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What Are Clear Braces (Clear Aligners)?

Clear braces — also called clear aligners, invisible aligners, or invisible braces — are a clear and removable alternative to traditional braces. Braces consist of metal brackets and archwires, while clear aligners look similar to retainers and are made of thin, BPA-free plastic. 

Depending on your treatment plan, you will replace each set of aligners every 1 to 2 weeks. You also have to wear the aligners for at least 22 hours a day. You’ll remove them before eating and cleaning. Invisible aligners work by moving your teeth in small increments. After four to 18 months, you will have straighter teeth and a more confident smile.

Types of Clear Braces

There are two different types of clear braces available, including in-office aligners and at-home aligners. In-office aligners include Invisalign and ClearCorrect. Byte, Candid, and Smile Direct Club are some popular examples of at-home clear aligners. 

Depending on your needs and preference, you can either order clear aligners online or visit an orthodontist in-person. Invisalign and ClearCorrect aligners can only be obtained by visiting an orthodontist for treatment. Invisalign treatment is monitored more closely than at-home clear aligner treatment. 

At-home aligners, such as Byte and Candid, allow you to buy impression kits online or at a studio. Unlike in-office aligners, treatment is monitored remotely. However, you are still overseen by a licensed orthodontist throughout the entire treatment process. 

At-home aligners are only recommended for minor cases of teeth misalignment (malocclusion). Some examples include a few crooked teeth or small gaps between teeth. You will likely be denied treatment if you have moderately severe to severe teeth misalignment, such as an overbite or underbite.  

Pros and Cons of Clear Braces

Pros of Clear Braces

  • Virtually invisible, no metal brackets or wires
  • Convenient, easy to clean, and removable
  • Easier to floss your teeth than with braces
  • Completely remote orthodontic treatment
  • In-office visits are not necessary for at-home aligners
  • Impression kit refunds to ineligible candidates
  • Payment plans available 
  • No diet restrictions necessary
  • Quicker treatment time than braces
  • Cheaper than braces

Cons of Clear Braces 

  • Easy to misplace 
  • Can only correct mild cases of teeth misalignment
  • A lisp can develop when the aligners are in your mouth

How Much Do Clear Braces Cost?

Clear braces can cost anywhere between $1,700 and $8,000. Below compares the costs of three popular clear braces brands:

byte® Aligners

Byte only works with licensed and experienced dentists and orthodontists, ensuring you receive high-quality remote treatment. They also provide each patient with a HyperByte device, which claims to speed up treatment 2x faster than competitors. Byte also only accepts patients with minor cases of teeth misalignment. You also have to be a good candidate for teledentistry appointments. 

byte impression kit

Byte “all-day” aligners cost $1,895 (if paid in full). You can also choose a payment plan, which costs $83/month for 29 months after paying $324 up-front ($2,731 total). The “at-night” aligners cost $2,295 (if paid in full). The payment plan costs $99/month for 29 months with a $449 deposit ($3,320 total).  

Candid Co Aligners

Candid only works with highly qualified orthodontists who are experts in the teeth straightening industry. No orthodontic office visits are required for teeth scans, x-rays, or check-ups. Like byte, Candid protects customer safety by only accepting cases they are confident will benefit from clear aligner treatment.

candid retainers

Candid aligners cost $2,400 (if paid in full). You can also choose a payment plan, which costs $99/month for 24 months after paying $399 up-front ($2,775 total).

Invisalign

Invisalign is the most popular in-office clear aligner. Treatment is monitored in-person by a licensed dentist or orthodontist. Invisalign is often the ideal solution for patients who have mild to moderate teeth misalignment. However, more severe cases of misalignment may be treatable with Invisalign. It is essential to talk with your orthodontist to determine whether Invisalign or braces is the best option for you.  

invisalign aligners

Invisalign costs between $3,000 and $8,000. Some dental insurance plans cover up to $3,500 of the cost of treatment. Payment plans are also available.  

Clear Braces vs. Metal Braces Cost

Invisalign and traditional metal braces cost about the same. Metal braces cost between $2,500 and $7,500, while ceramic braces cost between $4,000 and $8,000. 

At-home clear braces are less expensive than Invisalign, ceramic braces, and metal braces treatment. Although they are more affordable, not everyone is a candidate for clear aligner treatment. For severe cases of teeth and/or jaw misalignment, braces are the most effective and safest option. 

Resources

Candid. “Candid Clear Aligners.” Candid, www.candidco.com/faq/p/treatment.

Candid. “Candid Pricing.” Candid, https://www.candidco.com/pricing.

Hyperbyte: The Technology Behind Faster Invisible aligner results. (n.d.), https://www.byteme.com/pages/hyperbyte.

Byte. “Plans.” byte, https://www.byteme.com/pages/plans.

Ke, Y., Zhu, Y., & Zhu, M. (2019, January 23). A comparison of treatment effectiveness between clear aligner and fixed appliance therapies, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6343314/.

“Orthodontic Treatment Options.” American Association of Orthodontists, www.aaoinfo.org/orthodontic-treatment-options/.

Proffit, William R., et al. Contemporary Orthodontics. Elsevier/Mosby, 2019.

Weir, T. “Clear Aligners in Orthodontic Treatment.” Wiley Online Library, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 14 Mar. 2017, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/adj.12480.

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Updated on: October 30, 2020
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