When Smilelove first started selling home aligners, they quickly built a following thanks to their frequently-discounted prices. For a while, it seemed like they would join the ranks of the home aligner elite. But in early 2020, amidst financial struggles, Smilelove stopped their operations.
After an attempted relaunch, it appears that Smilelove is effectively closed, and not even selling aligner treatment on their website anymore (see our “What Happened to Smilelove?” article for more info). With this in mind, we think it’s safe to rule them out as a teeth straightening treatment option. If you were set on ordering Smilelove treatment, take heart in the fact that other services might be an even better fit for you. Here are the top three that we think you should consider.
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Over the past few years, Byte has made big strides forward in treatment effectiveness and convenience. Their prices are just average, but they can deliver results in as little as four months for some customers, and they’ve implemented innovative technology to improve the entire process.
They’re growing quickly in size and popularity, but Byte hasn’t allowed their customer support services to lag behind either. For all these reasons and more, Byte holds the #1 spot in our overall home aligner rankings.
- Byte’s average treatment time is just four months, while Smilelove’s treatment typically took 6-8 months.
- After your treatment is complete, Byte guarantees your smile for life. Even if your teeth shift years down the road, they will send you new aligners to correct them, as long as you replace your retainers every six months and wear them as directed.
- Byte offers a nighttime-only treatment called Byte At-Night, which only requires 10+ hours of daily wear, compared to the 22+ hours that clear aligner treatment usually requires.
- Using a unique technology called Smile Science, Byte considers your entire facial structure to create a smile that fits with the rest of your features. Other companies analyze your teeth without evaluating the rest of your face.
- Byte gives each customer a personal customer service advisor for any questions or concerns that arise during treatment.
- They don’t offer refunds after you begin treatment, but their dental team will work with you to get your progress back on track.
- Some clear aligner treatments incorporate regular remote check-ins where you’ll upload photos of your teeth, but Byte only does if you have certain conditions.
Byte - The Bottom Line
Want a safe, effective treatment that delivers efficient results? You might want to check out Byte.
Candid isn’t a fully-remote clear aligner service like Smilelove was, but they provide some of the same convenience. Unlike Smilelove, Candid treatment begins in a dentist’s office, and that dentist remains involved throughout the process. Over a 6-9 month timeline (on average), you’ll upload photos of your teeth every two weeks. This allows your dentist and Candid’s team can keep you on track and request additional office visits, if necessary.
Candid typically costs more than Smilelove did, but that higher price comes with dentist facetime and robust clinical oversight. If you value effectiveness and personalized care, it could be a great option.
- Candid has 200+ providers nationwide who you can visit for an in-person consultation, and who will collaborate with Candid throughout your treatment. Smilelove’s treatment didn’t incorporate any in-person care.
- Candid treatment plans can incorporate movements to all of your teeth, including the molars, which can help avoid the bite complications that can come with purely cosmetic teeth shifts. Smilelove focused primarily on the front six teeth.
- Your dentist and Candid’s team will have their eyes on your teeth every 14 days via remote check-ins, allowing them to address any concerns right away. Smilelove didn’t have any remote monitoring.
- You can contact your dentist’s office with questions, plus you have easy access to Candid’s support team via the CandidApp seven days a week. Before they stopped responding to customers, Smilelove’s support team relied on phone, email, and webchat.
- At $3,500+, Candid costs significantly more than any other option on this list.
- Candid doesn’t offer a nighttime-only treatment option. There may be a small amount of leeway here, but your dentist will most likely require you to wear your Candid aligners for at least 22 hours per day.
- Candid’s treatment time is 6-9 months on average, while purely at-home aligner treatments can deliver results in as little as four months for some customers.
AlignerCo is one of the only companies that could beat Smilelove’s former promotional pricing. Their $1,145 sticker price is unmatched, and their flexible financing plans help make AlignerCo treatment even more accessible. And while their price is cheap, their products and customer service are still high quality. A young and rapidly-growing company, we anticipate that they’ll be a big name for years to come.
- You won’t find a lower initial price than AlignerCo’s $1,145.
- AlignerCo offers multiple financing options (one that requires a credit check and one that doesn’t), so you can choose the one that works best for you.
- Throughout your AlignerCo treatment, you’ll submit photos of your teeth via email every 14 days, allowing their team to keep you on track.
- AlignerCo’s NightOnly plan lets you wear your aligners for 10 hours per day rather than the usual 22+.
- Customers rave about the attentiveness and personal touch they get with AlignerCo’s customer service, while Smilelove’s customer service has been non-existent for months.
- AlignerCo started in 2019, so they have less experience than the competition.
- AlignerCo doesn’t put a lifetime guarantee on your smile like some of their competitors do.
AlignerCo - The Bottom Line
Trying to transform your smile on a budget? If you don’t mind working with a less established company, take a look at AlignerCo.
Special Offer: Get $250 off AlignerCo treatment
What About Invisalign?
Invisalign is the original clear aligner system and the industry’s most well-established brand. They’ve transformed over 11 million smiles to date, and they’re widely respected by dentists and customers 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.
Like Candid, Invisalign is administered in-office by your dentist. At-home systems have licensed dental professionals that develop aligner treatment plans remotely, but customers must administer them from home.
Over 100,000 dentists and orthodontists in 90 countries are trained and licensed to offer Invisalign 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 attachments like elastics and expanders 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 is capable of correcting 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?
Some purchasing decisions are simple. Sometimes you can simply choose the lowest price or the fastest results. But when it comes to something as important as your dental health, the decision is more complex. It relies largely on your unique smile goals and priorities, but it shouldn’t hinge solely on one aspect.
It’s easy to get tunnel vision on a price tag or timeframe, but clear aligner treatment is multifaceted, so you should step back and take a wide view of each company, analyzing every detail about them. In the course of our research, we’ve come up with a comprehensive five-point process for evaluating clear aligner companies:
- Effectiveness: Who is in charge of your treatment plan? Where are your aligners manufactured? How are they designed? All of 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, help 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. Appearance somewhat depends on personal preferences, though, so what looks “best” might vary based on a customer’s tastes and style.
- Customer Friendliness: 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.
What Factors Are Most Important To You?
While you should consider all of the factors above, it’s natural to focus on one or two in particular. That’s why we’ve created these guides that outline which services excel in each category:
Smilelove isn’t an option any longer, but go with any other company from this guide and you’ll get effective, affordable, and timely care with responsive customer service. Choose one and soon you’ll be on your way to a brand new, transformed smile.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Smilelove out of business?
Yes. After some financial struggles and a hard hit from COVID-19, Smilelove shut down their operations in March 2020. They briefly re-emerged with a relaunch plan, but they’ve since removed that information from their website, and they no longer offer an option to purchase aligner treatment on their website. Check out our “What Happened to Smilelove?” guide for the full story.
Is Smilelove gone for good?
We think yes. The Better Business Bureau lists their status as “BBB unable to locate business,” and customers have been reporting for months that Smilelove hasn’t fulfilled their existing orders, provided refunds, or even responded to communication.
Can I get my money back from Smilelove?
Smilelove sent an email to current customers saying they wouldn’t be issuing any refunds, but that they couldn’t fulfill orders either. This is understandably frustrating for customers who prepaid for their treatment. Some have successfully received money back by appealing to their bank (or PayPal) and proving that Smilelove has been completely unresponsive. Whether or not this will work for you depends on your bank’s policies.
What is the best alternative to Smilelove?
We think that Byte is the best at-home aligner company, period. They’ve engineered highly efficient treatment times and haven’t sacrificed quality or customer service to do it. However, if you liked Smilelove for its affordability, you might want to check out AlignerCo instead. They’re the cheapest option available, with a sticker price of just $1,145.
Which clear aligners are the least noticeable?
Visit various home aligner company websites and you’ll find several different answers to this question. Each company will tell you that their aligners are the best looking but, quite honestly, it often comes down to personal tastes. If you want our opinion, Candid makes a great-looking, hardly-noticeable aligner. How? Check out our review of the Best Looking Clear Aligners.
Is there a cheaper alternative to Smilelove?
AlignerCo’s standard sticker price is just $1,145, making them the most affordable home aligner option. Of course, when compared to in-office treatments, all home aligner companies are pretty budget-friendly. Learn more about this in our review of the Most Affordable Clear Aligners.
What is the most convenient alternative to Smilelove?
All home aligner companies are convenient compared to their in-office counterparts, but SmileDirectClub goes the extra mile. Their extensive SmileShop network and nighttime-only option, among other initiatives, separate them from the pack. Take a closer look at SmileDirectClub and a few other convenient options in our review of the Most Convenient Clear Aligners.
Should I get Invisalign instead?
Invisalign’s ability to treat a wide scope of severe conditions makes it the most effective teeth straightening option. But unlike Smilelove and the other companies on this list, it’s not an at-home treatment. Rather, it must be administered by a dentist and requires regular office visits.
Invisalign might have a longer timeline (12 months on average) and a higher price ($3,000 – $8,000), but it’s a great option if you’re concerned about the severity of your condition or if you’d prefer face-to-face interaction with your dentist.
Does insurance cover clear aligner treatment?
It depends entirely on your provider and plan. Some companies have partnerships with certain insurance providers, and other times, home aligners might fall under your orthodontic benefits. You’ll have to contact your provider to find out.
How do I get started with home aligner treatment?
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.
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 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.