Candid Co vs Smile Direct Club

Evidence Based
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What Are Clear Aligners?

Clear aligners (invisible aligners) are removable, clear trays that fix minorly misaligned or crooked teeth. Treatment time varies depending on individual needs and the type of aligner chosen. However, clear aligner treatment typically takes 12 months or less (6 months average). 

Direct-to-Consumer vs. In-Office Clear Aligners

There are two types of aligners available, including direct-to-consumer aligners and in-office aligners:

Direct-to-consumer aligner treatment (at home teeth straightening) is completed remotely. No orthodontic office visits are required for teeth scans, x-rays, and check-ups. You can also order online impression kits, and the aligners will be sent straight to your door. 

You’ll then send a licensed dentist or orthodontist scans of your teeth throughout the treatment process to ensure everything is going smoothly. Popular remote aligners include Candid, SmileDirectClub, and Byte. 

In-office aligner treatment is completed and monitored in-person. You have to visit a dentist or orthodontist to get impressions made. In-office check-ups are also required every few weeks. Popular in-office clear aligners include Invisalign and ClearCorrect.

Is Candid or Smile Direct Better?

Candid and SmileDirectClub both offer direct-to-consumer clear aligners, meaning treatment is monitored in the comfort of your own home. However, both aligner companies also have studios where you can get impressions made in-person. You can either visit a Candid Studio, a SmileShop, or order an impression kit online.  

Both Candid and SmileDirectClub can fix minor bite issues, including:

  • Crowded Teeth — when some teeth overlap
  • Gapped Teeth (Diastema) — one large gap or multiple small gaps between the teeth 
  • Other minor to moderate teeth alignment issues

The main difference between Candid and Smile Direct is that Candid only works with licensed orthodontists. Smile Direct doesn’t work exclusively with orthodontists; they also work with dentists and doctors. This may affect the quality of treatment you receive.

How Candid Works: Treatment Plan

Five professionals founded Candid Co. They are partnered with a highly praised orthodontist, Dr. Lynn Hurst, who has over 30 years in practice. Candid only works with highly qualified orthodontists who are experts in the teeth straightening industry. This ensures patients get the highest quality care from a professional with years of experience in orthodontics.

Also, Candid only accepts cases that they are confident will benefit from clear aligner treatment. Doing so helps protect customer safety. If a patient has moderate to severe teeth misalignment, traditional braces or Invisalign treatment are better options over remote aligners.

How Candid works:

  1. First, you will order a starter kit online or visit a Candid Studio for a free scan (risk free). 
  2. If you are approved for treatment, you will receive the aligners within 2 to 3 weeks after sending back the impressions or visiting a studio.
  3. Candid sends all of your aligners at once. You must wear each set of aligners for at least 22 hours a day.
  4. A qualified orthodontist will track your progress via phone scans that you will send every few weeks. These teledentistry appointments are remote, so you can set them up at any time. 
  5. After treatment is done, you will receive a custom retainer that ensures your teeth stay straight for a long time. One set of retainers costs $99. 

Pros of Candid Co Aligners

  • Convenient and affordable aligners
  • No diet restrictions necessary
  • Monitored by experienced orthodontists
  • A famous orthodontist (Dr. Hurst) oversees the product, vision, and safety of customers 
  • Prioritizes safety by following teeth straightening best practices
  • Only accepts minor cases of teeth misalignment
  • Good customer service
  • Payment plan available
  • Free teeth whitening treatment

Cons of Candid Co Aligners

  • Treatment is monitored remotely, so there is a slightly higher risk for complications to occur than in-office aligner treatment
  • No refunds on teeth aligners
  • Credit check required
  • Only offers daytime clear aligners

How Smile Direct Works: Treatment Plan

SmileDirectClub is a 6-year-old company that offers at-home teeth straightening for 60% less than braces. The aligners are made of comfortable, smooth, BPA-free plastic. Smile Direct only works with registered doctors, dentists, and orthodontists to ensure each treatment case runs smoothly and effectively. 

How Smile Direct works:

  1. First, you will order an impression kit online or visit a SmileShop for a free 3D scan (risk-free).  
  2. If you are approved for treatment, you will receive your daytime or nighttime aligners within a few weeks after making impressions. 
  3. Smile Direct sends all of your aligners at once. You must wear each set of aligners for at least 22 hours a day.
  4. During treatment, you will track your progress online with a dentist or orthodontist from the comfort of home. These appointments are completely remote, so you can set them up around your busy schedule.
  5. After treatment is done, you will buy a custom retainer for $99. This device ensures your teeth stay straight for a long time. You can have a new smile in as little as four months. 

Pros of Smile Direct Aligners

  • Completely remote clear aligner treatment 
  • No diet restrictions 
  • Convenient and affordable aligners
  • Payment plan available
  • Accepts insurance
  • Free whitening treatment

Cons of Smile Direct Aligners

  • Treatment is monitored remotely, so there is a slightly higher risk for complications to occur than in-office aligner treatment
  • Hard-to-reach customer service
  • Risk of teeth impression errors 
  • No refunds on teeth aligners
  • Patients are responsible for treatment results

Candid vs. Smile Direct Price 

Candid aligners cost $2400 (a credit check is required). You can get a free impression at a Candid Studio or spend $95 on a mail-in starter kit. However, they often provide discounts on mail-in starter kits for up to half off. Remote monitoring throughout treatment is free. Candid also offers a payment plan. You will pay as low as $399 up-front and $99/24 months. 

SmileDirectClub aligners cost $1950. You can also choose a payment plan — a deposit of $250 and a monthly payment of $89 for 24 months. Depending on preference, you can get a free 3D scan at a SmileShop or spend $59 on a mail-in starter kit. Similar to Candid, they also offer many discounts on impression kits. Remote check-ins throughout treatment are free, and no credit check is required.  

Candid and Smile Direct also accept HSA and FSA. Some insurance policies will reimburse you for part of the treatment cost. Coverage depends on your current policy, and there are no guarantees. 

Read more about Clear Aligners 


Candid. “Discover the Candid Difference.” Candid,

Candid. “Candid Starter Kit.” Candid,

Candid. “Candid Clear Aligners.” Candid,

SmileDirectClub. “Insurance.”

SmileDirectClub. “Pricing.”

SmileDirectClub. “How Does Smile Direct Club Work.”

Tamer, İpek, et al. “Orthodontic Treatment with Clear Aligners and The Scientific Reality Behind Their Marketing: A Literature Review.” Turkish Journal of Orthodontics, Turkish Orthodontic Society, 1 Dec. 2019,

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

Updated on: October 20, 2020
Alyssa Hill