Candid vs Invisalign

erica medical reviewer
Medically Reviewed
by Dr. Erica Anand
Alyssa Hill
Written by
Alyssa Hill
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Evidence Based
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11 sources cited
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What are Candid Aligners?

Candid sells direct-to-consumer clear aligners. They are FDA-approved, BPA- and phthalate-free, and stain-resistant. Treatment is monitored remotely from the comfort of home. 

The brand offers ‘the best of both worlds' by providing patients with Invisalign level care without having to visit an orthodontist in person throughout treatment. 

Candid goes beyond just clear aligners by offering a full, branded experience. They work exclusively with licensed orthodontists (rather than general dentists and doctors). This ensures you receive high-quality care from a professional with years of experience in the teeth straightening industry.

candid starter kit and impressions

Candid aligners are a transparent and removable alternative to traditional braces. You will have straighter teeth in six months (on average).

How Does Candid Work?

  1. There are two ways to start treatment with Candid: Order a starter kit online, take impressions of your teeth, and then send them back. Or, you can visit a Candid Studio for a risk-free, in-person scan. Visiting a studio is the best option (if you have one near you) because a trained professional will take 3D scans of your teeth. This reduces the risk for error and results in a more accurate treatment plan.
  2. Once approved for treatment, you’ll receive the aligners within three weeks of taking the impressions. 
  3. Wear each set of aligners for at least 22 hours a day. You can remove them to brush, floss, eat, and drink.
  4. A licensed orthodontist tracks your progress via virtual scans (remote monitoring). These check-ins are completely remote and flexible. Candid has a mobile app that is available on iOS and Android.
  5. Treatment takes about six months (but up to 11). Your final set of aligners acts as your retainers, which you'll wear every night to maintain your new smile. These retainers should be replaced every six months. A set of Candid retainers costs an additional $99.

What Conditions Can Candid Treat?

Candid aligners can treat most cases of minor to severe cases of teeth misalignment, including:

  • Gapped teeth
  • Crooked teeth
  • Crowded teeth

There are a few reasons why you wouldn’t be a candidate for Candid aligners, including:

  • Jaw misalignment. Moderate to severe cases of jaw misalignment — such as an overbite, underbite, crossbite, or open bite — typically requires more invasive orthodontic treatment with braces or Invisalign.
  • Untreated dental conditions. If you have untreated oral conditions (like cavities or gum disease) or upcoming dental work, you will need to make sure these issues are addressed first. Your teeth and gums must be healthy enough before clear aligner treatment begins. 
  • Existing dental restorations. Certain dental restorations, including dental implants and bridges, cannot be treated with Candid clear aligners.

"Patients with mild cases make excellent candidates for at-home aligner treatment. Patients who have demanding work schedules, or are worried about making the time for office visits, appreciate the independence that comes with this option," says Dr. Elvi Barcoma, a Smile Doctors orthodontist. "Additionally, patients who are very committed to their treatment timeline, and will be able to keep themselves on track, see the most success with these treatment plans.”

Is Candid Safe?

Yes, Candid aligners are safe. The brand only works with licensed orthodontists who have at least 20 years of experience in the teeth straightening industry. Orthodontists also have to complete 2 to 3 years of tooth movement residency after dental school. 

Also, the same doctor who designs your treatment plan will track your teeth straightening progress via remote monitoring (CandidApp). This ensures your teeth are moving correctly and safely. 

Keep in mind that direct-to-consumer clear aligner treatment is monitored remotely. There is a slightly higher risk for complications to occur.

Visiting a Candid studio for in-person teeth impressions can help prevent any errors from occurring. If you choose to buy a starter kit online, make sure you follow the directions carefully to prevent inaccurate impressions.

Orthodontic treatment is less predictable without in-person office visits. However, when monitored closely by an experienced orthodontist, remote invisible aligner treatment is safe and effective.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is the most well-known and established clear aligner brand. Invisalign clear aligners are FDA-approved. They also do not contain any BPS, BPA, gluten, or latex and fit snugly over your teeth. 

Invisalign aligners are different from other brands because they are made of a patented thermoplastic material, called SmartTrack®. They claim to be more comfortable and are easier to put on and remove. 

invisalign aligners

Treatment includes wearing a series of removable, invisible aligners that straighten your teeth over time. Unlike Candid, Invisalign treatment is monitored in person by a general dentist or orthodontist. You cannot buy a starter kit for Invisalign online.

How Does Invisalign Work?

  1. An Invisalign treatment plan starts with an in-person consultation with an Invisalign-trained doctor, dentist, or orthodontist. They will evaluate your smile and create a custom digital treatment plan that shows step-by-step progress.
  2. After you approve the treatment plan, your custom aligners will be created. The aligners must be worn for 20 to 22 hours a day. Every new set will move your teeth in small increments, and you’ll change them out every 1 to 3 weeks.
  3. You’ll also set up appointments with your Invisalign doctor about every six weeks. They will track your teeth straightening progress and make adjustments as necessary. 
  4. Invisalign treatment takes between 12 and 18 months. You’ll buy a Vivera® retainer to keep your teeth straight after treatment. 

What Conditions Can Invisalign Treat?

Invisalign can treat more malocclusion types and bite issues than Candid. These include: 

  • Crooked and crowded teeth (overlapping teeth)
  • Overbite (upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth)
  • Underbite (lower front teeth overlap the upper front teeth)
  • Diastema (gaps between the teeth)
  • Open bite (front upper and lower teeth slant out and don’t touch when the mouth is closed)
  • Invisalign can also fix misaligned baby teeth and developing permanent teeth (phase I orthodontic treatment is eligible for kids between 6 and 10 years of age)

Not everyone is a suitable candidate for Invisalign treatment. Severe cases like jaw malocclusion, impacted teeth, missing teeth, or loose teeth may require alternative treatment such as metal braces. This is why the initial consultation and digital scan are so important.

How Long Does Invisalign Take?

With Invisalign, you’ll probably start seeing results in a few weeks.

However, treatment times vary between 6 and 24 months, depending on the severity of your condition. The average treatment time is 12 to 18 months.

Candid vs. Invisalign: The Main Differences 

Here are the main differences between Candid and Invisalign:

1. Candid Offers Free Consultations (In-Person or Remote)

Candid offers a free and risk-free 3D teeth scan at a Candid Studio. During the studio visit, a Candid professional will take 8 diagnostic photos of your face, teeth, and mouth. This minimizes the risk for error and ensures you get the best results possible. 

Then they will take 3D scans of your teeth, which is a feature that is not possible with at-home impression kits. The 3D scan takes thousands of photos of your mouth per second. This process takes about 10 minutes.

After the 3D model is made, the scan and photos are sent to a Candid orthodontist in your area. From there, they will create a custom treatment plan and email it to you within three weeks. 

You can also order an impression kit online and take the teeth impressions yourself at home. If you are approved for treatment, you’ll receive the aligners in the mail a few weeks later.

If you choose not to go through with treatment, Candid will give you a full refund. However, if you approve the orthodontist's plan and officially begin treatment, you cannot get a refund.

On the other hand, Invisalign requires in-office consultations that can cost $100 to $200 just to get started. If you need dental x-rays, this consultation will cost even more. 

2. Candid Only Works With Licensed Orthodontists

Candid only works with licensed and qualified orthodontists who are experts in the teeth straightening industry. This ensures patients receive high-quality care from a professional with years of experience in orthodontics. Orthodontists require two years of specialized training in tooth movement after dental school.

A general dentist or an orthodontist can prescribe Invisalign treatment. While Invisalign treatment is still very safe and effective, having your treatment plan overseen by an orthodontist is the best way to go. 

3. Candid is Cheaper Than Invisalign

Candid aligners cost $2,400 in total. The aligner kit costs $95 and the retainers cost an additional $99. You can choose to pay the $2,400 upfront or pay as low as $99/month with the payment plan.

Invisalign aligners cost anywhere between $3,000 and $8,000. The higher cost is attributed to a longer treatment time. Also, Invisalign is often used to treat more complicated cases of teeth misalignment. Talk with your dentist about a monthly payment plan. 

You can also use an HSA or FSA to pay for Candid or Invisalign treatment.

4. Candid Treatment is Faster Than Invisalign

The average treatment time for Candid is six months. Invisalign treatment takes between 12 and 18 months.

Candid can treat most minor to severe cases of teeth misalignment. Invisalign can treat very complex bite issues with the use of attachments (buttons).

Attachments allow for more precise teeth/jaw alignment. Candid aligners do not come with attachments.

5. Invisalign is Monitored in Person; Candid is Monitored Remotely

Candid treatment is monitored remotely through the CandidApp. The same orthodontist who makes your treatment plan will track your progress through this app.

You’ll send in detailed progress photos every two weeks using the CandidScan included in your treatment package. The box connects to your smartphone and is used to take images of tooth movement.

Once you submit the photos, you’ll hear back from your orthodontist within a day. They will let you know if it's time to move on to the next aligner set.

With Invisalign, you’ll set up office visits with an Invisalign doctor every few weeks so they can track your progress. Invisalign treatment is monitored more closely than Candid aligner treatment. 

According to Dr. Elvi Barcoma, a Smile Doctors orthodontist, “patients following at-home aligner treatment need to be proactive about wearing their aligners for the recommended 20-22 hours per day. For patients who may not be as disciplined with their aligner wear, having the accountability of in-office visits may be needed.” Dr. Elvi Barcoma shared.

6. Invisalign Can Treat More Bite Problems Than Candid 

Candid aligners can treat most minor to severe teeth alignment issues. This includes crooked teeth, crowded teeth, and gapped teeth (diastema).

Invisalign can treat complex misalignment cases, including overbites, underbites, open bites, and even misaligned baby teeth. Invisalign uses special attachments (buttons) or elastics to help shift the jaw and teeth into the correct position.

7. Free Teeth Whitening Included With Candid Aligners 

Candid provides a free whitening foam with every purchase. This premium whitening foam is safe to use in your aligners up to six times a day. It also disinfects the aligners and freshens your breath.

Candid vs. SmileDirectClub vs. Invisalign

Candid and SmileDirectClub are both at-home clear aligners. The main difference between Candid and Smile Direct is that Candid only works with licensed orthodontists.

SmileDirect doesn’t work solely with orthodontists; they also work with general dentists. This can affect the quality of treatment.

Invisalign only offers in-office clear aligner treatment. Similar to SmileDirect, they also work with both general dentists and orthodontists.

Invisalign is the most expensive clear aligner treatment option. SmileDirect is the cheapest of the three aligner companies (less than $2,000). 

Candid vs. Invisalign: Which is Right for You? 

To determine whether Invisalign or Candid treatment is right for you, speak with your dentist or orthodontist.

You can also get a free scan at a Candid Studio to see if your teeth misalignment is mild enough for treatment. That way, you can save a couple of thousand dollars on clear aligner treatment.

If you are a candidate for both Candid and Invisalign aligners, the one you choose may depend on your lifestyle.

For example, if you want flexible treatment and remote monitoring, Candid is the ideal option. If you prefer more intensive (in-person) treatment and do not mind the cost, Invisalign is for you. 

"Patients with more complex cases, untreated underlying conditions, or an active periodontal disease with lack of bone or unhealthy gum tissue should consider traditional, in-clinic treatment to ensure these conditions are monitored closely," says Dr. Ryan Hurley, a Smile Doctors orthodontist. "Prior to moving teeth, an examination and radiograph are important to ensure the best treatment approach is taken to achieve a healthy and confident smile.”

CANDID
  • Treatment costs $2,400 to $2,699 (if you choose the Philips Zoom whitening add-on).
  • Candid works exclusively with licensed orthodontists in all 50 U.S. states.
  • Remote starter kit option (order online and take the impressions yourself).
  • In-person, 3D scans available at Candid Studios (most comprehensive option).
  • No commitment to move forward with treatment after taking the impressions or visiting a studio.
  • No monthly office visits required. Instead, you'll use the CandidApp (available on iOS and Android) for remote monitoring and teledentistry services.
  • Affordable payment plans available.
  • Treatment takes six months, on average, and up to 11 months.
  • Eligible for most mild to severe teeth spacing issues (hence the shorter treatment time).
  • Support is available 7 days a week.
INVISALIGN
  • Treatment costs between $3,000 and $8,000.
  • You cannot order an impression kit online. Consultations with an Invisalign-certified doctor are required.
  • In-person consultations are not free. They can cost between $100 and $200 (or more if you require x-rays).
  • No remote monitoring. In-person visits are required about every month.
  • In some cases, Invisalign treatment is prescribed and overseen by a dentist rather than an orthodontist.
  • Treatment takes between 12 and 18 months.
  • Payment plans are available but vary depending on the treatment case and doctor.
  • Invisalign can treat more severe teeth spacing issues (hence the longer treatment time). 

Compare Candid and Invisalign here (reviews, care & costs).

If a Candid orthodontist believes you’d be better served by close monitoring with in-office orthodontic treatment (Invisalign or metal braces), they will let you know upfront. This ensures you get the best possible care for your needs.

Resources

Candid. “Candid Clear Aligners.” Candid, www.candidco.com/faq/q/why-would-i-not-be-a-candidate.

Candid. “Candid Starter Kit.” Candid, www.candidco.com/products/starter-kit.

Candid. “Our Most Frequently Asked Questions.” Candid, www.candidco.com/faq#.

Candid. “What's the Difference between Candid and Invisalign?” Medium, Candid, 11 Feb. 2020, blog.candidco.com/whats-the-difference-between-candid-and-invisalign-ffb5205a21d8.

“FAQ.” Invisalign, www.invisalign.com/frequently-asked-questions.

“See What Invisalign® Treatment Can Do.” Invisalign, www.invisalign.com/treatable-cases.

“SmartTrack® Material.” Invisalign, www.invisalign.com/the-invisalign-difference/smarttrack-aligner-material.

SmileDirectClub. “How Does Smile Direct Club Work.” https://smiledirectclub.com/how_it_works/.

“You Made Your Smile Beautiful. Keep It That Way with Vivera® Retainers.” Retainers for Invisalign | Vivera, www.invisalign.com/the-invisalign-difference/vivera-retainers.

“How Does Invisalign® Treatment Work?” How Does Invisalign Work | Invisalign Braces, www.invisalign.com/how-invisalign-works?utm_source=google&utm_medium=paidsearch&utm_campaign=NI+-+Brand+-+General+-+Exact&utm_term=what+can+invisalign+fix&gclsrc=aw.ds&&gclid=CjwKCAiAtK79BRAIEiwA4OskBvlUIxBlPwRLvuhz4GthNXakvdM4Qq4nb03mcW0kV53ya5thPdvZsBoC0_kQAvD_BwE.

Proffit, William R., et al. Contemporary Orthodontics. Elsevier/Mosby, 2019.

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