While the traditional braces continue to dominate the orthopedic market, invisible teeth aligners seem to have gained traction, as they are more common than ever. Don’t get it wrong, they are not particularly new. In fact, the first plastic dental aligner was made in 1964.
However, their sudden rise in popularity can be attributed to the convenience they provide, along with the smart marketing surrounding them.
Moreover, traditional braces tend to become quite expensive, not to mention also quite frustrating in terms of comfort, appearance, and inconveniences in the kinds of food a person can eat. On top of this, traditional braces require frequent visits to the dentist’s office, which can be quite demanding to accommodate in a busy lifestyle.
Fortunately, the world of at-home orthodontic treatment is gaining traction. There are actually several providers of invisible aligners in the market today, and these are increasingly gaining more popularity as an alternative to the traditional braces. Plus, these at-home treatments are significantly faster and more affordable compared to the traditional option.
The clear aligner options also eliminate much of the frustrations and inconveniences of traditional braces. And with some of these providers, you won’t even have to visit a dentist’s office any more. However, with all these exciting perks in mind, many people are still concerned whether the promise of invisible aligners is too good to be true.
And even if you’re already on board, it can be difficult to choose which company will work best for you, considering there are quite a number of options to choose from. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about invisible aligners, along with a rundown of the best invisible braces in the market today.
What are Invisible Braces?
Invisible braces are simply orthodontic devices used to straighten your teeth over a period of time. With these braces, you don’t have to use traditional braces and/or deal with their inconveniences or frustrations.
Most aligners are made from high-quality, medical grade, and BPA-free plastic, which is transparent in nature. This makes them subtler compared to the “old school” metal braces. There are a few types of invisible braces – lingual, ceramic, and clear aligners. Clear aligners are by far the most popular choice, especially among adults looking to straighten their teeth in a less noticeable way.
It typically takes anywhere from 3 to 12 months to get the smile you want with aligners. The time needed will depend on your teeth, the company you go for, and how much you want them straightened.
How Invisible Braces Work
The process basically starts with an at-home impression kit, which your dental professional will use to create your teeth alignment treatment plan. The company you choose will then send you a set of aligners, without you having to leave your home, which is quite convenient at such a time where social distancing is encouraged.
Once you wear your first set of aligners, they will start moving your teeth towards their intended destinations according to the treatment plan. In the course of treatment, you will have to switch to a new set of aligners to bring your teeth closer to your intended outcome, until you finally finish wearing the last set of aligners.
What Makes a Good Invisible Brace?
Invisible braces are becoming popular by the day, which means more and more brands and versions of them are flooding the market. Just as with any other products, not all of them are worth the cost, even if the cost is just a few dollars. Most of the inexpensive options are not designed to fit any specific mouth, rather, they are typically molded to fit a general idea of an evenly spaced smile.
This means that wearing some of them risks painfully pulling your teeth and cutting into your gums.
On the other hand, the more expensive options, which tend to be custom-made aligners, create the needed change through pre-planned shifts in the dental pattern of the aligner. They start out in a mold almost identical to the patient’s current dental pattern with a few slight alterations. Once you wear them for a set amount of time (usually several weeks), you then switch to a new aligner.
The switch continues until you achieve the smile you want.
The best invisible braces will allow for a gradual change without causing extreme pain. As such, they are well worth their cost. The best aligners will also typically come from companies that provide individual care plans, which most of the companies in our list provide.
Best Invisible Braces: Top 5 Teeth Alignment Trays
- Smile Direct Club
- Aligner Co.
- Straight My Teeth
Byte is our top choice for home teeth straightening solution. Although it’s a new and less established brand compared to other options on the list, Byte has made some really impressive moves since they entered the market in 2018.
The key priority for Byte is to provide their customers with the best experience possible, which includes personalized support as well as industry leading treatment times, clocking in at about 3 months on average. While they might not have retail locations yet, their prices are really affordable, with financing options available (no credit checks) as well as a nighttime-only option.
As a cherry on top, Byte gives you a byte-for-life guarantee, which will essentially send you new aligners in case your teeth ever shift in future. So, if you’re looking to transform your smile as quickly as possible, we recommend you give Byte a try.
- Comes with HypeByte vibration device, which reduces the treatment period to 3 months. Similar vibration devices cost an upward of $1,000
- The “Byte At Night” plan is a great option for those looking for a discreet treatment plan, only requiring 10 hours of continuous wear a day.
- Exceptional customer support
- The Byte-for-life guarantee
- Byte’s financing plan doesn’t require a credit check, enabling you to start your treatment faster
- Lacks physical locations where customers can go have their teeth scanned
- The company has only been around since 2018
2. Smile Direct Club
This was one of the first providers to offer an at-home clear alignment treatment option, which continues to be a top choice even today. Smile Direct Club was founded in 2014, and has treated over one million patients since then.
They offer two modes of treatment: Night Time or Full Time. Of course, fulltime treatment is much faster, taking on average 6 months to achieve the desired results. Smile Direct Club also offers a check-up with a licensed orthodontist or dentist every 90 days.
Plus, the full treatment can be done remotely if you can make your own teeth impressions, though there are also SmileShops that you can visit if you prefer having the scan done for you. It’s also worth mentioning that Smile Direct Club will soon be available with in-office as an option.
- Smile Direct Club has more than 300 locations all around the U.S., and you can visit one of them to have a 3D image of your teeth taken before commencing treatment.
- The company offers guaranteed treatment financing via SmilePay, with no credit checks required
- The company has handled such a high volume of cases, meaning they have the experience of dealing with a wide range of conditions, complications, and questions.
- The 4 to 6 months treatment period is much longer than Byte’s 3 months.
· Their customer support largely seems to be hit or miss. They have also amassed a considerable number of complaints about inconsistent communications whenever problems crop up during treatment, and delayed shipping.
This is another relatively new entrant into the market, though they are increasingly growing in popularity, earnings, and positive reviews. Since coming into the market in 2017, Candid has consistently gone the extra mile to offer a quality product.
For instance, unlike other invisible braces providers, Candid requires that all of their specialists be experienced orthodontists with 6 to 7 years of training. They are also the only company with Remote Monitoring; a service that offers virtual check-ins with your orthodontist during your treatment. Candid actually works exclusively with orthodontists and has convenient retail locations.
Each Candid Studio provides free in-house dental scans, allowing potential customers to find out if they are a match for their aligner, free of charge. If you can’t make it to their studio, you can buy one of their assessment kits and make a mold of your mouth.
During the treatment, you can use your smartphone to send photos of your teeth back to your orthodontists for inspection every two weeks.
- Candid usually works exclusively with orthodontists rather than general dentists to offer the highest possible quality of treatment
- With their ClearCorrect partnership, you can be certain that your alignment braces are of high-quality and well-designed
- They regularly hold video interviews with new customers before treatments to ensure that the orthodontists overseeing the treatment have a clear picture of your dental health, so that they can design the most effective treatment plan
- Their proprietary Remote Monitoring system allows you to take digital scans of your teeth during treatment so that your orthodontist can assess your progress every step of the way
- Candid’s upfront pricing is significantly higher that any other provider on this list
- Their treatment time is typically long, since they don’t integrate dental vibration technology in their treatment plans
4. Aligner Co.
Aligner Co. offers one of the cheapest options for invisible braces treatment. Their pricing includes an impression kit, your first set of aligners, and your custom aligners.
This pricing model beats every other company’s prices by a few several hundred dollars, with flexible financing options too. And thanks to their ongoing partnership with Raintree Essix, they still deliver quality products.
The company is also famous for its customer service, which is reportedly easy to get hold of and is always ready to help. These perks make Aligner Co. an ideal option for people on a budget or for the budget hunters.
- Aligner Co’s aligner package is much cheaper than almost all of its competitors. Keep in mind that they occasionally offer discounts that drop the price even further.
- The company delivers exceptional customer support, with timely and effective solutions
- Just as with Smile Direct Club and Byte, Aligner Co typically approves every customer for financing with their SmileFlex Easy Plan
- They provide high-quality and effective clear braces
- No whitening products are included with your treatment plan (perhaps to keep the costs low)
- Treatment duration may be much longer than some of their competitors
- They have few customer reviews, making it hard to gauge the customer experience accurately
5. Straight My Teeth
Straight My Teeth are also a pretty new company to the market, which could explain why they are not as popular as the rest of the providers on this list. Nonetheless, they do source their aligners from a well-established company, and all their products are FDA and MHRA approved.
With Straight My Teeth, a team of highly trained dental technicians, dentists, and orthodontists will oversee every step of your treatment, including creating a treatment plan and delivering custom aligners. The service starts with a free assessment using an in-home impression kit or a visit to their Smile Studio.
One of the key standout features of Straight My Teeth treatment is the attractive pricing. This is considering the fact that you also don’t have to sacrifice efficiency, quality, or satisfaction in the name of cost-cutting.
- Straight My Teeth have some of the lowest prices on the market, and unlike Aligner Co., their pricing includes a whitening kit and a set of aftercare retainers.
- Each of their aligners is made from plastic sourced from Raintree Essix, which is an established name in dental supply
- The pricing includes everything you need, from the impression kit to the aligners to all of the shipping costs involved – thereby covering everything you need to transform your smile
- Customers have consistently praised their customer service staff, especially their responsiveness and level of professionalism
- Their treatment timeline is much longer than most of the competition, at about 9 to 12 months
- Refinements will cost you extra, in case you go through the treatment and fail to achieve your desired results
Do Home Teeth Alignment Trays Work?
If you are eligible for the invisible braces, you’ll be happy to know that they typically work much faster and even more effectively than metal braces. Keep in mind that you have to wear the traditional braces for 18 to 24 months on average, while many clear braces can straighten your teeth in about 3 to 6 months.
Nonetheless, it’s important to note that clear braces aren’t ideal for people with extreme teeth straightening needs or people with overcrowded teeth. For this reason, it’s wise to get a professional assessment to determine whether you’re a candidate.
RELATED READING: Is Smile Direct Club or Byte Better?
Summary: Our Verdict on the Best Pick
While the options listed on the list are all great choices depending on your teeth straightening needs and budget, Byte clearly has the best all-round package for invisible braces. For what you get, the pricing is quite competitive, and there’s simply no sign of compromise in terms of the results you get or on the customer service. To top it all off, you get to enjoy results in a matter of 3 months! It’s hard to beat that.
However, if you’re on a strict budget and still want to keep the level of care and quality high, consider going with Straight My Teeth or Smile Direct Club.
Nonetheless, no matter the service you choose, ensure that it’s right for you in terms of your level of commitment and your budget.