When Invisalign first hit the orthodontic scene over 20 years ago, people were skeptical about its ability to match the effectiveness of traditional braces. But over the years, those skeptics have fallen by the wayside. Clear aligners have proven to be an effective, reliable treatment option for a range of dental conditions.
Today, you’ve got a broad selection of different clear aligner brands to choose from — but not all clear aligners are equal. Some simply deliver more powerful, safe, and consistent treatment. We’ve saved you the time of poring over company websites and customer reviews by compiling our picks for the most effective clear aligner brands.
Table of Contents
The 5 Most Effective Clear Aligners
It’s difficult to name a single “most effective” clear aligner brand because everyone’s smile is different, and what works best for you might be different from what’s effective for someone else. That said, certain brands have proven to be more powerful and versatile than others, and those are the options that made our list. Without further delay, here are the five most effective clear aligners available today.
3M Clarity Aligners — Widest Treatment Scope
We all know 3M — most of us have at least a handful of their products in our home right now. But it might surprise you that, besides Post-Its and no-nail wall hooks, they also offer clear aligners. 3M Clarity Aligners aren’t some Invisalign knock-off; they can treat a wider range of conditions than any other clear aligner producer. They also have speedy production, broad availability, and a lot of flexibility in their treatment planning.
- Although 3M Clarity Aligners are only available through orthodontists, they are one of the most widely available in-office aligner options available, so it shouldn’t be hard to find a provider near you.
- With Clarity, your orthodontist can apply more than one attachment per tooth, which gives the aligners extra grip to make more complex movements than the competition.
- 3M cuts their aligners straight across the top, so they can grip the gums to exert more force than aligners that are trimmed to match your gumline.
- Most companies use one type of plastic in their aligners, but Clarity uses two, each with unique strengths and applications. Your orthodontist can switch between them based on the particular movements they want each aligner to achieve.
- Clarity Aligners and Clarity Clear Braces use the same treatment planning software. If you need combination treatment (aligners and braces), this makes designing your plan much easier than using products from two different companies.
- While most aligner companies distinguish themselves from Invisalign through lower prices, Clarity is similar to Invisalign in cost. They offer a lot for the money, but the price won’t be ideal for most budget-conscious patients.
- One of their aligner materials (3M Clarity Aligners “Flex”) has only been in use since 2021, so there isn’t much data on how effective it is.
ClearCorrect – Flexible Plans
Even though it hasn’t been around as long as Invisalign, ClearCorrect still boasts a strong track record of results. They offer more treatment plans than any other company — including an Unlimited plan, a Flex plan that charges per aligner, and a few different limited plans for milder cases. Plus, they ensure highly effective treatment via premium materials, attachments, and hands-on oversight throughout treatment.
- ClearCorrect’s in-office application allows for the addition of “engagers” — tiny attachments that assist with complex tooth movements, similar to Invisalign’s Smartforce attachments. This means that ClearCorrect can treat even severe dental and jaw misalignments.
- ClearCorrect patients visit their provider regularly, providing robust oversight and giving the dentist or orthodontist the chance to make adjustments if necessary, keeping treatment on track.
- ClearCorrect crafts their aligners from a premium tri-layer plastic called ClearQuartz, which they say is more durable and comfortable than other dental plastics.
- They offer multiple treatment models — including a few with a fixed number of aligners and one where you pay per aligner — which can save you money if you have a mild misalignment.
- ClearCorrect charges dentists less for their aligners and lab fees than Invisalign, encouraging dentists to pass along these savings to their patients.
- ClearCorrect cuts their aligners straight along the edge, so they slightly overlap the gums. This allows them to leverage the gums to exert more force on your teeth.
- Even though it can be less expensive than Invisalign, at $2,000–$6,000, ClearCorrect can still be pricier than some other options on this list.
- ClearCorrect doesn’t have as much experience or as many providers as Invisalign.
SureSmile — Most Customization
Like ClearCorrect, SureSmile is one of the oldest Invisalign competitors, having launched its clear aligners in 2007. The company is known for its highly customized treatment plans, giving your doctor significant control over the shape and cut of your aligners. And according to their studies, SureSmile treatment is less likely to require refinements than other brands.
- SureSmile isn’t the cheapest clear aligner company, but it is on the more affordable end for in-office brands. If you don’t have orthodontic benefits, these prices can be a real lifesaver.
- SureSmile claims that its treatment planning ensures more accurate results, resulting in a reduced need for refinements when compared to other brands.
- They have two different treatment plans: Complete and Select. Complete gives you all the aligners you need for several years (great for complex cases) and Select lets you pay per aligner (best for smaller corrections).
- Your doctor can choose the cut of your aligners, letting them use a straight cut if your misalignment requires more power or a scalloped one if a discreet appearance is your priority.
- SureSmile isn’t as widely available as some of their competitors, so you might struggle to find a provider.
- Not everyone is a fan of SureSmile’s plastic. Some dentists say it’s weaker than Invisalign’s SmartTrack plastic.
- Their pricing models are somewhat limited, especially when compared to ClearCorrect.
Invisalign – Biggest Brand
Is it any surprise to find the clear aligner originator on this list? Not only has Invisalign been transforming smiles for 20+ years, but they’ve developed innovations over that time to increase the effectiveness of their aligners, allowing them to treat a broad spectrum of conditions and severities.
- As the longest-standing clear aligner company, Invisalign has had over two decades of experience refining their products and methods.
- Regular office visits allow your dentist to evaluate your treatment’s effectiveness and make adjustments as needed.
- Invisalign lets doctors use “Smartforce” attachments to induce complex movements, sometimes applying two attachments on the same tooth to make more significant shifts.
- Invisalign claims that research shows their aligner material, SmartTrack, can facilitate more controlled, predictable tooth movements.
- Invisalign has more providers nationwide than any other clear aligner provider, so it shouldn’t be hard to find one.
- Invisalign doesn’t have multiple pricing models like ClearCorrect or SureSmile.
- Invisalign often costs $5,000 or more, which makes it much more expensive than some other options.
Candid – Most Convenient
Candid treatment involves in-office care from a local dentist, bolstered by virtual check-ins throughout the process. By providing robust clinical oversight, plans that can move your entire dental arches (rather than just the front six teeth), and the expertise of a local dentist behind each case, they’ve developed an exceptionally effective hybrid clear aligner treatment.
- Candid requires every patient to begin their treatment by visiting a local dentist, who will collaborate with their clinical team every step of the way.
- Like comprehensive in-office treatments, Candid can straighten all your teeth, including the molars, which creates the space necessary to shift the front teeth without causing bite complications.
- The CandidMonitoring system allows you to send photos of your teeth to your dentist and the Candid team via their mobile app, so they can evaluate your progress every step of the way. This makes Candid treatment much more convenient and streamlined than strictly in-office options, which don’t incorporate remote monitoring into their design.
- Candid’s remote check-ins are every two weeks, so dental experts will have their eyes on your smile more frequently than other in-office options, which require appointments every 4–6 weeks.
- Candid cuts their aligners straight across, not scalloped to match the gumline, which allows them to apply more force.
- Candid’s hybrid model can only treat mild and moderate misalignments, so they can’t correct the same scope of conditions as fully in-office treatments.
- Because their treatment incorporates in-office elements and involves a local dentist, it’s usually $3,500+, which is an investment. However, it’s still often less expensive than Invisalign.
- Candid’s hybrid treatment is still fairly new, so you might struggle to find a provider near you. However, they’re constantly expanding their network.
Other Clear Aligners Worth Considering
While our top five choices truly stand out in their effectiveness, they aren’t the only treatments that can yield impressive results. Other companies might not have made our shortlist, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore them. At-home clear aligners, for example, eliminate office visits completely to deliver a more convenient and affordable experience. While they can’t treat severe conditions, they’re a great option for anyone looking to make cosmetic corrections entirely from home.
Below are a few at-home and in-office options that didn’t make our top five, but that we think you might still want to consider.
Byte is one of the most established and well-known at-home clear aligner brands on the market. Through the use of innovative technology, their treatment can deliver exceptionally efficient results, with an average treatment plan length of just 4–5 months.
On top of that, they use a technology called “Smile Science” that considers your entire facial structure when designing your aligner plan, and they guarantee your results for life, as long as you continue to purchase and use their retainers as directed. Bring it all together and you’ve got highly effective treatment, entirely from home.
Founded in 2014, SmileDirectClub is a pioneer in 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 the most experienced at-home clear aligner brand.
SmileDirectClub’s remote monitoring service isn’t as robust as Candid’s, and in the past, some reviewers have reported disappointment with their customer support (although they’ve made some major strides on that front). Still, you can’t deny their experience, and with their 300+ physical locations nationwide, SmileDirectClub has a lot to offer.
One of the most affordable options in at-home aligners, NewSmile offers treatment for just $1,495, and that price includes their impression kit, whitening products, and one set of aftercare retainers. They can only treat mild-to-moderate cases (much like other home aligners) and they don’t have a ton of customer reviews yet, but they provide oversight every two weeks through their NewSmile Monitoring app, which helps prevent complications that could derail treatment.
When you’re on a tight budget, teeth straightening might seem like a luxury you simply can’t afford, but AlignerCo strives to be the most cost-effective option available. Their sticker price is just $895, hundreds (or even thousands) lower than the competition. On top of that, they have two separate financing plans, one of which doesn’t require a credit check, so everyone qualifies. Both plans allow you to pay off your aligners in under a year.
AlignerCo crafts their aligners with plastic from Essix, a reputable producer of dental supplies. However, because they’re still relatively young, there are fewer customer reviews available to evaluate their effectiveness. But if you love their industry-best prices, AlignerCo is still worth a look.
Unsurprisingly, Invisalign offers its own rapid treatment option. Dentists typically only use Invisalign Express for mild misalignments, often for people who fail to wear their retainers after braces. Treatment often costs between $1,800 to $3,500 and ranges from two to eight months in duration.
In most cases, Invisalign Express corrects issues confined to the front six teeth (top and bottom), so if your condition extends beyond that, you might want to pursue other options. Even so, it’s frequently a viable treatment option for mild cases of teeth crowding or spacing.
Six Month Smiles
If you like at-home aligners’ six-month time frame but prefer one-on-one care from a dentist, take a look at Six Month Smiles. It is administered and monitored in person by a dentist. But like at-home treatments, the average treatment time (as the name suggests) is six months. According to their website, the average costs are $3,500–$5,000 but vary depending on the dentist.
The company offers clear aligners for simpler crowding and spacing cases and clear braces for cases that require more complex movements. Both the aligners and braces wrap up treatment in around six months. Even with their clear braces, the treatment isn’t quite as robust as other in-office clear aligners like Invisalign.
What Other Factors Should I Consider?
Effectiveness is crucial, but you’ll want to consider several other aspects as you make this decision. For example, one company might offer generous extras, but does their treatment timeframe match your goals? Another might have great reviews, but does their price point fit into your budget?
Besides effectiveness, we recommend considering four other factors:
- Patient Experience
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!
You have a lot of effective options for clear aligner treatment — and although it may seem overwhelming, remember it’s a good thing! More choices mean you can select a provider that matches up perfectly with your personal preferences, priorities, and budget.
To identify the best fit, we encourage you to keep in mind everything we’ve discussed above. With all this information in your back pocket, you’ll be able to dive into a safe and effective treatment plan that’s customized to your needs. Best of luck on your smile journey!
Frequently Asked Questions
Which features make some clear aligners more effective than others?
The main factor is the use of attachments. Buttons, expanders, elastics, and engagers all increase the scope of treatment. Treatment planning software that allows your doctor to make more choices and tweak your plan can also deliver better results. Beyond this, everything from the type of plastic to your doctor’s level of experience can influence effectiveness.
Why are in-office aligners more effective than at-home ones?
Because they can incorporate attachments. Attachments must be applied in person, so only in-office treatments can use them.
How is hybrid treatment different from in-office treatment?
Start-up and wrap-up are the same, but everything in between is different. Instead of seeing your doctor every 4–12 weeks, you’ll check in virtually about every 14 days using a phone attachment to take photos of your teeth. Your doctor will evaluate these images to make sure you are progressing as expected. Since there are no check-up visits, these systems cannot use attachments.
Who is a good candidate for clear aligners?
It depends on the provider. For example, some can only treat mild-to-moderate issues, and others will only extend treatment to patients over a specific age. In general, suitable candidates are healthy and don’t have any active tooth decay or gum disease. They need to be disciplined enough to stick to a routine and remember to replace their aligners after eating and drinking.
How many hours a day do I need to wear clear aligners?
This depends on if your system is for all-day or nighttime-only wear. If you have all-day aligners, you need to keep them in for 22 hours a day, removing them only to eat, drink, brush, and floss. Nighttime-only aligners require ten continuous hours of overnight wear.
Does dental insurance cover clear aligner therapy?
If you have orthodontic benefits, it might. Here are the things to keep in mind:
- Adult orthodontics aren’t always covered.
- Cosmetic cases are less likely to receive coverage than medical ones.
- In-office treatments get coverage more easily than at-home ones.
- Many policies have a lifetime limit on orthodontics.
- Even when covered, it is usually just a percentage of the treatment.
How do I get started with clear aligners?
Once you know which company you want, head to their website. With in-office and hybrid systems, use their directory to find a doctor near you. If you go with at-home aligners, start by ordering the impression kit (or scheduling an in-person scan if the company offers them).
Do clear aligner companies offer coupons or discounts?
In-office treatments typically don’t, but individual doctors might. At-home systems often have discounts on their websites or from codes you can find on third-party sites (including ours!). Just be careful with third-party sites since some are scams.
Can I use clear aligners if I have missing teeth?
Possibly. It depends on the location and number of missing teeth. However, many people missing teeth use clear aligners to correct teeth that have shifted to fill the gap.
When do I need to remove my clear aligners?
You need to take them out if you eat or drink anything besides clear water. You also need to remove them when you brush and floss your teeth. Other than that, keep them in all the time (with the exception of nighttime aligners).
Join The Discussion: