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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 4 to 18 months, you will have straighter teeth and a more confident smile.

Everything We Recommend

The Best Invisible Aligners:

Other Brands:

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 (not completely remote), and ALIGNERCO 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. 

Candid has you begin treatment at a dental professional's office and then monitors your progress remotely.

At-home aligners are only recommended for minor to moderate 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 of Clear Aligners

  • 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 are necessary
  • Quicker treatment time than braces
  • Cheaper than braces

Cons of Clear Aligners

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

How Much Do Clear Braces Cost?

At-home clear braces are less expensive than Invisalign, ceramic braces, and metal braces treatment. Although more affordable, not everyone is a candidate for aligner treatment.

For severe cases of teeth and/or jaw misalignment, braces are the most effective and safest option. 

Braces In-Office Aligners At-Home Aligners
Cost $3,000 to $12,000 $3,000 to $8,000 $1,200 to $2,300
Treatment Time 12 to 24 months 12 to 18 months 4 to 12 months
Treatable Cases Mild to severe, including skeletal issues (jaw) Mild to severe, excluding skeletal issues Mild, some moderate
Monitoring/Care In-person, every 4 to 8 weeks In-person, every 6 to 8 weeks 100% remote (hands-off care) 

Read below to compare the costs of five top aligner brands:

1. Invisalign

Invisalign is the most popular in-office clear aligner. Treatment is monitored in person by a licensed dentist or orthodontist.

invisalign

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 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.  

2. Byte®

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 Byte claims can speed up the treatment for some patients.

Read our article comparing the positives and negatives of the HyperByte and similar vibration-based aligner therapies.

Byte also only accepts patients with minor cases of teeth misalignment. You also have to be a good candidate for teledentistry appointments. 

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

byte impression kit

Byte® Aligners

Convenient treatment

The “all-day” aligners cost $1,895. You can also choose a payment plan, which costs $82/month for 32 months with a $249 deposit.

The “at-night” aligners cost $2,295. The payment plan costs $99/month for 32 months with a $299 deposit.

3. SmileDirectClub

SmileDirectClub offers traditional Clear Aligners or Nighttime Clear Aligners® for the same price: $1,950. The impression kit costs $59, or you can visit a SmileShop and get a free scan of your teeth.

Traditional clear aligner treatment takes approximately 4 to 6 months, while Nighttime Clear Aligners take about 10 months. A retainer for aftercare will cost $99.

We do not recommend night aligners because there is no scientific proof that they are safe.

smile direct kit

SmileDirectClub

The biggest company

SmileDirectClub is the largest and longest-standing clear aligner manufacturer. The aligners cost $1,950.

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

4. NewSmile

NewSmile is one of the most affordable at-home aligners, but they are also one of the newest companies. They claim to make the most discreet and comfortable at-home aligner available.

NewSmile clear aligners are available in the U.S., Canada, and Hong Kong. You can order an impression kit directly from their website and should receive it within a week.  

Once you receive the kit, you will 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 can ask the specialist any questions during this call. 

newsmile impression kit

NewSmile

Budget option

NewSmile’s Fast Track Aligners are worn for 22+ hours a day. They cost $1,245.

The Night Aligners require less daily wear time (10+ hours a day). They cost $1,345.

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

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

5. ALIGNERCO

ALIGNERCO aligners are typically a great option if you are on a budget, only have minor teeth misalignment, and do not require intensive remote monitoring. 

Keep in mind: Although the price point of ALIGNERCO is appealing, it’s not always the best idea to go with the cheapest option. For example, if you are looking for more hands-on care and remote monitoring, ALIGNERCO may not be right for you. 

aligner co kit

ALIGNERCO

Another budget option

ALIGNERCO’s most popular treatment is the SmileAdvantage Clear Aligner. They cost $1,145.

ALIGNERCO also offers NightAdvantage Clear Aligners. They cost $1,345.

6. Candid

Candid only works with highly qualified orthodontists when it comes to designing and monitoring your treatment. Apart from one initial consultation with a qualified CandidPro provider and one end-of-treatment check-up, no office visits are required.

The brand protects customer safety by only accepting cases they are confident will benefit from clear aligner treatment.

Candid is a more expensive at-home aligner brand. However, they provide excellent remote monitoring and care to every patient. You can message them with any questions or concerns you may have (and they respond quickly).

Candid requires you to upload photos every two weeks during the course of your treatment. These photos are then reviewed by the same orthodontist that designed your treatment.

candid aligner kit

Candid

Comprehensive care

Candid treatment costs $3,300 (price may change depending on various factors). 

You can begin treatment by visiting a CandidPro location:

What’s Next?

The most popular at-home clear aligner kits can be found right here:

Learn about the different brands and what they offer.

Last updated on May 6, 2022
8 Sources Cited
Last updated on May 6, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Candid. “Candid Clear Aligners.” Candid.
  2. Candid. “Candid Pricing.” Candid.
  3. byte, "Hyperbyte: The Technology Behind Faster Invisible aligner results."
  4. Byte. “Plans.” byte.
  5. Ke, Y., Zhu, Y., & Zhu, M. (2019, January 23). A comparison of treatment effectiveness between clear aligner and fixed appliance therapies.
  6. Orthodontic Treatment Options.” American Association of Orthodontists.
  7. Proffit, William R., et al. Contemporary Orthodontics. Elsevier/Mosby, 2019.
  8. Weir, T. “Clear Aligners in Orthodontic Treatment.” Wiley Online Library, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 14 Mar. 2017.
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