Updated on April 17, 2024
14 min read

Cheapest Teeth Straightening Options (Braces vs Clear Aligners)

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Braces and aligners are the most popular ways to achieve straighter teeth. Still, you should consider various factors before choosing a teeth-straightening treatment.

Common teeth-straightening options include:

Teeth Straightening OptionCost
Traditional Metal BracesBetween $3,000 and $7,000
Clear BracesBetween $4,000 and $8,000
Lingual BracesUp to $10,000
Invisalign (Clear Aligners)Between $3,000 and $8,000
At-Home AlignersBetween $1,145 and $2,300

Cheapest Way to Straighten Teeth: At-Home Aligners

At-home aligners could be a good fit if you want a more discreet teeth-straightening option. Companies that offer at-home aligner treatment typically offer personalized treatment plans based on the initial assessment of your teeth.

Aligners are nearly invisible and are removable. They are designed around convenience and comfort. You can remove them anytime for cleaning, eating, and brushing. 

Each custom-made aligner is worn for about 2 weeks at a time (22+ hours a day). Treatment length depends on your plan and the severity of misalignment. 

Straighten your teeth at a fraction of the cost. Learn about clear aligners.

4 Cheapest Teeth Aligners in 2024

Byte is our top recommendation for convenient, at-home teeth-straightening. The aligners are affordable and don’t require in-office visits. We recommend them if you have mild teeth misalignment.

Motto is our top recommendation for doctor-directed aligner treatment. They’re 50% cheaper than Invisalign but you must visit an Aspen Dental provider to begin your treatment. We recommend them if you have complex teeth misalignment.

Here are the four cheapest at-home aligner brands: 

1. Byte – Best At-Home Clear Aligners

Waterpik Sonic Fusion

Byte is a popular brand that stands out in the at-home aligner industry. It boasts strong customer support and fast treatment times (4 to 6 months).

Byte aligners can straighten teeth in under 6 months (in most cases) with consistent HyperByte use, according to Byte. This unique acceleration device safely moves teeth faster with HFV (high-frequency vibration). Read our article comparing the positives and negatives of the HyperByte and similar vibration-based aligner therapies.

Byte’s All-Day Aligners can straighten teeth in 4 months, while the At-Night Aligners straighten teeth in about 6 months (while you sleep).We do not recommend night aligners because there is no scientific proof they are safe.

Byte Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Byte has fast delivery
  • Treatment is easy because they provide clear, straightforward instructions
  • The kit includes HyperByte and Whitening Foam for more effective results

Cons

  • Some customers experience mixed results from these aligners
  • Getting the aligners can be a lengthy process
  • There can be numerous steps and approvals

Byte’s All-Day Aligners cost $1,999. 

SaleImpression Kit for only $17.95

2. MottoBest for Local Convenience

Aspen or Motto Clear Aligners product shot

Motto’s clear aligners can treat advanced teeth misalignments. You may want to consider them if you have a crooked smile that can’t be easily treated.

A licensed dentist from a nearby Aspen Dental Clinic will work with you from the initial consultation to progress monitoring. They’ll ensure you receive proper care throughout the treatment.

Its clear aligners can give you straight teeth within 6 months. All treatments include free teeth whitening, a retainer, and a guarantee. If your teeth shift after the treatment, you can get free refinements for up to 30 days.

Motto clear aligners cost $1,895 to $2,495.

Motto Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Addresses a range of teeth alignment issues, from mild to advanced
  • Individualized treatments with remote or in-person monitoring
  • Professional dental oversight throughout your treatment process
  • Easily accessible through 1,040 Aspen Dental locations nationwide
  • Manufactured by SureSmile, a reputable provider of clear aligners
  • Motto has treated over 25,000 patiences since 2021

Cons

  • You prefer the convenience of at-home clear aligner treatments 
  • Remote monitoring only included with the Motto Complete package

3. NewSmileMost Invisible Aligners

Waterpik Sonic Fusion

NewSmile is a newer aligner brand that takes between 4 and 10 months to straighten teeth.

They are also the only brand that offers a video call service with an impression specialist.

NewSmile aligners do not touch your gums. The trays are trimmed to sit along your gum line in a scalloped fashion. This results in less irritation and makes the aligners more invisible.

NewSmile aligners cost between $1,395 and $1,595. 

NewSmile Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Many say that NewSmile’s customer service representatives answer questions promptly
  • The aligners are nearly invisible, reducing attention to the wearer
  • Patients say NewSmile’s aligners have great quality, despite their low price

Cons

  • Many customers experience slow delivery and refund processes
  • Others have received faulty or insufficiently fitting impression kits
  • Some customers received their aligners months after placing their order

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

4. ALIGNERCO – Cheapest Aligners

Waterpik Sonic Fusion

ALIGNERCO is one of the most affordable at-home aligners on the market. The aligners cost between $875 and $1,075, which is up to $1,000 cheaper than leading competitors.

ALIGNERCO is typically a great option if you are on a budget, only have minor teeth misalignment, and do not require hands-on care.

ALIGNERCO Pros and Cons

Pros 

  • ALIGNERCO has affordable teeth aligners compared to other brands
  • You can schedule online consultations with specialists to learn more about treatment
  • Instructions for creating the impressions are easy to follow

Cons

  • Some customers find the aligners uncomfortable
  • Customer service representatives can be pushy and sometimes fail to help users
  • There’s no guarantee for aligner effectiveness

New Year Sale: $795 for aligners with free aligner cleaner.

How to Find Affordable Braces

You may be hesitant about getting braces because of the cost and inconvenience. However, there are budget-friendly ways to pay for braces. These include:

Braces Discount Programs

Smile for a Lifetime and Smiles Change Lives are nonprofit organizations that offer affordable braces to low-income families. The braces may be fully covered, depending on where you live and your treatment needs. In most cases, you’ll pay up to $500 out-of-pocket. 

Medicaid/CHIP or State-Sponsored Insurance

Some low-income families and individuals qualify for Medicaid, state-sponsored insurance programs, or the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP). 

Some states cover children up to 18, while others cover them up to 21. Your child must also have an orthodontic condition that’s considered medically necessary.

FSA or HSA

A flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) allows you to pay for braces with pre-tax dollars. To qualify, you must be enrolled in a company-sponsored medical plan and put money aside in your FSA or HSA each month.

Dental Savings Programs 

Dental discount plans, also called dental savings plans, work like a club membership. You’ll pay an annual fee and save on oral care services (including braces) throughout the year.

After signing up, you’ll gain access to a nationwide network of dentists that offer 10 to 60 percent savings on preventive and restorative treatments.

Discount dental plans do not require time-consuming paperwork or claim-filing. There are also no pre-existing condition restrictions.

DentalPlans offers cost-effective dental discount plans from more than 30 of the most trusted insurance companies in the U.S., including Aetna and Cigna. They are also accepted by more than 140,000 dentists and orthodontists nationwide. 

Listen In Q&A Format

Cheapest Teeth Straightening Options Braces vs Clear Aligners
NewMouth Podcast

Summary

There are many ways to find low-cost braces and alternatives. Braces discount programs (nonprofits), Medicaid, CHIP, FSA and HSA, state-sponsored insurance programs, and dental savings plans are some options. 

Find the best at-home clear aligners for mild misalignment. See our expert recommendations.

6 Types of Braces & Average Costs

The six most common types of braces include:

1. Traditional Metal Braces

Traditional metal braces consist of small brackets and fixed wires to the front of teeth. This orthodontic treatment gently applies pressure to each tooth, pulling them into the correct position. The brackets are metal and sometimes feature colored or clear elastic rubber bands.

Traditional braces cost between $3,000 and $7,000.

2. Clear Braces

Clear braces, also called ceramic braces, are the same as metal braces except for their design. These braces consist of tooth-colored brackets. They blend in with your natural teeth, making them less noticeable. The rubber bands and elastics are also see-through or white.

Clear braces cost between $4,000 and $8,000.

3. Lingual Braces

Lingual braces work the same as standard braces. However, the brackets and wires are fixed to the back of the teeth (tongue side).

Lingual braces cost up to $10,000.

4. Invisalign

Invisalign is a non-invasive, removable alternative to metal braces. Each aligner set is worn from 1 to 2 weeks for 22+ hours a day until teeth are straight.

Invisalign costs between $3,000 and $8,000.

5. At-Home Clear Aligners

At-home clear aligners are a great alternative to Invisalign for mild to moderate cases. The whole treatment process is from home. They also cost less than Invisalign.

At-home aligners cost between $900 and $2,500.

6. Hybrid Clear Aligners

Hybrid aligners are a cheaper alternative to Invisalign for correcting complex cases of misaligned teeth. 

You’ll need to see a dentist for your consultation and progress monitoring. But they might offer remote check-ins depending on your treatment plan.

Hybrid clear aligners cost an average of $3,000.

Summary

There are six types of braces to choose from: traditional, clear, lingual, Invisalign, at-home clear aligners, and hybrid aligners. Traditional braces are the most visible, while clear and lingual braces are more discreet. Invisalign is a brand of invisible aligners that costs about the same as metal braces. 

Traditional Braces vs. Cheap Teeth Aligners

To determine whether braces or at-home aligners are right for you, consider these comparisons: 

1. Braces Can Fix Complex Issues; At-Home Teeth Aligners Cannot

Traditional braces can fix complex orthodontic issues like overbites, underbites, crossbites, and open bites. This is because braces can move teeth individually, while aligners move all of your teeth at once. 

At-home aligners are only recommended for minor teeth misalignment. Some cases of moderate misalignment may qualify.

Candid is the only at-home aligner brand that can treat complex bite issues.

2. Aligners are Best for Adults; Braces are Best for Children

At-home aligners require consistency. They can be removed at any time, but you must wear them for 22+ hours a day. Remote aligners are only recommended for older teens and adults. 

Braces are fixed to your teeth, so you cannot remove them. Many children require add-on treatments like headgear and palate expanders, which are not possible with at-home aligners or Invisalign.  

3. Teeth Aligners are More Affordable Than Braces

At-home aligners cost between $1,145 and $2,300. Braces, including Invisalign, cost between $3,000 and $10,000. Braces may be the only option in many cases, especially if you have severe misalignment issues. 

4. Braces are Monitored in Person; At-Home Aligners are Monitored Remotely 

With braces, you must visit your orthodontist for an initial consultation. After they fix the braces to your teeth, you’ll see your orthodontist every few weeks to check progress and adjust the brackets. 

At-home aligner treatment is 100% remote. You’ll order a kit online, take the impressions yourself, and send them back.

If you’re a candidate, the company will create your aligners and send them to you. You’ll send in-progress photos and videos via an app throughout treatment. 

5. Aligners are More Comfortable and Easier to Clean Than Braces

Because at-home aligners are removable, you can take them out anytime for eating, drinking, and brushing your teeth. However, you must brush and floss your teeth before putting the aligners back in. This ensures the aligners stay clean. 

Braces are difficult to clean between and require special flossing tools. This can be inconvenient for many people. 

Summary

Traditional braces are more expensive than at-home aligners, but treatment is more intensive and accurate. At-home aligners are cheaper and more convenient, but treatment is not monitored as closely.

Remote aligners can treat minor to moderate bite issues. Braces can fix complex orthodontic problems. Candid aligners are the only exception.

Straighten your teeth conveniently at home. Compare the best clear aligner brands.

Pros and Cons of Braces

Braces are a great way to straighten permanent teeth in older children, teens, and adults.

The most common age to get braces is between 10 and 14. All permanent teeth have grown in by then, but the jaw is still not fully developed, so it’s possible to fix complex issues

Always weigh the pros and cons to determine if braces suit you.

Pros of Braces

  • Decreased risk of cavities, gum disease, bad breath, and other oral health issues (straight teeth are easier to clean)
  • Improved chewing and speaking
  • Reduced risk of teeth grinding and chips
  • Precise and accurate tooth movement 
  • Reduced risk of trauma from protruding teeth
  • Improved self-esteem and confidence

Cons of Braces

  • Not suitable for everyone
  • Expensive
  • Often invasive and lengthy treatment
  • Challenging to clean (not removable)
  • Wires and brackets are apparent (unless you choose ceramic or lingual braces)
  • Uncomfortable at first 

Summary

Braces can vary with age because some children in transitional dentition need early orthodontics. Braces have many benefits but are not suitable for everyone. 

Does Dental Insurance Cover Braces? 

Many dental insurance plans cover orthodontic treatment. This includes braces and retainers. However, note that these plans usually only cover braces if you’re under 18. 

Remember that dental coverage is usually not part of typical medical insurance coverage. A dental insurance plan is usually an optional plan purchased separately.

Review your plan beforehand to ensure what is and isn’t included in your plan. 

Why You Can Trust Our Recommendations

Our Methodology

To determine the best clear aligners available, the NewMouth editorial team analyzed 26 different brands of clear aligners from around the world. 

Our evaluation and recommendations are based on:

  1. Treatment quality, including expert involvement throughout treatment – 35% of total score
  2. Feedback from real customers – 20%
  3. Doctor recommendations – 15%
  4. Cost, financing options, and guarantees or warranties – 10%
  5. Treatment duration – 10%
  6. Additional services offered – 5%
  7. Ease of use – 5%

Our Qualifications

1. Industry Experts

NewMouth is a trusted online resource for dental information, including orthodontics, at-home teeth-straightening, primary dental care, procedure costs, and more. We have been researching and writing about clear aligners for over 3 years.

We have a dedicated team of medical writers, expert researchers, licensed dental professionals, and medical reviewers who create and oversee every piece of content published on our site.

2. Extensive Research and Testing

To determine the best teeth straightening kits on the market, our team:

  • Spent hundreds of hours comparing at-home aligners and in-office aligners to ensure we recommend the proper treatment for different needs 
  • Three writers tested every teeth-straightening kit recommended in this article
  • Talked to dozens of industry experts, including CEOs of aligner companies, licensed orthodontists, and licensed dentists 
  • Read hundreds of research papers on the safety, effectiveness, and concerns of clear aligners 
  • One of our writers successfully went through the entire treatment process with Candid aligners (see the before and after)
  • Spent months researching the most popular brands (and continue to analyze trends as they change) 
  • Sorted through thousands of customer reviews on multiple websites 

3. Comprehensive Review Process

After extensive research and product testing, this article also underwent an intensive review process:

  1. Two in-house editors reviewed and fact-checked the article. 
  2. One of our in-house dentists reviewed the article for accuracy. 
  3. We update and review this article again every month to ensure pricing, product details, and other specs are up-to-date.

Common Questions about Braces and Clear Aligners

Why are braces so expensive?

Braces are expensive because an orthodontist closely monitors treatment. Treatment also takes longer than other orthodontic services. Many people also require add-on treatments like spacers and headgear, which can significantly raise costs.

What is the minimum cost of braces?

The minimum cost of traditional braces is $3,000.

Can I pay for braces with a payment plan?

Yes. Many orthodontists allow people to pay with a payment plan. Speak with your provider for more details. 

Can I get braces for free?

Some people are eligible for free braces through Medicaid or nonprofit programs. 

How long will braces take?

Braces take between 12 and 24 months. Aligners take between 3 and 24 months, depending on the brand.

Who is eligible for at-home aligners?

Only minor to moderate teeth misalignment cases are eligible for at-home aligners. If you have severe bite issues, braces or Invisalign will be necessary.

Candid is the only brand of at-home aligners that can treat more complex bite issues. Invisalign can also treat complex issues with special buttons.

What is the cheapest teeth aligner available? 

ALIGNERCO is the cheapest teeth aligner, costing under $1,300. However, treatment is not monitored closely, so you get what you pay for.

Are at-home aligners safe?

At-home clear aligners are safe when you carefully follow instructions. Always clean and wear your aligners properly. 

However, there are concerns about at-home aligners’ effectiveness. Most at-home aligners only treat mild to moderate teeth alignment. Other brands promise quicker results. Always manage your expectations when using these products.

What’s Next?

Discover the best fit for your smile.

Explore top at-home clear aligner brands.

Last updated on April 17, 2024
15 Sources Cited
Last updated on April 17, 2024
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).
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  2. Proffit,  et al. Contemporary Orthodontics. Elsevier/Mosby, 2019.
  3. Verblio. “Is Teeth Straightening at Home Safe?” ALIGNERCO.
  4. Verblio, and Alignerco. “Teeth Straightening: Invisible Aligners.” ALIGNERCO.
  5. Why Candid?,” Candid Co.
  6. Why Byte?,” Byte.
  7. How NewSmile Works,” NewSmile.
  8. Werner, A. “Accelerating Aligner Therapy.” Orthodontic Products, 2019.
  9. Hyperbyte: The Technology Behind Faster Invisible aligner results. Byte.
  10. Weir, T. “Clear Aligners in Orthodontic Treatment.” Wiley Online Library, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2017.
  11. Discover the Candid Difference.” Candid.
  12. Tamer, et al. “Orthodontic Treatment with Clear Aligners and The Scientific Reality Behind Their Marketing: A Literature Review.” Turkish Journal of Orthodontics, 2019.
  13. Home.” Free Braces.
  14. Smiles Change Lives: Discounted Braces Program For Kids.” Smiles Change Lives | Bracing Kids for a Better Future, 2020.
  15. How to Qualify for Free Braces.” Diamond Braces.
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