Invisalign is incredibly popular, and for good reason. It can treat a wide variety of conditions, including bite issues like overjet and crossbite, all while keeping a much lower profile than traditional braces. But unfortunately, Invisalign has its downsides. Treatment typically costs between $3,000–$8,000, which isn’t exactly pocket change.
We’ve researched all the clear aligners on the market and compiled a list of the eight best Invisalign alternatives. Our list includes some traditional “in-office” clear aligner treatment options like Invisalign, which require regular trips to the dentist, as well as newer “at-home” treatment options, like SmileDirectClub. Read on as we dive into the pros & cons of each one.
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"In-Office" vs. "At-Home" Clear Aligners: What's The Difference?
“In-office” clear aligners like Invisalign and “at-home” brands like SmileDirectClub have a lot in common. Both are clear aligners customized to fit your dental arches snugly and gradually shift your teeth over time.
The main difference is in the application. As the name suggests, at-home clear aligner treatment takes place 100% remotely — no office visits required — making it less expensive and more convenient. Yet at-home aligners aren’t as effective as in-office aligners for treating severe misalignments, since your dentist won’t be able to incorporate elastics or attachments into your treatment plan.
All that said, if you have a mild-to-moderate dental misalignment and aren’t sold on traditional in-office orthodontic treatment, at-home clear aligners could be a viable alternative for you.
Best At-Home Alternatives to Invisalign
Over the past decade, several at-home aligner companies have sprouted up to compete with traditional treatments like Invisalign. They’ve developed a much more streamlined treatment, and while they’re typically only effective for mild and moderate misalignments, they’re a solid option if you’re seeking a more convenient and affordable alternative. Here are our top four picks.
Since 2018, Byte has offered innovative technology, personalized customer support, and efficient average treatment times. Those qualities have made them one of the most well-known and respected at-home clear aligner companies, one that lands at the very top of our at-home aligner rankings.
- Byte’s high-frequency vibration device, the “HyperByte,” provides a more comfortable aligner fit and can induce faster teeth shifts for some people. Byte includes this device in the cost of their aligner bundle.
- The Byte for Life guarantee covers your new smile for a lifetime. Even if your teeth shift years down the road, they will create new aligners to readjust them, as long as you purchase their retainers every six months and wear them as instructed.
- Every Byte customer can receive financing for their aligner treatment, regardless of credit score. Invisalign’s payment plan options vary depending on your dentist.
- Every Byte customer gets a personal customer service advisor who will check in throughout treatment.
- If you’d rather not wear your aligners 22+ hours per day, Byte offers a nighttime-only treatment schedule that only requires ten hours per day.
- Byte recommends virtual check-ins, but doesn’t require them unless you have certain conditions, while Invisalign’s in-person care provides robust oversight.
- Byte doesn’t have any physical locations where you can get your teeth scanned, so you’ll need to take your own dental impressions to get started.
- Unlike Invisalign, Byte is best-suited to correct mild and moderate misalignments, and their treatment plans focus primarily on the front teeth.
Byte - The Bottom Line
If you want to experience your smile transformation ASAP, but don’t want to sacrifice quality treatment or customer service, take a look at Byte.
SmileDirectClub is the largest and most well-known home aligner brand — one of the first ones to hit the market and rival Invisalign. They go above and beyond to provide the most convenient treatment available and have established a strong physical presence with 300+ SmileShops across the country.
SmileDirectClub has transformed over 1.5 million smiles to date, but Invisalign still has more extensive experience and a larger portfolio of results.
- SmileShops allow you to skip the impression kit and get started with your treatment quickly and easily. Plus, they have a network of 1,500+ dentist’s offices where you can start your treatment with a teeth scan.
- SmileDirectClub’s $2,050 price tag is much more affordable than Invisalign.
- Like Byte, they offer Nighttime Aligners, which you’ll only need to wear while you sleep instead of the 22 hours per day required by Invisalign and other aligner brands.
- SmileDirectClub provides financing and payment plans to every customer, no credit check required. Invisalign’s financing plans and requirements can vary depending on your specific provider.
- They offer prorated refunds for unused and unopened aligners at any time during treatment. And afterward, their Lifetime Smile Guarantee covers your smile for life — as long as you purchase new retainers every six months and wear them as advised.
- Similar to other home aligner treatments, SmileDirectClub can’t treat the same scope of conditions that Invisalign can. They’re more limited to mild/moderate cases of crowding and spacing.
- Their support has received a mixed bag of customer feedback over the years. Invisalign allows you to take any questions and concerns directly to your dentist.
- Even though SmileDirectClub’s $2,050 price tag is a lot more affordable than Invisalign, it’s higher than many of their at-home rivals.
SmileDirectClub - The Bottom Line
If you want a home aligner company that offers superior convenience and has a wealth of experience to back it up, consider SmileDirectClub.
NewSmile is one of the youngest companies on the list. It made its debut in Canada in early 2020, then set up its U.S. headquarters shortly after. In those few short years, NewSmile’s low price, remote oversight, interest-free financing, and satisfaction guarantee have already made waves. It has some room for growth but is still a solid option.
- With a $1,495 price tag, NewSmile has one of the lowest sticker prices in the industry. Compared to Invisalign, most patients save a few thousand dollars.
- While many budget-friendly options skip all the extras to keep costs low, NewSmile includes your impression kit, retainers, and whitening kit. That’s a couple of hundred dollars worth of bonus products.
- Most people finish treatment in just 4–6 months. That’s significantly faster than Invisalign.
- NewSmile offers nighttime-only treatment, something Invisalign does not. This means you can wear your aligners for just ten hours a day (mostly while sleeping) instead of 22. It’s more convenient and more discreet than all-day treatment.
- NewSmile doesn’t have retail locations in the U.S. so you can’t get an in-person scan. You’ll have to use their impression kit, which can be a little intimidating at first.
- Since NewSmile is a younger company, they don’t have a lot of reviews. What’s out there is mostly positive, but we’re excited to see more feedback come rolling in.
Home teeth aligners are already fairly affordable, but AlignerCo takes it to the next level. This newcomer boasts the industry’s lowest sticker price and multiple financing plans that can fit various schedules.
AlignerCo doesn’t quite have the same level of convenience as some other providers, but their low price makes up for it.
- AlignerCo’s sticker price is $1,145. That’s hundreds less than any other home aligner company and thousands less than Invisalign.
- They don’t require a credit check for their SmileFlex Easy financing plan, so everyone qualifies (their standard SmileFlex plan requires a soft credit check).
- They frequently run sales and promotions that lower their prices by up to $400.
- AlignerCo’s treatment typically takes 4–6 months, which is fairly average for home aligner companies, but still much faster than Invisalign.
- AlignerCo doesn’t offer in-person dental scans, so you’ll have to get started with an impression kit. (They do have one physical location in Long Island, NY, but they aren’t set up to do dental scans there.)
- They have fewer reviews than larger brands like Byte, Candid, and Invisalign, so it’s difficult to get a reliable gauge of the patient experience.
- While AlignerCo provides remote oversight to keep you on track, it’s not as robust as the regular hands-on care you’ll receive from in-office treatments.
AlignerCo - The Bottom Line
On a tight budget? AlignerCo might not have the pedigree of quality that Byte and SmileDirectClub do, but you can’t beat their low prices.
Special Offer: Get $275 off AlignerCo treatment (Early Black Friday Sale).
Best In-Office Alternatives to Invisalign
Whether you’ve got a complex misalignment or you simply like the reassurance of visiting your dentist, sometimes only hands-on care will do. And Invisalign isn’t the only clear aligner brand that’s administered solely in person. These alternatives are all built on direct oversight from a local dentist and deliver some of the same effectiveness and personalization that has made Invisalign such a popular choice for adults.
Candid straddles the line between at-home and in-office care, requiring at least one office visit with a local dentist and incorporating intensive remote monitoring. Their treatment plans are more comprehensive than at-home clear aligners, and they keep your dentist in the loop throughout the entire process, even recommending additional office visits if any issues arise.
- Candid’s average treatment time is 6–9 months, while Invisalign usually takes 12–24 months.
- At $3,500+, Candid is often less expensive than Invisalign, although it depends on your dentist.
- After the initial office visit, your dentist and Candid’s team monitor your progress remotely — a more streamlined process than Invisalign’s office visits every 4–6 weeks.
- Their CandidMonitoring service allows you to send digital scans of your teeth to your dentist and Candid’s team every 14 days so they can evaluate your progress, assess any issues, and make adjustments if necessary.
- Just like Invisalign, Candid’s treatment plans can move all the teeth in your dental arches, including the molars. This makes Candid a more comprehensive option than their at-home counterparts.
- Although more comprehensive than at-home clear aligners, Candid still can’t treat the same scope of conditions as Invisalign, since their treatment plans don’t incorporate additional attachments or elastics.
- Candid’s track record of success isn’t nearly as long as Invisalign’s, which spans decades.
- Candid has 300+ network providers across the U.S., while Invisalign has more than 40,000.
When it comes to in-office clear aligner options, ClearCorrect is Invisalign’s only direct competitor. Like Invisalign, your dentist will develop and oversee your ClearCorrect treatment, adding attachments and appliances when necessary to correct a wide range of conditions.
Founded in 2006, ClearCorrect isn’t quite as experienced as Invisalign, but they’ve still been delivering quality results for over a decade and offer a comparable experience that can be, in some cases, even more cost-effective.
- ClearCorrect charges dentists/orthodontists less for products and lab fees, and this might lead to lower costs for you as well ($3,000–$6,000 on average).
- ClearCorrect aligners use a thinner plastic than Invisalign, which can make them less visible (but might also affect their durability).
- Like Invisalign, ClearCorrect’s direct dentist oversight allows them to treat a variety of severe conditions, including bite issues like overbite, underbite, etc.
- ClearCorrect offers different treatment options and prices, depending on the severity of your case. So, your treatment plan is more customized than you’d get with an at-home system.
- Invisalign was founded about ten years before ClearCorrect and has a longer history of success.
- ClearCorrect has fewer providers than Invisalign, so it might be harder to find one near you.
SureSmile is one of Invisalign’s oldest competitors, having launched its clear aligners in 2007. It can treat the same scope of misalignments as Invisalign, and the company says that their patients are less likely to need refinements after treatment. Despite this, they boast lower prices and, since they don’t have a specific mandatory scanner, providers can save money and pass those savings on to you.
- SureSmile aims to make treatment affordable. On the low end, treatment costs $2,000 and tops out around $6,000. This means that treatment for mild cases will cost about the same as it would with at-home aligners.
- SureSmile’s planning software gives the doctor a lot of control over even the smallest elements of aligner design. This results in a reduced need for refinements at the end of treatment.
- You can choose from two plans, Complete and Select, to get the option best for your budget. Complete gives you all the aligners you need for three years while Select lets you pay per aligner.
- Your doctor can choose the cut of your aligners based on whether you need more force (straight cut) or more discreet treatment (scalloped cut).
- SureSmile hasn’t been around as long as Invisalign and isn’t as widely available, so you might struggle a bit to find a provider near you.
- The material SureSmile uses is strong, but Invisalign’s SmartTrack is more durable.
3M Clarity Aligners
When we say “orthodontic treatment,” 3M probably isn’t the first name that comes to mind — but maybe it should be. Their Clarity Aligners offers incredible teeth-moving power thanks to their unique attachment placement. Since 3M also makes Clarity Clear Braces, orthodontists can also design a combination treatment that uses them simultaneously with aligners.
- Clarity Aligners aren’t the only ones that use attachments, but they use them uniquely. Sometimes, orthodontists will place them behind your teeth rather than in front, helping to keep your treatment discreet. They can also accommodate multiple attachments per tooth, facilitating more complex movements.
- Most companies use a single type of plastic in their aligners, but 3M Clarity uses two, each with its own unique strengths and applications. Your orthodontist can select one or the other, or alternate between plastics for different stages of treatment.
- The aligners are thinner than most competitor options. This keeps them comfortable and less likely to impact your speech.
- Clarity uses the same planning software for their aligners and their clear braces, allowing for integrated planning of combination treatment — something other companies don’t offer.
- Most Invisalign competitors aim to undercut its high prices. Clarity doesn’t. It has the same average cost as Invisalign: $5,000.
Which Should You Choose?
We realize this is a lot to take in, and it can be difficult to remember the most significant differences between these providers. To sum up the most important points, here’s a breakdown of all the clear aligners we’ve discussed, how much they cost, and what they can treat:
|3M Clarity Aligners||Mild-to-severe cases||$3,000–$8,000|
One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is whether you want to pursue at-home treatment or traditional in-office treatment. In general, we recommend at-home clear aligners if your case isn’t too severe. That way, you can avoid the premium price point that comes with in-person care and complete treatment from the comfort of your home.
However, if your case is too complicated for at-home treatment or you’re simply more comfortable going the traditional route, it’s worth seeking out a dentist who offers ClearCorrect or SureSmile aligners. These brands can be more affordable than Invisalign, and you’ll still get the in-person attention you’re after.
There’s no doubt about it: Invisalign is a great teeth straightening treatment. They have decades of experience, a long line of satisfied customers, and they’re the go-to option for many dentists and orthodontists. But if you’re worried about the investment of time and money, there are plenty of alternatives. It’s important to consider each option through the lens of your own unique goals and priorities.
As you narrow down your shortlist, continue researching these companies and poring over our guides. That way, you’ll have all the information you need to make a well-informed, confident decision.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the cheapest alternative to Invisalign?
Invisalign’s biggest drawback is perhaps its high price. If you’re operating on a budget and looking for the most cost-effective alternative, AlignerCo might be your answer (assuming you’re a candidate for home aligner treatment). Their $1,145 price tag is the lowest available. That said, any home aligner company is going to offer much lower costs than Invisalign. Check out a few options that won’t break the bank in our review of the Most Affordable Clear Aligners.
Which clear aligners are the least noticeable?
This one is tricky, as there’s not a unanimous choice for “least noticeable.” Rather, this category is often defined primarily by personal preferences. Even so, our opinion is that AlignerCo and NewSmile make pretty discreet aligners. Take a look at our review of the Best Looking Clear Aligners for more information.
What is the most convenient alternative to Invisalign?
Because they don’t require any office visits and deliver treatments to your doorstep, at-home aligners tend to be more convenient than in-office options like Invisalign. But among all the home aligner companies, SmileDirectClub stands out for their SmileShop locations and nighttime-only option. In our review of the Most Convenient Clear Aligners, you’ll find a few more companies worth considering.
What’s the difference between Invisalign and home aligners?
The most noticeable difference is each treatment’s office visit requirements. Invisalign is an in-office treatment, which means that it’s administered by a dentist or orthodontist and requires office visits every 4–6 weeks. This also means that Invisalign can treat a wider scope of conditions.
Home aligners, however, ship you all of your aligners at once so that you can administer treatment entirely at home. They’re still designed by licensed dentists, but you don’t need to make office visits for regular check-ins. The trade-off is that home aligners can only correct mild and moderate cases of crowding and spacing.
How do home aligners work?
Using an impression kit, you’ll submit molds of your teeth (or visit a retail location for a teeth scan). The company’s dental team will use these images to develop a series of custom aligners for your teeth, then ship them directly to your home. Over the next several months (six on average), you’ll wear your aligners every day, changing sets when directed, and your teeth will slowly shift into place.
Are financing plans available?
Yes! Many Invisalign providers have their own financing and payment plans, so you’ll want to check with your dentist or orthodontist to see what they offer. Some home aligner companies offer in-house payment plans that don’t require a credit check, while others partner with a third party to provide financing (these typically require a credit check to qualify).
Does insurance cover clear aligner treatment?
It depends on your provider and plan. Providers are more likely to cover an in-office treatment like Invisalign than home aligners since home aligners usually address cosmetic issues.
How much does Invisalign treatment cost?
It’s hard to give a specific number, or even an average, because it’s influenced by several different factors. Usually, Invisalign treatment ranges from $3,000–8,000 and primarily depends on your dentist’s rates and the severity of your condition. For an in-depth look at Invisalign pricing (and to see how much it typically costs in each state) see our True Cost of Invisalign guide.
How long does clear aligner treatment take?
Invisalign and other in-office treatments take 12–18 months on average, although they can be as short as a few months for minor cases. Most at-home aligner companies advertise six-month average treatment times, which is possible because they typically handle milder conditions that don’t take quite as long to correct.
How do I get started with home aligners?
In most cases, you’ll need to complete an at-home impression kit. However, if you go with SmileDirectClub, you can visit one of their “SmileShops” 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.