Candid vs SmileDirectClub

Alyssa Hill
Written by
Alyssa Hill
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Evidence Based
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8 sources cited
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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 SmileDirect 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 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.

That's 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 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. 
candid aligner kit


Only works with licensed orthodontists

It's not just about a great smile. Candid is committed to improving your quality of life. Your treatment plan is overseen by a qualified orthodontist with over 20 years of experience. This means you'll receive high-quality care from start to finish.

Pros of Candid 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 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 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

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

Cons of SmileDirect 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. SmileDirect Price 

Candid aligners cost $2,400 (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 for 24 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. 


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.

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