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 around $5,000, which isn’t exactly chump change.
On top of that, COVID-19 has made in-office dental treatment pretty complicated. Whether your dentist is temporarily closed, reducing their hours, or you’re not comfortable leaving the house, straightening your teeth right now might seem impossible. But fortunately, it doesn’t have to be. Today, there are several clear aligner services that don’t require a single trip to the dentist.
We’ve researched all the clear aligners on the market and compiled a list of the six 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 like SmileDirectClub - What's the Difference?
“In-office” clear aligners like Invisalign and “at-home” aligners, such as SmileDirectClub and byte, 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 home aligners are less expensive and offer more convenience. But at the same time, home aligners aren’t as effective for severe cases, because your dentist won’t be able to incorporate elastics or other attachments into your treatment plan.
If you have a mild-to-moderate dental misalignment and aren’t sold on Invisalign treatment, at-home clear aligners could be a game-changer for you. Below, you’ll find some of the best at-home clear aligner services 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 (just 3 months on average). Plus, they do it without sacrificing quality, or customer service.
- 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.
- 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 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: Get 70% off 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. They’re the only home aligner company to offer Remote Monitoring service, so your assigned orthodontist can keep track of your progress throughout the treatment 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.
AlignerCo - The Bottom Line
On a tight budget? AlignerCo might not have the pedigree of quality that byte and Candid do, but you can’t beat their low prices.
Special Offer: Enter "Smile100" as your coupon code for $100 off.
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 $1,950 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.
Best In-Office Alternatives to Invisalign
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.
#6: 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.
So, Which Should I 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:
|Invisalign||Moderate-to-severe cases||$5,000 (average)|
|ClearCorrect||Moderate-to-severe cases||$3,000 (average)|
|Six Month Smiles||Mild-to-moderate cases||$3,500 (average)|
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 Six Month Smiles. These brands can be significantly more affordable than Invisalign, and you’ll still get the in-person attention you’re after.
Our #1-Recommended Invisalign Alternative
byte is the #1 Invisalign alternative we recommend for most users. We think their fast treatment times, fair price point and high-quality customer support make them worth considering for anyone with a mild-to-moderate dental misalignment.
If you decide byte is the best treatment option for you, be sure to take advantage of our exclusive discount by clicking “claim discount” above. They’re offering our readers 70% off the impression kit and $100 off your aligners (for a total savings of $165).
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.
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 at-home clear 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.
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.
Are clear aligner financing plans available?
Yes! Each Invisalign provider has 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).
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.
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 Invisalign 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 home aligner companies advertise 6-month average treatment times, which is possible because they typically handle milder conditions that don’t take quite as long to correct. The industry’s fastest treatment, byte, takes just 3 months on average.
How do I get started with home aligners?
You’ll need to order an impression kit and create molds of your teeth, then send them to your company of choice. If you go with Candid or SmileDirectClub, you can visit one of their physical locations for a free teeth scan, which replaces the impression kit process.
Is at-home teeth straightening 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.