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Teeth Straightening Kit

Updated on June 10, 2022
Erica Anand
Written by Alyssa Hill
Medically Reviewed by Erica Anand

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 ClearCorrect, require you to visit an 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 aligners are more convenient than in-office options. 

Popular at-home aligner brands include:

Dental Aligners Group 7

What Are Teeth Straightening Kits & How Do They Work?

The first step of at-home aligner treatment is to take a candidacy quiz online.

If you're a candidate, the next step is to order a teeth straightening kit. These kits are delivered straight to your door, eliminating the need to visit an orthodontist for an in-person scan.

Once you receive the kit, you'll take impressions of your teeth and send them back.

From there, an orthodontist will make a digital 3D model of your teeth. This interactive model shows your teeth straightening progress from start to finish.

If you approve the plan, a dental technician will create the aligners based on the 3D model. This is what the model will look like:

full arch

All of the aligners will be sent to your home address at once. You’ll change the trays out every 1 to 2 weeks. The aligners should be worn for 22+ hours a day.

The number of aligners you need depends on how misaligned your teeth are and the length of treatment. Some brands also require remote check-ins every two weeks (via an app) to ensure your teeth are moving correctly.

Differences Between Braces & At-Home Clear Aligners

Traditional braces and clear aligners are both effective ways to straighten your teeth.

Here are the main differences:

  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 are typically the best candidates for aligners. If you're younger than 12 and have severely misaligned teeth, talk with your orthodontist about braces.

Everything We Recommend

The Best Invisible Aligners:

Other Brands:

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:

  • Minorly to moderately crowded teeth — when some or all of your teeth overlap
  • Gapped teeth — one gap or multiple gaps between the teeth
  • Other minor to moderate spacing or bite issues

There are four reasons for ineligibility, including if you have:

  • Severely misaligned teeth
  • Untreated jaw discrepancies that require in-office orthodontic treatment (e.g., braces)
  • Gum disease or untreated cavities
  • A permanent retainer (must be removed before treatment)
  • Existing dental restorations such as implants, bridges, or partial dentures

Braces can fix more complex cases of teeth and jaw 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 more affordable than traditional braces, lingual braces, Invisalign, and ClearCorrect. Invisalign can cost up to $8,000, while most at-home aligners cost under $2,000. 
  • No in-office visits are necessary before, during, or after treatment. Check-ups are completed remotely. Some brands require bi-weekly, remote scans with a licensed orthodontist.
  • Treatment is typically faster than braces or Invisalign; between 6 and 12 months (only minor to moderate cases).
  • The aligners are discreet and removable. You don’t have to worry about having visible metal brackets and wires on your teeth throughout treatment.
  • 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 treatment is less predictable without in-office visits. However, when monitored by an experienced orthodontist, remote aligner treatment is effective and safe.
  • Most at-home aligners can only treat minor to moderate cases, including slightly crowded/crooked teeth and gapped teeth. Overbites, underbites, open bites, and similar forms of malocclusion may require more invasive orthodontic treatment.
  • Most at-home aligners do not require x-rays before the treatment plan is created. It is essential to visit your dentist to check for cavities and other problematic oral conditions before beginning treatment.
  • At-home aligners are not endorsed by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) because of the risks of tooth and root damage without the direct supervision of a dentist.

At-Home Aligners: Brand Safety Comparison

byte Candid Smile
Direct
ALIGNER
CO
New
Smile
In-office consultation required
At-home impression kit
Regular aligners
(safest option)
Night aligners
(potentially unsafe option)
Orthodontist-directed remote monitoring

How We Review Brands

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 overseen 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 the 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 flag any recommendations they don’t agree with. Any products that don’t meet their standards are removed.

Byte®: Editor's Choice

byte starter kit
NewMouth / Alyssa Hill

Byte® is a popular at-home aligner brand. They work with orthodontists and dentists. Byte stands out in the at-home aligner industry for having fast treatment times (typically 4 to 6 months). This is made possible with the HyperByte — Byte’s very own HFV device that’s included in every treatment plan. This dental movement acceleration device should be used for 5 minutes a day.

HFV stands for high-frequency vibrations. It uses soft micro pulses that transmit through the roots of teeth to the surrounding bone. Byte claims that, due to these vibrations, daily use of the HyperByte can shorten treatment time. 

Read our article comparing the positives and negatives of the HyperByte and similar vibration-based aligner therapies.

Byte has two clear aligners options, including All-Day Aligners ($1,895) and At-Night Aligners ($2,295). With the payment plan, you can pay $249 to $299 up-front and $82 to $99/32 months. The teeth straightening kit costs an additional $95.

Unlike Invisalign, treatment with Byte is totally remote. To begin, simply order an at-home impression kit from their website. Note: we do not recommend night aligners because there is no scientific proof that they are safe.

Pros
  • Remote treatment
  • Free retainer included
  • Aligner-safe whitening foam (BrightByte) included 
  • Good customer support
  • No credit check is required (100% approval with no credit impact)
  • Payment plan available
Cons
  • Treatment can be less predictable without in-office visits
  • No scientific proof pointing to the safety of moving teeth quickly
  • Treatment can be overseen by a dentist or orthodontist (less predictable)
  • No refunds on aligners
  • Can only treat minor to moderate cases of misalignment
  • No in-depth remote monitoring
byte personal aligners

byte®

Convenient treatment

Byte's All-Day Aligners are worn for 22+ hours a day and can straighten teeth in as little as 4 months. The At-Night Aligners straighten your teeth while you sleep.

Limited Time Sale: 70% off Impression Kit, $100 off Aligners + Free BrightByte Whitening Treatment.

SmileDirectClub: Best In-Person Scans

smile direct club e1598562602831

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

SDC 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.

SmileDirectClub aligners cost $1,950 (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 clear aligners 
  • Risk-free teeth scan (in-person option at a SmileShop)
  • No diet restrictions 
  • Free whitening treatment
  • Insurance is accepted
  • No credit check required
  • Payment plan available
Cons
  • Treatment can be less predictable without in-office visits
  • Treatment can be overseen by a dentist or orthodontist (less predictable)
  • No refunds on aligners
  • Can only treat minor to moderate cases of misalignment
  • Customer service can be hard-to-reach 
  • No in-depth remote monitoring
smile direct kit

SmileDirectClub

The biggest aligner 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.

NewSmile: Budget Option

NewSmile Fast Track

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.

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 $1,245.

NewSmile’s Night Aligners require less daily wear time (10+ hours a day). They cost $1,345.

Pros
  • Affordable aligner alternative (thousands less than braces or Invisalign)
  • Most discreet at-home aligner with scalloped edges (to prevent gum irritation) 
  • NewSmile App
  • Video call available with an ‘impression specialist’
  • BPA-free, latex-free, and FDA-approved 
  • Free whitening foam included with every purchase
  • Free set of retainers included with every purchase
  • Refund on impression kit if you aren’t a candidate
Cons
  • It is not always best to go with the cheapest option (treatment is more hands-off after you approve the plan)
  • Newer at-home aligner company; not many reviews
  • Treatment can be overseen by a dentist or orthodontist (less predictable)
  • Treatment can be less predictable without in-office visits
  • The aligners can be uncomfortable, especially at first
  • Daily upkeep can be time-consuming and inconvenient 
  • No in-depth remote monitoring
newsmile impression kit

NewSmile

Budget option

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.

NewSmile aligners are more affordable than other brands. However, treatment is more hands-off after you approve the plan.

ALIGNERCO: Another Budget Option

alignerco

ALIGNERCO offers the cheapest invisible aligners on the market.

Treatment starts at $1,145 (or $99 for 11 months with the payment plan). Other clear aligner competitors are more expensive ($1,800 to $2,300).

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.

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

ALIGNERCO also sells NightOnly Clear Aligners. Wear time is 8 to 10 hours a day and the treatment duration is 8 to 12 months.

Pros
  • Treatment is monitored remotely
  • No diet restrictions 
  • Free whitening treatment
  • Insurance is accepted
  • Payment plan available
Cons
  • Treatment can be less predictable without in-office visits
  • It is not always best to go with the cheapest option (treatment is more hands-off after you approve the plan)
  • No refunds on aligners
  • Can only treat minor cases of misalignment
  • Customer service can be hard-to-reach 
  • No in-depth remote monitoring
aligner co kit

ALIGNERCO

Another budget option

ALIGNERCO is another brand that offers an affordable aligner experience. However, treatment is more hands-off after you approve the plan.

Candid: Hybrid Option

candid starter kit
NewMouth / Alyssa Hill

Candid is a popular at-home aligner brand that has recently shifted its business focus, no longer offering at-home impression kits. It’s now a hybrid option for those who want some of the convenience of at-home teeth straightening without sacrificing the quality of care. 

To begin treatment with Candid, you’ll visit a qualified CandidPro provider (dentist or orthodontist) for an initial consultation and to have your bite digitally scanned or impressions taken. You’ll also see them at the end of treatment to ensure your teeth are aligned correctly and you’re satisfied with the results. 

The CandidPro provider then has a licensed orthodontist from Candid's team personally design your treatment plan. After that, your treatment progress is monitored remotely through CandidMonitoring™, the company’s telehealth platform (mobile app).

The same Candid orthodontist who creates your treatment plan will oversee your treatment from start to finish. Treatment takes between 4 and 12 months, depending on how severe your bite issues are. 

Candid aligners cost $3,300 on average, though the price may vary depending on your level of malocclusion, the state you live in, and the provider you see. You also have no direct financial relationship with Candid — the CandidPro provider is also your health care provider.

Pros
  • In-depth scans are required every two weeks (via the CandidApp)
  • CandidPro locations are growing across the U.S. (where x-rays and 3D teeth scans are taken by trained dental professionals) 
  • Can treat most minor to severe cases of teeth misalignment
  • Customer safety is a top priority; candidates are carefully selected based on eligibility
  • Treatment takes longer than other brands (but this is to ensure patient safety - moving teeth too fast can result in bite issues)
  • Mostly remote treatment 
  • Might be more affordable than Invisalign 
  • Risk-free teeth scan 
  • No diet restrictions 
  • Every treatment plan is monitored by a licensed orthodontist
  • An established orthodontist, Dr. Hurst, oversees the product, vision, and safety of customers
  • Communicative customer service
  • Payment plans available
Cons
  • No guarantees for refinements (ask your provider)
  • No at-home impression kit option (if you prefer this)
  • More expensive than other fully remote at-home aligners
candid aligner kit

Candid

Comprehensive care

Candid offers the convenience of at-home teeth straightening with a higher level of care typical of in-office aligner brands like Invisalign.

Every treatment plan is overseen by a licensed orthodontist. Treatment is monitored with CandidMonitoring (via a mobile app).

Candid treatment costs $3,300 (on average, the price may change depending on various factors). 

Candid Byte ALIGNERCO SmileDirectClub NewSmile
Comprehensive Care Convenient
Treatment
Budget Aligner Option First-Ever
Remote
Aligner
Budget Aligner Option
Cost $3,300 (on average) $1,895 to $2,295 $1,145 to $1,345 $1,950 $1,195 to
$1,295
Treatment Length 4 to 12 months 4 to 6 months 8 to 12 months 4 to 6
months
4 to 6
months
Payment Plan Depends on provider
In-Office Consultation Option
Ortho-Directed
Remote
Monitoring
Free Retainer
Premium Whitening Treatment
Lifetime
Guarantee
Accepts HSA/FSA

When are Braces Necessary?

Traditional metal braces consist of small brackets that are fixed to your teeth. Each bracket is connected by a wire, which attaches to the brackets with rubber bands. Braces move your teeth into the correct position by applying pressure over time.

Braces can fix multiple dental and facial problems at once. They also tend to produce better results than other treatments like Invisalign. 

In most cases, metal braces are necessary in cases of moderate to severe teeth and jaw misalignment.

For example, if you have an overbite, underbite, open bite, or crossbite, braces are likely the safest and most effective option. 

Braces In-Office Aligners At-Home Aligners
Cost $3,000 to $12,000 $3,000 to $8,000 $1,200 to $2,300
Treatment Time 12 to 24 months 12 to 18 months 4 to 12 months
Treatable Cases Mild to severe, including skeletal issues (jaw) Mild to severe, excluding skeletal issues Mild, some moderate
Monitoring/Care In-person, every 4 to 8 weeks In-person, every 6 to 8 weeks 100% remote (hands-off care) 

Teeth Straightening Kit — FAQs

Does an orthodontist oversee home teeth straightening treatment?

Candid works with 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.

How long does home aligner treatment take? 

Home aligner treatment takes about six months (on average). 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 get a custom retainer to keep your teeth straight. You'll receive instructions on how long to initially wear your retainers so your teeth don’t shift back. They should be replaced at least every year.

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 with the clear aligner company of your choice to determine the best financing option for your needs. 

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.

Last updated on June 10, 2022
13 Sources Cited
Last updated on June 10, 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).
  1. Blue Ocean Publishing Group. The Million Dollar Smile, Changing Lives with Cosmetic Dentistry. 2018.
  2. Candid. “Discover the Candid Difference.” Candid, www.candidco.com/why-candid.
  3. Candid. “Candid Starter Kit.” Candid, www.candidco.com/products/starter-kit.
  4. Candid. “Candid Clear Aligners.” Candid, www.candidco.com/faq/p/treatment.
  5. SmileDirectClub. “Insurance.” https://smiledirectclub.com/insurance/.
  6. SmileDirectClub. “Pricing.” https://smiledirectclub.com/pricing/.
  7. SmileDirectClub. “How Does Smile Direct Club Work.” https://smiledirectclub.com/how_it_works//.
  8. FAQs About Invisible Aligners. (n.d.). Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://www.byte.com/pages/faq.
  9. Hyperbyte: The Technology Behind Faster Invisible aligner results. (n.d.). Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://www.byte.com/pages/hyperbyte.
  10. Insurance Coverage for Our Invisible Aligners. (n.d.). Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://www.byte.com/pages/insurance.
  11. 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/.
  12. 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.
  13. “What to Expect with Invisalign® Treatment.” Invisalign, https://www.invisalign.com/how-invisalign-works.
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