Invisalign can treat a wide variety of dental conditions, including severe cases of crowding and bite issues like overbite. But every treatment option has a downside, and Invisalign is no exception.
To start, it’s expensive. Invisalign typically costs around $5,000, which can seem insurmountable, especially if you’re already on a tight budget. It also requires a significant investment of time, since treatment takes a while and you’ll need to make time for office visits on a regular basis.
If you’re looking to transform your smile but aren’t sure about Invisalign, you’re in luck. We’ve researched the best alternatives to Invisalign on the market today and compiled a list of the seven best. Read on as we dive into the pros and cons of each and explain how they compare to Invisalign!
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Invisalign vs. At-Home Aligners like SmileDirectClub
Invisalign and home teeth aligners like byte or Candid 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 aligners are applied completely from your own home, no office visits required. This means that home aligners are less expensive and offer more convenience. But at the same time, they’re not quite as effective as Invisalign, which can incorporate additional attachments to treat more severe cases.
If you have a milder case of crowding or spacing and aren’t sold on Invisalign treatment, however, home aligners can be a game-changer. Below, you’ll find some of the best home aligner options available.
Best At-Home Alternatives to Invisalign
byte might be young, but in their short lifetime, they’ve achieved incredible effectiveness and convenience, skyrocketing to the top spot in our home aligner rankings. Through technological and procedural innovation, they deliver faster treatment times than any other aligner company. And they do it without sacrificing quality, working with a network of entirely orthodontists. Like Invisalign, they’re always looking for ways to better craft and develop your aligners. But like other home aligner companies, they do so for a lower cost and with faster treatment times.
- byte’s 3-month treatment time is around half that of other home aligner companies and nearly a quarter of Invisalign’s average 12-month window.
- With the byte-for-life guarantee, your smile is covered for a lifetime. Even if your teeth shift years down the road, they will create new aligners to readjust them.
- Every byte customer can receive financing for their aligner treatment, regardless of credit score. Invisalign’s payment plan options vary depending on your dentist.
- byte works exclusively with orthodontists to create and oversee your treatment.
- If you’d rather not wear your aligners 22+ hours per day, byte offers a nighttime-only treatment schedule that only requires 10 hours per day.
- byte just started selling aligners in 2018, so they have a fairly short track record of results and lack Invisalign’s extensive experience.
- They don’t offer any physical locations, so you’ll need to take impressions of your teeth on your own, which can sometimes be difficult.
- Invisalign can treat a wider scope of conditions than byte, including bite issues.
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.
Special Offer: 70% off byte impression Kit + $100 off aligners
In general, at-home aligners don’t measure up to Invisalign’s next-level power and finesse, but among home aligner companies, Candid is one of the most effective. They’re dedicated to delivering top-quality products and safe, efficient treatment. Candid actually partners with Invisalign’s biggest competitor, ClearCorrect (more on them below) to manufacture their aligners, so you’ll know you’re getting a trustworthy product. And they’re the only home aligner company to offer Remote Monitoring service, so your assigned orthodontist can keep track of your progress throughout the process.
- Candid’s treatment time is 6 months on average, while Invisalign often takes around 12 months.
- At $2,400, Candid costs much less than Invisalign, which will often run you $3,000 – $8,000.
- Candid works exclusively with orthodontists to create your treatment plan, something not all home aligner companies do.
- Their Remote Monitoring service provides digital check-ins every 7-10 days with your assigned orthodontist throughout treatment.
- Candid aligners are produced by ClearCorrect, so they’re comparable to Invisalign in structural quality.
- While effective among other home aligner companies, Candid isn’t able to treat severe conditions like Invisalign can.
- They might be the second-largest home aligner company, but Candid is still relatively young, especially compared to Invisalign, so they don’t have nearly as much experience.
- While Candid is cheaper than Invisalign, they’re more expensive than other home aligner companies, and their financing plans require a credit check to qualify.
Candid - The Bottom Line
If you’re committed to home aligner treatment, you’d be hard-pressed to find a company that’s more devoted to delivering high-quality products and consistent results than Candid.
Special Offer: 50% off the purchase of your Candid Starter Kit
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 to that can fit various schedules.
AlignerCo doesn’t quite have the same level of convenience as some other providers, but their low price more than 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).
- Even though their customer service is entirely remote, customers praise AlignerCo’s responsive and personalized support.
- AlignerCo’s treatment typically takes 6-11 months, which is slightly slower than other home aligner companies, but still faster than Invisalign.
- AlignerCo doesn’t currently have any physical locations like Candid or SmileDirectClub, so you’ll need to take your 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.
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 crafted 750,000 beautiful 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.
- SmileDirectClub’s $1,895 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.
- 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.
- SmileDirectClub’s network consists of licensed dental professionals, but there’s no guarantee that they’re orthodontists.
- Their customer support has received some negative feedback over the years. Invisalign allows you to take any questions and concerns directly to your dentist.
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, take a look at SmileDirectClub.
Special Offer: $29 Impression Kit
Best In-Office Alternatives to Invisalign
#1: Invisalign Express
In 2012, Invisalign introduced their Express option to provide a less-intensive alternative for patients with milder conditions, primarily confined to the front six top and bottom teeth. Invisalign Express still requires office visits, but the treatment time is generally much shorter than standard Invisalign, usually just a few months.
There are three different Express options: Invisalign Express 5, Invisalign Express 10, and Invisalign i7. Depending on the severity of your condition, these options deliver 5, 10, or 7 aligners, respectively.
- Often between $1,500 and $4,000, Invisalign Express is typically less expensive than standard Invisalign.
- Express treatment is just a few months, generally much shorter than Invisalign’s regular 12-18 month time frame.
- Combines face-to-face dentist/orthodontist care with the speed and affordability of home aligner treatment.
- Invisalign Express is limited to correcting milder crowding and spacing issues in the front six teeth and can’t address bite misalignments.
- Due to its short time frame, Express can’t often incorporate appliances like elastics or expanders.
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 ($2,500 – $5,000 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 was founded nine years after Invisalign, so they don’t have the same track record of experience.
- ClearCorrect aligners use the same plastic that Invisalign used for years. But Invisalign has since moved on to new materials that are arguably more effective and durable.
#3: Six Month Smiles
If you take the home aligner timeframe and combine it with and in-office brand’s dentist interaction, you get Six Month Smiles. Like Invisalign, Six Month Smiles aligners are administered by a dentist and require regular office visits. But like home aligners, the overall treatment time is shorter, just 6 months on average.
They started out selling clear braces, but Six Month Smiles now offers clear aligners as well. This can be a great option for individuals who want to correct minor alignment issues quickly and with face-to-face dentist care.
Six Month Smiles Pros
- The 6-month average timeframe is shorter than typical Invisalign treatment, which often takes 12 months.
- Because they take less time, Six Month Smiles treatments require fewer office visits, so they can sometimes cost less than Invisalign.
- Six Month Smiles offer clear aligners and clear braces, so your dentist can choose the option that’s best for your specific condition.
Six Month Smiles Cons
- Given their shorter treatment time, Six Month Smiles is not designed to treat severe cases of tooth and jaw misalignment (like overbite, underbite, etc.). It’s more effective in treating milder cases of crowding and spacing, like home aligner systems.
- Even though they can be more affordable than Invisalign, Six Month Smiles aligners are still more expensive than home aligners while offering very similar results.
How Should I Evaluate My Options?
The first thing you’ll want to do is decide whether you prefer an in-office or at-home treatment. To do so, you should consider the severity of your condition and your smile goals. What’s your ideal timeline? What’s your budget? How does each fit with your lifestyle? After that, you can start comparing the particular advantages and drawbacks of individual companies.
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 these aspects, 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 along with an overall ranking of our top 7 picks.
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 monetary and/or time investment, 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 work the fastest?
byte’s 3-month average treatment time is unmatched in the clear aligner industry. It takes around half the time of other home aligner companies and a quarter of Invisalign’s typical 12-month window. That said, other home aligner companies still offer fast treatments compared to Invisalign, although their treatment time is usually around 6 months.
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 Candid makes the best looking aligners out there, and byte, SmileDirectClub, and AlignerCo also provide good options. 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.