SmileDirectClub is the best-known home teeth straightening service on the market today, and for good reason. It’s well-established, convenient, and at $2,050, much more affordable than braces or Invisalign. However, it’s not the only company offering affordable at-home clear aligner treatment.
Since SmileDirectClub launched in 2014, several other brands have hit the market with unique perks of their own. Some of those ambitious companies have tweaked SmileDirectClub’s formula to offer faster, more affordable, or higher-quality treatment options. In this review, we’ll outline the three best alternatives to SmileDirectClub and dive into the specifics of their various service offerings.
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Since being founded in 2018, Byte has delivered efficient results for their customers and developed innovative technology. Byte offers highly efficient average treatment times, personalized customer service, and competitive pricing. For all these reasons, we consider Byte the #1 best alternative to SmileDirectClub for anyone seeking affordable and effective at-home treatment.
- Byte’s high-frequency vibration device, the “HyperByte,” provides a more comfortable aligner fit and can induce faster teeth shifts for some people. Byte includes this device in the cost of their aligner bundle.
- Byte assigns each customer a personal advisor who checks in throughout the process and answers any pertinent questions.
- Byte offers special “At-Night” aligners, which are made from a thicker, grind-resistant material to deliver safe and efficient results, even with less daily wear time. SmileDirectClub offers nighttime-only treatment too, but their nighttime aligners use the same design as their all-day ones.
- After Byte transforms your smile, they guarantee it for life. If your teeth shift, even years down the road, Byte will design new aligners to readjust your smile (as long as you purchase retainers every six months and wear them as instructed).
- SmileDirectClub requires photos of your teeth every 90 days, and while Byte recommends submitting photos every two weeks, it’s only mandatory if you have certain conditions.
- Unlike SmileDirectClub, Byte doesn’t have any physical locations, so you’ll need to purchase an impression kit to get started.
Byte - The Bottom Line
If you value efficiency, you’re intrigued by the Byte-for-Life warranty, but you still want top-quality treatment, check out Byte.
Special Offer: Save 80% off your impression kit & receive a complementary whitening pen
Candid started selling at-home aligners in 2017, making them a few years younger than SmileDirectClub, and they’ve since become one of the clear aligner industry’s most well-known brands. Today, they offer an innovative hybrid treatment that involves both in-person care and remote monitoring, keeping a local dentist in the loop for your entire treatment.
Their CandidMonitoring service offers intensive remote oversight from your dentist and Candid’s team, and their treatment plans can move even the molars when it’s necessary, making them a highly effective option for patients with mild and moderate misalignments.
- While SmileDirectClub primarily focuses on moving the front teeth, Candid’s treatment plans can move all your teeth — even the molars — which makes for more comprehensive treatment.
- You’ll begin your Candid treatment in person with a local dentist who will collaborate with Candid throughout the entire treatment process. SmileDirectClub’s fully remote treatment model doesn’t include any office visits.
- Using their CandidMonitoring system, you’ll send images to your dentist and Candid’s clinical team every 14 days so they can evaluate your progress and make adjustments to your wear schedule if necessary. SmileDirectClub only asks for check-ins every 90 days, and doesn’t provide any special remote monitoring equipment like Candid does.
- Much like SmileDirectClub, Candid provides easy access to their support team seven days a week via their mobile app.
- Since you’re required to visit one of Candid’s network dentists to get started, Candid treatment is only available if you live near one of their 300+ providers nationwide.
- Because Candid treatment includes in-person care and more comprehensive plans, it costs $3,500+, depending on your dentist’s location and rates. This is obviously much more expensive than SmileDirectClub.
- To finance Candid treatment, you’ll need to enroll in a payment plan through your dentist’s office or a third-party company, and it might require a credit check. SmileDirectClub automatically offers financing to every customer, regardless of your credit score.
NewSmile is a younger brand than the other companies on this list, but they offer quality treatment for some of the lowest prices in the field. With a nighttime-only option, frequent discounts, interest-free financing, and remote oversight, they’re a solid all-around option, and a more budget-friendly SmileDirectClub alternative.
- NewSmile’s $1,495 sticker price is hundreds less than SmileDirectClub and other at-home treatments — and they occasionally run discounts that make it even more affordable.
- You’ll submit videos of your teeth via the NewSmile Monitoring App every two weeks so their team can regularly evaluate your progress. SmileDirectClub requires similar check-ins, but less frequently (every 90 days).
- They include your impression kit, retainers, and three months of whitening products at no extra charge. Many competitors charge extra for these items.
- NewSmile provides a nighttime-only plan that only requires you to wear your aligners for ten hours per day. This option costs $1,595 instead of $1,495, but that’s still less expensive than many of their competitors’ nighttime aligners, including SmileDirectClub.
- NewSmile will work with you if your finished smile doesn’t match your treatment preview, providing free refinement aligners if necessary.
- Unlike SmileDirectClub, NewSmile doesn’t offer dental scans, so you’ll have to get started with an impression kit instead.
- NewSmile is a younger company with fewer online reviews and much less experience than SmileDirectClub.
NewSmile - The Bottom Line
When you’re on a tight budget, teeth straightening treatment can seem overwhelmingly expensive, but NewSmile provides a much more affordable option.
Special Offer: Receive a $100 Visa gift card when you purchase NewSmile aligners (New Year Sale)
What About Invisalign?
Invisalign is the original clear aligner system and the industry’s most well-established brand. They’ve transformed over twelve million smiles to date, and they’re widely respected by dentists and patients alike. So why aren’t they on this list? Because, while Invisalign might deliver a similar product, on the whole, their processes are quite different.
Unlike the other companies on this list, Invisalign is developed and administered completely in-office by your dentist. At-home systems like SmileDirectClub have licensed dental professionals that develop aligner treatment plans remotely, but customers must administer them from home.
Invisalign has trained and licensed 100,000 dentists and orthodontists in 90 countries to offer their treatment. Choosing Invisalign would mean that you must make regular office visits for your dentist to monitor and adjust your aligners (if necessary). Further, it also gives them the opportunity to apply elastics, buttons, and other attachments that induce more intricate tooth and jaw movements.
This makes Invisalign more expensive ($3,000–$8,000) and more time-intensive (12 months on average), but it also means that Invisalign’s treatment can correct a wide scope of severe conditions (including bite issues like overbite, underbite, and crossbite). If your condition turns out to be too severe for home aligner treatment, or if you’re simply more comfortable seeing your dentist face-to-face each month, you won’t find a more effective option than Invisalign.
How Should I Evaluate My Options?
This is a basic overview of a few different home aligner options, but choosing one company over another is a multifaceted decision. It’s important to avoid focusing too much on just one aspect of a particular company, like price or treatment time. When evaluating your options, we recommend researching and considering all the following categories:
- Effectiveness: Who is in charge of your treatment plan? Where are your aligners manufactured? How are they designed? All these things can influence a treatment’s effectiveness and efficiency. Dig into these details to know whether you’re receiving safe, high-quality products.
- Affordability: If you’re on a budget or just a habitual bargain hunter, low costs might be your priority. This isn’t just the initial cost that you find on a company’s homepage. You should also consider their financing options, payment plans, and what items the sticker price includes.
- Convenience: Eliminating office visits means that all home aligner treatments are more convenient than in-office options, but certain companies take extra steps to be even more user-friendly. Providing various ways to get started and multiple treatment schedules, while reducing wait times, helps increase a company’s convenience.
- Appearance: Clear aligners are pretty discreet, but by experimenting with different plastics, surfaces, and designs, home aligner companies have made them even more so. Aesthetics somewhat depend on personal preferences, though, so what looks “best” might vary based on a customer’s tastes and style.
- Customer Experience: Because customers complete their treatment entirely on their own, home aligner companies need to be on their customer service game to answer questions and resolve issues. Contact channels, responsiveness, helpfulness, and refund policies all play into the quality of a company’s customer care.
Which Factors Are Most Important?
While you should certainly consider all the aspects above when deciding on a treatment option, it’s natural to focus on one or two in particular. That’s why we’ve created the following guides outlining which clear aligner services excel in each category:
Don’t get us wrong — SmileDirectClub is a fantastic option. There’s a reason that so many people have chosen them over the years. They’re devoted to delivering convenient treatment options at affordable prices, and they have the results to prove it. But teeth straightening treatment is an investment, and like any investment, you should consider all the options before making a final decision.
If you saw a company here that caught your attention, dig into further research and reach out to them with any questions. This way, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to make a well-informed, confident decision and get started transforming your smile.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which at-home aligner companies offer nighttime-only treatment?
SmileDirectClub, Byte, AlignerCo, and NewSmile. Byte, AlignerCo, and NewSmile charge more for nighttime treatment than daytime treatment, while SmileDirectClub charges the same amount.
What is the cheapest alternative to SmileDirectClub?
SmileDirectClub offers fairly affordable prices and automatic financing approval, but if you’re looking for the lowest price possible, AlignerCo is your best bet. Their $1,145 sticker price is easily the lowest in the industry. And they offer multiple financing options to make treatment even more accessible. Read our guide on the Most Affordable Clear Aligners to learn more.
What is the best at-home clear aligner service?
In our opinion, Byte offers the best overall value, but there’s no one-size-fits-all teeth-straightening solution. For a comprehensive analysis of the best options available, visit our review of the five best at-home clear aligners.
Which conditions can at-home aligners treat?
Home aligners are primarily designed to treat mild-to-moderate cases of crowding and spacing, along with some mild bite issues. If your case is severe or includes a jaw misalignment like overbite or underbite, home aligners might not have the capacity to induce the larger tooth and jaw shifts you’re after.
Does insurance cover clear aligner treatment?
It depends entirely on your provider and plan. SmileDirectClub, for example, has partnerships with UnitedHealthCare, Aetna, Anthem, MetLife, Capital, Dominion National, and Empire to provide coverage on certain plans. But having orthodontic benefits doesn’t automatically mean you’ll receive coverage. You should check with your insurance provider to find out for sure.
How do I get started with home aligners?
You’ll need to order an impression kit and create molds of your teeth, then send them to your company of choice. If you go with SmileDirectClub, you can visit one of their physical locations for a free teeth scan, which replaces the impression kit process. SmileDirectClub also has a partnership network that includes more than 1,500 dentists nationwide, so you can get started in an office if you’d prefer.
Are home aligners safe?
Yes! While administering treatment from home might seem daunting, the process is very safe. Home aligner companies use licensed dentists to create your treatment plan and design your aligners.
Even though you won’t meet with them in-person, each company offers robust customer support services if something doesn’t feel quite right. Read our guide to safe home teeth straightening treatment for more information.
Do clear aligners hurt?
Customers often report experiencing tightness or discomfort during the first 1–2 days of wearing a new set of aligners, after which the discomfort subsides. Some companies provide “chewies” or other devices to help ensure a more comfortable aligner fit.
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