How Do Candid Invisible Aligners Stack Up?

Whatever your reasons for wanting straighter teeth, braces can be intimidating. The good news is that modern technology offers a new solution. Clear aligners, like Candid, offer a way to make minor corrections to crooked teeth in a relatively comfortable and discreet way, all without having to leave your home. Moreover, they’re a lot cheaper than metal braces.

Check out the rest of our Candid review to see if their aligners are right for you.

Candid Reviews 2022: Our Rating

Effectiveness 3/5
FDA-Approval 1/5
Value for Price 3/5
Customer Satisfaction 2/5

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Many physical locations to visit
  • Frequent discounts on impression kit
  • Dedicated smartphone app
  • Cheek spreader for clearer pictures
  • Accepts FSA, HSA, and some insurance

Cons

  • Higher average cost compared to competitors
  • Lots of customer service complaints

What Does Candid Offer?

Candid teeth aligners are a great example of two trends in modern orthodontics, that of direct-to-consumer orthodontics and teledentistry. Rather than traditional, in-person orthodontic treatment, Candid aligner treatment offers a way to correct teeth alignment from home.

Starting with either a visit to one of the Candid studio locations or a mail-in starter kit, a Candid treatment plan cycles you through a sequence of aligners that gradually move your teeth into place. Supported by chewing exercises, treatment is completed in six months on average.

Teledentistry refers to the practice of treating patients remotely, something Candid accomplishes through an app. The CandidApp allows remote monitoring, as you’ll use your phone to take progress pictures of your teeth. You’ll also be able to communicate with Candid’s support team through the app.

While the teeth straightening process is supervised by an orthodontist, you’re unlikely to speak with them, even if you visit a Candid studio. The only way to speak with your orthodontist directly is by calling Candid and specifically asking to be connected.

While it’s not the in-person care most of us might prefer, there are a few advantages to this approach. First, the direct-to-consumer aspect means everything comes to you. Second, aligners are generally much cheaper than braces. However, they’re really only suitable for slightly crooked teeth, being most useful for crowding or spacing in the front teeth [1].

Clear Aligners

Candid is just one example of a crowd of aligners companies that have found success in the last few years. These products are designed for teeth straightening, working similarly to traditional braces. However, unlike braces, rather than a single, fixed aligner you’ll receive a set of removable ones that you cycle through, gradually pushing teeth into place.

Aligners have a few advantages, but one that many find compelling is their reduced visibility. Being clear, they’re harder to spot and therefore potentially less embarrassing. That’s on top of the at-home treatment and relatively low cost.

On the other hand, they have been criticized as a risky way to improve oral health. Whether you start at a Candid studio or with a starter kit, you’ll never actually meet with an orthodontist, instead communicating primarily through Candid’s support team. As a result, aligners like Candid aren’t approved of by either the American Dental Association or the Association of Orthodontists.

With that said, the treatment plan is monitored by an orthodontist licensed in your state, so it is being guided by an expert.

Is Candid Trustworthy?

If you visit a Candid studio or use a mail-in starter kit, pay your fee, and meet a few other requirements, you’ll receive aligners and be able to begin Candid treatment. Moreover, while no rigorous studies have proven the benefit of Candid’s aligners, many customers have been satisfied with their treatment plan. In other words, Candid is as trustworthy as any other company.

At-home aligners are a fairly new sort of business, so the best way to regulate these products is still being discussed. On top of that, comprehensive studies on using aligners for teeth straightening haven’t been performed. As a result, a certain amount of caution is probably a good idea.

Like any sort of medical care, orthodontic treatment comes with some risks. Those risks are weighed against the benefits by the treating orthodontist, who determines if it’s worth it. However, a Candid orthodontist will probably never get closer to your mouth than a photograph. A Candid studio specialist, who may get a closer look, isn’t really qualified to make those decisions. Inevitably, there have been reported cases of serious, painful side effects.

Is Candid a Legit Company?

With all that said, Candid is a legitimate company. You can visit one of several dozen physical Candid studio locations. Candid teeth straightening does work for many people. As we’ve mentioned, any orthodontic treatment comes with risks, so it’s not surprising that some people run into problems. However, clear aligner treatment is effective and many people end up satisfied, without experiencing any major negative issues.

When it comes to Candid specifically, the problem is less with their aligners than some other aspects of the company. People have complained about ill-informed employees, delays that resulted in additional discomfort, and in some cases, even being effectively abandoned in the middle of treatment.

On the other hand, one of the founders is an orthodontist. Additionally, they do work exclusively with orthodontists, who specialize in the difficult task of moving teeth, rather than depending on the advice of a dentist.

How Does Candid Work?

Candid treatment is a multi-part process, including a few more steps than just using the teeth aligners. Each step can be completed from your couch. The four steps of Candid treatment plans are:

  1. Candid starter kit or studio visit.
  2. Expert evaluation.
  3. Wear your candid aligners.
  4. Retain improvements.

Starter Kit or Studio Visit

There are two options for getting started with Candid. The first involves a visit to one of their physical locations, a Candid Studio. The majority of them are either on the East coast or in California, though there are a few elsewhere. During your visit, a technician takes a 3D scan of your teeth, which is passed on to an off-site orthodontist. The entire process is free.

The other option involves ordering a starter kit, which includes an impression kit and a gadget to help you take pictures of your teeth. The kit costs $95, though that’s refunded if you’re not suitable for treatment. You take a mold of your teeth and snap a few pictures, then mail everything for an orthodontist’s assessment.

The pictures and mold are then turned into a 3D model for the orthodontist’s evaluation. Note that it’s important to get clear, accurate molds. Damaged or unsuitable molds can lead to delays in treatment, including having to repeat this step.

Expert Evaluation

After your teeth scans or impressions are taken, they are passed on to a licensed orthodontist for assessment. Before anything else, they will determine if you’re a good candidate for their treatment. Generally, it’s agreed that the best use for aligners is to correct crowding or excess spacing in the front teeth.

If you’re not a good candidate, you’ll hear back fairly quickly. If you used a starter kit, you can see about getting that cost refunded. Note that a Candid orthodontist turning you down for treatment is the only way to get a complete refund.

Otherwise, in two to three weeks you should get your customized treatment plan and, soon after, your first set of aligners. Some customers have complained this step takes a little longer.

That may not seem like a problem, except that your teeth continue to shift slightly throughout your life. If it takes too long for the aligners to reach you, your teeth may have shifted too far for them to be usable.

Wear Aligners

When you get your treatment plan and aligners, you can begin treatment. Aligners come in sets, customized to fit your teeth while making gradual changes. You’ll submit new photos as treatment progresses using the CandidApp. The remote monitoring the app allows is a big selling point for Candid, as it allows for remote treatment you aren’t able to get with other aligner options.

Your orthodontist will let you know when to switch to the next aligner through the app. Candid emphasizes that you shouldn’t switch sets without the go-ahead. Additionally, it’s a good idea to hang on to all your aligners until your treatment is complete.

On average, treatment lasts about six months. Note that’s an average, not a guarantee, so treatment could last longer.

Retain Improvements

Once you’ve got your teeth straight, you’ll probably want to keep them that way. However, they tend to shift back to their original, crooked placement. Retainers help prevent that. With Candid, your final set of aligners serve as your retainers. At first, you’ll need to wear them 22 hours a day. After a few weeks, however, you’ll just need to wear them at night.

Candid recommends replacing your retainers every six months. That’s an additional cost which you’ll have to keep paying, as it’s recommended your nightly retainer-wearing continues indefinitely.

How Much Does Candid Cost?

The base price for Candid Aligner treatment of $1895 is in-line with other options for home teeth straightening. That price includes the aligners, monitoring by an orthodontist, and a whitening foam you can use with your aligners.

There are some additional Candid costs to keep in mind, however. A studio visit is free, but the starter kit costs $95 plus shipping, which is only refunded if you’re not a candidate. Additionally, you can expect to continue needing retainers at $99, twice a year, indefinitely. Replacing lost Candid teeth aligners also costs extra.

On the other hand, there are payment plans available to break the price up. Two options offered include $199 down and $65/month, or $0 down and $0 APR for qualifying customers. Insurance may also chip in.

An option Candid doesn’t offer but can be found with other brands is a nighttime-only clear aligner. Find out more about that option in our nighttime clear aligners review.

Does Candid Accept Insurance?

While aligners are a newer form of teeth straightening, they are sometimes covered by dental insurance. Insurance companies that work with Candid include:

  • Anthem Blue Cross.
  • Aetna Anthem Blue Cross.
  • Anthem BlueCross BlueShield.
  • Empire BlueCross.
  • Empire BlueCross BlueShield.
  • Aetna.

Additionally, you should be able to use your HSA or FSA account. However, whether you can apply those to extra expenses like replacement aligners is unclear.

Candid Aligners Discount

Candid offers occasional discounts. For example, the starter kit is sometimes significantly discounted. It’s possible some discount codes are available. Reductions to the base treatment costs seem to be pretty rare, however.

There is a referral program that allows you to recommend Candid to friends. You’ll get a $100 Amazon gift card in return rather than a discount. Your friend, on the other hand, will get a free starter kit and $250 off their aligners. Note that there’s a specific referral process and recommendations outside that process don’t earn rewards.

Candid Aligners Guarantee

The Candid guarantee applies specifically to those customers who have already completed treatment and think they need additional straightening. If that’s the case and the orthodontist agrees, you could receive additional Candid aligners at no cost. However, to take advantage you’ll have to meet a few requirements, including:

  • Follow Candid’s treatment plans.
  • Maintain oral health.
  • Made routine dental visits.
  • Keep all your aligners.
  • Follow all remote monitoring guidelines.
  • Contact their customer support team within 30 days.

In terms of getting your money back, the only way to get a full refund is if their orthodontist decides you’re not a good fit for Candid treatment. Note that once you’ve started treatment, there isn’t a way to get a refund.

Candid Reviews Before and After Result

Check out these real before and after pictures to see real people’s results.

Candid Reviews From Around the Web

Curious what actual Candid customers had to say? We’ve collected reviews from around the web so you can hear about Candid’s effectiveness firsthand.

Candid Review Reddit

Redditors have described their full experience, both the good and the bad. These excerpts give a quick look at their reaction, but there are many complete stories to review as well.

Candid Reviews BBB

Most people only go to the Better Business Bureau when they have a complaint, so it makes sense these aren’t as complimentary. Still, if you want to hear about some of the worst-case scenarios, the BBB is a good place to start.

Candid Reviews Yelp

Candid’s physical locations get reviewed as well. Deciding between a studio visit and a starter kit? Head to Yelp to learn about other people’s in-person experiences.

 

Are Candid Aligners Worth It?

Customers seem to either love or hate Candid’s clear aligner treatment. When everything went smoothly and customers were able to follow their custom treatment plan, the results were satisfactory. The treatment itself seems to work well when you’re a good candidate.

On the other hand, when things go bad for Candid, they seem to have a hard time recovering. Multiple reviews discussed waiting so long for their initial aligners that their teeth had naturally shifted further in the meantime, making the aligners painful or even unusable. Several reviews also mentioned being stuck at a certain point in the treatment, with the impression that they’ve fallen through some customer service cracks.

Others complain that they repeatedly received canned responses when they tried to get their problems resolved. Additionally, Candid studio technicians weren’t always knowledgeable about their product. For example, one customer was told his insurance would cover the treatment when Candid doesn’t work with his insurer.

The majority of customers seem satisfied, but to some extent, you’re playing the odds with your health and several thousand dollars on the line. Unless there’s a good reason to go with Candid, you might want to give one of their competitors a try.

Candid Alternatives

Aligner treatment is booming these days, with a number of different options for aligner companies out there offering alternatives to traditional braces. Most of them follow the same general treatment plan as Candid, starting with an impression kit, then proceeding through remote treatment and remote monitoring. However, they each have some unique features and selling points.

Candid vs Invisalign

Invisalign is the original option for clear aligners, known at that point as invisible braces. They aren’t traditional braces, but aren’t really aligners either, being somewhere in between. There’s no at-home option, as you’ll have to visit the orthodontist to get them. However, having an actual orthodontist poking around in your mouth might be more reassuring than heading to a Candid studio and letting a dental technician do the same.

An Invisalign treatment plan will also work on a wider range of issues, not just crowding of the front teeth. Visiting the orthodontist also gives you a few additional options, such as a permanent retainer fixed in your mouth instead of messing with replaceable plastic ones.

Candid vs AlignerCo

AlignerCo’s big selling point is its lower cost, which is as much as $1000 cheaper depending on a few factors. Moreover, the treatment time is about the same, between four and six months.

A primary difference is the availability of physical locations. You can find a Candid studio in one of several dozen places, while AlignerCo only has one in New York. Find out more in our detailed AlignerCo review.

Candid vs Byte

Byte offers aligners at a similar price to Candid, but their expected treatment time is shorter at two to four months. The difference is thanks to the HyperByte system, which uses vibration to help speed up the movement of your teeth [2]. In particular, it’s been found to be effective when used with aligners.

Additionally, Byte offers nighttime-only aligners, though for a slightly higher price. It might be worth it, however, as you can literally sleep through your treatment. Byte offers many of the same benefits as Candid, including whitening foam, frequent discounts on their impression kits, and a few other things.

Byte doesn’t have an equivalent of the Candid studio, but the shorter treatment time is difficult to beat. Learn more in our Byte Aligner review.

FAQ

Check out these simple answers to frequently asked questions.

Do Candid Aligners Really Work?

Is Candid a Good Product?

Is Candid Good for Teeth?

How Much Does Candid Actually Cost?

How Much Is Candid a Month?

Is Candid Better Than Braces?

Conclusion

The reality is that aligners like those Candid offers are still a relatively new type of treatment. We may be used to tech coming in sleek plastic with blinky lights, but that lump of plastic is in some ways the cutting edge of orthodontic technology. Early adopters of smart homes or self-driving cars expect some hiccups, even potentially dangerous ones, as part of the deal. It might be wise to approach aligners with a similar attitude.

As a result, while there are many benefits, they have to be weighed against the risks. That’s the sort of judgment call we normally pay doctors for. However, in this case, the absence of an orthodontist means we have to exercise our own judgment instead.

References:

References:

  1. Rossini, Gabriele, et al. “Efficacy of Clear Aligners in Controlling Orthodontic Tooth Movement: A Systematic Review.” The Angle Orthodontist, Allen Press, 1 Sept. 2015, https://meridian.allenpress.com/angle-orthodontist/article/85/5/881/59502/Efficacy-of-clear-aligners-in-controlling.
  2. Shipley, Thomas, et al. “Effect of High-Frequency Vibration on Orthodontic Tooth Movement and Bone Density.” Journal of Orthodontic Science, Wolters Kluwer - Medknow, 8 Aug. 2019, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6702681/.
  3. Hadler-Olsen, Sigurd, et al. “The Incidence of Caries and White Spot Lesions in Orthodontically Treated Adolescents with a Comprehensive Caries Prophylactic Regimen.” Academic.oup.com, Oct. 2012, https://academic.oup.com/ejo/article/34/5/633/550033.
How Do Candid Invisible Aligners Stack Up?

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