans. Orthodontists receive six years of post-graduate training to master the art and science of adjusting teeth. They have the technical know-how and experience to evaluate your face, neck, jaw, and teeth, then develop an effective solution.
Most other clear aligner companies, including SmileDirectClub, work with general dentists instead of specialized orthodontists. Candid’s commitment to work exclusively with orthodontists sets them apart and shows their dedication to customer safety. But it’s important to note that Candid isn’t the only company taking this route – byte also works with only orthodontists.
Candid aligners are made by a trusted manufacturer.
However, product quality is equally important. A team of excellent orthodontists wouldn’t matter if the aligners were poorly-crafted and could break or lose shape. Candid avoids this pitfall by partnering with ClearCorrect, the second-largest manufacturer of invisible aligners in the U.S. ClearCorrect has many years of experience and a top-notch reputation for reliability.
ClearCorrect aligners have been FDA-approved since 2009 and they are the second-largest manufacturer in the U.S. (after Invisalign). Their aligners are made with a high-quality, BPA-free plastic material called Zendura. Backed by years of testing and results, Zendura is strong, durable, and highly effective. This is the same plastic that Invisalign used for almost a decade before switching to a new material called SmartTrack. Candid is the only home aligner brand that offers ClearCorrect products.
Candid aligners are cut straight across (rather than trimmed to match the gumline), making them more powerful.
Most home aligners, including Candid’s, are cut straight across instead of scalloped along the gumline. There’s a good reason for this.
When applying in-office clear aligner treatments (like Invisalign) dentists often place attachments on the teeth, holding the aligners in place. This is why Invisalign trays stay in place even though they’re trimmed to follow the gumline.
But since these attachments must be installed by a dentist, fully-remote treatments like Candid can’t use them. This might seem like a drawback, but Candid uses it to their advantage. Their aligners use the gums as an anchor to apply up to 4x more force, no attachments necessary. As you analyze various home aligner companies, it’s best to go with a company that cuts aligners straight across rather than matching the gumline. Scalloped aligners are wonderful for in-office plans but simply aren’t as effective for at-home treatments.
Working exclusively with orthodontists and a well-known manufacturer, Candid inspires confidence in their results, 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 teeth alignment a substantial financial burden. Making matters worse, health insurers seldom cover this type of cosmetic treatment, and dental insurance will typically reimburse just a small fraction of the cost.
A major benefit of home aligner companies like Candid is the affordable price point compared to traditional treatment options. The innovation of home alignment technology has made orthodontic treatment much more accessible. Home aligner products typically cost around $2,000, significantly less than Invisalign or braces, which can set you back more than $4,500.
The total cost of a Candid aligner kit is $1900 (or $85/month), which is right in line with other home aligner options that include retainers and whitening.
This sticker price covers the cost of your treatment plan, clear aligners, and teeth whitening. It also includes your first set of retainers, which some competitors charge extra for after treatment is complete.
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 nearly $2,000 lying around. To make aligner treatment more accessible for all, Candid offers payment plans through a third party company called Affirm. By financing with Affirm, you can divide your total cost into monthly payments starting at $85/month. To avoid accruing interest, we recommend choosing the fastest payment plan available 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, which requires a credit check. SmileDirectClub and byte, on the other hand, both offer their own payment plans (not through Affirm) which do not require a credit check.
Overall, Candid offers excellent affordability and flexible financing through Affirm, but other companies like byte and SmileDirectClub provide financing with better terms. Even so, when compared to traditional orthodontics, the price is highly attractive. — 4/5.
Aside from cost, one of the biggest barriers to pursuing a more comfortable smile is the time commitment of traditional orthodontics. When the daily grind is running you ragged, repeated dentist visits aren’t exactly convenient. And taking time off from work each month for your appointments isn’t ideal either. Not to mention that traditional methods take longer, so if you have a big event coming up this year (not two or three years down the road) and you want to finish treatment ASAP, it may not be complete in time.
Home aligner companies like Candid make this kind of treatment more convenient by shipping the aligners to your home, so you can spend less time in the dentist’s chair and more time living life. Most home aligners (Candid included) deliver results in half a year or less – much faster than the typical 18 months for braces and 12 months for Invisalign.
When it comes to convenience, Candid steals the show from both braces and Invisalign. However, among the popular at-home aligner companies, there are some differences that make certain brands stand out as more or less user-friendly.
Our convenience rating is measured by startup difficulty, shipping time, and average treatment duration.
Candid Studios make it super easy to get your treatment started.
Many customers find that the hardest part of home aligner treatment is taking the first step. Fortunately, Candid provides options and support that make it fast and painless. To create your custom treatment plan, the company will need a way to analyze your current smile. They’ll send you a kit you can use at home to make a mold, or “impression” of your teeth. Mix the two different types of putty together and place that mixture in a teeth tray. When you bite down on it, the putty surrounds your teeth and creates a mold. Candid can then use this impression to evaluate your current smile and develop your unique aligners.
Completing the impression kit can be challenging since most people don’t have experience using them. To help you succeed, Candid sends three sets of putty and teeth trays, three chances to make a good impression of both your top and bottom arches. Plus, they offer support to walk you through the process if you’re having difficulties (or just need some encouragement). Still, this step can be tricky, and not everyone gets it on the first try. Some people may need a second impression kit before getting approved for treatment.
If you’d rather avoid the impression kit altogether, Candid offers free 3D teeth scans at retail locations called Candid Studios as an easier alternative. Simply book an appointment online and when you arrive, an orthodontist will use a handheld device to take images of your teeth. You may notice that some appointment dates come with a free whitening pen. Take advantage of this promotion if you have the chance! It will allow you to start your smile transformation journey even before your first aligners arrive.
While Candid Studios are currently only available in select cities, many more will be opening soon. Candid has big plans for the future and recently set a goal of opening 50+ new Candid Studios by the end of 2019. Candid and SmileDirectClub are currently the only two home aligner companies that offer retail locations for teeth scans. If you go with another company, taking an impression yourself is your only option.
Expect to wait around 5 weeks before beginning treatment.
After you complete your Candid Studio visit or submit your impression kit, Candid usually takes two weeks to process the impressions and prepare your treatment plan. This is somewhat slower than other companies. For instance, SmileDirectClub promises to complete this step in just 72 hours. After receiving and approving your treatment plan, Candid will take another three weeks to produce and ship your aligners, which is fairly standard. Altogether, it’ll be about five weeks before you’re wearing your first aligner.
Start to finish, treatment takes 6 months on average.
As long as you’re using your aligners properly and wearing them at least 22 hours per day, you can expect the process to last half a year. Candid’s treatment is much shorter than Invisalign or braces, but it’s not as fast as byte, who boasts an average three-month treatment time. As you weigh your options, consider your calendar and goals. If your wedding is in four months, Candid’s timeline might not align with yours.
Teeth whitening is included as part of your aligner treatment.
There’s no added costs, upselling, or hidden fees here. With Candid, you’ll receive a whitening foam that you can use while you straighten your teeth. Simply pump the foam into your aligner trays and go about your day! Other aligner companies don’t start whitening treatment 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 teeth straightening treatments, most adults agree: the less visible, the better. They often don’t want to attend business meetings, dates, or special occasions sporting visible metal brackets. Clear aligner products pride themselves on being far more discreet than braces. For this reason, all clear aligners tend to excel aesthetically, and Candid is no exception.
That said, not all clear aligners are created equal in terms of appearance. While they’re all made from transparent, BPA-free plastic, variations in manufacturing processes cause each brand to look slightly different.
Candid aligners are less noticeable than some of the alternatives.
Candid aligners are made from a plastic that appears frosted. This is a result of the 3D-printed molds that their producer ClearCorrect uses. Frosted aligners simply look more natural than the smooth ones that Smilelove and other companies use. Teeth are naturally porous – which is why coffee and red wine can stain them – and these pores give a matte appearance. Candid’s frosted plastic mimics this matte look, so your teeth won’t look unnaturally shiny.
As we mentioned earlier, Candid aligners are cut straight across at the top (rather than scalloped to follow the gumline), which affects their appearance and effectiveness. Since they partially cover the gums, others may be able to see where the aligners end when you smile. Even so, most customers don’t find straight-cut aligners to be more noticeable than scalloped ones.
You’ll want to take out your aligners before eating & drinking to avoid stains.
All clear aligners are susceptible to food and beverage stains — that’s why it’s important to remove them before eating or drinking anything besides water. Our current understanding is that Candid aligners are reasonably stain-resistant, although we certainly wouldn’t recommend drinking coffee, red wine, or other dark liquids while wearing them.
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 to feel completely confident that your treatment provider will treat you right and have your back if anything goes wrong.
If you’re seeking a provider that truly cares for its customers, Candid is a great choice. They offer reliable, courteous customer service that will go the extra mile to meet your needs.
Their customer support appears more responsive than most of the alternatives.
Candid is a highly customer-oriented company. They provide multiple avenues to contact support and extensive online resources. Service representatives are available by phone, chat, and email every day (including weekends) from 9am-7pm. If you reach out on social media, expect a response within 24 hours.
Candid wants to make sure you are completely satisfied with your smile.
No one wants to imagine poor results, especially when it comes to your smile. Fortunately, Candid has a solid refund policy in place. It doesn’t try anything too far outside the box, sticking pretty close to the industry standard.
If your assigned orthodontist determines right off the bat that you’re not a candidate for Candid’s treatment, you will receive a full refund for the impression kit and any up-front payment you may have made at a Candid Studio.
But let’s say you’re three months into your treatment and your smile isn’t progressing the way you expected. In this case, Candid will not offer a refund. However, because they’re committed to successful smile transformation, you can work with your Candid orthodontist free of charge to alter your treatment and achieve the results you’re after.
A dual focus on customer support and generous refund policies makes Candid an industry leader in customer friendliness — 4.5/5.
What Are Candid Customers Saying?
When we review a company like Candid, we start by digging through customer reviews to understand common issues and concerns.
Candid has numerous honest and straightforward online reviewers who don’t appear to be sponsored by the company.
The general sentiment from these reviews is that customers feel satisfied and valued. Often, these customers chose Candid because they appreciated having an orthodontist’s oversight and the convenience of Candid Studio teeth scanning.
Most customers had very few issues with their clear aligners and expressed excitement about starting and continuing their treatment. In cases where something went wrong, Candid took care of it efficiently and inspired customer satisfaction in the outcome.
Here are a couple of review videos from real Candid customers we found especially useful:
Alternatives to Candid
While Candid is a great clear aligner company, there are other at-home and in-office options to consider. Invisalign is the primary in-office option, and while it’s more expensive than home aligners, it allows dentists to add special appliances and achieve more advanced teeth movements. There are also several other home aligner options worth exploring, especially if you want the shortest treatment time or a quick treatment start.
Invisalign vs Candid
While Candid works exclusively with orthodontists to create their at-home treatment plans, in-person care can’t be beat for more intensive cases. Sound like you? Invisalign may be an ideal option because of its versatility. Invisalign’s additional dentist face-time allows for appliances and adjustments that achieve more complicated tooth and jaw movements. If you have a bite misalignment or a severe case of crowding or spacing, Candid’s home aligners might simply be too limited to achieve the results you’re looking for.
byte vs Candid
Like Candid, byte works only with orthodontists to create its treatment plans. And while the company is newer to the home aligner market, byte stands out for their innovation. They offer a treatment plan that takes only three months, thanks to their HyperByte system, which uses gentle vibrations to reduce discomfort and provide a better fitting aligner. They don’t have any retail stores yet but if a short treatment time and orthodontist oversight are your priorities, 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, but they do have more retail locations, which makes it easier to get started, depending on where you live. Plus, they’re the most experienced home aligner company, having transformed over 700,000 smiles so far.
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-monitored treatment plan, but want a shorter treatment time, you might check out byte instead.