Cost has always been an obstacle for adults seeking straighter smiles. Traditional treatments like braces and Invisalign are a considerable expense, and dental insurance doesn’t always cover cosmetic corrections. But the rise of at-home clear aligner systems with flexible financing options has changed the game, making treatment much more affordable and accessible.
If you’ve already done some research on home teeth aligners, you may have noticed some variation in sticker price from provider to provider. This upfront cost is important, but there are multiple aspects to consider beyond the initial price, like what that cost includes, financing options, refund policies, and more.
Since there’s so many clear aligners on the market today, to keep things concise we’ve created a shortlist of the top 3 most affordable options available. However, if you want a broad view of all your clear aligner options, we encourage you to read on as we discuss what the other providers have to offer (and why they didn’t make the top 3).
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What Makes Home Teeth Aligners So Affordable?
Consider the process involved in traditional orthodontic treatment (such as Invisalign or braces). A dentist personally inspects your teeth, then customizes your treatment plan, then applies the prescribed dental appliances on your behalf. Every month after that, you schedule an appointment and go into the office so your provider can monitor your progress and make adjustments accordingly. That’s a lot of one-on-one office care — and it can get quite expensive.
Home teeth alignment programs, on the other hand, are developed remotely by a licensed dentist or orthodontist and shipped directly to your home. By opting out of monthly in-person attention from a dentist, you can cut costs while freeing up your schedule.
The 3 Most Affordable Clear Aligners
Home aligners offer impressive smile transformations for close to half the cost of more traditional treatments, making them an attractive option for many adults. But within the home aligner industry, you’ll notice that certain companies go above and beyond to offer affordable, widely-accessible options. These three, in particular, stand out from the crowd.
$1,495 - $1,895
At first glance, Smilelove might look similarly-priced to its competitors. After all, its sticker cost is $1895, exactly the same as byte and close to SmileDirectClub. But here’s the secret: Smilelove continually offers promotions and coupons that can significantly lower the overall cost. This relative newcomer really knows how to sweeten the deal.
- Smilelove runs consistent promotions to bring their actual price down $200-$400 below the industry average.
- While most clear aligners have some type of refund policy, Smilelove is the only one that offers prorated refunds for unused aligners if you’re dissatisfied with your progress.
- Your impression kit and first set of retainers are included in the initial cost. Other companies charge $80-100 for impression kits and upsell retainers at the end of your treatment for $90 or more.
- Smilelove offers financing options through a third party called Affirm, but they require a credit check, which could prohibit individuals with low credit scores from qualifying.
Smilelove - The Bottom Line
While it would be nice if they didn’t require financing credit checks, Smilelove has everything else you could want from a clear aligner company in terms of affordability. Check them out if you’re looking for a low startup cost.
Special Offer: $300 off + free whitening kit
Not including Smilelove’s promotion-altered prices, SnapCorrect offers the lowest initial cost of all the companies we reviewed. This makes treatment accessible for a wide range of potential customers, and they offer flexible financing if you qualify.
- At $1,749, SnapCorrect’s initial price is lowest out there, aside from Smilelove’s promotional prices.
- Like Smilelove, SnapCorrect includes retainers in their upfront price. These retainers would otherwise cost at least $90 after treatment ends.
- SnapCorrect doesn’t include your impression kit in the initial cost like Smilelove does, but their kit is only $49. Most competitors charge around $80-100.
- Included with your treatment is free whitening gel for life, so you can keep that smile shining forever!
- SnapCorrect also offers financing options through Affirm, which means that you will need to pass a credit check to qualify.
- After signing their Consent to Treat form, SnapCorrect does not offer refunds on your aligners. They will, of course, replace any that have manufacturing defects.
Byte is a rising star in the clear aligner space, offering fast treatment times and solid effectiveness through innovative technology. While their sticker price ($1,895) isn’t anything special, byte makes up for it with financing and warranty perks that are hard to pass up.
- Other companies (Smilelove and SnapCorrect included) offer financing through Affirm and require credit checks. However, byte has its own program called BytePay that guarantees financing for all customers, regardless of credit score. They also offer options through Affirm and payment plans through Splitit.
- Byte guarantees your new smile for life. So, if your teeth shift years down the road, they’ll send new aligners to correct it, free of charge!
- Like the top two companies here, byte includes retainers in its upfront cost.
- If you have insurance coverage, byte assigns you a dedicated insurance specialist to help you through the reimbursement process.
- Their $1,895 upfront cost is higher than SnapCorrect and Smilelove.
- Byte doesn’t offer refunds after you start treatment, but if your teeth don’t progress as expected, their orthodontists will work with you to adjust your plan for no extra cost.
Other Clear Aligners Worth Considering
When you’re operating on a strict budget, it can be hard to look past sticker prices. The good news is that all home aligner options are fairly affordable, and in-office options can be as well, depending on your case and dentist. That said, you shouldn’t make a decision based on price alone. Just because a company’s costs are slightly higher doesn’t mean they won’t be a good fit for you.
Below are a few other clear aligner providers that might not offer the absolute lowest prices, but we think are still worth considering because of their other unique advantages.
Candid: Their starting cost is slightly higher ($1,900), but in return, Candid offers a top-quality product and premium customer service. Their network consists of only specialized orthodontists instead of generalized dental professionals, and they partner with established manufacturer ClearCorrect to deliver consistent, reliable products. There’s a reason why they took the #1 spot on our list of the top 5 at-home aligner companies. Plus, when you consider that Candid includes retainers in the initial price, their overall cost isn’t much higher than the alternatives. If quality and effectiveness are your priorities, include Candid in your potential options.
SmileDirectClub: Founded in 2014, SmileDirectClub is one of the originators of the at-home aligner revolution, and they’ve remained firmly entrenched in the market. To date, they’ve effectively transformed 700,000 smiles, making them by far the most experienced company we’ve reviewed. Cost-wise, their $1,850 price tag is fairly standard and like byte, they offer guaranteed financing without a credit check. Plus, their 300+ brick and mortar locations where customers receive free tooth scans make it incredibly easy to get started.
Six Month Smiles Clear Aligners: Maybe you like home aligners’ average six-month timeframe, but would rather have your treatment administered in person. Enter Six Month Smiles. As the name suggests, these aligners deliver results in six months. Plus, as an in-office option, they include one-on-one care from your dentist. However, office visits aren’t always cheap, so Six Month Smiles is a bit pricier than at-home aligner options, often between $3,500 and $5,000. But if you’re looking for a treatment that offers the best of both worlds, you might deem it worth the cost.
ClearCorrect: The second-largest clear aligner producer, ClearCorrect is a younger in-office option that might be less expensive than the industry giant, Invisalign. ClearCorrect claims that they charge dentists less for aligner products and lab fees and your dentist might pass these savings along to you by charging less for your treatment. As an in-office option, dentists can pair these aligners with additional appliances to more effectively treat severe cases of crowding and spacing, as well as bite issues.
Invisalign: On average, Invisalign is the most expensive option listed here (although it depends on your unique condition and dentist). But it’s also the most well-established and reputable. Creator of the clear aligner, Invisalign has over 20 years of successful smile transformations under its belt. Like other in-office options, Invisalign is more effective at treating intensive cases of tooth and jaw misalignments. It runs from $3,500 to $8,000 depending on your case and dentist, although many people think that the company’s reputation, innovation, and a dentist’s personal care are well worth it.
What Other Factors Should I Consider?
If you’re someone who keeps a watchful eye on your budget, carefully monitoring your expenses and planning for future payments, your eyes might continually gravitate toward a company’s price tag. But keep in mind that not all clear aligners are equal, so it’s important to consider a number of factors as you make your decision.
For example, one company might have a low initial cost, but does their treatment timeframe match your goals? Another might have a great refund policy, but is it a lot less convenient to get started? In addition to affordability, we recommend considering four other factors:
- Customer support
Our comprehensive comparison takes all of the above criteria into account. We understand that this is a deeply personal decision, and you may weigh certain aspects differently based on your particular circumstances. Just try not to get tunnel vision on a single aspect and block out all the others, or you could be in for some unwelcome surprises come treatment time!
It might feel overwhelming to see so many treatment options laid out, but fortunately, narrowing them down is fairly simple once you have all the necessary information. If you’re sticking to a firm budget, keep in mind that at-home aligner systems will generally be more affordable than in-office options like Invisalign.
That said, when it comes to choosing a treatment option, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Sure, cost is a major factor, but there are other things to keep in mind as well. We encourage you to consider all the criteria we’ve outlined in this guide. That way you’ll be able to proceed into treatment confident that it will deliver the results you’ve always wanted!