Six Month Smiles is known for offering expedited treatment times for patients with minor dental misalignments. And unlike Invisalign, Six Month Smiles offers both clear aligners and clear braces, so you can choose which option you’d prefer.
That said, Six Month Smiles isn’t right for everyone — especially since it’s more expensive than similar treatments. Is it right for you? Read on. In this review, we’ll outline the pros and cons of using Six Month Smiles, as well as some alternative treatment options worth considering.
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How Does Six Month Smiles Work?
During your initial consultation, your chosen dentist will take photos and x-rays of your teeth to determine your candidacy for treatment. If you’re a good fit, they will also take impressions of your teeth before sending everything to Six Month Smiles’ lab.
Six Month Smiles is unique in that they offer both clear braces and clear aligners, but most dentists recommend clear braces for more complex cases. Once the lab creates your custom treatment plan, they’ll ship your dentist a kit with all the materials necessary for treatment, including your aligners or brackets, wires, and ligatures for braces.
Your next appointment will be to pick up and try on your aligners or have your braces put on. If you opt for braces, the entire visit will last about an hour. After your dentist has bonded the braces to your teeth, they’ll review your essential wear and care instructions. Most importantly, you should brush and floss your teeth regularly and rinse with water after meals to prevent staining.
If you choose clear aligners, you’ll need to wear them for 22 hours per day, only removing them to eat, drink, or brush your teeth. You should also clean your aligners regularly and rinse with water after meals. Your dentist may give you additional instructions, depending on the treatment you choose. In either case, your teeth will shift gradually over the next 4 to 9 months until they’ve reached the desired position.
Is Six Month Smiles a Good Option? Our Perspective.
Six Month Smiles is the only in-office treatment that offers both clear aligners and clear braces with an expedited treatment time. Invisalign offers its Express treatment for minor misalignments, but there is no comparable option for clear braces. This makes Six Month Smiles a great option for people who want clear braces, but don’t want to wait up to 2 years to finish treatment.
Still, Six Month Smiles is primarily a cosmetic treatment, so it isn’t nearly as thorough or versatile as traditional ceramic braces. Often called “braces in a box,” Six Month Smiles has a mixed reputation among orthodontists, who consider the treatment a limited and less effective version of more traditional orthodontics.
In this review, we’ll evaluate Six Month Smiles based on five elements: effectiveness, affordability, convenience, appearance, and customer support. We’ve provided a lot more detail on how the treatment stacks up category by category, but here’s a quick summary of the biggest pros and cons:
Six Month Smiles Pros
- As the name suggests, most patients complete Six Month Smiles in just 6 months. So, it is one of the fastest in-office treatments available.
- Six Month Smiles is usually cheaper than both Invisalign and traditional ceramic braces (although still more expensive than at-home aligners).
- Unlike home aligner companies, Six Month Smiles won’t assign you a dentist at random. You’ll choose the dentist who will manage and oversee your treatment.
- Six Month Smiles braces are only placed on the front teeth, so they may be more comfortable than traditional braces.
- You can mix and match clear aligners and clear braces to create a custom treatment. A popular choice is clear aligners on top and clear braces on the bottom for a more discreet look than braces alone.
Six Month Smiles Cons
- Six Month Smiles is primarily a cosmetic treatment, so patients with bite issues or more severe misalignments aren’t a good fit.
- While clear aligners are very inconspicuous, clear braces are not as discreet and will be fairly noticeable when you smile.
- Six Month Smiles is a treatment meant for general dentists who don’t specialize in straightening teeth. As a result, the quality and effectiveness of your treatment may not be as good as treatment from an orthodontist.
Who Is a Good Match for Six Month Smiles?
Interested in clear braces but don’t want to wait two years to change your smile? If you have a mild-to-moderate case of crowding or spacing, Six Month Smiles may be the perfect treatment for you.
Orthodontic treatment is a big investment, so you want to make sure the treatment you choose gives you the results you’re looking for. In this section, we’ll go over the results you can expect from Six Month Smiles treatment.
Six Month Smiles was created as an expedited, cosmetic treatment, used to correct minor issues and create a more flattering smile.
Because of this, Six Month Smiles is not meant for patients with bite issues or severe misalignments. Dentists often recommend the treatment for patients who have mild crowding or spacing in their front teeth or for patients who had braces in the past and have experienced shifting since their treatment ended.
Unlike traditional clear braces, Six Month Smiles’ braces are only placed on the front teeth—the teeth that are visible when you smile. They’re cheaper and faster than conventional braces, but they don’t provide the same comprehensive treatment. So, if you have a more complicated issue, Invisalign may be a better choice. Invisalign and ClearCorrect both offer attachments to enhance their treatment plans and treat more complex cases. Six Month Smiles doesn’t include any attachments.
Six Month Smiles’ clear aligners are very similar to other in-office brands and have proven to be safe and effective.
In fact, their aligners currently use Zendura plastics, the same widely trusted material that Invisalign used for many years. Zendura materials are sturdy, reliable, and comfortable, so you know that you’ll be getting a high-quality product.
Like any other in-office treatment, Six Month Smiles requires regular appointments with your dentist to monitor your progress. You can discuss any concerns with your dentist in person, and they can modify your treatment plan if it’s not progressing as expected.
Six Month Smiles was created specifically for use by general dentists, not orthodontists, which unfortunately means the treatment may be less effective. Orthodontists complete 6 years of postgraduate study to specialize in teeth straightening. In contrast, general dentists are simply required to take and pass a 2-day course to offer Six Month Smiles. The difference in experience is tremendous.
Overall, the reviews for Six Month Smiles treatment are mostly positive, but the results are often not as comprehensive or dramatic as people initially hoped.
Some cosmetic dental treatments can be a significant financial burden. And although Six Month Smiles is cheaper than other in-office aligners, home aligners offer a much more affordable option. Six Month Smiles is also rarely covered under most dental insurance plans. So, some people resort to purchasing supplemental dental insurance to help cover the cost of treatment.
The average cost of Six Month Smiles treatment is $3,500 – $5,000, just slightly cheaper than Invisalign and traditional braces.
The higher cost is due to the expedited treatment time and monthly appointments with your dentist. Home aligners save you this added cost by offering treatment entirely from home — no office visits required. So, if one of your top priorities is choosing your dentist and having them administer your treatment, Six Month Smiles may be worth the price. However, if you don’t mind working with a dentist or orthodontist remotely, home aligners are a much cheaper alternative.
Most dentists offer payment plans or financing for Six Month Smiles, but they often require a credit check, and some may not qualify.
Your dentist will likely offer a financing or payment plan for Six Month Smiles. These plans allow you to stretch out the cost of treatment over time. But, they typically require a down payment. Most financing plans also require a credit check and come with high interest rates. So, if you have below-average credit, you might not be approved.
To get a better sense of your options, it’s best to compare dentists and evaluate their financing plans to make treatment more budget-friendly.
Six Month Smiles offers a more affordable option than Invisalign or ceramic braces, but the cost of treatment is still high. And while they offer financing, there’s no guarantee that you’ll qualify.
Aside from the cost, one of the biggest barriers to pursuing a more comfortable smile is the time commitment of traditional orthodontics. Ceramic braces, for instance, require monthly tightening appointments and an average treatment time of about 18-24 months.
Six Month Smiles also requires regular dental visits to deliver new aligners or tighten your braces and monitor the treatment process. Monthly office visits can become a nuisance, especially for people who don’t have a ton of free time. However, because the treatment is much faster, you’ll need to schedule far fewer appointments.
At just 6 months, the average treatment time for Six Month Smiles is a fraction of the time required by comparable in-office treatments, and about the same as home aligners.
It typically takes around a month to start seeing results from Six Month Smiles, so the treatment time is very convenient. We determine our convenience rating by evaluating not just overall treatment time, but also startup difficulty and how long the company takes to ship your aligners.
Getting started with Six Month Smiles is relatively simple. You will need to schedule an appointment with a dentist to begin treatment. However, unlike home aligners, you won’t need to take impressions or photos of your teeth on your own. Your dentist and their team of technicians will take your x-rays and impressions in office, ensuring their accuracy and precision. So, all the hard work is done for you.
Your dentist will then send the impressions off to Six Month Smiles’ lab to create your custom treatment plan. All you need to do after that is schedule an appointment to pick up your aligners or have your braces put on.
Six Month Smiles will prep your treatment plan and ship your aligners or braces within 1-2 weeks.
It can take up to 6 weeks for home aligner companies to process your impressions, create a treatment plan, and send out your custom aligners. So, when it comes to waiting time for receiving your clear aligners, Six Month Smiles has home aligners beat. However, keep in mind that Six Month Smiles’ aligners are shipped to your dentist, not your home.
Getting started with Six Month Smiles is very simple since your doctor will be doing most of the work. They also boast an expedited treatment time and quick turnaround times to receive your aligners or braces. However, scheduling and attending required monthly dental visits can be a major drawback.
Adults interested in straightening their teeth don’t usually want a treatment that’s going to be visible during meetings, dates, and special occasions. A key selling point of all clear aligner products is that they are much less noticeable than braces. Six Month Smiles’ aligners are, naturally, just as discreet.
That said, not all clear aligners are created equal in terms of appearance. While they’re all made from transparent, BPA-free plastic, variations in manufacturing processes cause each brand to look slightly different.
Six Month Smiles aligners are described on their website as “exceptionally clear” and trimmed to match the gumline, so they fit comfortably on your teeth.
Because our teeth are porous, they appear matte. Six Month Smiles uses a shiny, plastic material to create their aligners, which can look unnatural. Because of this, we prefer frosted aligners like the ones Invisalign uses. Still, some customers actually like Six Month Smiles’ shininess, as they feel it gives their smile a gleam. So, it’s entirely up to your personal preference.
Clear aligners can either be cut straight across or scalloped to fit your gumline. While the scalloped appearance may be more visually pleasing, aligners that cover the gums can apply up to 4x the amount of force. So, straight-cut home aligners have the potential to be slightly more effective than Six Month Smiles’ scalloped ones. Clear braces are more effective than both, but also more visible.
Six Month Smiles’ clear braces are more noticeable than their clear aligners, but the translucent brackets and tooth-colored wires help to disguise them.
For a less noticeable look, you also have the option of combining the two treatments, with aligners on top and braces on the bottom, or vice versa. As we mentioned earlier, Six Month Smiles doesn’t include any attachments to enhance their aligner treatment, so that also cuts down on visibility.
The scalloped cut makes Six Month Smiles’ aligners slightly less visible, but their artificially shiny appearance may look unnatural. Their clear braces do blend in more easily with your teeth, but they’re still much more noticeable than clear aligners.
Your final results might be your priority, but how you get there is important too. You want a company that addresses your concerns in a timely manner, provides consistent oversight, and does everything they can to help you achieve the results you want. As an in-office treatment, Six Month Smiles offers personalized customer service and hands-on oversight that facilitate a smooth journey and satisfactory results.
Like most other in-office clear aligner brands, Six Month Smiles has responsive, individualized customer service.
Have a question or concern? Call up your dentist’s office. Six Month Smiles’ customer service is handled by individual offices, which benefits you because you can take your questions to someone who knows you and your case personally. It’s a more effective process than going back and forth with a remote customer service representative who may or may not know you. Plus, if you have a more serious concern, you can simply schedule an office visit to get it checked out.
Six Month Smiles’ consistent oversight can help address problems mid-treatment to keep your smile on track.
You’ll have the benefit of seeing your dentist regularly, and they can provide hands-on assistance if you have any concerns during treatment. So, if your treatment is not going as planned, your dentist can make adjustments to put you back on track.
You can also contact your dentist for an emergency appointment if you have a more urgent issue. At the very least, they can collaborate with Six Month Smiles’ support team to revise your treatment plan (if necessary) and make minor adjustments on the spot. Home aligner companies don’t offer in-person appointments with their dentists. So, your only option is to communicate with the company virtually or over the phone.
If you’re unhappy with your final results, your dentist can help you achieve the smile you’re after.
Six Month Smiles clear braces are on your teeth until their work is done. It might take slightly longer than six months, but you’ll end up with the smile you were promised. If you go the clear aligner route, your dentist may be able to order additional aligners to finish the job, although it might cost you a little extra. Or, they can finish the job with some other type of cosmetic dentistry (bonding, etc.). What’s nice is that you can go over all of the options with your dentist and choose the best one for you, an option you don’t have with at-home aligner services.
Alternatives to Six Month Smiles
Six Month Smiles is best for people with mild or moderate conditions who want an expedited in-office treatment at about the same cost. The option of either clear braces or clear aligners (or a combination of the two) is also very convenient and offers versatility for patients who have different concerns. Still, Six Month Smiles is not right for everyone.
If the price and convenience are most important to you, home aligners may be more suitable. Like Six Month Smiles, home aligners require an average treatment time of 6 months, but for around half the price.
Home aligner companies mail your custom aligners directly to you, so you can complete treatment from the comfort of your own home. So, it’s easier to find an option that will suit your budget and lifestyle. There are several home aligner companies on the market that each has its own advantages. Below are our choices for the top 3 providers:
#1: byte ($1,895)
byte works exclusively with orthodontists to design their treatment plans. So, your treatment will be handled by a specialist as opposed to a general dentist. Unfortunately, byte does not currently have any retail locations. Ordering an impression kit is your only option if you want to start treatment.
The cost of treatment for byte is $1,895, and this price includes whitening and aftercare retainers. byte also offers flexible payment options, including financing without a required credit check. Still, byte has only been available to the public since 2018, so they don’t have the experience or track record of success of a company like Six Month Smiles.
Because byte does not disclose the name of their manufacturer, there is no way to verify if it’s the same quality as Six Month Smiles or other home aligner competitors. However, byte does boast the shortest treatment time currently available, at just 3 months.
Want a closer look? Check out our comprehensive review of byte.
#2: Candid ($2,400)
Although you won’t get the same hands-on time with a dentist through Candid, they are one of the only providers that work exclusively with orthodontists. So, your treatment will be handled by someone who specializes in moving teeth, even if they won’t be managing your treatment in person. Most other home aligner brands work with general dentists or just “dental professionals,” who are likely not as qualified.
Like all home aligner providers, Candid’s treatment cost is significantly less than Six Month Smiles. That said, at $2,400, Candid is significantly more expensive than most other home aligner brands. This is because your treatment package will include Remote Monitoring Services, which gives you consistent access to an orthodontist.
Candid also provides the option of free 3D scans at their retail locations (called Candid Studios). Most home aligner providers don’t have any brick-and-mortar locations. So, you’d need to order an impression kit before starting treatment. Although Candid currently only has about 30 retail locations in the US, they are quickly expanding and have plans to open more locations across the U.S.
Want a closer look? Check out our comprehensive review of Candid.
#3: AlignerCo ($1,145)
If you’re looking for the industry’s most affordable brand, look no further. AlignerCo’s treatment is several hundred dollars less than other home aligner companies and thousands less than Six Month Smiles. Plus, they offer multiple financing options that make this treatment even more accessible.
And this low cost doesn’t mean inferior product quality either. AlignerCo partners with Raintree Essix, a long-standing, reputable dental supplies manufacturer. So, you can be confident that you’re getting reliable treatment at a great price.
Where AlignerCo falls short of byte and Candid is their dental network. They don’t guarantee that an orthodontist will oversee every case. Instead, their team consists of orthodontists and general dentists, which could potentially affect your treatment quality. On top of that, AlignerCo is young. They just started in 2019, so they don’t have extensive experience or a large customer base yet. But we’re excited to see how much they grow in the coming years.
Want a closer look? Read our comparative review of Invisalign vs. AlignerCo.
If you’re looking for an in-office treatment that doesn’t have a lengthy treatment time, Six Month Smiles offers great options with their clear aligners and braces. However, if you don’t mind not seeing a dentist in-person, home aligners are more affordable and convenient. If you’ve been considering Six Month Smiles, visit your dentist to discuss your options and find out which treatment is best for you.