Best Invisible Braces (Clear Aligners)

erica medical reviewer
Medically Reviewed
by Dr. Erica Anand
Alyssa Hill
Written by
Alyssa Hill
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Evidence Based
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11 sources cited
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Which Invisible Braces are the Best?

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. 

The best at-home invisible aligner:

Other brands:

In-Office vs. At-Home Invisible Braces

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:

  1. Invisalign
  2. ClearCorrect

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 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.

Candid is the only at-home aligner brand that offers a complex teledentistry service.

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.

Best Invisible Braces (At-Home)

The six best at-home, or mail-in, invisible braces include:

  • Candid
  • NewSmile
  • byte
  • SmileDirectClub
  • ALIGNERCO
  • SnapCorrect

We'll review each one briefly:

Candid: Best Overall (Editor's Pick)

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.

You can begin Candid aligner treatment in two different ways:

  1. Order an impression kit online and take the impressions yourself. If you choose to take your impressions at home, Candid will give you access to step-by-step videos to ensure you take them correctly. These instructions are very in depth and easy to follow. 
  2. Visit a Candid Studio for a professional scan and x-rays. If you visit a Candid studio for a scan, a trained professional will take impressions and x-rays of your teeth. If you have a Candid Studio in your area, take advantage of it to ensure you get the best care and results possible.

Once you begin treatment, you'll have access to Candid's mobile app, which is a complete teledentistry service.

You’ll use this app to send in progress photos every two weeks using the CandidScan included in your treatment package.

The box connects to your phone and is used to take detailed images of tooth movement. You can also set up notifications on your phone to make sure you don’t miss a scan date. 

After you submit the photos, you’ll hear back from your orthodontist within a few hours. They will let you know if it’s safe to move on to the next step. You can also use this app to connect to an orthodontist at any time.

** Candid is the only aligner brand that offers in-depth teledentistry services through an app (available on iOS and Android).

Does Candid Offer Night Aligners?

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: $1,895 (normal aligners)

Treatment Time: 6 to 11 months

Monthly Payment Plan: Starting at $65/mo for 36 months (not including down payment)

candid aligner kit

Candid

Best remote monitoring & care

Every treatment plan is overseen by a licensed orthodontist with over 20 years of experience. Your treatment is monitored in the CandidApp.

As of October 2021, Candid aligners now cost $1,895 ($505 less than the original price).

You can begin treatment in two ways:

NewSmile: Budget Option

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.

NewMouth recommends Candid over cheap aligner alternatives because they offer hands-on remote monitoring. Every treatment case is also overseen by a licensed orthodontist.

Cost: $1,195 (normal aligners) to $1,295 (night aligners).

* NewMouth does not recommend night aligners because there is no scientific proof that they are safe.

Treatment Time: 4 to 10 months

Monthly Payment Plan: Starting at $84/mo

newsmile impression kit

NewSmile

Budget option

NewSmile aligners are trimmed along your gum line to provide an even more visible treatment experience. They also offer live video chats with a specialist to ensure you take accurate impressions.

NewSmile aligners are more affordable than other brands. However, treatment is more hands-off after you approve the plan.

Use code NewMouthDeal for $100 off Aligners and code NewMouthKit for $20 off impression kit.

Byte®: Quickest Treatment

The average treatment time for Byte aligners is 3 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).

Keep in mind: There is no scientific proof pointing to the safety and effectiveness of moving teeth quickly. Successful orthodontics requires precise tooth movement.

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.

Cost: $1,895 (normal aligners) to $2,245 (night aligners)

* NewMouth does not recommend night aligners because there is no scientific proof that they are safe.

Treatment Time: 3 to 6 months

Monthly Payment Plan: Starting at $83/mo for 29 months (not including down payment)

byte impression kit

byte®

Quickest treatment time

Byte's All-Day Aligners are worn for 22 hours a day and can straighten teeth in 3 months.

The At-Night Aligners straighten teeth while you sleep and can take up to 6 months.

* NewMouth does not recommend night aligners because there is no scientific proof that they are safe.

SmileDirectClub: First Ever Mail-In Aligner

SmileDirectClub pioneered the mail-in aligner industry and is still the most widely known.

Smile Direct offers both daytime and nighttime clear aligners. You can either visit a SmileShop for an in-person 3D scan or order an at-home impression kit.

Cost: $1,950 (normal or night aligners)

* NewMouth does not recommend night aligners because there is no scientific proof that they are safe.

Treatment Time: 4 to 6 months

Monthly Payment Plan: Starting at $89/mo (not including down payment)

smile direct kit

SmileDirectClub

The biggest company

SmileDirectClub is the largest, longest-standing clear aligner manufacturer.

With hundreds of physical locations, you can choose an in-person consultation or order a mail-in impression kit.

ALIGNERCO: Another Budget Option

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.

NewMouth recommends Candid over cheap aligner alternatives because they offer hands-on remote monitoring. Every treatment case is also overseen by a licensed orthodontist.

Cost: $1,145 (normal aligners) to $1,345 (night aligners)

* NewMouth does not recommend night aligners because there is no scientific proof that they are safe.

Treatment Time: 6 to 12 months

Monthly Payment Plan: Starting at $86/mo (not including down payment)

aligner co kit

ALIGNERCO

Another budget option

ALIGNERCO is another brand that offers an affordable aligner experience. However, treatment is more hands-off after you approve the plan.

SnapCorrect: Clearest, Most Affordable Aligners

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. 

Cost: $1,749

Treatment Time: about 6 months

Monthly Payment Plan: Starting at $80/mo for 24 months (not including down payment)

Best Invisible Braces (In-Office)

The two best in-office invisible braces are Invisalign and ClearCorrect.

Invisalign

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

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)

Can I Get Invisible Braces?

At-home invisible braces treat minor to moderate cases of teeth misalignment, including:

  • Small teeth gaps 
  • Crooked teeth
  • Crowded teeth

If you have any of the following, you'll likely need more invasive treatment with Invisalign or braces:

  • Cases of severe teeth misalignment. 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.
  • Untreated dental conditions. 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. 
  • Existing dental restorations. Certain dental restorations, including dental implants and bridges, cannot be treated with invisible braces.

Invisible Braces FAQs

Do Invisible Braces Actually Work? Are They Safe?

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:

At-Home Aligners: Brand Safety Comparison

CandidSmile
Direct
byteALIGNER
CO
New
Smile
NewMouth's
Recommendations
Works exclusively
with orthodontists
Forces pictures prior
to treatment
Proper treatment
timeline
Offers regular aligners
(safest option)
Offers night aligners
(unsafe option)*
Social six or full arch
tooth movement*
Full ArchN/ASocial 6N/ASocial 6
Orthodontist-directed
via remote monitoring
N/A
In-person option for
x-rays and 3D scans

* NewMouth does not recommend night aligners because there is no scientific proof that they are safe. From a clinical perspective, there are also concerns about what could go wrong if aligners are only worn for a few hours each day.

* Social 6 treatment only addresses a patient's cosmetic concerns. It consists of flaring the front teeth out without moving the molars or expanding the dental arch. Full arch treatment addresses function first and cosmetics second. The aligners move all of your teeth, rather than just the front teeth. This is a safer and more comprehensive way to straighten teeth.

Invisible Braces: Common Questions and Answers

Do invisible braces really work?

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. 

Are clear aligners worth it?

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.

What are the cheapest invisible braces?

The cheapest invisible aligner companies are SnapCorrect ($1,749) and ALIGNERCO ($1,145), compared to up to $8,000 for Invisalign. 

However, NewMouth recommends Candid over cheap aligner alternatives because they have hands-on remote monitoring and better care overall.

Does dental insurance cover clear aligners?

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.

How long does treatment take?

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.

Do invisible aligners cost more than metal braces?

It depends. Metal braces are typically priced from $1,800 to $5,500.

Invisalign aligners cost between $3,000 and $5,000, while at-home aligners cost between $1,200 and $2,300.

What is the worst clear aligner brand?

Smilelove, which is no longer a company, had the worst reviews and customer experiences of all aligner brands.

Resources

(1) Candid. “Discover the Candid Difference.” Candid.

(2) “How it Works.” SmileDirectClub.

(3) Wexler, Anna, et al. “Direct-to-Consumer Orthodontics: Surveying the User Experience.” The Journal of the American Dental Association

(4) “How Does it Work?” SnapCorrect.

(5) "Hyperbyte: The Technology Behind Faster Invisible aligner results." byte.

(6) "Insurance Coverage for Our Invisible Aligners." byte.

(7) Ke, Y., Zhu, Y., & Zhu, M. (2019, January 23). "A comparison of treatment effectiveness between clear aligner and fixed appliance therapies."

(8) “Pricing.” SmileDirectClub.

(9) “Smile Direct Club vs SnapCorrect.” SnapCorrect.

(10) Weir, T. “Clear Aligners in Orthodontic Treatment.” Wiley Online Library, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 14 Mar. 2017.

(11) “What to Expect with Invisalign® Treatment.” Invisalign.

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