Six Month Smiles offers clear aligner treatment for patients with crooked teeth, small gaps, and other minor misalignments. With short treatment times and the peace of mind that comes with in-person dental oversight, we think Six Month Smiles is a worthwhile option for anyone who wants to pair hands-on care with the convenience of a six-month treatment timeline.
In this review, we’ll cover all the details you need about Six Month Smiles clear aligners to decide if they’re the right fit for your smile.
Table of Contents
What Is Six Month Smiles?
Dr. Ryan Swain created Six Month Smiles so that general dentists could offer their patients with minor misalignments a fast teeth-straightening solution. They use treatment plans reviewed by orthodontists, which can straighten most dental issues in as little as six months.
Some cases may take up to ten months, depending on the level of malocclusion, but that’s still much faster than traditional orthodontics. For more complex cases, Six Month Smiles also offers proprietary clear braces, featured in our comparison review.
How Does Six Month Smiles Work?
Your first move is to find a local dentist who offers Six Month Smiles. This dentist will take impressions and X-rays of your teeth and complete a full exam during your initial consultation to determine your candidacy for treatment. If you’re a good fit, they’ll send everything to Six Month Smiles’ lab.
Once the lab creates your custom treatment plan, they’ll ship your dentist a kit with all the materials necessary for treatment. At your next appointment, your dentist will review the wear instructions and have you try on your aligners, which you’ll have to wear for 22 hours per day — only removing them to eat, drink, or brush your teeth.
You should also clean your aligners daily and rinse them with water after meals. Your dentist may give you additional instructions, depending on your treatment plan. Over the next 6–10 months, the aligners will shift your teeth in tiny increments until they’ve reached the desired position. Once finished, you’ll need to wear retainers to keep your teeth in place, just like any other orthodontic treatment.
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 paired with an efficient treatment time. While there are others that offer combination treatment, like 3M Clarity, Six Month Smiles focuses on minor misalignments and short treatment times.
In this review, we’ll examine Six Month Smiles’ scope of treatment, affordability, convenience, appearance, and patient experience. 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
- Cost Effectiveness: Six Month Smiles’ average cost runs between $3,500 to $5,000, so it’s often cheaper than Invisalign and some other in-office treatments.
- Quality Materials: Their aligners use Zendura® FLX™ material — which they claim is firm enough to move the teeth but flexible enough to add comfort — and are scalloped at the gum line to minimize visibility.
- In-Person Oversight: You get to choose the dentist who will manage and oversee your treatment.
- Combination Treatment: Your dentist can combine clear aligners and clear braces to create a custom treatment plan.
- Ideal for Relapses: Great for patients who had previous orthodontic treatment, but didn't wear a retainer consistently and need a second round to fix minor misalignments.
Six Month Smiles Cons
- Limited Treatment Scope: Designed for minor issues, Six Month Smiles typically won’t work for patients with severe malocclusions.
- Less Experienced Providers: Six Month Smiles is a treatment meant for general dentists who don’t specialize in straightening teeth. As a result, you might not get the same level of care you’d receive from an orthodontist.
- Pricier Than At-Home Aligners: While Six Month Smiles is more affordable than many in-office competitors, it still costs more than services that deliver aligner treatment to your home, like Byte and SmileDirectClub.
Who Is a Good Match for Six Month Smiles?
If you have mild-to-moderate crowding or spacing issues, or your teeth have relapsed after a previous round of orthodontics, Six Month Smiles might be a great choice for you.
Scope of Treatment
There are many in-office aligner options on the market, each with at least one unique feature to help it stand out from the pack. For Six Month Smiles, that feature is their timeline — six months on average from getting your aligners to moving to retainers. But part of how they achieve this seemingly rapid timeline is by restricting the cases they take on, only treating reasonably simple and straightforward misalignments.
As the company states, Six Month Smiles’ treatment goals are not the same as conventional orthodontics.
In their own words, the goal of Six Month Smiles is “to accomplish most, but not all, of what would be done with traditional orthodontic treatment.” The company sets their treatment window to 6–10 months, so anything inherently more time-consuming is beyond their scope of treatment. This includes:
- Changes to angle class
- Large midline changes
- Significant root repositioning
- Any changes to the skeletal structure
- Most movements of the molars
- Most tooth rotations
- Any corrections considered to be Class III malocclusions
According to Six Month Smiles’ FAQs for clinicians, their aligners can treat the following conditions:
- Crowding between 4 and 10 millimeters
- Spacing between 3 and 7 millimeters
- Mild anterior crossbites
- High canines
- Small rotations
- Irregular gingival zeniths
- Posterior crossbites with favorable root positions
- Limited cases of open and deep bite, when elastics are incorporated
On their website, Six Month Smiles mentions very limited cases where their aligners can move the posterior teeth. However, they do not emphasize these cases, and clinicians often say the system can only move the frontal teeth. These teeth are usually the easiest to move because their root structures are smaller and less complex, translating into less resistance.
In the realm of in-office aligners, Six Month Smiles is one of the most limited in treatment scope. Its ability to address misalignments is similar to the expedited systems offered by some of the bigger names in the game, like Invisalign Express. It’s also more or less the same as what you can get from Candid, but without the convenience of hybrid treatment.
Still, Six Month Smiles’ scope of treatment exceeds that of fully remote options.
The first reason is that dentists can incorporate attachments and use interproximal reduction — the elimination of a small amount of enamel from a tooth or teeth — to facilitate bigger and more accurate shifts. These aren’t things you safely can do on your own, so they aren’t options with remote treatment.
Second, if necessary, providers can use combination treatment to address more significant misalignments. This is when dentists use both braces and aligners. Six Month Smiles also make clear braces, which the dentist can place on both arches before transitioning to aligners, or on one arch while with aligners on the other. As the company puts it, it’s “aligners when your patients want them, braces when they need them.” Their braces can make bigger changes than their aligners alone, including extrusions, rotations, intrusions, and tipping.
Can Six Month Smiles correct your unique misalignment? The only way to know is to see one of their dentists.
No matter how much research you do or how similar you think your alignment is to other patients, you cannot know if the system is right for you until a dentist confirms it. You can use the company directory to find a Six Month Smiles provider near you. All Six Month Smiles partner dentists are licensed professionals who have received training in their system.
Just know, though, that Six Month Smiles’ training program isn’t intensive.
Six Month Smiles was specifically made to help general dentists capture a portion of the cosmetic orthodontics market. General dentists are trained to move the teeth during their university studies, so they aren’t unqualified to offer aligner treatment. However, orthodontists first get their degree in general dentistry, then build upon it with at least two additional years strictly studying dentofacial orthopedics.
Six Month Smiles requires providers to undergo additional training specifically in their system. This isn’t unusual; nearly all orthodontic systems require at least some initial training before a provider can offer their products. But Six Month Smiles’ training is pretty brief. Dentists only need to complete a two-day course before they can offer the treatment.
What Six Month Smiles lacks in training, we think they make up for in clinician support.
Your Six Month Smiles dentist might not have orthodontist levels of expertise in tooth movements, but they also have a lot of resources. One of the signature features of Six Month Smiles is the robust support they offer their partner dentists. Clinicians can upload a case they’re considering and get feedback from a clinical specialist within 48 hours. They also have the option to schedule a one-on-one meeting with an orthodontic specialist to discuss cases in greater depth.
On top of this, some partner dentists also utilize the CONFIDEX digital treatment planning Six Month Smiles offers. Using this service, dentists upload all of your diagnostics and then a team of orthodontists digitally analyzes your case. If they feel you are a fit for Six Month Smiles treatment, they’ll design your treatment plan.
This highly detailed plan includes:
- A breakdown of case complexity
- Where IPR is needed and how much to remove
- Where bite guards must be placed
- Detailed instructions on what to do at each monthly appointment
- A 3D simulation of treatment from beginning to end
Just keep in mind that CONFIDEX use is optional, so not every provider uses it.
Six Month Smiles’ clear aligners are crafted from quality materials and similar to other in-office brands.
Their aligners currently use FLX™ plastic from Zendura®, the same widely trusted company who supplied Invisalign with their plastics for many years. Zendura® FLX™ materials are designed to flex with your teeth and gently move them for greater comfort during treatment. Plus, Zendura claims that FLX retains 50% more orthodontic force over time than some competing materials.
For many, orthodontic treatment can be a financial burden. Fortunately, Six Month Smiles can be more affordable than other in-office clear aligners, and it’s often at least partially covered under most dental insurance plans. There are a few more affordable options on the market, but with their regular dentist oversight and top-quality products, we think Six Month Smiles delivers a lot of value.
The average cost of Six Month Smiles treatment is $3,500–$5,000.
Since each Six Month Smiles provider sets their own rates, your exact price depends on your dentist, plus the severity of your misalignment. Your dentist’s time isn’t free, so the longer your treatment takes, the more it can cost.
Still, Six Month Smiles treatment usually costs less than options like Invisalign and braces, which often go for more than $5,000. Yet it’s not quite as affordable as services that deliver clear aligners to your home, like Byte and NewSmile.
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 cheaper alternative.
Your provider may offer financing to help make treatment more affordable.
If you can’t pay your full treatment price right off the bat, don’t worry. Many dental offices have in-house payment plans that can break those costs down into more reasonable installments.
Your dentist may also partner with third-party financing companies, and some may have interest or require that you pass a credit check to qualify. If you have below-average credit, you may also be subject to higher interest rates.
Your insurance may provide partial coverage, but it depends on your specific plan.
If your insurance plan includes orthodontic benefits, there’s a chance that it might cover part of your Six Month Smiles treatment, making the price much more accessible. Check with your dental insurance provider to check your plan’s orthodontic coverage.
Many insurance plans don’t cover adults on their orthodontic riders, but it’s still worth looking into. If your plan includes adult treatment, your insurance may cover a portion of the cost, just as it would with traditional braces.
Aside from the cost, one of the biggest barriers to achieving a dazzling new smile is the time commitment associated with traditional orthodontics. Traditional braces, for instance, require frequent tightening appointments and an average treatment time of about 18–24 months.
Six Month Smiles also requires regular dental visits, but with this shorter timeline, you’ll likely need to schedule far fewer appointments.
At just six months, the average treatment timeline Six Month Smiles advertises is much shorter than many other in-office treatments.
Traditional in-office orthodontics can address a wide range of severe misalignments, but those corrections take time — often at least twelve months. Most Six Month Smiles patients say they complete treatment within half a year, similar to the timelines of most at-home aligner treatments.
That efficiency, however, is because Six Month Smiles providers typically only use their aligners for minor changes. More complex misalignments simply take longer to correct.
To get started, just schedule an appointment with a Six Month Smiles provider. They’ll take it from there.
As long as there’s a Six Month Smiles provider near you, getting started is pretty simple. You will need to schedule an appointment with a dentist, and they’ll take scans, X-rays, and other diagnostics in the office. In our opinion, this is much easier than using an impression kit to make molds of your teeth, like you would with many at-home aligners. While some people struggle to create perfect impressions on their own, in-person teeth scans ensure accuracy and precision.
The dentist will send your images to the lab, who will design and produce your aligners, and you’ll have a followup appointment to pick them up and try them on.
Six Month Smiles will prep your treatment plan and ship your aligners or braces within 1–2 weeks.
That’s a pretty quick turnaround. By comparison, Invisalign often takes around four weeks, and at-home aligner companies can take six or more weeks to process your dental impressions, create a treatment plan, and send out your custom aligners. Just remember: Six Month Smiles ships your aligners to your dentist, not your home, so you’ll still need to schedule an appointment to get them.
Adults interested in straightening their teeth don’t usually want a treatment that will be visible during meetings, dates, and special occasions. All clear aligners are much less noticeable than braces, and Six Month Smiles’ aligners are just as discreet.
That said, not all clear aligners are identical. While they’re all made from transparent, medical-grade, BPA-free plastic, variations in manufacturing processes cause each brand to look slightly different.
Six Month Smiles’ website describes their aligners as “exceptionally clear.”
Because our teeth are porous, they appear matte. Six Month Smiles uses a smooth, transparent material to create their aligners, which we think can look unnaturally shiny compared to your real teeth. That’s why we prefer frosted aligners like the ones Invisalign uses. Still, some customers like Six Month Smiles’ shininess because they think it makes their smile gleam. It’s entirely up to your personal preference.
They trim each aligner to match the patient’s unique gum line.
Six Month Smiles cuts their aligners to the shape of your gum line, which we think makes them less visible. But while the scalloped design may be more visually pleasing to some, studies suggest that it might not transfer force as well as aligners that cover the gums.
Attachments make your aligners more powerful, but also more noticeable.
Your dentist might apply attachments to help the aligners grip your teeth better and make more significant shifts. These attachments are tiny shapes, usually placed on the front surfaces of your teeth, and although they’re almost always clear or tooth-colored, they can still make your aligners more noticeable.
Six Month Smiles aligners are relatively stain-resistant.
However, they can still become discolored, so you should still remove them before eating or drinking anything other than plain water — especially dark beverages like coffee or red wine. You wouldn’t want to get stuck wearing stained aligners until it’s time to change sets.
Straight teeth might be your primary goal, 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 it can to help you achieve the results you want. Though service will vary across providers, we think that in-person options like Six Month Smiles typically offer personalized customer service and hands-on oversight which can lead to smooth treatment and exceptional results.
Like most in-office clear aligner brands, your dentist’s office will handle all customer support.
You’ll have the benefit of seeing your dentist regularly, and they can provide hands-on assistance if you have any concerns. So, if your treatment isn’t going as planned, your dentist can make adjustments to put you back on track. For any questions that come up between appointments, you can call the office during their regular business hours, and if you have a more serious concern, you can simply schedule an office visit to get it checked out.
The quality of customer service can vary depending on the dentist you choose, but we think in-person care is almost always more individualized and robust than the fully remote support you’ll receive from at-home aligner companies.
If you’re unhappy with your final results, your dentist can help you achieve the smile you’re after.
Sometimes teeth are stubborn and simply don’t move as expected. It’s rare, but if you reach the end of your treatment and your smile isn’t quite where you hoped it would be, contact your dentist. They can request refinement aligners to put the finishing touches on your smile.
The Six Month Smiles “Smile Promise” says that they won’t charge you or your dentist for these additional aligners, as long as you followed your wear schedule exactly, kept good oral hygiene, and attended all the required appointments. If you did all that, you probably won’t have to pay anything more. If you didn’t, you might end up with another bill.
Alternatives to Six Month Smiles
Six Month Smiles is best for people with mild-to-moderate conditions who want an expedited in-office treatment at a relatively affordable price. Still, Six Month Smiles is not right for everyone.
Fortunately, there are plenty of clear aligner options out there — some that are less expensive, some that provide thorough remote monitoring, and some that deliver clear aligners directly to your home. Here are three others we think are worth your attention.
#1: Byte ($1,999)
One of Byte’s most unique aspects is the HyperByte device, which they include in the cost of their aligner package. This high-frequency vibration device uses gentle micropulses that the company says can help provide a more comfortable aligner fit. Certain preliminary studies suggest that similar devices might also encourage faster dental shifts — and Byte advertises average treatment plan lengths of 4–5 months.
Byte charges $1,999 for their full treatment, and this price includes whitening, aftercare retainers, and the HyperByte device. They also offer flexible payment options, including financing without a required credit check. Plus, they have a nighttime-only treatment plan, and their Byte for Life warranty guarantees that they’ll create new aligners for you if your teeth ever shift again, as long as you replace your retainers once a year and wear them consistently.
#2: Candid ($3,500+)
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 incorporates robust virtual oversight. Best-suited for mild and moderate cases, it provides the reassurance of in-person care, blended with the convenience of remote monitoring.
After starting the process by visiting one of their 800+ dentist partners, you’ll complete photo check-ins every 14 days via their CandidApp for the entire treatment — which is 8.5 months on average. We think their oversight is more streamlined than other in-office treatments like Invisalign and Six Month Smiles, but it’s also more frequent since those treatments require office visits every 4–6 weeks.
Your dentist will set the rate for Candid treatment, so the price may vary. But because you’re receiving in-person care and consistent oversight, it often costs $3,500 or more, which is in the same ballpark as Six Month Smiles.
#3: SmileDirectClub ($2,250)
SmileDirectClub was the first company to deliver clear aligners to customers’ homes on a large scale, and they’ve transformed more smiles than any other at-home aligner company. We think they’ve developed one of the most convenient treatments available, and it comes at a price that’s usually lower than Six Month Smiles treatment.
By establishing over 100 SmileShops and 1,000 partnering dental offices where you can get a teeth scan instead of using an impression kit, SmileDirectClub has made it easier than ever to kick off your treatment. Plus, they’ve introduced a nighttime-only treatment plan, extensive refund policies, a lifetime guarantee, and a do-it-all app that lets you track your progress, upload photos of your teeth for review, and contact their customer support team seven days a week.
With two million smile transformations already under their belt, they’ve probably seen a case just like yours. And if you can’t pay for treatment upfront, they offer financing to everyone, regardless of credit score.
If you’re looking for an in-office treatment that doesn’t have a lengthy treatment time, Six Month Smiles is a great option. But you’ve got plenty of options, from comprehensive in-office aligners like Invisalign to convenient at-home services like Byte. If you’ve been considering clear aligners, visit your dentist to discuss your options and determine which treatment is best for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it better to get aligners from an orthodontist or a general dentist?
Both can provide high-quality treatment and deliver amazing results. However, orthodontists are specialists in dentofacial orthopedics — aka how the facial features relate to each other — including how the teeth come together and the positioning of the jaw. With minor alignment corrections, general dentists and orthodontists are pretty much equal. However, orthodontists are typically better for severe misalignments.
What is combination treatment?
Combination treatment is the use of both braces and aligners in a single plan. Sometimes, a dentist or orthodontist will use braces first to make more complex tooth shifts, then switch the patient to aligners. In other cases, they will use aligners on one arch and braces on the other — typically aligners on the top and braces on the bottom.
How long will clear aligner treatment last?
This depends on the complexity of your case, how your body reacts, and which system you choose. Some, like Six Month Smiles, have short average time frames, while others, like Invisalign, can take 12–18 months.
What is the price range for clear aligners?
On the more affordable end is AlignerCo, a remote company. They charge just $995. On the pricier end are Clarity Aligners and Invisalign, both of which can cost as much as $8,000 for aligner therapy (and even more for combination treatment).
Will I need retainers after treatment?
Yes, after any orthodontic treatment, retainers are essential, since your teeth will want to migrate back to their original positions. While teeth stabilize with time, you will need to wear retainers at least at night for life.
Why is insurance less likely to cover orthodontic treatment for adults?
Insurance doesn’t cover cosmetic treatments, and in many cases, adult orthodontics is cosmetic in nature. However, policies are more likely to cover medically necessary treatments.
Are there financing options for clear aligners?
Some companies offer their own financing, including Six Month Smiles, Byte, and SmileDirectClub. Other times, you can enroll in a plan through your dentist’s office or a third-party company.
How hard is it to take impressions yourself if you choose at-home treatment?
It isn’t too hard but it isn’t completely intuitive either. We recommend watching tutorials first.