Updated on February 22, 2024
18 min read

Byte vs Smile Direct Club (2024)

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

Which Should You Choose: Smile Direct Club or Byte?

Note: As of December 2023, SmileDirectClub has ceased operations. This review serves as a historical comparison.

Byte and SmileDirectClub are both affordable and convenient options for teeth straightening. They can straighten mild to moderately crooked teeth without dental visits.

The clear aligners are sent to your home, where you’ll complete your treatment. You’ll be given instructions and access to an app that allows a dental professional to monitor you remotely.

Our Byte Rating

Overall user experience:
4.5
Treatment process :
4.2
Pricing and financing:
3.8
Customer service and aftersales support:
4.2
Brand reputation:
4.5

Our SmileDirectClub Rating

Overall user experience:
3.9
Treatment process :
3.9
Pricing and financing:
3.5
Customer service and aftersales support:
3.5
Brand reputation:
3

Choose Byte if you want faster results and better value for your money. It straightens teeth faster than most brands and includes a lifetime guarantee with your treatment.

But if you want a trained specialist to assess you in person and take digital scans of your teeth, you should go with SmileDirectClub and visit a SmileShop near you.

To help you decide, we’ll compare Byte vs. SmileDirectClub in this review. We will take a closer look at what they have to offer, including their:

  • Treatment plans
  • Average treatment times
  • What you get with your treatment
  • Cost and financing options
  • Accepted insurance

We also considered their pros and cons based on customer reviews, expert opinions, and our own experience with Byte and SmileDirectClub.

How Byte and SmileDirectClub Compare

Byte and SmileDirectClub are affordable Invisalign alternatives that allow you to straighten teeth at home.

Although SmileDirectClub has ceased operations, here a previous comparison of their features:

ByteSmileDirectClub
Our rating4.2 out of 5⭐3.7 out of 5⭐
Treatment timesAll-Day: 3 to 4 months1
At-Night: 5 to 6 months2
Full-Time: 4 to 6 months3
Nighttime: 8 to 10 months3
Suggested wear timeAll-Day: 22 hours
At-Night: 10+ hours
Full-Time: 24 hours
Nighttime: 10+ hours
Treatment costsAll-Day Aligners: $1,999
At-Night Aligners: $2,399
Retainers: $129
Full-Time: $2,250
Nighttime: $2,250
Retainers: $125
Finance optionsBytePay, Affirm, CareCredit, SplitIt, HSA/FSA/HRASmilePay, CareCredit, HSA/FSA
Payment plansStarts at $70/month for up to 36 monthsStarts at $89/month for up to 28 months
Down payment$0 to $249$0 to $250
Impression kit$95$59
In-person teeth scansNoYes
Remote monitoringMy Byte App (iOS and Android)SmileDirectClub app (iOS and Android)

Byte vs. Smile Direct Club: Key Differences

Here are the main differences between Byte and SmileDirectClub:

  • Byte’s treatment times are shorter than SmileDirectClub
  • SmileDirectClub offers in-person consultations (Byte doesn’t)
  • Byte treatments are more affordable than SmileDirectClub
  • Byte has more payment options available
  • SmileDirectClub has more insurance partners than Byte
  • Byte is a fairly new aligner brand with excellent customer service
  • SmileDirectClub is a more established clear aligner company

1. Byte has faster treatment times

The average treatment time for Byte is 3 to 6 months.1,2 It beats SmileDirectClub’s treatment timeline of around 4 to 10 months.3

People often choose Byte because of its fast treatment times. This is made possible by the HyperByte, a device included with your kit.

HyperByte emits high-frequency vibrations (HFV) that can loosen teeth from gums. When used together with Byte aligners, it may cause teeth to shift more quickly into the desired position.

Early studies suggest that HFV—the technology found in HyperByte—can speed up teeth movement when used with clear aligners.4 It explains why Byte is faster than its competitors.

2. SmileDirectClub offers in-person consultations

Byte and SmileDirectClub have an at-home impression kit that you can order online. However, only SmileDirectClub has physical locations that you can visit for consultations.

Known as SmileShops, there are over 100+ locations in the US.5 They have trained professionals who can take digital teeth scans to see if you’re qualified.

Compared to teeth impressions, it’s an easier way to start your treatment. It also eliminates the risk of inaccurate teeth molds, which can affect the fit of your aligners.

3. Byte treatments are more affordable

While SDC has cheaper nighttime aligners than Byte ($2,250 vs. $2,390) and impression kits ($59 vs. $95), Byte is the more affordable option. 

Here’s why Byte gives you better value for your money:

  • Byte’s day aligners cost less than SDC ($1,999 vs. $2,250) when paid upfront
  • Byte’s treatment costs include a lifetime guarantee with free touchup aligners6
  • Byte retainers only cost about $75 per set with the Byte Protection Plan7
  • The Byte Protection Plan also covers replacements for lost and stolen aligners7
  • Byte regularly offers discounts (you can buy the Byte impression kit for $17.95)

4. Byte has more payment options

Byte and SmileDirectClub offer flexible payment options to pay in monthly installments. However, Byte gives you more ways to pay for your treatment.

Byte offers BytePay and accepts payments via Affirm, CareCredit, and Splitit.

You can also use your health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), and health reimbursement arrangements (HRA) to pay for Byte’s treatments.

SDC only offers SmilePay and accepts payments using CareCredit, HSA, and FSA. 

5. SmileDirectClub has more insurance partners

Insurance companies with qualifying orthodontic benefits may help cover the costs of your Byte or SmileDirectClub treatment. However, SDC is partnered with more insurers.

Among the dental and health insurance providers that are in-network with SDC are:

  • Aetna
  • Anthem
  • Capital
  • Dominion National
  • Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • MetLife

Byte has fewer insurance partners in comparison. Some are Aetna, Anthem, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, Guardian, and Humana.

6.  Byte provides better customer service

Byte’s exceptional support team will guide you throughout the treatment process. SmileDirectClub’s customer service can be inconsistent.

Based on customer reviews, some SmileShop locations have unprofessional staff, even though most of them usually help with any questions you may have about your treatment.

SDC’s online support can also be unresponsive and difficult to reach. However, the company has reportedly been improving its customer service.

Byte will help you with practically everything. This includes checking your insurance coverage, choosing your payment method, and the step-by-step of your aligner treatment.

Its customer service tends to be less responsive as you get further into your treatment.

7. Smile Direct Club is more established

Byte was founded in 2017 but didn’t launch its aligners until 2019. Smile Direct Club has been around since 2014, making it the more established clear aligner company.

SDC has served 1.8 million customers since its founding.8 It has also branched out to more locations than Byte, including Smile Direct Club Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Byte only sells its clear aligners through Byte US and Byte Australia.

Byte Aligners Overview

byte kit

SaleImpression Kit for only $17.95

Byte’s Treatment Plans

Byte has two treatment plans: All-Day and At-Night Clear Aligners. After you complete treatment, you’re expected to wear post-treatment retainers. Here’s a comparison:

Treatment PlanByte All-Day AlignersByte At-Night AlignersByte Retainers
CostOne-time payment: $1,999
Financing: $2,750
One-time payment: $2,399
Financing: $3,301
With Byte Protection Plan: $75 every 6 months
Without Byte Protection Plan: $129 every 6 months
Recommended Wear22 hours a day10+ hours of continuous wear1 year or less after treatment: 22 hours a day
More than 1 year after treatment: Only wear at night
Average Treatment Time4 months15 months2Lifetime

All Byte treatments are reviewed, approved, and monitored by state-licensed dentists or orthodontists with the help of the My Byte app.

What’s Inside the Kit?

When you purchase a Byte treatment plan, you’ll get the following with your kit:

  • Byte impression kit ⁠— molds for taking teeth impressions
  • Clear aligner trays ⁠— Byte’s All-Day Aligners or At-Night Aligners
  • Free retainers ⁠— a set is sent to you after you complete treatment
  • BrightByte® foam ⁠⁠⁠— cleans aligners, whitens teeth, and freshens breath

The HyperByte device ($699 value) is also included free with your kit. Apart from speeding up tooth movement, it can help relieve the pain or discomfort caused by your Byte aligners.

Read Our Review of HyperByte

What Customers Say About Byte

It’s straight teeth for life… as long as you’re following all their rules and don’t break their warranty, you’ll get impression kits, and they’ll keep working with you for free for the price you paid in the beginning until your teeth are where you want them to be.

Brianna Liebl

Byte has an average rating of 4.4⭐ from over 19,200+ customer reviews on BBB, Best Company, Consumer Affairs, and Trust Pilot.

Most Byte reviews are positive. However, some have a negative experience with the company, its products, or its services. Here are some pros and cons of Byte based on these reviews:

Byte Pros

  • Simple ordering process that makes it easy to get started with treatment
  • Packages are usually delivered quickly without any missing items
  • Provides clear instructions on how to take impressions and use aligners
  • Treatments are done completely at home (you don’t need to see a dentist)
  • Its app connects you to Byte’s dental team and reminds you to switch aligners
  • Byte aligners are effective for straightening teeth and don’t cause too much pain
  • HyperByte is easy to use and may reduce treatment time and discomfort
  • Cheaper than in-office teeth straightening options like braces and Invisalign
  • Has great customer service that will guide you throughout the treatment
  • You can get free refinement aligners with the Byte for Life Guarantee

Byte Cons

  • Byte only works on mild to moderate teeth alignment issues
  • People who aren’t qualified may need dental work, which adds to the cost
  • You need to approve your treatment plan before you get your Byte aligners
  • Some customers received incorrect orders or experienced late deliveries
  • Few users have complained of ill-fitting aligners that may cause discomfort
  • Only ships half of your aligners at the beginning, which can cause delays later on
  • Byte’s customer service may become less responsive and helpful over time
  • Results can be less predictable with the lack of in-office dental visits
  • Your treatment may last longer than planned, or it may not work as expected
  • Refunds are limited to Byte’s impression kits for people who don’t qualify

Read Byte Customer Reviews

What Experts Say About Byte

3Z U9jnoMLg4Egi7yWWCj0f Dilh0O3vBQwB7klFTTNRm JaEr YJKQUOB muUWNmQyLHmiXrVtJMT29M7dnK9Mepxh76iacTD HviAKEibXc4ewBT2fjPDb7TlP oE3HKW304La T19 K7HKdyLEFo

Many dentists recommend Byte for mild to moderate teeth misalignment. Among the cases it can treat are crooked, overcrowded, and gapped teeth.

Our team asked the help of Dr. Shane Smith, DDS, a general dentist from Jonesboro, AR, for his expert opinion on Byte:

Byte claims their treatment time is about 4 months with a comparison to braces often taking over a year. Since there is a limit on how fast we can move teeth, we can see that Byte is going for the easy cases.

Dr. Shane Smith, DDS

Dr. Smith says that people should manage their expectations of what Byte’s aligners can do in such a short time.

How Byte Works

Here’s how Byte works so you know what to expect:

  1. Take Byte’s online quiz to see if you’re a good candidate. If you qualify for the treatment, you can buy an impression kit or choose from Byte’s All-Day or At-Night plans.
  2. When your impression kit arrives, get molds of your teeth and send them back. Byte’s team of dental professionals will then create your treatment plan and show it to you.
  3. The next step is to review your plan. At this stage, you can request for adjustments, approve your treatment without any changes, or decide not to commit to Byte.
  4. If you push through with the treatment, you’ll receive your Byte aligners in 4 to 6 weeks. You can start wearing them as prescribed and use them with HyperByte.
  5. Use the My Byte app to send photos of your treatment progress to Byte’s dental team. The app will also remind you when it’s time to change to the next aligner.
  6. After you complete treatment, you need to wear retainers. Retainers will maintain your straight teeth and prevent them from shifting back into place.

Byte’s treatment time usually falls anywhere between 3 and 6 months.1,2 It may last longer, depending on your condition and if you’ve followed the treatment recommendations.

SaleImpression Kit for only $17.95

SmileDirectClub Overview

SmileDirectClub

SmileDirectClub’s Treatment Plans

SmileDirectClub offers All-Day and At-Night Clear Aligners. After completing treatment, you need to switch over to SDC’s retainers. Here’s how they compare:

Treatment PlanSDC Full-Time AlignersSDC Nighttime AlignersSDC Retainers
CostOne-time payment: $2,250
Financing: $2,742+
One-time payment: $2,250
Financing: $2,742+
If you buy one set of retainers: $125
If you buy two sets of retainers: $250 plus one free set
Recommended Wear24 hours a day except when eating or brushing10+ hours of continuous wearFirst 2 weeks after treatment: 24 hours
3 weeks or more after treatment: Only wear at night
Average Treatment Time4 to 6 months58 to 10 months5Lifetime

What’s Inside the Kit?

When you opt for SmileDirectClub, you’ll get the following with your kit:

  • Teeth impression kit for taking teeth impressions (if you order online)
  • Smile Direct Club aligners ⁠— all your full-time or nighttime aligners
  • Free set of retainers ⁠— sent to you after you complete treatment
  • Teeth whitening pens ⁠⁠⁠— used to whiten your teeth
  • Smile Stretcher — helps you take photos of your teeth

What Customers Say About SmileDirectClub?

As SmileDirectClub has ceased operations, the following information serves as a historical reference. The product is no longer applicable to current consumers.

My whole journey’s… although it’s been… a little painful putting them in and out…it’s been a really painless and such an easy thing for me to do.

Lorelei

The company has an average rating of 4.4⭐ from over 34,400+ customer reviews. It received mixed reviews from Best Company, Consumer Affairs, and Trust Pilot.

SmileDirectClub has primarily positive reviews. But there are many complaints about its products, services, and effectiveness. Here are the pros and cons of Smile Direct treatment based on reviews:

SmileDirectClub Pros

  • It’s a great option if you prefer seeing an expert for an in-person assessment
  • SmileShops usually have friendly, accommodating, and well-trained staff
  • Offers a convenient online booking process and fast appointments
  • 3D teeth scanning gives you a quick and easy way to start treatment
  • Its staff will walk you through the entire process and answer all your questions
  • Customers love the quick onboarding and freebies included with appointments
  • You can easily take progress photos with the free Smile Stretcher
  • Has a dedicated app for monitoring your treatment progress at home
  • SDC can refund used and unused aligners if you’re not satisfied with the results6
  • The company may provide free touchup aligners to help you get straighter teeth7

SmileDirectClub Cons

  • SmileDirectClub only works on mild to moderate cases of teeth misalignment
  • Booking appointments isn’t always easy (it may be better to buy online)
  • People say that the staff in some SmileShop locations can be unprofessional
  • Few customers felt they were being pressured to sign up for the treatment
  • Its teeth aligners may cause pain and discomfort, especially when being put on
  • Some people encountered unexpected fees and price changes during treatment
  • Customer service can be inconsistent and lack communication and transparency
  • Requesting refunds or replacements for ill-fitting aligners may take time
  • Most user feedback on Smile Direct Club is from before they started treatment
  • It may not effectively straighten teeth, or it can make your problems worse

What Experts Say About SmileDirectClub

hpMdBS3VN06JSWXu0G5IF5tXhlGEbfwIHmvH5C1IRg8iu Wxc cf1gU5eGpPXpQzWNuc5k

Dentists are often concerned with the safety and effectiveness of at-home teeth aligners like SmileDirectClub since they don’t involve frequent dental check-ups.

We asked Dr. Shane Smith, DDS, what he thinks about SmileDirectClub. He explains that its physical locations give it a considerable advantage:

I have done cases with Invisalign with impressions and their Itero scanner. Trays made based on the scan fit better, and treatment was more predictable.

Dr. Shane Smith, DDS

How Smile Direct Club Works 

Here’s how SDC works so you know what to expect:

  1. Take SmileDirectClub’s Online Smile Assessment to determine if you’re qualified for the treatment. If you are, the company will help you find out if a SmileShop is nearby.
  2. The next step is to book an appointment with a nearby SmileShop. You can also order an impression kit if you prefer staying at home or if there’s no SmileShop in your area.
  3. If you visit a SmileShop: A trained specialist will take digital scans of your teeth. If you order an impression kit, you must take teeth impressions and return them.
  4. A dental professional will create your treatment plan and send it via email. After seeing your plan, you can choose from SmileDirectClub’s Full-Time or Nighttime Aligners.
  5. Begin your clear aligner treatment when your aligners arrive in about 4 to 5 weeks. Remember to submit photos of your treatment progress using the SmileDirectClub app.
  6. After you finish treatment, wear your last clear aligner until the company ships out your first retainer for free. You’ll have to purchase the next retainers.

SmileDirectClub has an average treatment time of 4 to 10 months.3 But your treatment can last longer depending on your teeth misalignment and compliance.

When to Consider At-Home Aligners vs. Other Treatments

At-home teeth aligners like Byte and SmileDirectClub are only recommended for mild to moderate cases of misalignment. This includes crooked, gapped, and overcrowded teeth.

If you have severely misaligned teeth or problems with your bite (like overbite, underbite, and crossbite), you may need in-office treatments that involve dental supervision.

Below are some alternative orthodontic treatments you can consider:

In-Office Aligners

If you want the guidance of a dentist or orthodontist, in-office clear aligners like Invisalign treatment may be a better choice than at-home aligners.

In-office aligners like Invisalign cost more ($3,000 to $8,000) and have longer treatment times of 6 to 24 months. But they can treat more complex cases and some bite issues.

You’ll visit a dental professional regularly to have your aligners fitted and changed every few weeks. They will closely monitor you and adjust your treatment plan as necessary.

Read Our Byte vs. Invisalign Review

Read Our SmileDirectClub vs. Invisalign Review

Traditional Braces

You should consider metal braces if you have severely crooked teeth that cause bite problems. However, they also work on mild to moderate teeth misalignment.

It’s a traditional orthodontic treatment that uses metal brackets, wires, and elastic bands to straighten teeth. Unlike clear aligners, they’re visible, and you can’t remove them on your own.

It may cost you anywhere from $2,750 to $11,500. Treatments may last for 24 to 36 months.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are like metal braces, except they’re placed behind your teeth. They let you straighten teeth discretely since they’re hidden from plain sight.

They can correct mild, moderate, and severe cases of misaligned teeth. Treatments with lingual braces may cost up to $10,000 and last 12 to 28 months. 

Orthodontic Surgery

Surgery is often recommended for severely crooked teeth that cause severe jaw misalignment. This includes excessive overbite, underbite, and crossbite.

Without insurance, it may cost you $15,000 to $50,000. The effects are immediate, but it can take several weeks for you to recover fully.

How We Rated Smile Direct Club vs. Byte

We ordered the Byte and SmileDirectClub and had in-house writers test them out throughout the duration of their prescribed treatment.

While testing the clear aligners, our team assessed and scored them based on five traits. Each trait was assigned a “weight” so we could calculate their individual rating and weighted average scores on a scale of five.

Here is how we rated the best clear aligners on our list:

Customer Experience
30%
Treatment
30%
Pricing and Financing
20%
Customer Service and After-Sales Support
15%
Brand Reputation
5%

Customer Experience

Using artificial intelligence, we gathered and analyzed feedback from 53,600+ people who tried Byte and SmileDirectClub.

This helped us determine the users’ experiences with a brand, including:

  • Its availability for in-person and/or virtual consultations
  • The accessibility of its clear aligners and ease of ordering
  • Whether it gives clear instructions for taking dental impressions 
  • The fit and comfort of its invisible braces when worn

Treatment

We compared the brands’ average treatment times and effectiveness for correcting mild and moderate teeth misalignment.

Our team also examined them for any products or services they provided that would help customers during and after their treatment, such as:

  • Access to dental experts who can answer your questions and guide you throughout your treatment
  • A dedicated app that reminds users to switch aligners and allows them to conveniently track their progress and contact support
  • Regular virtual and/or in-person check-ins with a dental professional who can ensure that your treatment is going well
  • Additional dental treatments, such as teeth whitening

Pricing and Financing

We explored the total treatment cost of Byte and SmileDirectClub, including their upfront prices, payment options flexibility, insurance eligibility, and maintenance costs for additional retainers.

Customer Service and After-Sales Support

Our team investigated each brand’s customer support in-depth when answering queries and resolving issues. We assessed their:

  • Availability
  • Responsiveness
  • Knowledge
  • Reliability
  • Friendliness

We also checked Byte and SmileDirectClub to see if they offered guarantees for clear aligner adjustments, refinements, replacements, or refunds if you’re not qualified or if the treatment doesn’t work for you.

Brand Reputation

With the help of advanced AI algorithms, we were able to sort through 53,600+ customer reviews that would indicate the level of trust they had in Byte and SmileDirectClub.

Why Trust Our Review?

We have a dedicated team of medical writers, expert researchers, licensed dental professionals, and medical reviewers who curate and approve content for NewMouth.

Before publishing this review, our team:

  • Spent 200+ hours researching Byte and SmileDirectClub’s treatments
  • Scanned over 53,600+ Byte and Smile Direct Club reviews
  • Consulted dental professionals and industry experts, including brand CEO’s
  • Reviewed 20+ studies on the safety and effectiveness of invisible aligners
  • Had our writers try Byte and SmileDirect’s treatments from start to finish
  • Compared Byte and SmileDirectClub aligners to other treatments we tried
  • Asked in-house dentists to fact-check our review for accuracy

Summary

Byte and SmileDirectClub can help you achieve a straighter smile from home. 

While they’re both affordable and convenient alternatives to in-office treatments like Invisalign, each clear aligner brand has advantages and disadvantages that you need to consider.

In Deccember 2023, SmileDirectClub has ceased operations and is no longer available for orthodontic treatment.

If you plan to purchase clear aligners, consult a dentist or orthodontist. They can help you determine which orthodontic treatment suits your needs.

What’s Next?

Discover the best fit for your smile.

Explore top at-home clear aligner brands.

Last updated on February 22, 2024
13 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 22, 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).
  1. Pick Your Plan: All-Day Clear Aligners.” Byte.
  2. Pick Your Plan: At-Night Clear Aligners.” Byte.
  3. SmileDirectClub Marketing Claims.” SmileDirectClub.
  4. Effect of high-frequency vibration on orthodontic tooth movement and bone density.” Journal of Orthodontic Science, National Center for Biotechnology Information.
  5. What’s a SmileShop?” SmileDirectClub.
  6. Our Guarantees To You.” Byte.
  7. Byte® Protection Plan.” Byte.
  8. Smile Direct Club Continues Strategic Growth Via International Expansion.” GlobeNewsWire. 
  9. Faster results just waiting to happen.” Byte.
  10. Frequently Asked Questions.” Byte.
  11. Byte.” LinkedIn.
  12. Frequently Asked Questions.” SmileDirectClub.
  13. Pricing.” SmileDirectClub.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram