Cost has 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 options. To keep things concise, we’ve created a shortlist of the top 3 most affordable options. 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 (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.
1st Place: AlignerCo
When it comes to sticker prices, there’s no contest – AlignerCo has the absolute lowest price tag on the market. Since their debut in 2019, AlignerCo’s goal has been providing more affordability and accessibility than the competition, and they’ve certainly succeeded. They might be young, but they’re already drawing a lot of attention from their impressive prices.
- AlignerCo’s $1,145 sticker price is several hundred dollars lower than the industry average.
- To make payments more manageable, AlignerCo offers two different financing plans. SmileFlex requires a soft credit check but no downpayment, while SmileFlexEasy requires a $275 downpayment 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.
- AlignerCo doesn’t include free whitening in its treatment cost like other companies, but this is one of the reasons they can offer such low prices.
- There aren’t any refunds or warranties, but AlignerCo lets you apply for a refinement if you aren’t completely satisfied (as long as you followed your treatment plan).
2nd Place: byte
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.
- 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. They also offer options through Affirm and payment plans through Splitit, so you can choose the option that works best for you.
- 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 AlignerCo, byte includes retainers in its upfront cost. Plus, they include 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 $1,895 upfront cost is slightly higher than AlignerCo and SnapCorrect’s sticker prices.
- 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.
3rd Place: SnapCorrect
SnapCorrect beats every company we reviewed on sticker prices except for AlignerCo. 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 second only to AlignerCo.
- Like AlignerCo, SnapCorrect includes retainers in their upfront price. These retainers would otherwise cost $90+ after treatment ends.
- SnapCorrect doesn’t include your impression kit in the initial cost like AlignerCo 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 offers financing options through a third-party company called 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.
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 $2,400 starting cost is higher, 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. Plus, their unique Remote Monitoring gives you digital check-ins with your orthodontist every step of the way. There’s a reason why they took the #2 spot on our list of the top 5 at-home aligner companies. 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 $1,895 price tag is fairly standard and like byte, they offer guaranteed financing without a credit check. Plus, their 250+ 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, $3,500 – $5,000 on average. 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!