Candid vs Smile Direct Club: The Best At-Home Clear Aligners

Candid vs Smile Direct: Which One Is the Better Choice?

Can’t decide on which clear aligner company is the best? It’s not surprising with all the options out there, but don’t do any more research until you’ve read what we discovered about these two popular at-home teeth strengthening brands—Candid and Smile Direct.

Both companies offer high-quality services at affordable prices, and this Candid review vs. SmileDirect Club will take a deep dive into both services and finally steer you in the right direction towards a straighter new smile and perfect grin.

Smile Direct Club vs Candid: Quick Review

Feature

Candid

Smile Direct Club

Price

    $2400+                   $1950+

Effectiveness

  • Length of treatment 6–11 months
  • Works exclusively with orthodontists
  • Remote monitoring available
  • Great customer service
  • Partners with manufacturer ClearCorrect
  • Cuts aligners straight across the top for more effectiveness
  • Length of treatment 4–6 months
  • Works with orthodontists and general dentists
  • Produces and manufactures teeth aligners in-house
  • Nighttime clear aligner option available
  • Trims aligners to match the gumline for comfort

FDA Approved?

                  Yes                     Yes

What’s Included?

  • Starter kit
  • Impression kit
  • Free teeth scan
  • Aligners
  • Aligner case
  • Free whitening foam
  • Impression kit
  • Free scan in-office
  • Aligners
  • Aligner case
  • Aligner tools
  • Free teeth whitening

Smile Direct Club or Candid Aligners?

Both Candid and Smile Direct are great companies if you’re looking for affordable invisible aligners with the convenience of doing most of the work at home. But there are definitely some differences that you’ll want to take note of before deciding which company is the best fit for you.

Overall Winner: Candid

Based on our extensive research and customer reviews of Candid vs. SmileDirect Club, Candid appears to come out on top as the overall winner for two main reasons:

  1. Your Candid customized treatment plan has the best remote monitoring by licensed orthodontists with four to six years of specialized training in the art of straightening crooked teeth. SmileDirect uses general dentists and dental professionals, so it’s not guaranteed that an orthodontist will design or monitor your treatment, and video chat is not available.
  2. Customer reviews clearly show that Candid’s excellent customer support service has the edge over SmileDirect for better customer interaction. Candid prides themselves on prompt responses to customer issues, and their overall customer satisfaction rate is very high.

Is Candid the Same as Smile Direct?

No, these two companies are not the same. However, both of them are similar in that they offer a possibility of straighter teeth with a complete service of teeth aligners shipped directly to your home to fix minor teeth straightening and bite issues.

Founded in 2014, Smile Direct was one of the first at-home clear aligner companies with remote treatment. Even though Candid was founded later, in 2017, they took the Smile Direct model and improved on it by exclusively using orthodontists and remote monitoring.

Candid vs. Smile Direct Club Price Winner: Smile Direct

Smile Direct comes out as the price winner by offering a more affordable option of $1950, more than $400 cheaper than Candid. In addition, their mail-in starter kit is only $59, whereas Candid charges $95, but both companies offer retainers for $99 each.

Financing Options

Financing is available for both services, but it’s important to note that Candid requires a credit check before treatment begins.

Smile Direct’s monthly payment plan requires a deposit of $250 with monthly payments of $89 for 24 months. Candid requires a down payment of $399 with monthly payments of $99 for 24 months.

Quality and FDA Approval Winner: Candid

Candid aligners are FDA-approved, and SmileDirect is in full compliance with FDA regulations, but Candid stands out as the winner in quality. They partner with Clear Correct manufacturers to provide high-quality clear aligners at a low price. They also exclusively use licensed orthodontists to examine and design your treatment plan while monitoring your progress every step of the way.

Order Process Winner: It’s a Tie

Both SmileDirect and Candid offer online services, and both companies give the option of taking your teeth impression at home with a prepaid mail-in starter kit or teeth scans at a local Candid Studio or Smile Shop location.

The locations of these shops are mainly found in or near larger cities, with Smile Direct having a slight advantage with over 90 locations to choose from, while Candid has 30 available options for teeth scans.

Insurance Coverage Winner: It’s a Tie

Both companies are in-network and partner with multiple insurance companies while also accepting payment through HSA and FSA, but that’s in no way a guarantee that orthodontic treatment will be entirely or even partially covered by your insurance. Check to see if your dental insurance offers orthodontic benefits before purchasing these services.

Treatment Duration Winner: Smile Direct

The Smile Direct treatment process from start to finish lasts anywhere between 4 to 6 months, whereas Candid’s complete treatment may last anywhere between 6 to 11 months. SmileDirect has the added advantage of including a nighttime-only option for those who want to wear their teeth aligners for a shorter period of time. Visit our nighttime clear aligner review for more information.

Candid Co Treatment Plan

The process to start your Candid treatment plan begins as soon as you complete your order.

A complete impression kit is sent to your home so you can take a mold of your teeth, or if you’re lucky enough to live near a Candid Studio, a technician will take a 3D scan and photos of your pearly whites.

Candid works with licensed orthodontists who will review your scans and medical history, and once approved, design your personalized treatment plan.

You’ll receive your aligners in the mail within 2 to 3 weeks. After which, you’ll wear your aligners according to the instructions of your treatment.

After treatment, Candid provides the first retainer free of charge, and additional retainers are $99 each.

Smile Direct Club Treatment Plan

The treatment process is just as simple to follow as Candid, and you can get started by visiting a Smile Shop location for a free consultation or by using an at-home starter kit.

A technician at a Smile Shop location will take a 3D image of your teeth, or you can create your impression with the SmileDirect at-home impression kits.

A licensed dentist or orthodontist will review your scan, approve you for treatment, and design a custom plan for you to follow.

They will then send a preview of your smile transformation for you to review, after which your custom aligner will be created.

You’ll receive your aligners within a few weeks, along with detailed instructions on when to change your aligners.

Smile Direct does not offer free retainers, but you can purchase them for $99 each once your treatment is complete. Smile also has nighttime aligners, which provide a more discreet way to fix your crooked teeth.

What Do Customers Think?

Most reviews for these two companies seem very positive, with customers generally satisfied. Smile Direct reviews tend to have a few more complaints regarding customer service wait times and comfortability with aligners during the first few weeks, while Candid customers expressed very few complaints [1].

Smile Direct Club Reviews

To provide the best comprehensive view of SmileDirect services, we listed a few reviews from multiple places on the web to give you a better idea of what people are really saying.

review-1

Candid Reviews

We’ve included a few well-rounded Candid reviews to provide even more information.

review-4

review-6

Pros and Cons

Before you decide to move forward with treatment from one of these two companies, it’s good to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each before making that final decision. With each of the companies boasting high quality, low cost, at-home aligners, and so many similarities, we’ve taken the liberty to break down the pros and cons even further.

1. Candid Co

Pros

  • The average treatment time is no more than 11 months.
  • Exclusively works with a network of over 50 licensed orthodontists.
  • 30 Candid Studios located near several major cities in the US.
  • A convenient teledentistry service and remote monitoring throughout treatment.
  • The first set of retainers are free of charge.
  • Financing and insurance options are available.
  • Top-quality products by ClearCorrect, a reputable clear aligner manufacturer.

Cons

  • There’s no money-back guarantee.
  • Severe cases are not eligible for treatment.
  • A credit check is required before treatment begins.
  • Candid costs are slightly more due to the remote monitoring service.
  • Treatment plans can be longer than other direct-to-customer services.

2. Smile Direct Club

Pros

  • The average treatment process is 4 to 6 months.
  • Licensed dentists or orthodontists work remotely to create your individual plan.
  • The starter kit includes everything you’ll need for the duration of treatment.
  • Preview of intended results included in aligner kit.
  • Complimentary teeth whitening treatment included.
  • Price is cheaper than most at-home clear aligner companies.

Cons

  • All treatment is done remotely with no hands-on or in-person services.
  • There’s no guarantee that an orthodontist will oversee your treatment.
  • Dental and medical history is not used when creating individualized treatment plans.
  • Remote check-ins are every 90 days. For more detailed information, check out our Smile Direct Club review.
  • Errors are possible with the initial at-home impression and can affect the end results.
  • Retainers do not have anchors and are not securely fastened to your teeth, creating slippage issues.

Smile Direct Club vs. Candid vs. Invisalign

Invisalign is an in-office clear aligner treatment similar to Candid clear aligners. It is by far the most expensive clear aligner treatment with prices anywhere between $3000 and $8000. 

The total price of your Invisalign costs is not known until after the diagnostic process and in-office examination. Still, they also work with many insurance companies, and financing is available.

Like SmileDirect, Invisalign consults with dentists and orthodontists to design unique treatment plans for their patients. In-office consultation can cost $100 to $200 before treatment begins, and treatment time can take 12 to 18 months.

The most significant difference between Candid, SmileDirect, and Invisalign is that the Invisalign treatment focuses on more complicated cases of teeth misalignment — crossbite, underbite, overbite, jaw misalignment — making this one of the better options for people dealing with severely crowded teeth [2].

So, if you’re looking for a more intensive, hands-on approach or your dental issues require more attention, Invisalign is one of the best options for in-house clear aligners. Not convinced? Check out these Invisalign alternatives for more options.

Smile Direct Club vs. Candid vs. Byte

Byte is another excellent at-home clear aligner teeth straightening service. Similar to Candid, Byte works exclusively with orthodontists to create a customized treatment plan. And like Smile Direct, Byte offers an at-night-only treatment and free teeth whitening.

What makes Byte stand out is their HyperByte vibration tool, a cutting-edge technology that significantly cuts down the treatment time. By using this new technology, the average treatment time is only three months [3].

Byte also uses Smile Science to construct your aligners. This requires you to take your impressions at home and take pictures of your mouth and face. That way, Byte will be able to ensure your smile fits your overall features. You can buy the Byte starter impression kit online.

The cost for Byte is $1895 for their daytime wear aligners, slightly beating out SmileDirect on price. Financing starts with $349 down with no credit check and a payment of $83 per month for 29 months. If you’re interested in the nighttime wear aligners, those will cost you a little more with a price tag of $2295 or a down payment of $449 and $99 a month for 29 months.

A bonus to Byte customers is their lifetime Byte for Life guarantee, which ensures that if after you’ve completed treatment and your teeth move, Byte will send additional aligners at no extra cost.

If Byte sounds like a better option and you want to explore this company more, check out our Byte aligners review to compare services.

FAQ

If you have more questions, we put together a few of the most popular FAQs about these services.

Is Candid Good For Teeth?

Is Invisalign Better Than Candid?

Is Smile Direct Bad?

What Is Better Than Smile Direct Club?

Is Smile Direct Club Cheaper Than Candid?

Final Verdict: Candid vs. Smile Direct Club

There’s no doubt that these are two excellent services for anyone looking for at-home teeth straightening with less pain and worry compared to regular braces [5]. Both companies have a lot in common, but Candid edges out SmileDirect as our choice for high-quality and convenient clear aligners.

Candid does cost a bit more than Smile Direct, but those extra few dollars get you experienced orthodontists, remote monitoring with continuous tracking, and a reputable ClearCorrect product that will give you that perfect smile within weeks.

Bottom Line: If you have minor teeth misalignment and want high-quality treatment from trusted orthodontic professionals and excellent customer service support, Candid Co is an excellent option. Candid doesn’t have a money-back guarantee, though, so if that’s a deal-breaker for you, Byte Aligners may be a better alternative.

If you’re not convinced Byte or Candid works for you, and still you’re in the market for at-home aligners on a budget, check out our AlignerCo review as another option for a new smile.

References:

  1. “Smile Direct Club: Better Business Bureau® Profile.” BBB, https://www.bbb.org/us/il/chicago/profile/dental-supplies/smile-direct-club-0654-90012348. 
  2. Papadimitriou, Aikaterini, et al. “Clinical Effectiveness of Invisalign® Orthodontic Treatment: A Systematic Review.” Progress in Orthodontics, Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 28 Sept. 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6160377/. 
  3. Shipley, Thomas S. “Effects of High Frequency Acceleration Device on Aligner Treatment-a Pilot Study.” Dentistry Journal, MDPI, 12 July 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6162616/. 
  4. Wexler, Anna, et al. “Direct-to-Consumer Orthodontics: Surveying the User Experience.” Journal of the American Dental Association (1939), U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7391059/.
  5. Gao, Meiya, et al. “Comparison of Pain Perception, Anxiety, and Impacts on Oral Health-Related Quality of Life between Patients Receiving Clear Aligners and Fixed Appliances during the Initial Stage of Orthodontic Treatment.” OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 2 July 2020, academic.oup.com/ejo/article-abstract/43/3/353/5866289.

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