Teeth Straightening Kit

Clear Aligners Overview

Clear aligners are an excellent way to straighten your teeth if you are looking for a convenient option. They are a discreet and removable alternative to metal braces. The trays are made of BPA-free plastic and are virtually invisible when in your mouth. 

There are two types of clear aligners available, including at-home aligners and in-office aligners. In-office aligners, such as Invisalign and Clear Correct, require you to visit your orthodontist or dentist for check-ups. 

At-home aligners, also called mail-in aligners or direct-to-consumer aligners, do not require in-office visits with an orthodontist. These types of aligners are more convenient than in-office aligners. 

Popular at-home aligner companies include:

What Are Teeth Straightening Kits & How Do They Work?

The first step of at-home aligner treatment is to take a candidacy quiz online. Then, if you are a candidate, you’ll order a teeth straightening kit. These kits are delivered straight to your door, eliminating the need to visit an orthodontist for an in-person teeth scan.

Once you receive the kit in the mail, you will take impressions of your teeth and send them back. From there, a dental technician will create the aligners based on the impressions you sent. They will also send you a treatment preview of how your teeth will look from start to finish. 


Clear aligners are an effective and cost-effective treatment for crowded teeth, gapped teeth, and some cases of overbites and underbites. Learn about how they work, popular brands, and costs.


After the treatment plan is approved, the aligners will be sent to your home address. You’ll change the trays out every 1 to 2 weeks and wear each new set of aligners for 22 hours every day. The number of aligners you receive depends on how crooked your teeth are and the length of treatment. Virtual appointments with a doctor or orthodontist will also be required to ensure your teeth are moving correctly throughout the treatment process. 

Differences Between Braces & At-Home Clear Aligners

Traditional braces and clear aligners both offer effective ways to straighten your teeth. However, the type of treatment you need depends on a few factors:

  1. Aligners are removable and convenient. This means you can eat, drink, brush, and floss more naturally. Although convenient, if removing the aligner trays for eating or drinking anything apart from water seems inconvenient, this treatment may not be for you.
  2. At-home aligners can only treat minor to moderate teeth misalignment cases. Severe cases typically require braces and possibly other orthodontic devices like headgear (for children).
  3. The success of aligners depends almost entirely on the wearer. If you do not wear your aligners for the right amount of time each day, they will not work correctly. Braces eliminate this risk because they are not removable.

Teens and older adults with minor to moderate misalignment cases are typically the best candidates for aligners. If you are younger than 12 and have severely misaligned teeth, talk with your orthodontist about braces.

How Do I Know if I am Eligible for Online Teeth Aligners?

Not everyone is a candidate for at-home clear aligners because they can only fix mild teeth misalignment cases, such as:

  • Crowded teeth — when some or all of your teeth overlap
  • Gapped teeth — one gap or multiple gaps between the teeth
  • Other minor spacing or bite issues

There are four reasons for ineligibility, including:

  • Your teeth are severely misaligned
  • You have untreated jaw discrepancies that require in-office orthodontic treatment (e.g., braces)
  • You have gum disease or untreated cavities
  • You have a permanent retainer (must be removed before treatment)
  • You have existing dental restorations, such as implants, bridges, or partial dentures

Only Invisalign and braces can fix more complex cases of teeth misalignment.

Pros and Cons of At-Home Teeth Straightening 

As with any product, at-home aligners have advantages and disadvantages:

Pros of at-home aligners

  • They are cheaper than traditional braces, lingual braces, Invisalign, and Clear Correct. Invisalign can cost up to $8000, while at-home aligners cost up to $2500. 
  • No in-office visits are necessary before, during, or after treatment. All check-ups are completed remotely with a licensed orthodontist or dentist. 
  • Treatment is significantly faster than braces or Invisalign, typically between three and six months (only minor cases can be treated, though).
  • The aligners are discreet and removable. You don’t have to worry about having visible metal brackets and wires on your teeth throughout treatment.
  • Some brands also offer nighttime clear aligners (that you only wear while sleeping), making them even more discreet and convenient. 
  • Payment plans are available for those who don’t want to pay for the total cost upfront. 

Cons of at-home aligners

  • They only offer remote monitoring, so there is a slightly higher risk of complications because treatment is less predictable without in-office visits. However, when monitored by an experienced orthodontist, remote invisible aligner treatment is effective and safe.
  • At-home aligners can only treat minor misalignment cases, including slightly crowded/crooked teeth and gapped teeth. Overbites, underbites, open bites, and similar forms of malocclusion require more invasive orthodontic treatment.
  • You will not get x-rays taken of your teeth before the treatment plan is created. It is essential to visit your dentist to ensure you don’t have any cavities or other problematic oral health conditions before beginning clear aligner treatment. 
  • At-home aligners are not supported or endorsed by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) because of the risks of tooth and root damage without the direct supervision of a dentist.

How Do I Get Started With At-Home Aligners?

Before ordering a teeth straightening kit, you can take a free candidacy quiz on candidco.com, byteme.com, or smiledirectclub.com to ensure eligibility. If you order the impression kit and are deemed ineligible for treatment, you will get a full refund for the kit.

Best Home Teeth Straightening Kits

Candid Co, Byte, and SmileDirectClub are three of the most popular at-home clear aligner brands. All three companies sell teeth straightening kits online and provide free candidacy quizzes on their websites. Candid and SmileDirect also offer in-office teeth scans, depending on your preference. 

Best Overall (Editor's Pick)byte

Best Remote Orthodontic Care Candid Co.

Best-Known Brand SmileDirectClub

Best on a Budget (up to 50% less)ALIGNERCO

Best Aligner DesignNewSmile

Why You Should Trust Us 

All clear aligner products on this site are heavily researched, vetted, and reviewed before recommending them to readers. These are our standards for determining a reputable clear aligner brand:

  1. We figure out if the brand works with dentists or orthodontists. If they don’t work with licensed professionals in the industry, we do not recommend their products. This ensures customers receive the highest quality care and their treatment is overlooked by a licensed professional from start to finish. 
  2. We talk with company leaders to ensure the product is safe and effective. This may include asking for safety documentation and asking leaders about their manufacturing process. 
  3. We compare reviews from multiple sites. Our writers are instructed to read reviews and compare pros and cons. We clearly list the advantages and disadvantages of each clear aligner product to keep the content transparent. 
  4. We look into pricing and features. This ensures customers are getting the best quality products at reasonable prices.
  5. We check to make sure the customer service is high quality. We only recommend aligner brands that have clear instructions on how to contact them. Brands that offer “lifetime guarantees” are also well-respected. 

All clear aligner product pages are medically reviewed by a licensed dentist or orthodontist. Our dentists are specifically instructed to flag any recommendations they don’t agree with. Any products that don’t meet their high standards are removed.

byte®

Byte® is another popular at-home aligner brand. They work with orthodontists, dentists, and doctors.

As a Byte customer, you’ll receive a HyperByte® (an FDA-cleared dental movement acceleration device) with your purchase. You only have to wear it for 5 to 10 minutes per day.

byte starter kit

With daily HyperByte use, Byte aligners can straighten your teeth in as little as three months, which is faster than any other brand on the market. Byte also provides two clear aligners options, including All-Day Aligners or At-Night Aligners. Byte also claims using the Hyperbyte makes changing your aligners more comfortable as it uses vibration technology to help adjust the roots to their new position.

Byte aligners cost $1895 to $2245 (no credit check required). The teeth straightening kit costs an additional $95. You’ll pay $349 to $419 up-front with the payment plan and $83 to $99/29 months. A first free retainer is included with every purchase. 

Pros
  • Completely remote treatment
  • Free retainer included
  • Night aligners available 
  • Aligner-safe whitening foam (BrightByte) included 
  • Lifetime guarantee (if you wear your aligners and retainers as directed)
  • Good customer support
  • No credit check required (100% approval with no credit impact)
  • Payment plan available
Cons
  • Remote treatment (slightly higher risk for complications to occur than in-office aligners)
  • No refunds on aligners
  • Can only treatment minor cases of misalignment
byte starter kit

byte®

Quickest treatment time and best value

Byte's All-Day Aligners are worn for 22 hours a day and can straighten teeth in 3 months. The At-Night Aligners straighten teeth while you sleep and can take up to 6 months.

Byte also offers a lifetime guarantee.

Candid Co

Candid Co only works with licensed and qualified orthodontists, rather than general dentists and other dental professionals.

This ensures you receive high-quality treatment from a professional with years of experience in the teeth straightening industry. 

candid starter kit unpackaged

To begin treatment with Candid, you will order an impression kit online or visit a Candid Studio for a free scan (risk-free). If you are approved for treatment, you’ll receive the aligners within 2 to 3 weeks. The same orthodontist who creates your treatment plan will oversee your treatment from start to finish. On average, Candid aligner treatment takes about six months. 

Candid aligners cost $2400 (credit check required). You can get a free dental impression at a Candid Studio or buy a $95 teeth straightening starter kit. With the payment plan, you’ll pay $399 up-front and $99 for 24 months. After treatment, you’ll buy a custom retainer for $100 to keep your teeth straight. 

Pros
  • Customer safety is a top priority; only minor cases of teeth misalignment are eligible for treatment
  • Convenient and affordable aligners
  • Completely remote treatment 
  • Risk-free teeth scan 
  • No diet restrictions 
  • Free teeth whitening treatment
  • Monitored by experienced orthodontists (an established orthodontist, Dr. Hurst, oversees the product, vision, and safety of customers)
  • Communicative customer service
  • Payment plan available
Cons
  • No refunds on Candid aligners
  • No nighttime aligners available 
  • A credit check is required
  • Can only treatment minor cases of misalignment
  • Remote treatment (slightly higher risk for complications to occur than in-office aligners)
candid starter kit

Candid Co.

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.

SmileDirectClub

SmileDirectClub is a 6-year-old company that offers home teeth straightening for 60 percent less than braces.

SmileDirect works with licensed doctors, dentists, and orthodontists to ensure each treatment case runs smoothly and effectively. During treatment, you will track your progress remotely with a dentist or orthodontist from the comfort of home.

smile direct club aligners

SmileDirectClub aligners cost $1950 (no credit check required). You can get a free 3D scan at a SmileShop or buy a $59 teeth straightening starter kit. With the payment plan, you’ll pay $250 up-front and $89/24 months. After treatment, you’ll buy a custom retainer for $100 to keep your teeth straight. 

Pros
  • Treatment is monitored remotely
  • Affordable nighttime and traditional clear aligners 
  • Risk-free teeth scan 
  • No diet restrictions 
  • Free whitening treatment
  • Insurance is accepted
  • No credit check required
  • Payment plan available
Cons
  • Remote treatment (slightly higher risk for complications to occur than in-office aligners)
  • Treatment can be overseen by a dentist or orthodontist (less predictable)
  • No refunds on aligners
  • Can only treatment minor cases of misalignment
  • Customer service can be hard-to-reach 
smile direct kit

SmileDirectClub

The biggest company

SmileDirectClub is the largest, longest-standing clear aligner manufacturer. With hundreds of physical locations, you can choose an in-person consultation or order a mail-in impression kit.

ALIGNERCO

ALIGNERCO offers the cheapest invisible aligners on the market.

Treatment costs $1,145 (or $99 for 11 months with the payment plan). Other clear aligner competitors are more expensive ($1,800 to $2,400).

alignerco

While more affordable, they are also a newer company with fewer reviews than byte and Candid. They also do not work directly with orthodontists and dentists, which can affect the quality of care.

To begin the teeth straightening process, the first step is to order an impression kit online. These kits are just $39.99. After you receive the kit, you'll take a dental impression at home and send them back to ALIGNERCO.


Want a straighter smile? Read our reviews of the top clear aligners of 2021


They will create a customized treatment plan and send the aligner trays straight to your door.

ALIGNERCO also sells NightOnly Clear Aligners. They include the same benefits as regular aligners but require less daily wear time. Wear time is 8 to 10 hours a day and the treatment duration is 8 to 12 months.

aligner co kit

ALIGNERCO

The most affordable aligner

ALIGNERCO is making a name by providing a reliable at-home aligner experience at a budget-friendly price. Treatment costs just $1,145 vs. up to $2,400 for competitors.

NewSmile: Most Comfortable Aligner Design

NewSmile is one of the most affordable at-home aligners, but they are also one of the newest companies.

Unlike most at-home aligner brands, NewSmile aligners do not touch your gums. They are trimmed to comfortably sit along your gum line in a ‘scalloped fashion.’ Not only does this design cause less irritation, but it also makes the trays less visible. 

Once you receive the impression kit, you should get an email to book a time with an Impression Specialist. During this video call, they will walk you through the process to ensure accuracy. You’ll send in progress photos through the NewSmile app to ensure your teeth are moving correctly.

NewSmile’s Fast Track Aligners are worn for 22+ hours a day. They should only be removed for cleaning, eating, and brushing. Treatment takes between 4 and 6 months, but sometimes up to a year. They cost $1,195.

NewSmile’s Night Aligners have the same benefits as normal aligners but require less daily wear time (10+ hours a day). They cost $1,295.

Pros
  • More affordable aligner alternative (thousands less than braces or Invisalign)
  • Most discreet at-home aligner with scalloped edges (to prevent gum irritation) 
  • NewSmile app available for remote monitoring 
  • Video call available with an ‘impression specialist’ to ensure accuracy
  • BPA-free, latex-free, and FDA-approved 
  • Free whitening foam included with every purchase
  • Free set of retainers included with every purchase
  • Night aligner option (that you only have to wear while sleeping)
  • Refund on impression kit if you aren’t a candidate
Cons
  • Newer at-home aligner company, not many reviews
  • Slightly higher risk for complications than braces or Invisalign 
  • The aligners can be uncomfortable, especially at first
  • Daily upkeep can be time-consuming and inconvenient 
newsmile impression kit

NewSmile

Most comfortable aligner design

NewSmile aligners are trimmed along your gum line to provide a comfortable and less visible treatment experience. They also offer live video chats with a specialist to ensure you make accurate impressions.

Similar to ALIGNERCO, NewSmile aligners are more affordable than other brands.

Teeth Straightening Kit — FAQs

Does an orthodontist oversee home teeth straightening treatment?

Candid and Byte only work with qualified and licensed orthodontists, so your clear aligner treatment will be overseen exclusively by these professionals. SmileDirectClub and other brands do not work solely with orthodontists; they also work with dentists and doctors. 

How often do I need to wear home teeth aligners? 

At-home teeth aligners must be worn for at least 22 hours a day. Night aligners only need to be worn for about 10 hours a day. Byte and SmileDirect offer night aligners. Candid only offers traditional aligners. 

How long does home aligner treatment take? 

Home aligner treatment takes about six months (on average). Byte aligners move your teeth the fastest (treatment takes 3 to 6 months). If you don’t wear your aligners as directed, treatment can take longer.

What happens after home aligner treatment is complete? 

After treatment is complete, you’ll order a custom-made retainer to keep your teeth straight. Byte provides a free retainer with every purchase. SmileDirect and Candid retainers cost an additional $100. Retainers are to be worn for a lifetime. Each company gives instructions on how long to initially wear your retainers so your teeth don’t shift back.

Are financing/payment plans available?

Most clear aligner companies offer payment plans and financing options. You’ll pay a couple of hundred dollars up-front and then make monthly payments for about two years. 

Some aligners are partially covered by insurance. You can also use an HSA/FSA to pay for treatment. Check directly with the clear aligner company of your choice to determine the best financing option for your needs. 

CandidByteALIGNERCOSmileDirectClub
Best Remote MonitoringQuickest TreatmentBest Budget AlignerFirst-Ever Remote Aligner
Cost$2,400$1,895 to $2,245$1,145$1,950
Treatment Length6 to 12 months3 to 6 months8 to 12 months4 to 6 months
Payment Plan
Nighttime Aligner
In-Office Consultation Option
Ortho-Directed
Remote
Monitoring
Free Retainer
Premium Whitening Treatment
Lifetime
Guarantee
Accepts HSA/FSA

Resources

Blue Ocean Publishing Group. The Million Dollar Smile, Changing Lives with Cosmetic Dentistry. 2018.

Candid. “Discover the Candid Difference.” Candid, www.candidco.com/why-candid.

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

Candid. “Candid Clear Aligners.” Candid, www.candidco.com/faq/p/treatment.

SmileDirectClub. “Insurance.” https://smiledirectclub.com/insurance/.

SmileDirectClub. “Pricing.” https://smiledirectclub.com/pricing/.

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

FAQs About Invisible Aligners. (n.d.). Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://www.byteme.com/pages/faq.

Hyperbyte: The Technology Behind Faster Invisible aligner results. (n.d.). Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://www.byteme.com/pages/hyperbyte.

Insurance Coverage for Our Invisible Aligners. (n.d.). Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://www.byteme.com/pages/insurance.

Ke, Y., Zhu, Y., & Zhu, M. (2019, January 23). A comparison of treatment effectiveness between clear aligner and fixed appliance therapies. Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6343314/.

Weir, T. “Clear Aligners in Orthodontic Treatment.” Wiley Online Library, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 14 Mar. 2017, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/adj.12480.

“What to Expect with Invisalign® Treatment.” Invisalign, https://www.invisalign.com/how-invisalign-works.

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