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If you want straighter teeth — but don’t want metal brackets and wires on your teeth — invisible aligners are an excellent choice. They are made of clear plastic and are a removable alternative to traditional metal braces designed around comfort and convenience.
There are many brands of clear teeth aligners on the market today, making it easier to find one that fits your lifestyle, budget, and needs.
Clear braces can fix mild to moderate cases of malocclusion (teeth misalignment). These cases include crooked teeth, overbites, underbites, and gapped teeth.
There are two clear aligner options available, including in-office aligners and at-home aligners:
In-office invisible aligners require visits to your dentist or orthodontist throughout treatment. You also have to set up an appointment with them to get an impression made of your teeth before beginning treatment.
The best, FDA-approved in-office invisible aligners are:
At-home invisible aligners, also called mail-in aligners, do not require in-office visits.
To begin treatment, you'll take an online assessment to see if you're a candidate. Then you can order an at-home impression kit, which will get delivered to your home address.
The impression kits come with detailed instructions to ensure you take them correctly. You'll send the impressions back using a prepaid package.
After receiving the impressions, the aligner company will review your case. In some cases, you may have to retake the impressions.
From there, a dentist or orthodontist will create a digital 3D image of your teeth. This model shows your tooth movement progress from start to finish. The treatment plan also includes your estimated treatment length and how many aligners will be needed.
Once you approve the plan, you'll be charged for the aligners. You should receive them within two to three weeks. Keep in mind: you aren't obligated to follow through with treatment until you approve the treatment plan.
Some brands like Candid offer both initial in-office consultations as well as in-depth remote monitoring via an app. Scans are required every two weeks to make sure you're on track. If you get a 'no-go,' your Candid orthodontist will reach out with the next steps.
Not everyone is a good candidate for at-home clear aligners. Treatment is typically only recommended for mild to moderate cases of teeth misalignment. Candid can treat more complex issues.
The six best at-home invisible braces include:
The average treatment time for Byte aligners is 4 to 6 months with daily Hyperbyte use. The Hyperbyte is a special teeth movement acceleration device that claims to straighten teeth faster with HFV (high-frequency vibration).
Read our article comparing the positives and negatives of the HyperByte and similar vibration-based aligner therapies.
You have the choice of buying all-day or at-night Byte aligners. Treatment is completely remote. You will order a mail-in impression kit and get virtual check-ups throughout treatment. An aligner-safe teeth whitening kit (BrightByte) is also included with every purchase.
We recommend Byte for convenient, 100% at-home teeth straightening if you have mild teeth alignment issues. They do not offer in-person scans or consultations.
Cost: $1,895 (normal aligners) to $2,295 (night aligners)
Treatment Time: 4 to 6 months
Monthly Payment Plan: Starting at $82/mo for 32 months (not including down payment)
Byte aligners can straighten teeth in 4 to 6 months with daily HyperByte use (a tooth movement acceleration device).
Limited Time Sale: 70% off Impression Kit, $100 off Aligners + Free BrightByte Whitening Treatment.
SmileDirectClub (SDC) pioneered the mail-in aligner industry and is still the most widely known. SDC offers both daytime and nighttime clear aligners for thousands less than braces.
There are two ways to begin treatment with SDC. The first option is to visit a SmileShop for a risk-free, in-person scan. Here, a trained technician will take 3D scans of your teeth and ensure you are a good candidate for treatment. The second option is to order an at-home impression kit and send them back.
We recommend SDC if you prefer an in-person scan and have mild to moderate teeth misalignment. They have SmileShop locations all around the U.S. and in other countries.
Cost: $1,950 (normal or night aligners)
Treatment Time: 4 to 6 months
Monthly Payment Plan: Starting at $89/mo (not including down payment)
The biggest aligner company
SmileDirectClub is the largest, longest-standing clear aligner manufacturer.
NewSmile is one of the most affordable at-home aligners, but they are also one of the newest companies.
Unlike most at-home aligner brands, NewSmile aligners do not touch your gums. They are trimmed to comfortably sit along your gum line in a ‘scalloped fashion.’ Not only does this design cause less irritation, but it also makes the trays less visible.
Once you receive the impression kit, you should get an email to book a time with an Impression Specialist.
During this video call, they will walk you through the process to ensure accuracy. You’ll send in progress photos through the NewSmile app to ensure your teeth are moving correctly.
We recommend NewSmile if you have very mild teeth alignment issues. These aligners are not recommended for moderate to severe misalignment. Treatment is not as comprehensive as other brands.
Cost: $1,245 (normal aligners) to $1,345 (night aligners).
Treatment Time: 4 to 10 months
Monthly Payment Plan: Starting at $74/mo
NewSmile aligners are trimmed along your gum line to provide a comfortable and less visible treatment experience.
They also offer live video chats with a specialist to ensure you make accurate impressions.
NewSmile aligners are more affordable than other brands.
ALIGNERCO offers some of the cheapest invisible aligners on the market. However, treatment is more hands-off after you approve the plan. In other words, you get what you pay for.
To begin the teeth straightening process, the first step is to order an impression kit online. These kits are just $39.99.
While more affordable, they are a newer company with fewer reviews than Candid. They also do not work directly with orthodontists and dentists. We recommend ALIGNERCO if you have very mild teeth misalignment, as treatment isn't monitored closely by a dental professional.
Cost: $1,145 (normal aligners) to $1,345 (night aligners)
Treatment Time: 6 to 12 months
Monthly Payment Plan: Starting at $86/mo (not including down payment)
Another budget option
ALIGNERCO is another brand that offers an affordable aligner experience. However, treatment is more hands-off after you approve the plan.
Unlike other mail-in aligners, Candid only works with licensed orthodontists. Orthodontists are teeth straightening experts. Investing in Candid aligners ensures you get the highest quality remote care available.
To begin treatment with Candid, you’ll visit a qualified CandidPro provider (dentist or orthodontist) for an initial consultation and to have your bite digitally scanned or impressions taken. You’ll also see them at the end of treatment to ensure your teeth are aligned correctly and you’re satisfied with the results.
The CandidPro provider then has a licensed orthodontist from Candid's team personally design your treatment plan. After that, your treatment progress is monitored remotely through CandidMonitoring™, the company’s telehealth platform (mobile app).
The same Candid orthodontist who creates your treatment plan will oversee your treatment from start to finish. Treatment takes between 4 and 12 months, depending on how severe your bite issues are.
Candid does not have a ‘night aligner’ option. This is because there is no proof that night aligners are effective; they may actually do more harm to your teeth than good.
“Because the protocols around nighttime aligner therapy generally specify only 10 hours of wear time per day, I am concerned that you may never experience the light continuous force necessary for effective healthy tooth movement.”Dr. C Lynn Hurst, Chief Dental Officer at Candid
Cost: $3,300 (on average)
Treatment Time: 4 to 12 months
Monthly Payment Plan: Varies depending on your CandidPro provider
Every treatment plan is overseen by a qualified orthodontist with over 20 years of experience. Treatment is monitored in the CandidApp.
Candid treatment costs $3,300 (price may change depending on various factors).
You can begin treatment by visiting a CandidPro location:
SnapCorrect aligners are perfectly clear, almost see-through. They also have contoured edges, which provide a discreet and comfortable fit.
To begin treatment, you will order an impression kit online, take the impressions of your teeth with the putty provided, and then mail the kit back. You’ll receive the first set of aligners in the mail within four weeks.
Treatment Time: about 6 months
Monthly Payment Plan: Starting at $80/mo for 24 months (not including down payment)
The two best in-office invisible braces are Invisalign and ClearCorrect.
Invisalign is the most widely-known invisible aligner available. These teeth aligners are made with SmartTrack® material, which is specifically engineered for the Invisalign system.
The material claims to provide a more accurate and comfortable fit. Invisalign is only available through your dentist or orthodontist, not online.
Invisalign provides very accurate tooth movement but is the most expensive aligner on the market.
Cost: $3,000 to $8,000
Treatment Time: 12 to 18 months
Monthly Payment Plan: Starting at $50/mo for 36 months (not including down payment)
ClearCorrect is the best alternative to Invisalign. These aligners are made of .030” polyurethane to achieve challenging tooth movements.
They are also stain and crack-resistant, hand-checked by a qualified dentist, and laser-marked to ensure traceability.
Similar to Invisalign, ClearCorrect requires in-office evaluation before beginning treatment.
ClearCorrect provides controlled single-tooth movement but is more expensive than mail-in aligners.
Cost: $2,500 to $5,500
Treatment Time: Depends on if you choose Limited 6, Limited 12, Unlimited, or Flex treatment
Payment Plan: Flex (pay per aligner), Unlimited (pay one flat rate for five years of aligners + one set of retainers), Limited 6, and Limited 12 (pay one flat rate for aligners + one set of retainers)
At-home invisible braces treat minor to moderate cases of teeth misalignment, including:
If you have any of the following, you'll likely need more invasive treatment with Invisalign or braces:
If your case falls outside of the range of mild to moderate malocclusion, you’ll be denied treatment.
Malocclusion refers to a “bad bite” and is an imperfection in how your teeth come together when the jaw is closed. Severe misalignment — such as an overbite, underbite, or open bite — requires more invasive orthodontic treatment with braces or Invisalign.
If you have untreated oral conditions or upcoming dental work, you will need to make sure these issues are addressed first. This includes cavities, gum disease, and similar conditions. Your teeth and gums must be healthy enough before clear aligner treatment begins.
Certain dental restorations, including dental implants and bridges, cannot be treated with invisible braces.
There are mixed reviews about the safety and effectiveness of at-home aligners. Many dental professionals recommend in-office treatment over at-home aligners because treatment is monitored in person. This is not the case with at-home aligners.
Since at-home aligner treatment is still relatively new, more research is being done on the risks and benefits of treatment.
However, at-home aligners are generally considered safe if you follow instructions carefully throughout treatment. In fact, according to one study, about 88% of respondents were satisfied with their at-home aligner treatment.3 Most of these patients chose remote aligners over traditional treatments for the cost and convenience.
Remember: at-home aligners cannot treat severe cases of misalignment. If you have severely crooked teeth, you’ll likely need braces or Invisalign instead.
To help you choose the best invisible aligner for your needs, our specialists at NewMouth have compiled a list of the most popular brands below:
|In-office consultation required||✕||✓||✕||✕||✕|
|At-home impression kit||✓||✕||✓||✓||✓|
(potentially unsafe option)
|Orthodontist-directed remote monitoring||✕||✓||✕||✕||✕|
Clear aligner treatment has been around for more than 20 years. With advancements in 3D modeling, video conferencing, and digital cameras, creating an at-home clear aligner treatment plan is safe and effective.
If you are looking for a quicker, virtually invisible, and more comfortable alternative to traditional braces, clear aligners are the ideal option.
Unlike braces, it is easier to brush and floss and maintain better oral hygiene. You are less likely to develop cavities and can eat more comfortably.
Remember, you must wear them for up to 22 hours per day for them to be effective.
The cheapest invisible aligner companies are SnapCorrect ($1,749) and ALIGNERCO ($1,145), compared to up to $8,000 for Invisalign.
In some cases, your insurance company may cover part of the cost of clear aligners. You will have to work directly with your insurance provider to determine the coverage amount.
Depending on the type of aligner, treatment can take between 3 and 24 months. Byte offers the quickest treatment, while Invisalign is typically the longest.
It depends. Metal braces are typically priced from $1,800 to $5,500. Invisalign aligners cost between $3,000 and $5,000, while most at-home aligners cost under $2,000.