It’s been more than two decades since Invisalign pioneered the very first clear aligner treatment. Since that groundbreaking innovation in 1997, several companies have arisen as clear aligner challengers — and Candid is one of the most intriguing. But while Invisalign and Candid’s aligners might look similar, their treatment methods are fairly different.
If you’re trying to decide between these two clear aligner brands, you’re in the right place. This review digs into the details of how Invisalign and Candid compare.
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Candid and Invisalign: The Basics
Over two decades ago, a dental device company called Align Technology developed the first clear aligner treatment, Invisalign, which dominated the clear aligner market for nearly ten years. By 2004, they had already transformed 175,000 smiles. And today, Invisalign maintains its position atop the clear aligner industry. They partner with 100,000+ dentists in 90 countries and have straightened over 11 million smiles to date.
Twenty years after Invisalign first put clear aligners on the market, Candid began their clear aligner journey. With a former Lyft executive at the helm, Candid sought to bring the convenience of ride-sharing to orthodontic treatment without sacrificing quality or safety. They designed an at-home aligner system that has, since then, evolved into a unique hybrid of in-person and at-home clear aligner treatment. Today, they’re one of the largest and most well-respected clear aligner producers on the market.
Invisalign can treat just about any misalignment you throw at it, but it also requires regular office visits with your provider throughout the average 12-24-month timeline. While reassuring, these routine office visits can also be inconvenient, especially if your schedule is already packed.
Candid’s model is more streamlined. You’ll get some in-person care from a local provider, but that dentist — in collaboration with Candid’s team — will oversee much of your treatment remotely. The whole process generally takes 6-9 months and costs slightly less too, but it’s designed to correct milder cases than Invisalign as well, so it might not be a viable option for everyone.
If you have specific results in mind, you’ll want a company that can deliver them safely, effectively, and in a timely fashion. Before starting treatment, confirm that the company is capable of treating your specific condition and consider the quality of their aligner material, manufacturer, and design.
Because it’s able to correct even severe conditions and bite misalignments, Invisalign is generally the most effective option available. But Candid is no slouch here. While they can’t treat the same scope of severe conditions, their combination of in-person care and robust remote monitoring give them a clinical leg up on many other clear aligner systems.
- Can treat almost any condition that braces can using orthodontic attachments.
- Office visits provide regular in-person evaluations by a dentist or orthodontist.
- Created by Align Technology, the #1 clear aligner producer.
- Aligners are customized and trimmed in a scalloped fashion to fit the gumline.
- Can treat mild-to-moderate cases of crowding and spacing, and some bite issues.
- Blends in-person care from a local dentist with regular remote oversight via CandidMonitoring.
- Crafted in-house using the high-quality Zendura FLX material.
- Aligners are cut straight across for more power.
What Can They Treat?
Candid is designed to treat mild and moderate cases of crowding and spacing. On their FAQ page, Candid says: “We don’t treat severe alignment and spacing issues, and we can’t offer bite correction.”
Every Candid patient kicks off their treatment by visiting a local dentist who will remain involved throughout the process. After that, the dentist and Candid’s team monitor your progress remotely and make adjustments when necessary. That helps Candid correct a variety of conditions, but there are still some issues that it can’t address. If you have a severe case that includes a bite issue like overbite or underbite, an in-office brand (like Invisalign) might be a better fit.
Invisalign can treat almost any condition that braces can, largely because their providers can incorporate elastics and Invisalign’s proprietary Smartforce attachments — tooth-colored shapes attached to your teeth that help your aligners move them more effectively. That flexibility, combined with in-person oversight over 12-24 months, gives Invisalign an incredibly wide scope of treatment.
Quality materials and trustworthy manufacturing processes are the backbone of effective aligner treatment, unseen but vital. Poor aligner construction can cause them to break, lose shape, and undo your teeth straightening progress. That’s why both Invisalign and Candid use reputable materials and manufacturing practices to create their products.
Invisalign’s parent company, Align Technology, is the largest and most experienced clear aligner producer in the U.S. They’ve been creating high-quality aligners since the 90s, and they’re always finding ways to improve their products. Currently, Align Technology and Invisalign use a patented material called “SmartTrack,” which Invisalign says is specially designed for increased comfort and control.
Candid once partnered with ClearCorrect, Invisalign’s largest competitor, but they’ve since brought their manufacturing in-house, giving them control over the entire design and production process. They use a premium tri-layer plastic called Zendura FLX that prioritizes power and comfort, plus 3D printers that they say perfectly capture all the fine details of teeth scans.
Go with either brand and you can be confident that you’ll receive top-quality, structurally sound aligners.
There are two common methods for trimming aligners. Some companies, like Candid, cut their aligners straight across the top so that they slightly overlap the gums. Others, like Invisalign, scallop them to match your gum line. Typically, straight-cut aligners are more powerful than scalloped ones, as they can leverage the gums to exert more force on your teeth.
However, Invisalign is the exception to this rule. They scallop their aligners, but can also use small attachments that anchor them in place, matching the effectiveness of straight-cut aligners.
Candid has a network of 200+ dentists across the U.S. who can prescribe their aligners, and you’ll need to make an appointment with one to begin your treatment. At this appointment, the dentist will examine your teeth, take X-rays, and submit teeth scans to Candid.
If you proceed with treatment, that dentist will collaborate with Candid to keep you on track as you submit your photos via their CandidMonitoring system every two weeks. Candid is steadily expanding their dental network, but if you don’t live near one of their providers, you’ll likely need to consider other options.
Invisalign can be administered by either a dentist or an orthodontist, and they have around 40,000 providers in the U.S., so it shouldn’t be difficult to find one. You might prefer to go with your usual dentist (if they offer Invisalign) so you can have your teeth straightened at the same office where you get them cleaned. Or, you might decide to get a referral for an orthodontist instead.
Whether your income is budgeted down to the penny, or you’re just an avid bargain hunter, the high price of orthodontic treatment might be off-putting. Clear aligners aren’t cheap — they’re an investment in your smile and confidence.
Because they require so many office visits, Invisalign is often fairly expensive. As a hybrid system that incorporates less face-time with your dentist, Candid is more affordable, although it’s still not cheap, especially when compared to purely at-home clear aligners.
- No set sticker price, average cost is $3,000-8,000.
- Aftercare retainers can cost anywhere from $100-300, depending on the dentist.
- Financing varies depending on your dentist, may require a credit check or down payment.
- Generally costs $3,500+, depending on your dentist.
- Aftercare retainers cost $99.
- Financing plans run through your dentist and may require a credit check or down payment.
Both Candid and Invisalign’s prices are dictated by the dentist you choose, varying based on that provider’s location and rates. But they’re both more expensive than at-home aligner options because you’re not just paying for your aligners — you’re also paying for your dentist’s time.
That said, Candid is usually more affordable, with prices that often hover around $3,500. Invisalign typically runs somewhere between $3,000 and $8,000, depending on the complexity of your case and how many office visits your treatment requires.
What About Insurance?
There’s good news and bad news here. We’ll start with the bad: some insurance companies won’t cover minor orthodontic treatment because they consider it cosmetic rather than medically necessary. The good news is that, depending on your insurance plan, you may receive partial coverage for your aligner costs.
Dental offices can accept insurance payments directly. So with either option, you likely won’t have to submit any extra paperwork. If you have orthodontic benefits, you might be eligible for coverage. The only way to know for sure is to consult your dentist and contact your insurance provider.
Unable to pay thousands of dollars upfront? Not many can, which is why most dental and orthodontic offices offer financing plans.
Candid and Invisalign don’t have overarching financing plans. Because you pay your dentist directly for their aligners, they defer to the plans of each individual provider, so check with your dentist or orthodontist about their payment plan options.
Think about your work, family, and social engagements. If your to-do list is already overwhelming, scheduling office visits every 4-6 weeks might seem intimidating. And when you happen to find a little bit of free time, you might not want to spend it in the patient’s chair.
As services that incorporate in-person care, Candid and Invisalign are both slightly less convenient than at-home aligner brands. But Candid’s streamlined remote monitoring gives them the edge in this head-to-head.
- Requires an in-person consultation with a dentist to get started, including X-rays and photos.
- You’ll schedule office visits every 4-6 weeks so your dentist can monitor your progress and provide new aligner sets.
- Average treatment time is 12-24 months.
- Also requires an office visit to get started.
- After your initial office visit, you’ll submit photos of your teeth via the CandidApp every 14 days.
- Average treatment time is 6-9 months.
Like any big undertaking, the first step can be the hardest. Not only is orthodontic treatment a weighty decision, but the physical act of getting started can also be difficult, especially for at-home services like Byte or SmileDirectClub.
Fortunately, both Invisalign and Candid start their treatments with an office visit. You’ll schedule an appointment with a provider, where they’ll discuss the procedures, examine your teeth, and take X-rays and teeth scans.
Compared to completely remote aligner services, which allow you to make molds of your teeth at home using an impression kit, an in-person consultation might seem inconvenient. But making impressions of your teeth can be difficult, and a professional teeth scan ensures that Candid or Invisalign gets perfect dental images the first time, avoiding the potential frustration of purchasing and mailing out multiple impression kits.
The Office Visit Trade-Off
Here’s the deal: office visits serve an important purpose. They allow your dentist to carefully oversee and modify your treatment, making it more effective. However, they also take time out of your already busy schedule. It seems like we’re always running from one thing to the next, and carving out time for dentist visits isn’t always convenient.
But Candid aims to combine the effectiveness of in-person care with the convenience of at-home aligner plans. After your initial appointment, you’ll complete your treatment remotely, checking in via the CandidApp so that your dentist and Candid’s team can monitor your progress and make adjustments as necessary. And if they spot something that could spell trouble, they could request additional office visits. That’s a more streamlined process than Invisalign’s regular appointments, which require you to travel to and from the office every 4-6 weeks.
How Long Does Treatment Take?
This question is particularly important if you have a tight timeframe. Say your wedding is in eight months, or you have another important event coming up. It’s good to know how long your treatment will take. Treatment time is somewhat dependent on your condition’s severity, but it can also vary between companies.
Candid reports that their average treatment time is around 6-9 months, and Invisalign generally takes 12-24. This doesn’t mean that Invisalign is incapable of shorter turnarounds or that Candid never exceeds nine months. But typically, this is what you can expect. Talk to your dentist or orthodontist to discuss how your unique case might affect this timeline.
When Invisalign first introduced clear aligners, their popularity skyrocketed because they offered a less noticeable alternative to traditional braces. Today, clear aligner companies are still finding ways to make their products less visible and better looking. Although this largely depends on personal tastes, which vary from customer to customer. Invisalign and Candid produce very similar aligners, but there are a couple of small differences that set them apart.
- Uses a frosted, textured plastic that matches your tooth surfaces
- Scallops their aligners to match your gum line
- Reasonably stain resistant
- Supplemental appliances, such as attachments or elastics can make aligners more visible
- Uses a frosted, textured plastic that matches your tooth surfaces
- Uses straight-cut aligners that slightly overlap your gums.
- Reasonably stain resistant
- Attachments are not offered, so aligners stay smooth and less noticeable
Both Invisalign and Candid produce aligners that are frosted and textured in appearance. At first, this may seem counterintuitive, but it actually makes them more natural-looking. Your teeth have tiny pores, which makes their surfaces appear matte, not reflective or shiny. So, translucent, smooth aligners typically don’t match the natural surfaces of your teeth. Textured, frosted aligners, however, mimic your teeth and aren’t artificially reflective.
In the “Effectiveness” section, we discussed how an aligner’s cut can influence its power. But we’re mentioning it here because it can also affect the aligner’s appearance. Even though Candid’s straight-cut design helps to move your teeth more quickly, it may also make them slightly more visible.
Invisalign utilizes a scalloped-cut for their aligners to match the gum line, so there’s no visible overlap with the gums. Invisalign can also incorporate attachments to enhance the aligners’ effectiveness, so it won’t sacrifice the quality of your treatment.
As we mentioned earlier, your dentist can supplement Invisalign treatment with elastics and their proprietary Smartforce attachments. This increases the power of their aligners, making them capable of more complex tooth shifts, but it also makes them more visible.
Candid doesn’t run into the same issue because they don’t use any attachments. They even say that their aligners can achieve similar force, thanks to their aligner cut and precise 3D printing.
Patient Experience Comparison
How does your treatment provider handle questions? What do they do if a problem arises? How far will they go to make sure you get the results you want? All of these things contribute to the overall patient experience. Both Invisalign and Candid offer hands-on care from a dentist and more personalized customer support than at-home clear aligner options.
Invisalign Patient Experience
Candid Patient Experience
- Your dentist’s office functions as your primary customer support contact.
- You have the option of speaking with your dentist in-person.
- Office visits allow your dentist to better keep track of your progress
Refinements don’t typically cost extra with Invisalign treatment.
- Aside from your dentist’s office, they offer numerous support platforms, including video chat and their mobile app.
- Patient support is a high priority, very few negative reviews or complaints.
- Provides check-ins every 14 days via their CandidMonitoring service.
If you go with Invisalign, your dentist’s office will serve as your customer support contact, so you can call, visit or email them during their regular office hours. This is a big advantage because it provides direct access to the person who’s managing your care.
Candid’s patient support is two-fold. Your dentist will provide the service, and you’ll also have near-constant access to the Candid remote care team, who can answer your questions and bring your dentist into the loop if necessary.
CandidMonitoring gives your dentist and Candid’s team the chance to review photos of your teeth every 14 days and address any issues as they arise. If anything comes up between check-ins, the most convenient way to contact their team is via live chat on the CandidApp. However, support representatives are also 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.
As part of their hybrid model, some of Candid’s treatment happens at home. But that doesn’t mean you’re on your own. Using the CandidMonitoring service, you’ll submit photos of your teeth via the CandidApp every 14 days. Both your dentist and Candid’s team will have access to these photos, and they can adjust your treatment and schedule accordingly.
CandidMonitoring is more robust than any at-home aligner treatment, but it’s still not quite the same as regular office visits. Visiting your dentist every 4-6 weeks for Invisalign might not be convenient, but lets them physically assess your smile and have in-person conversations about your questions and concerns. If something seems off or you’re unhappy with your progress, you can make additional appointments for evaluation. Additional office visits are possible with Candid too, but it’s up to your dentist and their team, not you.
Refund & Warranty Policies
If you’re someone who imagines worst-case scenarios, you might be wondering what will happen if your treatment doesn’t go as planned. Let’s say you’re four months in and simply not seeing the progress you expected. Unfortunately, you’re unlikely to get a refund for Candid or Invisalign.
Here’s the good news: since both treatments involve regular oversight and are administered by a dentist, they can make course corrections mid-treatment to help ensure that you stay on track, so most people end up completely satisfied with their smiles. But if something goes wrong or you’re unhappy with your results, any refunds or additional aligners are at the discretion of your dentist.
Occasionally, teeth are just plain stubborn, regardless of oversight or dental expertise. If yours don’t move quite as expected, your Candid or Invisalign provider will likely request additional aligners to finish the job. These aligners may or may not cost extra — it depends on your specific case and your dentist’s policies.
Which Should You Choose?
Once again, both of these companies offer quality, effective clear aligner treatments. Neither one is clearly or inherently better than the other. Rather, each one has its own strengths and each excels in different circumstances. So, your decision should be based on your unique condition, goals, and expectations.
Choose Candid If:
You’re seeking the reassurance and effectiveness that comes from in-person care, paired with the ease of at-home treatment.
Choose Invisalign If:
You’re looking to correct a more severe condition, or if you’re more comfortable receiving consistent one-on-one care from a dentist/orthodontist.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I choose Invisalign or Candid?
It depends. If you have a severe dental or jaw misalignment or you’d rather have regular office visits, Invisalign is probably better. But if you’re looking for a less expensive treatment that blends in-person and at-home care, Candid might be an ideal fit. Keep in mind that Candid can’t treat every case, so your condition might make the decision for you. Take a look at our in-depth reviews on Candid and Invisalign for a lot more info.
How do I get started with Invisalign or Candid?
Both aligner treatments start with an office visit. Schedule an appointment with an Invisalign or Candid provider and they’ll assess your smile, take impressions or scans of your teeth, and get the ball rolling.
How much do Invisalign and Candid cost?
Invisalign’s prices can vary based on numerous factors, like your condition, your location, and your dentist’s rates. But most people end up paying somewhere between $3,000 and $8,000. Candid’s prices vary as well, and can be $3,500 or more, depending on your dentist’s rates.
How long do Invisalign and Candid take?
Your Invisalign or Candid timeline depends on the severity of your condition. But on average, Invisalign takes 12-18 months and Candid takes 6-9 months. The difference stems from the fact that Invisalign typically treats more severe, time-consuming cases. But Candid has also streamlined the process by letting your dentist monitor part of your treatment remotely.
Can I wear my aligners only at night?
Not if you choose Invisalign or Candid. Each of these companies maintains that effective teeth movements require 22+ hours of everyday wear. SmileDirectClub, Byte, AlignerCo, and NewSmile each offer a nighttime-only treatment plan that only requires 10 hours of overnight wear. So, if you don’t want to wear your aligners to work, school, or social engagements, you might check out one of those companies instead.
What conditions can Invisalign and Candid treat?
Invisalign can treat almost any dental or jaw misalignment because it can incorporate supplemental attachments for more power and intricacy. Candid is designed to treat mild and moderate cases of crowding and spacing.
What is the most effective clear aligner company?
Overall, Invisalign is capable of handling the widest range of conditions, making it the most effective treatment. Candid can’t correct quite the same scope of conditions, but their in-person care, remote monitoring, and precise aligner design still make them a highly effective option.
What is the cheapest clear aligner company?
AlignerCo. At just $1,145, their price beats every competitor by a few hundred dollars, and sometimes they run promotions that drop it even lower. And if you can’t pay that up front, you can jump on a financing plan, regardless of your credit score.
Does insurance cover clear aligners?
Sometimes. Most insurance providers don’t cover at-home clear aligners, although some might if you have orthodontic benefits. They’re more likely to cover treatments administered in person by a local dentist like Invisalign or Candid. The only way to find out for sure is to contact your provider.
Do clear aligners hurt?
When you switch to a new aligner set, you might experience some discomfort for the first day or two, but after that, you’ll hardly notice them.