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What are Clear Aligners?

Clear aligners (invisible aligners) are removable, clear trays that fix misaligned or crooked teeth.

Treatment times vary depending on individual needs and the type of aligner chosen. 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 SmileDirect Better?

Candid and SmileDirectClub both offer direct-to-consumer clear aligners, meaning treatment is monitored in the comfort of your own home.

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.  

SmileDirectClub can fix minor to moderate bite issues, while Candid can treat more severe issues, including:

  • Crowded Teeth — when some teeth overlap
  • Gapped Teeth (Diastema) — one large gap or multiple gaps between the teeth 
  • Overbites, underbites, and similar issues (depends on the severity)

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

This is why Newmouth recommends Candid over SmileDirectClub.

How Candid Works: Treatment Plan

Five professionals founded Candid. They are partnered with a highly praised orthodontist, Dr. Lynn Hurst, who has over 30 years in practice.

Candid only works with licensed 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 your case falls out of Candid's treatment eligibility requirements, traditional braces are the better option.

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 CandidApp scans that you will take every two weeks. These teledentistry appointments are remote, so you can complete them 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. 
Full Arch Clear Aligner Treatment Plan
sample treatment plan (candid / bottom teeth)
smiledirectclub bottom
sample treatment plan (smiledirectclub / bottom teeth)
candid aligner kit

Candid

Only works with licensed orthodontists

You can begin treatment in two ways.

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

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

Pros of Candid Aligners

  • Candid is now cheaper than SmileDirectClub ($1,895 as of October 2021)
  • Can treat most minor to severe cases of teeth misalignment
  • In-depth scans are required every two weeks (via the CandidApp)
  • Candid Studio locations are available in many U.S. states (x-rays and 3D teeth scans are taken by trained Candid professionals)
  • Customer safety is top priority; candidates are carefully selected based on eligibility
  • Treatment takes longer than other brands (but this is to ensure patient safety - moving teeth too fast can result in bite issues)
  • No nighttime aligners available (because they aren't proven to be effective or safe)
  • Completely remote treatment 
  • Convenient and affordable aligners
  • Risk-free teeth scan 
  • No diet restrictions 
  • Free teeth whitening treatment
  • Every treatment plan is monitored by a licensed orthodontist
  • An established orthodontist, Dr. Hurst, oversees the product, vision, and safety of customers
  • Communicative customer service
  • Payment plans available
  • Candid Guarantee (free refinements)

Cons of Candid Aligners

  • No refunds
  • A credit check is required
  • Treatment can be less predictable without in-office visits

How SmileDirect 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. SmileDirect only works with registered doctors, dentists, and orthodontists to ensure each treatment case runs smoothly and effectively. 

Pros of SmileDirect Aligners

  • Treatment is monitored remotely
  • Risk-free teeth scan (in-person option at a SmileShop)
  • No diet restrictions 
  • Free whitening treatment
  • Insurance is accepted
  • No credit check required
  • Payment plan available

Cons of SmileDirect Aligners

  • More expensive than Candid aligners (and lower quality remote monitoring)
  • Treatment can be less predictable without in-office visits
  • Treatment can be overseen by a general dentist with less experience
  • No refunds on aligners
  • Can only treat minor to moderate cases of misalignment
  • Customer service can be hard-to-reach 
  • No in-depth remote monitoring

Candid vs. SmileDirect Price 

As of October 2021, Candid aligners now cost $1,895. This is $505 less than the original price ($2,400).

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 $199 down and $65 for 36 months. 

SmileDirectClub aligners cost $1,950. 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 SmileDirect 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. 

Last updated on January 12, 2022
8 Sources Cited
Last updated on January 12, 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. “Discover the Candid Difference.” Candid, www.candidco.com/why-candid.
  2. Candid. “Candid Starter Kit.” Candid, www.candidco.com/products/starter-kit.
  3. Candid. “Candid Clear Aligners.” Candid, www.candidco.com/faq/p/treatment.
  4. SmileDirectClub. “Insurance.” https://smiledirectclub.com/insurance/.
  5. SmileDirectClub. “Pricing.” https://smiledirectclub.com/pricing/.
  6. SmileDirectClub. “How Does Smile Direct Club Work.” https://smiledirectclub.com/how_it_works/.
  7. 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, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7018497/.
  8. Proffit, William R., et al. Contemporary Orthodontics. Elsevier/Mosby, 2019.
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