Finances have always been an obstacle for adults seeking straighter smiles. Traditional treatments like braces and Invisalign are expensive, 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.
There’s a lot to consider — like sticker prices, financing plans, and a variety of home aligner brands. To keep things concise, we’ve created a shortlist of the top three most affordable treatments. However, if you want a broad view of all your clear aligner options, we encourage you to read on as we discuss what other providers have to offer.
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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 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 eliminating all the in-person attention from a dentist, these treatments cut costs while freeing up your schedule.
The Three 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, accessible options. These three stand out from the crowd.
1st Place: AlignerCo
When it comes to sticker prices, there’s no contest — AlignerCo has the absolute lowest on the market. Since their debut in 2019, AlignerCo has aimed to provide more affordability and accessibility than the competition, and they’ve succeeded. Over the past few years, their low prices have made them one of the industry’s most intriguing options.
- AlignerCo’s $995 sticker price is hundreds less than many of their competitors.
- To make payments more manageable, AlignerCo offers two different financing plans. SmileFlex requires a soft credit check but no down payment, while SmileFlex Easy requires a $595 down payment but no credit check.
- Your impression kit and your 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.
- AlignerCo occasionally offers discounts that drop their amazing price even lower.
- Their nighttime aligners require only ten hours of wear per day if you want to keep an even lower profile with your treatment.
- Their Smile Protection Plan provides eight aftercare retainers for $680 ($549 on sale), which is a lower per-retainer price than their competitors.
- AlignerCo doesn’t have any retail locations where you can get a free teeth scan to start your treatment, so you’ll need to order an impression kit.
- Even though AlignerCo lets you apply for a refinement at the end of treatment (as long as you’ve followed your treatment plan), you might have to pay $200 extra for it.
AlignerCo - The Bottom Line
AlignerCo might not offer refunds or returns after you’ve placed your order, but they have what many customers think is even better: exceptionally low prices. If saving money is your priority, give them a look.
Special Offer: Get $50 off AlignerCo treatment
2nd Place: NewSmile
NewSmile just started selling clear aligners on a wide scale in 2020, but this Canada-based company is already receiving a lot of attention. Thanks to their impressive pricing model, flexible wear schedules, remote oversight, and plenty of free bonus features, NewSmile is well worth a close look for anyone who wants to straighten their smile on a budget.
- With a price point of $1,595, NewSmile’s price is lower than many competitors.
- NewSmile includes your impression kit, one set of aftercare retainers, and a free whitening kit at no extra charge, giving you a ton of bang for your buck.
- Like AlignerCo, NewSmile sometimes runs sales that can take hundreds off the price of your aligners.
- NewSmile claims their average treatment plan lasts 4–6 months.
- If you don’t want to wear your aligners for 22 hours per day, NewSmile offers a nighttime-only plan that only requires ten hours of daily wear.
- While some of their competitors offer the option to get your teeth professionally scanned at a retail location, NewSmile requires you to create molds of your teeth at home using an impression kit.
- Though NewSmile includes one set of aftercare retainers in treatment, you’ll pay $149 per set after that, a higher price than some competitors. You should replace your retainers around every six months, so this will be a recurring expense.
NewSmile - The Bottom Line
While NewSmile’s sticker price isn’t as low as AlignerCo’s, they still provide a ton of value by including your impression kit, one set of retainers, and a free whitening kit. A reliable treatment with solid oversight and customer service, NewSmile is an awfully intriguing option.
Special Offer: Receive a $100 Visa gift card when you purchase NewSmile aligners.
3rd Place: Byte
Byte is one of the most popular, well-established clear aligner providers, one that offers a stellar customer experience, innovative technology, and efficient advertised treatment times. While their $1,999 sticker price isn’t anything special, Byte makes up for it with financing and warranty perks that are hard to pass up.
- Like AlignerCo, Byte approves every customer for financing. They have an in-house program called BytePay that guarantees payment plan enrollment, regardless of credit score.
- 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! To remain eligible, you must purchase new retainers around every six months and wear them diligently.
- Byte includes one set of aftercare retainers in its upfront cost, as well as the HyperByte device, which costs $699 on its own.
- If you have insurance coverage, Byte assigns you a dedicated insurance specialist to help you through the reimbursement process.
- Their $1,999 upfront cost is higher than AlignerCo and NewSmile’s sticker prices.
- Byte doesn’t offer refunds after you start treatment, but if your teeth don’t progress as expected, their dentists and 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 base your decision 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.
Founded in 2014, SmileDirectClub is a pioneer of the at-home aligner revolution, and they’ve remained firmly entrenched in the market. To date, they’ve effectively transformed more than 1.5 million smiles, making them by far the most experienced company we’ve reviewed. Cost-wise, their $2,050 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.
Candid once offered an at-home clear aligner service, but has since transitioned to a hybrid at-home and in-office treatment that’s administered by a local dentist and involves robust remote oversight. After starting the process by visiting one of their 300+ dentist partners, you’ll complete photo check-ins every 14 days via their CandidApp — an intensive yet streamlined system for remote monitoring. Your dentist will set the rate for Candid treatment, but because you’re receiving in-person care and consistent oversight, it will typically cost $3,500+.
ClearCorrect is an in-office option that might be less expensive than the industry giant, Invisalign. They say 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 — typically around $3,500–$5,000. 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.
SureSmile is one of the oldest clear aligner companies on the market. They got their start making intuitive archwires for lingual braces before releasing aligners in 2007. They come with the same in-person care from a dentist as Invisalign, but their aligners often cost slightly less. Plus, they give dentists more ways to customize your treatment, and they don’t force doctors to use a specific intraoral scanner, making their treatment more accessible.
3M Clarity Aligners
When we say “orthodontics,” 3M probably isn’t the first name that comes to mind — but maybe it should be. Another in-office option, Clarity Aligners offer incredible teeth-moving power thanks to their unique attachment placement. And because they also produce Clarity Clear Braces, they can offer combination treatment for the limited number of cases their aligners cannot address on their own. They’re one of the priciest options on the market, but many customers think their superior effectiveness is worth it.
Six Month Smiles
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 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, it might be worth the cost.
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. Even so, it typically costs $3,500–$5,000. 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.
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. The company that popularized 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 often runs from $3,000 to $8,000 depending on your case and dentist, although many people think that the company’s reputation and innovation, plus the in-person care from a dentist, 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 remember that not all clear aligners are equal, so it’s important to consider a few 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? Besides affordability, we recommend considering four other factors:
- Customer support
Our comprehensive comparison takes all 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, 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!
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