Are you looking to straighten your smile without breaking the bank? Would you prefer a convenient at-home treatment to a time-consuming in-office orthodontic alignment? If so, you might be interested in UpSmiles clear aligners. UpSmiles is one of several reputable companies offering Invisalign-style clear aligners that you can use to straighten your teeth at home.
UpSmiles is one of the newest companies in this market, and currently they’re only selling clear aligners to customers in Illinois. That said, there are some interesting aspects of their service offerings that make them worth checking out. Let’s find out if they’re the right company to align your teeth!
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What Is UpSmiles?
UpSmiles started selling clear aligners for home use in 2020. The company was founded by Dr. Amit Kumar, a dentist who has implemented Invisalign and braces in his private practice for 20 years. Dr. Kumar noticed that some other home aligner companies were getting subpar customer reviews and he saw an opportunity — to provide a premium product at reasonable rates while providing more personalized treatment than most competitors.
Currently, UpSmiles only offers clear aligner treatment to customers in Illinois. However, they plan to expand operations nationwide sometime in 2021. UpSmiles doesn’t have a ton of experience managing alignments with the at-home model, especially compared to some competitors, like SmileDirectClub.
That said, UpSmiles has reasonable pricing and can adjust misaligned teeth faster than most other aligner options. These shorter treatment times are made possible by a special dental vibration device that comes with every treatment plan (more on this below). Overall, we think they’re an intriguing addition to this industry.
UpSmiles is based in Chicago, Illinois, and the company has ambitious goals for growing its business. Their relatively low prices and impressive efficiency give them a solid foundation for becoming a leading aligner brand.
How Do I Get Started?
As with any of their competitors, the first step with UpSmiles treatment is providing their dental care team with high-quality images of your upper and lower teeth. To do this, you’ll need to complete one of their impression kits. These kits can be a bit of a hassle, but UpSmiles offers a virtual visit with their dental care team to make this step easier. Some of their competitors offer the option for an in-office professional teeth scan, but UpSmiles only offers impression kits at this time.
Once you complete the impression kit and return it to UpSmiles, their dentist will evaluate your alignment and determine if you’re a candidate for their services. If you are, they’ll ship your aligners, carrying case, chewies, aligner removal tool, and teeth whitening kits straight to your front door in just 2-3 weeks.
Pros & Cons of UpSmiles
We’ll take a deep dive into our UpSmiles analysis in a moment, but first, let’s quickly skim a few of their primary advantages and disadvantages. Considering all of their attributes, we feel like these are the ones that make UpSmiles stand out from the crowd — for better and for worse!
- With UpSmiles, you can complete your entire alignment process in as little as three months, assuming your misalignment is relatively mild. The only competitor that can match this efficiency is byte. Every other home aligner company takes at least four months to straighten your smile.
- If you prefer to only wear aligners while you sleep, rather than leaving them in for 22 hours per day, UpSmiles has a solution. Their nighttime alignment option costs $400 more, and it takes 5-6 months, but they allow you to align your teeth even more discreetly.
- UpSmiles includes the AcceleDent Optima tool with every aligner purchase. This vibratory orthotic device vibrates against your teeth to encourage them to move more efficiently. The AcceleDent Optima can cut alignment times in half, and it also makes the alignment process significantly more comfortable.
- With UpSmiles, you’ll receive several free bonus features, including whitening kits, retainers, chewies, and a carrying case.
- UpSmiles is a young company in the home aligner marketplace. At the time of this writing, this company has only served a few dozen customers, though the company’s founder has treated hundreds of patients as part of his traditional practice. By comparison, some competitors have treated thousands or even millions of customers.
- While many competitors have mixed dental teams consisting of dentists and orthodontists — and a few exclusively use orthodontists — UpSmiles’ dental team currently only includes one general dentist.
The decision to straighten your teeth isn’t one to be taken lightly. After all, it requires quite a bit of time and money! That’s why you need to know that the company you choose is capable of straightening your smile efficiently and effectively.
Like most other mail-order clear aligner services, UpSmiles is effective for mild-to-moderate alignment issues, such as crowding and spacing.
This means if you’re trying to correct a significant crossbite, underbite, or overbite, a traditional in-office treatment option like braces or Invisalign would probably be a better bet for you.
All that said, UpSmiles’ clear aligners are highly effective for mild-to-moderate cases of misalignment, as long as you wear your aligners as prescribed (22 hours per day, or ten hours per night if you opt for nighttime alignment).
While UpSmiles could not disclose their aligner manufacturer, they noted that the aligners are made from Zendura, a top-quality aligner material used by other leading brands, including ClearCorrect.
UpSmiles has one significant advantage over most other clear aligner services: the AcceleDent Optima device.
This high-frequency vibration device is designed to help move your teeth into their new positions faster and with less discomfort. By simply biting down on the AcceleDent Optima device for a few minutes every day, you’ll notice a significant improvement in both your treatment speed and comfort levels as your teeth shift.
These devices typically cost $800-$900 out of pocket, but UpSmiles includes one for free in your aligner bundle.
As one of only two companies that offers a device like this in their aligner bundle (the other one being byte), UpSmiles demonstrates they really care about making their customers’ treatment plans as fast, comfortable and effective as possible.
Any at-home alignment company will charge lower rates than braces or Invisalign. The question is, how much lower? Seeing as most insurers consider teeth alignment to be an optional, cosmetic treatment, your aligners will most likely not be covered by your insurance plan. This makes pricing even more important!
UpSmiles’ pricing is in the middle of the road compared to most alignment companies.
For all-day alignment, UpSmiles has a price point of $1,699. Meanwhile, if you choose nighttime alignment, you’ll pay $2,099. While these rates are certainly higher than the cheapest companies in this market (AlignerCo for $1,145 and NewSmile for $1,195), they are still lower than those offered by byte ($1,895), SmileDirectClub ($1,950), and Candid ($2,400).
If you don’t have thousands of dollars lying around waiting to be spent, that’s no problem for UpSmiles. They offer a payment plan that makes their prices far more affordable. Through their partnership with Partial.ly, you need to pay a $349 down payment, followed by 18 monthly payments of $79.72, resulting in a total price point of $1,783.95. They offer a similar payment structure for their nighttime aligners.
The other significant advantage at-home aligner companies have over their in-office counterparts is convenience. Instead of visiting your dentist or orthodontist every month for an in-person checkup, you will administer your own aligners at home, while sending your care team regular updates on your progress.
Home aligners are more efficient than traditional orthodontics as well, adding another layer of convenience. But analyzing how different home alignment companies compare to each other is always interesting, and it can produce some surprising results.
One area where UpSmiles falters a bit compared to its at-home competitors is its lack of in-person scanning locations.
While some competitors give customers the choice of completing a DIY impression kit or visiting a retail location for a professional teeth scan, UpSmiles only offers impression kits. Seeing as these kits can be a bit inconvenient, this is a less-than-ideal setup.
According to the company’s founder, UpSmiles was initially planning to launch a number of physical locations, but had to put that plan on hold due to a patent issue. Instead, they plan to partner up with existing retail locations to offer an in-person scan option in the coming months.
UpSmiles does a great job of getting everything to you quickly, as they generate a treatment plan within five days of receiving your impression kit, and they typically get your aligners to you within 2-3 weeks of your treatment plan approval. For reference, these times are a bit faster than most competitors.
UpSmiles does offer the option of at-night aligners, which not all clear aligner services provide.
If you’re a busy person with lots of meetings and social engagements, wearing clear aligners all day, every day might not be appealing.
UpSmiles’ all-day aligners require about 22 hours of daily wear time, and they take 3-4 months to align your teeth. Meanwhile, their nighttime aligners only require ten hours of daily wear, but they take 5-6 months to straighten your smile. By giving their customers a choice between the two, UpSmiles offers greater convenience than some other companies that only offer daytime aligner treatment.
UpSmiles includes two whitening pens and an LED whitening kit at no extra charge.
UpSmiles Appearance & Comfort
You don’t need us to tell you that every clear aligner is going to look significantly better than metal braces. That said, you might be surprised by how much variance there can be from company to company. How do UpSmiles’ aligners look compared to those offered by other home aligner companies?
The big differentiator in this category between clear aligner companies is how clear those aligners are. Your teeth naturally have a matte appearance because they’re porous. The best way to replicate this look is with translucent, frosted plastic aligners.
UpSmiles (and most competitors) use entirely transparent, clear plastic to make their aligners.
As a result, these aligners tend to gleam or glisten when light hits them, which can make them more noticeable. That said, completely clear aligners do seem to be the norm in the industry these days. But if you prefer a less noticeable option, you might want to take a look at SmileDirectClub.
The other important aspect of a clear aligner’s appearance is how it’s cut. UpSmiles uses a “scalloped” cut that matches your gumline, which we think is the best-looking option. On the flip side, aligners that are cut straight across the gums can exert a bit more force. Still, UpSmiles’ alignment times are already so fast that we’re not too concerned with this aspect.
The AcceleDent Optima device enhances the comfort of wearing UpSmiles’ aligners.
We’ve already mentioned the AcceleDent Optima vibration device that speeds up your alignment. As it turns out, this tool also provides a significant benefit of increased comfort. In fact, if you use it for just 20 minutes per day, you can decrease the pain and discomfort you experience by more than 70%!
UpSmiles Customer Friendliness
Customer support is extremely important in the home aligner industry. If you have any problems, or if you just have some questions, you can’t just walk into your dentist’s office. Instead, you’ll need to contact your chosen aligner company’s support team for help. How does UpSmiles rate in this area?
UpSmiles’ customer service representatives are typically available from 10 am until 6 pm ET Monday through Friday.
They answer all customer questions within 24 hours, and if you contact them during the workday, they’re usually able to respond within just three hours or less.
UpSmiles is such a new company that we haven’t had much of an opportunity to test out their support network yet. That said, UpSmiles says that “personal patient engagement” is one of the major advantages of its services, so we expect that they will be quite prompt and helpful when responding to customer support queries. However, while UpSmiles has responded quickly and courteously to our questions via their online chat feature so far, we get the impression that they are likely outsourcing customer support to a foreign country.
That said, once you become a customer, you will receive more personalized attention from their Illinois-based dental team. UpSmiles’ interactive Patient Portal allows you to conveniently communicate with your dentist, so if you have any questions or problems throughout the process, your dentist will be right there to help you out. You can even upload images and schedule remote visits through the Patient Portal!
UpSmiles offers a full refund if they determine that you’re not a candidate for their services.
Beyond that, they offer a guarantee that if you prepay for five years’ worth of retainers, they will accommodate any refinements you request upon completing your alignment process at no extra cost if the results don’t match your treatment preview.
What Are UpSmiles Customers Saying?
We always like to take a look at what customers have to say when analyzing an at-home teeth alignment company. Some companies in this industry have hundreds or even thousands of reviews. That’s not the case for UpSmiles, as they’re a newer and somewhat smaller company than some other options.
In fact, we were unable to find any customer reviews for UpSmiles’ services. This isn’t terribly surprising, as they’re a brand-new company without a large existing customer base, but it’s still a bit of a drawback that there’s no way to know how their customers feel about their alignment services.
If you’re interested in using UpSmiles aligners and documenting the process, you might be interested in our Honest Smiles Program. If you partner with us to provide an unbiased review of your experience with UpSmiles, we will reimburse you for $150 of your total costs!
UpSmiles vs. Invisalign
While UpSmiles and Invisalign do share some common characteristics, there are also plenty of differences between these companies. They both straighten your teeth with clear aligners, but that’s just about where the similarities end. Let’s take a quick look at how they match up.
With Invisalign, you’ll typically pay somewhere between $3,000 and $8,000. Their prices vary so much because they treat so many different conditions. Regardless, even Invisalign’s lowest price point is significantly more expensive than UpSmiles.
Because there are no office visits required, UpSmiles is far more convenient than Invisalign. Beyond that, UpSmiles can align your teeth in as little as three months, whereas most people have to wear Invisalign aligners for at least a year. Even UpSmiles’ night-only products can align your smile faster than Invisalign.
For those of you with mild crowding and spacing issues, UpSmiles and Invisalign will likely be equally effective. However, if you have any more advanced alignment problems — like a significant overbite, underbite, or crossbite — UpSmiles might not be able to help you. In fact, UpSmiles tells us that they only accept around half of all cases. This means that if they say you’re a good candidate for their services, you can feel confident that they will indeed be able to successfully align your smile.
Invisalign can treat a much wider variety of alignment issues thanks to its in-office nature. Your dentist or orthodontist can apply attachments to encourage more significant shifts than you’ll get with just aligners.
The first step with Invisalign is to visit your dental professional and have them evaluate your smile. With UpSmiles, you will instead complete an impression kit at home. While impression kits are more convenient in some ways because you don’t have to leave your house, they’re inconvenient in other ways — some people find them to be a messy hassle.
The other big difference is that UpSmiles delivers your entire alignment kit straight to your front door. Invisalign ships its aligners to your dental professional, who will walk you through the process of wearing them and help you schedule monthly follow-up appointments for the duration of your treatment. While UpSmiles doesn’t offer the personalization of in-office treatment, they differentiate themselves from other home aligner companies by giving you the option to interact directly with your dentist via their Patient Portal.
UpSmiles vs. Other Home Aligners
UpSmiles is an excellent option for at-home teeth alignment, but they’re far from the only choice you have. There are several other reputable companies offering clear aligners for home application these days, so let’s see how UpSmiles stacks up to a couple of the top options one-on-one.
UpSmiles vs. byte
byte is our favorite overall option in the at-home clear aligner industry. They have the same three-month alignment time as UpSmiles, and byte adds far more industry experience, with thousands of satisfied customers. byte also has an outstanding reputation, as they have a high volume of high-quality customer feedback. Although byte has higher prices, we think they’re warranted.
Learn more about our #1-recommended clear aligner service in our in-depth byte review.
UpSmiles vs. Candid
Candid offers in-office teeth scans if you would rather not complete an impression kit, which is a nice option to have. Their “Remote Monitoring” service is a welcome feature as well, as this process aims to replicate the experience of having regular in-office check-ups. It’s quite similar to UpSmiles’ Patient Portal in this regard. Candid also receives excellent customer reviews, but their high prices keep them from becoming our top option for home teeth alignment.
Learn more in our review of Candid.
UpSmiles vs. SmileDirectClub
SmileDirectClub has much more experience than every competitor in this industry, as they’ve already aligned more than 1 million smiles. SmileDirectClub also has some of the least-noticeable aligners available, thanks to their frosted plastic design. All of this comes at a price though. SmileDirectClub has higher prices than UpSmiles, and their customer feedback is a bit of a mixed bag.
For more info, check out our full review of SmileDirectClub.
Is UpSmiles Right for You?
UpSmiles didn’t quite make our list of the best home alignment companies in the U.S. today, in part because their services aren’t yet available outside of Illinois. But if you are located in Illinois, they do have some attributes that make them worth a look. We love their incredibly efficient alignment times, and their prices are lower than several of our favorite companies in this industry.
As Dr. Kumar says, “Price, treatment time, and pain are the three big reasons people don’t get orthodontics. UpSmiles offers a solution to cure these concerns.” After carefully reviewing the details of their home alignment service, we have to say that we agree.
Our top pick, byte, has higher prices than UpSmiles. However, byte also has significantly more experience treating patients from home and an outstanding reputation for delivering top-quality services. That’s why they remain our number-one overall choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does UpSmiles offer discounts?
We are not aware of any UpSmiles discounts. That said, their prices are already pretty reasonable.
Can UpSmiles correct my condition?
It’s hard for us to answer this question in an across-the-board manner because everyone’s smile is unique. However, we can say home aligners are typically a great option for minor issues like crowding and spacing. On the other hand, if you have a more severe condition, like an overbite, crossbite, or underbite, you may need to pursue traditional orthodontics.
In general, UpSmiles only accepts about half of all treatment candidates. Therefore, if they say they can fix your specific alignment issues, you can rest assured that you’ll achieve a quality outcome.
What about Invisalign?
Invisalign is still the gold standard for clear aligners, and they offer a much more personalized alignment process. As opposed to at-home alignment, Invisalign requires regular office visits where your dental professional can adjust your treatment, add attachments to exert more force, and more. UpSmiles is certainly both faster and cheaper than Invisalign, but Invisalign can fix a much broader range of alignment issues.
How much will I end up paying?
While UpSmiles charges $1,699 for its standard alignment package, you may end up paying more than that. For instance, they charge $2,099 for night-only aligners, and their payment plan also ends up costing more than these sticker prices.
How do I get started?
With UpSmiles, you’ll need to complete one of their impression kits at home. Once you’ve successfully taken quality molds of your upper and lower teeth, you’ll send them back to UpSmiles so they can evaluate your smile. They will determine if you’re a suitable candidate for their services and send you a preview of what your results could look like.
How long will it take?
For some people, UpSmiles can align your smile in as little as three months. However, some cases can take around four months, while their night-only aligners take more like 5-6 months.
Does insurance cover UpSmiles treatment?
Most insurers will not cover home aligners because they’re considered to be an optional, cosmetic treatment. That said, it doesn’t hurt to ask!
What is the fastest home aligner service?
byte and UpSmiles are tied for the most efficient home alignment services available in America today, as they can both align your teeth in as little as three months.
What is the cheapest home aligner service?
AlignerCo charges just $1,145, making them the cheapest home aligner service available in America. They also sometimes offer discounts driving their great rates even lower.
What is the most effective clear aligner company?
For at-home alignment, we think there are two top companies. byte’s exclusive HyperByte device gives them the fastest alignment times in the industry, which is a big advantage over every competitor other than UpSmiles. We’re also impressed by Candid’s Remote Monitoring service that gives you the customized care of an in-office visit with none of the hassle.
Do clear aligners hurt?
You might feel some minor discomfort whenever you switch to a new set of aligners, but for the most part, you’ll probably barely even notice you’re wearing them after a day or two.
Is home aligner treatment safe?
They certainly are. We understand if you have some reservations about aligning your teeth at home, but the aligners you’ll use are still professionally designed and implemented. Millions of people have already successfully aligned their teeth using home aligners.