Dentistry
Cosmetic
Product Reviews
Updated on October 11, 2022

3M Clarity Aligners Review

NewMouth is reader supported. We may earn a commission if you purchase something using one of our links. Advertising Disclosure.

About 3M Clarity Aligners

3M Clarity Aligners are a relatively new brand of in-office clear aligners, first launched in 2018 and revamped in 2021. They’re available at orthodontic practices around the United States.

3M, a common household brand, makes these aligners. Clarity aligners are one of several dental and orthodontic products 3M makes.

Clear aligners are best for people with mild to moderate teeth misalignment.1 For more severe alignment issues, braces or other orthodontic treatment may be necessary.

However, some clear aligners can handle more complex cases than others. In-office aligners like 3M Clarity Aligners involve in-person professional care, which may allow for more effective treatment.

In addition, 3M works exclusively with orthodontists to provide these aligners, and they can easily integrate with 3M Clarity Clear Braces. This makes them a versatile clear aligner option.

Cyber Monday Deals are here. Save hundreds of dollars on clear aligner treatment. View the Best Clear Aligner Black Friday Deals.

Why Trust Our Review of 3M Clarity 

NewMouth is a leading and trusted online resource for dental information, including orthodontics, at-home aligners vs. in-office aligners, 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. Our goal is to provide credible, accurate, and up-to-date content that is free and accessible to everyone looking for dental care. 

After extensive research, this article underwent an intensive review process:

  1. The article was reviewed and fact-checked by two in-house editors 
  2. One of our in-house dentists reviewed the article for accuracy 
  3. The article is updated and reviewed again every month to ensure pricing, product details, and other specs are up-to-date

How 3M Clarity Aligners Works 

3M Clarity aligner treatment is generally in-office and starts with an orthodontist appointment. You may need to see them every few weeks while you wear the aligners.

Some orthodontists, however, may offer remote monitoring. Since 2020, 3M has partnered with a remote monitoring company called Grin. Grin provides dental scanning equipment and an app you can use from home.2

Not all orthodontists offering Clarity aligners offer Grin remote monitoring. You’ll have to check with your orthodontist to confirm.

3M Clarity Aligners are only available through orthodontists. This differs from most other in-office clear aligners, which most general dental offices also offer.

How to Get Started

To begin, find an orthodontist who offers treatment with 3M products. 3M’s website has a Find an Orthodontist page to help you.3

This page will also show you what specific 3M products the orthodontists near you offer. Be sure to look closely because some offices provide Clarity Clear Braces (3M’s line of ceramic braces) but not clear aligners.

If you’re interested in remote monitoring, call and ask if your nearest orthodontist offers it.

You’ll talk with your orthodontist about treatment goals during your initial appointment. They’ll determine whether you’re a good fit for Clarity aligners by examining your teeth.

If you are a good candidate, your orthodontist will take digital teeth scans to create aligners. If your orthodontist offers other 3M orthodontic treatments, you’ll be able to test how they’d look and compare them to the clear aligners.4

Once you approve Clarity aligner treatment, your orthodontist will use 3M software to develop your treatment plan. Then they’ll order your aligners.

Treatment Process

Once your aligners are ready, you’ll visit your orthodontist to try them on and begin treatment. You’ll also start any other orthodontic treatments if you need them.

You’ll wear each aligner set for a certain period, probably 1 to 2 weeks. You might need to wear each new set for a different amount of time, depending on what needs correcting. Your orthodontist will provide a schedule.

For optimal effectiveness, you must wear clear aligners for 20 to 22 hours daily. Inconsistently wearing your aligners could cause problems and will lengthen treatment.5, 6

You’ll check in with your orthodontist every few weeks to monitor progress. If your orthodontist offers remote monitoring, you can have these check-ins from home.

Once you’ve finished aligner treatment, you’ll still need to wear a retainer for several months. This ensures your teeth will maintain their new positions. Failure to wear your retainer properly may undo your clear aligner treatment.

How Long Does Treatment Take? 

Treatment may take anywhere from 6 months to over a year, depending on your teeth alignment issues. This is in addition to the time you’ll need to wear your retainer.

We recommend at-home clear aligners if you have mild teeth misalignment. View our top recommendations.

3M Clarity Aligners Treatment Options

3M Clarity Aligners offer two different types of plastic to help orthodontists tailor treatment to your specific needs:7

1. Clarity Aligners Flex

Clarity Aligners Flex is a flexible aligner material made of five thin layers. It’s durable but only 0.625 millimeters thick. This makes it more comfortable and covers the gumline.

This material works well with attachments, which your orthodontist may add to your aligners to reinforce them.

2. Clarity Aligners Force

Clarity Aligners Force is a rigid one-layer aligner material. At 0.75 millimeters, it’s thicker than Flex. It exerts more pressure, making it a good material for correcting bite problems.

How These Options Work

Your orthodontist will have these materials available when designing your treatment plan. They may use both throughout your treatment.

For example, you may start with Force to correct spacing and bite problems and later move to Flex to achieve finer adjustments.

Alternatively, starting with Flex may alleviate crowding before moving your teeth further into place with Force.

The material you start with will depend on your unique needs and your orthodontist’s treatment approach. Using more than one material allows you to take advantage of more treatment possibilities.

3M Clarity Aligners Costs and Financing Options

The exact cost of 3M Clarity Aligners will depend on several factors, including:

  • The rates your orthodontist sets, which may differ by location
  • The severity and complexity of your teeth misalignment
  • How many check-in appointments you have
  • Any other orthodontic treatments you receive

Whatever your specific situation, you can expect to pay between $3,000 and $8,000 for Clarity aligner treatment.

Your orthodontist may allow you to pay in installments. But the specific payment or financing plan you’re offered will vary from one orthodontic office to another. Ask your orthodontist about your options.

You may also be able to use tax-free dollars from your Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Savings Account (FSA) to cover Clarity aligner treatment. This will depend on whether your account administrator considers clear aligners a necessary medical treatment.

Insurance

Dental insurance often provides partial coverage for orthodontic treatment, especially if it’s considered medically necessary. You’ll still be responsible for paying the remainder, and if your treatment is considered cosmetic, your insurance may not cover it.

To confirm what your insurance policy covers, contact your provider.

Interested in straightening your teeth at home? Here are the best clear aligner companies.

Pros and Cons of 3M Clarity Aligners

Pros

  • Accessible to many orthodontic needs because it works directly with orthodontists
  • Two different kinds of plastic (Flex and Force) allow for more fine-tuned treatment
  • Compatible with Clarity Clear Braces for concurrent treatment
  • Hybrid option available in some locations with remote monitoring through Grin

Cons

  • Expensive (average cost: $5,000)
  • May be harder to find because Clarity aligners are only available through orthodontists
  • Remote monitoring isn’t available at all locations

3M Clarity vs. Other Aligners

3M Clarity vs. Invisalign

3M Clarity and Invisalign both cost between $3,000 and $8,000. Like Invisalign, 3M Clarity aligner treatment is primarily in-office and may be better than at-home aligners for more complex alignment problems.

However, Invisalign is widely available through general dental offices, whereas 3M Clarity is only available through participating orthodontists.

3M Clarity vs. Byte

Starting at $1,999, Byte is significantly less expensive than 3M Clarity. Byte is an at-home aligner brand, so there are no office appointments.

Byte offers short treatment times (4 to 5 months) due to their HyperByte device, which uses high-frequency vibrations to shift your teeth faster.

Byte may be a high-quality and affordable alternative to 3M Clarity for milder alignment issues. It likely won’t be as effective for seriously misaligned teeth, however.

3M Clarity vs. SmileDirectClub

SmileDirectClub is the oldest at-home clear aligner treatment. At $2,050, SmileDirectClub is similar in cost to other at-home aligners and much less expensive than 3M Clarity.

3M Clarity will likely provide more precise and effective treatment for more complex needs. This is because treatment involves time with orthodontists and is at least partly in-office.

If you have milder issues, you may want to consider SmileDirectClub. However, some people with serious alignment issues have complained that SmileDirectClub treatment caused more harm than good.8

3M Clarity vs. NewSmile 

NewSmile is a newer at-home aligner brand. It’s significantly less expensive than 3M Clarity, starting at $1,495. This price is more affordable than many other at-home clear aligners.

NewSmile does not yet have many reviews. But like other at-home aligner treatments, you can expect it to be effective for milder cases of misaligned teeth. 3M Clarity will probably provide superior results if your issues are more complex.

3M Clarity vs. SureSmile 

SureSmile is another brand of in-office clear aligners. Averaging $4,000, they are less expensive than 3M Clarity in many cases.

Unlike 3M Clarity, SureSmile is available through general dentists and not just orthodontists. While it may not be as effective for complex cases, SureSmile is a more accessible alternative.

3M Clarity vs. ClearCorrect

ClearCorrect also offers in-office clear aligner treatment. Costs vary by provider. They may range from $2,000 to over $5,000, making them more affordable than 3M Clarity or Invisalign.

ClearCorrect is available through general dental offices, unlike 3M Clarity. While its aligners may not be as sturdy or adaptable as 3M Clarity, they’re likely to be more effective, accessible, and affordable.

Are 3M Clarity Aligners Right for You?

3M Clarity Aligners offer either in-office or hybrid treatment. This allows treatment for more complex teeth misalignment than completely at-home aligners. However, severe misalignment may require braces in addition to, or instead of, clear aligners.

One benefit of Clarity clear aligners is that they are compatible with 3M Clarity Clear Braces (ceramic braces). This means your orthodontist can provide both the aligners and the clear braces at the same time.

3M Clarity aligners are pricey. Fortunately, payment plans are available but vary depending on your orthodontist.

3M Clarity Aligners may be right for you if:

  • Your teeth alignment needs are mild.
  • Your needs are complex enough to make at-home aligners a less likely fit.
  • In-office aligners are within your budget.

If the above is true but 3M Clarity aligner treatment isn’t available near you, you may want to consider Invisalign. You could also opt for a hybrid (in-office and at-home) treatment plan with Candid.

If you’d rather try at-home clear aligners, Byte and SmileDirectClub are two well-established and affordable alternatives.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long do I have to wait for my retainers after the first appointment?

Once you’ve approved Clarity aligner treatment, it should take about 3 weeks for the team to create your retainers and ship them to your orthodontist’s office.

How long does 3M Clarity clear aligner treatment take?

Treatment may last as few as 6 months or longer than a year, not including the time you’ll wear a retainer. The exact treatment time will depend on your unique needs and treatment plan.

Will clear aligners make my teeth hurt?

Clear aligners put pressure on teeth to align them. This can cause some pain or discomfort during the first few days of treatment. It should go away as your teeth and mouth get used to the pressure.

How often do I have to wear my aligners?

You should wear clear aligners for 20 to 22 hours daily for maximum safety and effectiveness. Aside from eating, toothbrushing, and flossing, they should stay on your teeth, including while you sleep.

Doesn’t 3M make a lot of other products?

Yes, 3M makes a wide variety of consumer goods, from office supplies to tinted windows. In addition to Clarity aligners, they produce a line of clear ceramic braces and other dental and orthodontic products.

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.

8 Sources Cited
Last updated on October 11, 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).
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram