Invisalign might look amazing, but the steep price isn’t affordable for most of us.
So, is there a cheaper version of Invisalign?
Here we review the 5 best invisible braces on the market! But first…
What are Invisible Braces? (Teeth Aligners)
Teeth aligners are orthodontic devices used to straighten your teeth gradually over time. With teeth aligners, you don’t need to use traditional braces, so if you’ve ever wondered “how can I straighten my teeth without braces?” then aligners are the answer!
Teeth aligners are usually made from high-quality BPA-free plastic which is transparent, making them very subtle compared to traditional metal devices like old-school braces. As such, clear aligners are popular with adults who want to straighten their teeth in a less noticeable manner.
It can take anywhere from 3-12 months to straighten your teeth with aligners – it depends on your teeth, how much you want them straightened, and the company you go with.
5 Best Clear Aligners to Straighten Your Teeth at Home
#1. Byte – Best Value
Best for: Straightening teeth as quickly as possible!
Price: $1895 (or $249 followed by $83/month)
Impression Method: At-home impression kit
Special offers: 70% off your impression kit
If you’re looking to straighten your teeth at home and you want it done as quickly as possible, Byte is the invisible braces company you’re looking for. The average treatment time is just 3 months with Byte, so you could correct your crooked teeth in as little as 12 weeks compared to 6+ months for most of their competitors.
But how? Because Byte uses the “HyperByte” – an FDA-approved piece of aligner seating technology that uses high-frequency vibration therapy to cut the straightening process time in half. The company also uses remote monitoring with licensed orthodontists, so you can do all of this without ever having to leave your home.
Furthermore, the Byte customer support team are all based in the US, so you can expect fast and effective support whenever you need it. When you throw in their free retainers, premium whitening treatments, and very affordable payment plans, it’s not hard to see why so many people are choosing Byte for their teeth straightening at home.
- $1895 or affordable $83/month payment plan
- 3 months average treatment time
- Unique “HyperByte” Technology approved by the FDA
- 100% US-based customer support
- At-home impression kit and remote monitoring
- Lifetime guarantee
- Requires more effort to straighten teeth
- Remote monitoring less meticulous than some services
#2. Aligner Co – Lowest Price
Best For: Cheapest invisible braces
Price: $1145 (or $110/month no deposit)
Impression Method: At-home molding kit
Special Offers: $200 off NightOnly aligners
Based in New York, Aligner Co is making a name for itself as one of the cheapest invisible braces companies online. Its treatment plan costs just $1145 in a single payment or $110/month for 12 months without a deposit. There are a couple of other ways to pay too, so you can pay for your clear aligners however it suits you.The teeth straightening takes between 6-12 months on average, so it’s not as quick as some of the other clear braces companies. Checks from a dental professional also seem to be limited, so there’s not as much supervision throughout your treatment. This probably explains how they can operate so cheaply.
Nonetheless, they link you to their TrustPilot page where they boast a 4.6 out of 5 Trustpilot rating. I like this because you can read mostly 5-star reviews mixed in with the occasional average review. It’s refreshingly realistic compared to the “testimonials” a lot of companies do which are often fake or sponsored.
Bottom line, if you want to straighten your teeth for the lowest possible price, try Aligner Co! If you’re looking for more thorough supervision and a faster process, try Candid or Byte.
- Much cheaper than other companies
- No deposit required for payment plan option
- High-quality clear braces
- 4.6/5 Trustpilot rating
- Limited inspections and check-ups
- Impression kit sold separately ($29.99)
- 6-12 months treatment length on average
#3. Candid Co
Price: $2400 (or $399 followed by $99/month)
Impression Method: One-time studio visit
Candid is a company specializing in invisible braces that are designed to slowly correct your teeth at home without requiring several trips to the orthodontist. The treatment plan costs $2400 as a one-time payment, or you can put $399 down and then pay as low as $99/month with their monthly payment treatment plan, making treatment more affordable.
Unlike other invisible brace aligner companies, Candid require all of their specialists to be experienced orthodontists with 6-7 years of training. Some companies just use general dentists (with 4-5 years of training) to survey customers’ teeth during the process, but Candid only works with professionals who are specifically trained in invisible aligners.
With Candid, you have a one-time visit to a studio near your location, and then you use your smartphone and a special scanner to send photos of your teeth back to the orthodontists for inspection every two weeks. Candid is very convenient, but according to many Candid aligners reviews, it can be hard to get accepted due to their strict requirements.
- Exclusively work with orthodontists (not general dentists)
- $2400 or $99 per month payment treatment plan
- Strict requirements for high-quality results
- Durable and stain-resistant clear brace products
- Remote monitoring from an orthodontist
- One-time studio visit required (may be very far away)
- Harder to get treatment due to strict requirements
- Not as cheap as other invisible braces companies
Read the full Candid Co Review
4. Smile Direct Club
Best for: Convenience and hassle-free clear braces
Price: $1,895 (or $250 followed by $85/month)
Impression Method: One-time studio visit OR at-home impression kit
SDC is one of the biggest trailblazers in the “invisible braces at home” space, but how does Smile Direct Club work? Well, their treatment takes 6 months on average, using high-quality BPA-free plastic aligners to slowly move your teeth into place. They also have a 10-hour night time aligners package, but the overall treatment time is longer.
Okay, so how much is Smile Direct Club? SDC costs $1,895 as a single payment or $250 followed by monthly payments of $85. It doesn’t require a credit check, so it’s good if your credit history is sketchy, but bear in mind that you have to purchase the post-treatment retainers separately (some companies include them for free).
A dentist or orthodontist will check how you’re doing every 90 days to make sure that everything is going well. Although this greatly reduces hassle for you, some companies like Candid check on you every two weeks, so it could be a little irresponsible. In terms of Candid vs Smile Direct, Candid does offer better care throughout the treatment process.
Nonetheless, SDC is still 60% cheaper than traditional metal braces and has proven itself to be a major disrupter in the industry. If you check out the Smile Direct Club before and after photos on their website, you can see for yourself how well their invisible braces work!
- Very popular clear braces company
- 60% cheaper than traditional metal braces
- No credit check required
- 6 month treatment time on average
- 10-hour night-time aligners option
- Premium teeth whitening included
- BPA-free high-quality plastic clear aligners
- Customer support team based mostly in Costa Rica
- Uses a dentist or orthodontist
- Only check your teeth every 90 days
- Post-treatment retainers not included in price
Read the full Smile Direct Club Review
5. Smile Love
Best For: Fixing crooked teeth
Price: $1,495 (or $250 followed by $62/month)
Impression Method: At-home impression kit
With its recent discounts, Smile Love is one of the cheaper invisible braces companies on this list, costing just $1,495 is you can afford to pay all in one. For that price, you not only get a free at-home molding kit and all the sets of invisible aligners, but you also get the post-treatment retainers and teeth whitening included for free. Treatment takes 6-8 months on average, which may be longer than some people want, but you can’t argue with the price! Throughout the teeth straightening process you will have access to customer support however it suits you – text, email, live chat, or video call. If you’re concerned about your teeth, they’re standing by to put your mind at ease.
Like Aligner Co, Smile Love is a company you want to go for if you’re trying to save money. They have tons of positive reviews online and include everything you need within their price, so there are no hidden fees or add-ons to worry about when you’re budgeting for your teeth straightening treatment!
- Low price
- At-home impressions kit
- Post-treatment retainers and teeth whitening for free
- Customer support with text, email, live chat, video call
- 6-8 months treatment time on average
- Limited remote monitoring
- Not as cheap as Aligner Co
How Do Teeth Aligners Work?
Teeth aligners use gentle pressure to slowly move your teeth into their desired new position. An impression of your teeth is taken by either biting into a mold or scanning your teeth. This can be done at home or in a clinic/studio depending on the company you’re buying aligners from.
Using this impression of your teeth, a dentist or orthodontist will design a “journey” of several sets of aligners that slowly move your crooked teeth into the desired position.
You normally wear a set of aligners after about 2 weeks before moving onto the next step in the journey.
Most clear aligners have to be worn for 20 to 22 hours per day, though some companies like Smile Direct Club have 10-hour nighttime versions (but the overall treatment length is longer). Most people wear their invisible braces for at least 22 hours a day.
You must take aligners out when you eat or drink. You should also take them out to brush your teeth or clean the plastic regularly. Because you take them out to eat, you aren’t limited to the food and drink you can consume.
Usually, a dental professional will check on your teeth periodically throughout the process to make sure that everything is going well. Some companies like Candid Co do this every two weeks, others like SDC do it every 90 days.
When the process is done, you’ll usually have to use a retainer to keep the results you want in place. The time you must wear a retainer can vary, but its usually at least 12 months. This is the same following any teeth straightening treatment, such as traditional braces or Invisalign.
Can Anyone Get Invisible Braces?
No. Not everyone can get invisible braces.
It depends on whether your teeth are suitable for Invisalign style clear braces or whether you need more drastic help in the form of traditional metal braces or dental surgery.
When you apply for invisible braces, you will be asked a series of dental questions about your teeth, your lifestyle, and desired teeth straightening results. You will also have an impression made of your teeth.
After a dental professional has reviewed your questionnaire and impressions, they will tell you whether you are a candidate for invisible braces.
Teeth Aligners vs. Metal Braces
When it comes to teeth aligners vs braces, there’s no doubt that aligners are the better option overall. However, there are pros and cons to both options.
Invisible aligners are usually made from clear plastic, so they’re very hard to see. Braces are made from metal, so they are very easy to see.
Aligners can be taken out for 1-2 hours a day, so you can eat and drink whatever you want and clean your teeth easily. Braces come with food/drink limitations and make it hard to clean your teeth.
Teeth aligners are much less likely to get damaged, unlike braces which are delicate and can require expensive trips to the clinic if things go wrong.
Aligners can fix your teeth in as little as 3 months, but usually take between 3-6 months depending on the severity of your dental problems. Traditional braces can be worn for 12 to 18 months or even longer. Many people wear braces for 18 months to 24 months.
On the other hand, clear aligners tend to be more expensive than braces and aren’t suitable for more extreme cases such as overcrowded teeth.
Related reading: Smile Direct Club vs. Invisalign comparison.
Do Invisible Braces Work the Faster?
If you’re eligible for invisible braces (a.k.a. invisible aligners or clear braces), they usually work much more quickly than metal braces.
Traditional braces are worn for 18-24 months on average, while many aligners like those from Invisalign and cheaper companies can straighten your teeth in 3-6 months.
However, aligners are not suitable for more extreme teeth straightening or people with overcrowded teeth, so you need to be examined by a trained dental professional to see if you’re a candidate.
Invisalign vs Braces Cost
How much does Invisalign cost?
Invisalign can cost anywhere from $3,000 – $7,000, and there may be additional fees for your visits to an orthodontist’s clinic.
On average, most people pay between $3000 – $5000 for Invisalign.
In the US, traditional braces cost $4,937 on average, or $3,407 on average with dental insurance.
These companies can cut down on costs by reducing (or completely eliminating) clinical visits, though licensed dentists and orthodontists will still monitor your teeth remotely.
How Much Do Teeth Aligners Cost Through an Orthodontist?
The WebMD orthodontic aligners guide estimates that clear teeth aligners will cost around $5,000 – $6,000 on average if ordered through an orthodontist.
If you use at-home services like Smile Love and Byte, this cost can reduced to $1,145 – $2,400. You save money because there are few (or zero) clinical visits and no orthodontist is taking a cut of the profits.
Maintenance and Cleaning of Invisible Braces
If you choose invisible braces from one of the companies in this article, the maintenance and cleaning are usually very simple and straightforward.
Most invisible braces are made from hygienic BPA-free high-quality plastic which is molded to fit the shape of your teeth. If the aligners are made correctly, you should easily transition to a new set every two weeks without needing to do much maintenance.
When it comes to cleaning invisible braces, it is recommended to clean your aligners 2 times a day at the same time you would brush your teeth.
2 times a day, take out your invisible aligners so you can brush and floss your teeth. During this time, soak the aligners in cool or lukewarm water and feel free to clean them with gentle soap or toothpaste as well if necessary.
DO NOT use hot water to clean the invisible aligners, as the extreme temperature could warp the plastic.
Pros and Cons of Teeth Aligners
When it comes to teeth aligners, there are some pros and cons you need to consider:
- Clear aligners are subtle and low-key
- Food and drink options aren’t limited
- Easy to take out and clean your teeth
- Often cheaper than metal braces
- Much less likely to break than braces
- Teeth straightening can be completed in 3-6 months
- Big brands like Invisalign are very expensive
- Possible to lose/damage clear aligners after taking them out
- Not suitable for people with more severe teeth problems
Where Do I Buy Teeth Aligners Online?
If you want to buy invisible braces online but you don’t want to pay the cost of Invisalign, there are many at-home teeth straightening services that use clear aligners.
All of these services use an at-home teeth impression kit or one-time studio visit to take a mold of your teeth and supply you with sets of transparent aligners which will slowly correct your teeth over 3-12 months.
These invisible braces services are generally very safe and licensed orthodontists and dentists can remotely monitor your teeth to make sure they’re being aligned correctly.
Final Verdict on the Best Teeth Aligners
In conclusion, I do think that Candid clearly has the best invisible braces out of all the companies listed. Your progress is monitored every 2 weeks by licensed orthodontists and they have very high standards for their stain-resistant dental aligners.
Although it’s far cheaper than Invisalign, Candid is still the most expensive invisible braces company on this list ($2,400+). If you’re looking to save cash but keep the quality of care high, try Byte or Smile Direct Club instead.
Whichever service you choose to correct your teeth, make sure that it’s right for you, your budget, and your level of commitment.