Best Invisible Braces: Straightening Teeth Safely in 2022

The Best Invisible Braces and Clear Aligners

There is an abundance of aligners on the market to pick from—but not all are FDA approved.

Invisible braces, also known as clear aligners, can be a discreet, convenient alternative to metal braces. If traditional orthodontic treatment is inaccessible to you, especially if you are priced out, you may want to consider invisible braces. We round up the best invisible braces on the market today for your review.  But first, let’s cover the basics on what to look for when shopping for invisible braces.

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.

Our Top Picks: Best Invisible Braces 2022

There are many invisible braces companies around today, but several in particular stand out.

1. Byte - Best Overall

What You Get

Byte aligners combine new technology with the support you need to build a better smile with clear braces. Analysis techniques from cosmetic dentistry and vibration therapy provide a modern edge. Any-time support brings you a human touch, whether you have important concerns or just want to know how you’re progressing. Afterward, enjoy lifetime access to as-needed retainers, in order to prevent relapses from developing.

Read the full Byte Review

2. AlignerCo - Best for Affordability

What You Get

AlignerCo is a near-invisible brace, that saves your money while offering quality and safe treatment. This aligner is about $1000 cheaper than most of its competition. That said, clear aligners are only designed to handle mild cases, talk to an orthodontist if you have a severe case.

 

Take this free assessment to see if you’re eligible.

Review Section: What Is the Best Invisible Braces?

Confused over your treatment choices? We’ve picked the five best invisible braces currently on the market.

1. Byte –Best Overall

Special offers : New Years Sale! Get Straighter Teeth with Byte! Save 75% Off Your Impression Kit PLUS Free Teeth Whitening with your aligners!

Feature Description Star Rating
Price $1,895 (All-Day) or $2,295 (At-Night) +$95 Impression Kit
Treatment Time Minimum of 3 months (All-Day) or 5–6 months (At-Night)
Hours/Day Required 10 or 22 hours
Personal Support Seven-day access to care team for questions and concerns
Refund Policy Impression kit; additional treatment offered if needed

Byte offers high-quality teeth aligners with convenient remote monitoring and support, anytime you need it. The company claims that they are effective in reducing the severity of crowding and spacing; as well as overbite, underbite, or crossbite. Developed with the Smile Science system of cosmetic dentistry, your aligners are made from a five-point analysis for the best results.

Part of why Byte has a shorter average treatment time is the HyperByte technology. This involves high-frequency vibration therapy, to create a teeth straightening process with less discomfort than sustained mechanical force alone.

Byte offers flexibility in treatments and payment. Choose between all-day and nighttime aligners, and between one-off and monthly payments. Their lifetime guarantee, where you are entitled to retainer treatment if you notice a relapse, and whitening add-ons make Byte one of the best invisible braces companies in terms of value.

The Byte aligners are also compatible in some cases if you have dental implants, missing teeth, or veneers. However, they will not completely fix issues originating from jaw bone structure, and aligners are not refundable if the treatment is ineffective. Even better, you can contact your care team at any time if you have any questions.

Bottom Line: 

The Byte aligner is our top pick if you want to straighten teeth at home. It offers convenience, flexibility, and support for a range of mild to moderate orthodontic issues.

Pros

  • HyperByte aligner seating device may help to reduce discomfort while allowing for a shortened treatment time.
  • Alternative nighttime aligners are available if you do not want to wear them for the full 22 hours a day.
  • Byte for Life guarantee allows you to receive additional aligners at no extra cost if your teeth relapse into their previous positioning.
  • Refunds are available for the impression kit if you are not a suitable candidate for the Byte Aligner.
  • Can be partially refunded by some insurance providers.
  • Cons:

Cons

  • May not be covered by your dental insurance company.

2. AlignerCo –Best for Affordability

Feature Description Star Rating
Price $1,145, but discount offers are often available
Treatment Time 4–6 months (All-Day); 6–8 months (NightOnly) 4.5
Hours/Day Required 20–22 hours (All-Day); 8–10 hours (NightOnly)
Personal Support Available; indirect from dentists only 4.5
Refund Policy Yes for the impression kit, extra support or re-aligning available if they are ill-fitting

AlignerCo’s top advantage is that it is the cheapest invisible braces brand reviewed here. Like other at-home aligners, you will be sent an at-home impression kit to make a mold of your teeth, then a team of dentists will analyze it and construct a series of aligners that work for you.

After the teeth-straightening part of your treatment process is over, you can purchase retainers to prevent relapse. The WorryFree plan gives you new post-treatment retainers every six months, with on-demand replacements in case you lose your retainer. With an almost 5-star rating on Trustpilot, AlignerCo allows you to read independent reviews, and has nothing to hide.

Like Invisalign, AlignerCo allows teenagers to be treated. However, while clear aligners for teenagers are available, they do not include extra support for the still-developing bone structure. They are also not designed for those who still have some baby teeth remaining.

The top downside is a smaller degree of personalized support. Instead of contacting your dentist directly, a Smile Crew member will take your questions before sending them on to a dentist. There is also less supervision overall throughout your treatment period, which may be partly responsible for the lower costs.

Bottom Line: 

AlignerCo is the best budget option out of the invisible braces companies reviewed here, with add-ons available for retainers and extra aligners if necessary.

Pros

  • Cheapest available home teeth straightening treatment plan.
  • Night-only option is available if you prefer not to wear invisible braces 22 hours a day.
  • Trimmed to the gumline for comfort.
  • Retainers for sale on the website.

Cons

  • Support during treatment is relayed through a Smile Crew member to the dentist assigned to you.
  • Overall more sparse support than for other aligners.

3. Invisalign –Best Evidence-Based Aligner

Feature Description Star Rating
Price $3,000–$8,000 (average of $5,000)
Treatment Time Minimum of 6 months
Hours/Day Required 20–22 hours per day
Personal Support Available through in-person providers
Refund Policy No, but can be reimbursed through many insurance providers

Invisalign is an evidence-based way to straighten your teeth, being the only teeth aligners specifically studied and described by name in the research. It is partly through this academic research that Invisalign’s efficacy has improved over time, with an average accuracy of 50% for all tooth movement [1].

Improvement in the buccal-lingual crown tip has the highest overall tooth movement accuracy of 56%, while the lowest improvement belongs to rotation accuracy, sitting at 46%. An earlier review found a lower overall accuracy, at only 41%. Digital scans replacing impression kits, superior aligner material, and smart pressure zones are behind these gains.

Invisalign is indicated for a range of orthodontic treatment needs, from simply wanting straighter teeth to issues including, overbite, open bite, crowded teeth, gapped teeth, and underbite. Younger patients with some baby teeth don’t have to wait, either.

Even better, 3D digital scanning technology, taking 6,000 images per second, provides a more accurate map of your smile than standard impressions.

Bottom Line: 

Invisalign is more expensive than other invisible braces brands that offer remote treatment, but its ability to work for mild to moderate teeth straightening needs is backed up by evidence. See how Invisalign alternatives compare.

Pros

  • The most evidence-based clear aligners.
  • In-person consultation and treatment by a dental professional.
  • Time-honored treatment, originating in the 1990s with over 11 million patients served.
  • Advanced digital scanning is available at every appointment.
  • Accommodates younger patients with a mix of baby and permanent teeth.

Cons

  • More expensive than at-home aligner treatment.
  • Access relies on whether there are providers in your local area.

4. Candid –Best Remote Treatment

Feature Description Star Rating
Price $1,895
Treatment Time Average of 6 months
Hours/Day Required 22 hours per day; no night aligners available
Personal Support Fortnightly check-ins, orthodontists only.
Refund Policy Yes, for the impression kit and any upfront payment

Candid means quality for remote treatment. Only orthodontists are employed for patient support, as they have an average of seven years’ training, compared to the four years for dentists. When choosing between a dentist or orthodontist, remember that orthodontists specifically train to straighten teeth, looking at the underlying muscle and bone issues as well as dental ones.

In line with the American Board of Orthodontics’ standards, you start by sending eight photos. Then, with the CandidMonitoring system, you send in quality scans each fortnight, instead of regular cell phone photos. Your results determine whether your orthodontist will give you the green light to move to your next aligner, which may be several days earlier or later than average.

Support for teenage customers is more comprehensive. Candid is unique among home clear aligners in that teenagers require X-rays to initiate treatment, because their bone structure is still developing. There is also a smaller 10-day interval between each check-in due to the higher needs brought on by continued development.

We’d love to give Candid a higher rating, but the lack of night aligners lost the brand a few points. Candid is also only four years old, so has not built up the experience or track record that other invisible braces companies now have.

Bottom Line: 

Candid seems to leave no stone unturned when it comes to remote monitoring of your teeth straightening journey. However, only all-day treatment is available, and the company is fairly new.

Pros

  • Only orthodontists are consulted for support.
  • Comprehensive CandidMonitoring system, with Candid Studios available in some US cities to get scans performed professionally.
  • Teen treatment options are available with a higher degree of care.
  • Retainers are available, with the last set of aligners doubling as the first set of retainers.
  • Social impact with Smile Train, providing cleft and lip palate corrective surgeries.

Cons

  • No option given for night aligners.
  • Newer company founded in 2017; does not have the long-standing experience and reputation of other companies.
  • Stricter requirements for acceptance into treatment may exclude patients who need it, or inflate treatment success rates.

Which Is Better, Invisible Aligners or Braces?

Invisible aligners are best if you have a mild to moderate cases of misaligned teeth, such as an overbite with a dental origin or crooked teeth. A research review comparing invisible braces treatment to traditional braces found that they were overall less effective in teeth straightening, but their effects may be enough in less severe cases [2].

However, one study found that invisible aligners increased intercanine width more than traditional braces, which allows more space for the incisors (front teeth). Others showed roughly equal benefits in enhancing the intermolar width.

It is also important to remember that the studies showing more positive results were also more recent. Research and technology used in invisible aligners are constantly evolving, as market forces select for effective alternatives to painful, more invasive traditional treatments.

Invisible Braces vs Metal Braces: Pros and Cons

There are several advantages to invisible aligners over traditional metal braces, alongside some disadvantages too.

Pros

  • Clear teeth aligners are more esthetically pleasing, with no bulky “metal mouth” look associated with awkward teenage years.
  • Clear braces are pain-free, both when being applied and in your everyday life. Metal brackets can irritate or injure the inside of your cheeks, causing ulceration.
  • Aligners do not interfere with chewing or lead to some chewy or crunchy foods being off-limits [3].
  • Invisible aligners do not have the long-term risks of traditional metal braces. These include chronic infection, bone loss, gingivitis, and inflammation-induced overgrowth of tissue. The risk of these issues is higher if you have a history of gingivitis [4].
  • You are able to remove your aligner when eating and brushing your teeth. Being unable to do so with traditional braces leads to a higher risk of tooth decay.
  • There is a shorter average treatment time.
  • Remote monitoring is possible with invisible braces, as you do not need to travel to a dentist or orthodontist for services such as tightening them.

Cons

  • Some research suggests that invisible braces are less effective in correcting malocclusion, so they may only be helpful in mild to moderate cases of issues such as overbite or poor alignment [2].
  • Invisible braces are more likely to cause difficulties in speaking [3].
  • Remote monitoring can lead to important issues being missed, such as a skeletal cause of your crooked teeth, or oral habits that may contribute to relapse if they are left unaddressed.
  • Invisible braces can require more effort on the patients’ side to be effective.
  • Currently, the American Dental Association does not support the use of at-home aligners prescribed by remote treatment.

Do Invisible Braces Really Work?

Invisible braces are effective in mild to moderate cases of misaligned or crooked teeth. A 2020 review testing the Invisalign aligners found an average correction of 50%, meaning half of the original defect was corrected. Although this was an improvement over the 41% correction rate seen in 2009, there is still work that must be done.

best invisible braces How the effectiveness of clear braces have improved between 2009-2020 The effectiveness of clear braces increased from 41% to 50% between 2009 and 2020

The buccal-lingual crown tip improved the most, at 56% on average. This is the easiest aspect of teeth alignment to correct, due to the large surface area. While rotation seemed to be the least improved aspect, at 46%, this was because rounded teeth are least likely to grip the aligners [1].

Are Invisible Braces Painful?

As they do not involve metal brackets, invisible braces won’t irritate or hurt the inside of your mouth. You can also take them off at will if things get too uncomfortable.

That said, the force exerted by your aligner can result in some mild soreness. The Byte aligner website describes this as normal for the first few days after changing to a new aligner. Like stepping up your gym workouts, it is seen as a sign that the treatment process is progressing.

Do Invisible Braces Work Faster?

Research shows that invisible aligners have a shorter average treatment time than traditional braces. Three studies comparing the two found that invisible aligners had a 13.4, 13.35, and 20.9-month average treatment time, all less than two years. In contrast, the average treatment time for regular braces was 20.2, 19.1, and 28.1 months, respectively [2].

What Is the Cost of Invisible Braces?

Invisible braces’ cost depends on the brand. While a course of Byte aligner treatment costs a little under $2,000, Invisalign treatment may set you back up to $8,000, depending on your needs.

Important considerations to make when judging the price of each clear aligner treatment plan are whether your dental insurance covers it, and your individual needs. A more expensive invisible braces company likely to work for you is more worthwhile than a cheaper brand that doesn’t cover your level of severity or type of issue.

Where To Buy Invisible Braces?

Invisible aligners are predominantly teledentistry products. You usually make orders from the relevant websites although you can also get them via select orthodontic offices.

Invisible Braces Near Me

As easily the oldest of all clear teeth aligners, and as a product designed for in-person support, Invisalign has the largest number of physical locations. The Doctor Locator allows you to find providers near your zip code, with options for teenage patients and ranking. The downside is that you pay for the extra attention, making this aligner significantly costlier than the other products reviewed here. Read more on invisalign treatment cost.

Candid has an increasing number of in-person locations. Here, you can ask questions about your treatment options with a care specialist, and get the scans you need so the orthodontists can design your treatment plan. These are spread out across 14 states, including California, New York, and Texas.

SmileDirectClub’s SmileShops allow you to have your scan performed by a professional with experience, so there’s no need to worry that you aren’t getting it right. There are currently locations in 34 US states, including Hawaii, New York, Florida, and California.

Invisible Braces Online

Most invisible braces companies, including four of the five aligner brands being reviewed in this article, are available online: Byte, AlignerCo, Candid, and SmileDirectClub. You must purchase the at-home clear aligners from their official websites, as you need an initial assessment with the impression kit.

Invisible Braces FAQs

What are the most important things we need to know about invisible braces?

Can Braces Be Invisible?

What Invisible Braces are the Best?

What Is the Best Invisalign Alternative?

What Are the Best Invisible Aligners for Crowded Teeth?

What Are the Best Invisible Aligners for Overbite?

Do Clear Aligners Really Work?

So What’s the Best Clear Aligner Brand?

Byte aligners are among the few clear braces with FDA approval. With their quick action and favorable pricing, they are our #1 recommendation. AlignerCo braces are a very close second. That said, it’s important to only use clear aligners on very mild cases. For any severe cases of teeth misalignment, we strongly suggest that you only start treatment after talking to a registered orthodontist.

References:

  1. Haouili, Nada et al. “Has Invisalign improved? A prospective follow-up study on the efficacy of tooth movement with Invisalign.” American journal of orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics : official publication of the American Association of Orthodontists, its constituent societies, and the American Board of Orthodontics vol. 158,3 (2020): 420-425. doi:10.1016/j.ajodo.2019.12.015
  2. Ke, Yunyan et al. “A comparison of treatment effectiveness between clear aligner and fixed appliance therapies.” BMC oral health vol. 19,1 24. 23 Jan. 2019, doi:10.1186/s12903-018-0695-z
  3. Alajmi, Saitah et al. “Comparison of Short-Term Oral Impacts Experienced by Patients Treated with Invisalign or Conventional Fixed Orthodontic Appliances.” Medical principles and practice : international journal of the Kuwait University, Health Science Centre vol. 29,4 (2020): 382-388.
  4. Boke, Fatma et al. “Relationship between orthodontic treatment and gingival health: A retrospective study.” European journal of dentistry vol. 8,3 (2014): 373-380. doi:10.4103/1305-7456.137651

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