Find out the differences between clear aligners and braces — as well as the major companies that will ship clear aligners directly to your home.
Teeth straightening has come a long way in the past few decades. Gone are the days of painful, eye-sore traditional braces. These days, you can straighten your teeth on your own time using clear aligners that can be removed for up to several hours a day.
Back in the day, all orthodontic patients needed to visit an in-person orthodontist to get their teeth straightened.
It could take years for braces to straighten your teeth.
And have you seen braces? They were painful, clunky pieces of metal that would cut the insides of your mouth — and looked super awkward to boot.
These days, straightening your teeth is so much easier. Simply order a teeth straightening kit, follow the instructions, and wear your aligners for the prescribed amount of time.
The average time it takes to straighten teeth with clear aligners is just under one year. If your teeth don’t need much straightening, you may end up wearing your aligners for less than 12 months; if your teeth are very crowded or need some extra TLC, you may need to wear your aligners for up to two years.
The minimum treatment time for clear aligners is usually about four months.
The good news is that at-home aligners are virtually invisible, so you won’t need to worry about the way they look. You can also take them out to eat, so you don’t need to avoid hard foods (as you would with braces).
If you opt for nighttime clear aligners, you can even avoid wearing them during the day altogether.
At-home teeth straightening is super easy. It usually takes under three steps to get a straighter smile. Depending on the company you choose, you may need to start with a kit or scan — both of which you can complete from the comfort of your own home.
Unlike Invisalign (that doesn’t offer at-home treatment options), companies like Smile Direct Club offer the option to head to a clinic for office visits to get your teeth scanned. If you don’t want to leave the house, you can simply order an impression kit instead.
Once you get your kit in the mail, follow the instructions to make an impression of your teeth, send back the mold, and wait for your results.
Using your mold, your online orthodontist will make a 3D image of your teeth and create a treatment plan.
Clear aligners will then be mailed to your home. Simply wear your new aligners for the recommended number of hours each day.
Some companies recommend follow-up virtual appointments and will send out impression kits at certain milestones to ensure your teeth are on the right track.
While clear aligners have been a god-send for many of us, they’re not right for everyone. At-home teeth straightening is right for you if you:
*Check with your preferred teeth-straightening company just to be sure you’re not a good candidate. Some companies may be able to offer a kit despite overcrowding and bite issues.
In some cases, certain patients will need to opt for other teeth straightening options, such as metal braces, ceramic braces, clear braces, or lingual braces (braces affixed to the backside of your teeth) to treat severe crowding and misalignment. The good news is that most online orthodontists will refund the cost of the impression kit if you’re not a good fit for clear aligners.
Right now, there are five major at-home orthodontists that offer treatments for teeth alignment. These companies include:
All of these companies offer options to get your teeth measured via an at-home impression kit, and some companies also offer in-store measurements, too. All companies on this list will refund your money for the kits if you’re not a good candidate for clear aligners.
All companies on this list offer a payment plan; some companies charge more for the cost of a retainer to keep teeth straight after the end of the treatment.
Visit one of Candid’s locations to get measured for aligners, or get the starter kit mailed directly to your home or office.
Price: $1,900 or $88/month (starter kit is $95).
Insurance accepted: FSA, HSA, and some orthodontic insurances.
Visit a Smile Direct Club SmileShop to get measured for aligners, or get the starter kit mailed directly to you.
Price: $1,895 or $85/month.
Insurance accepted: FSA, HSA, and CareCredit
Get a starter SmileLove kit mailed to your home or office (no in-person measurements offered).
Price: $1,495 or $62/month (starter kit is $79).
Insurance accepted: HSA, FSA, and some dental insurances.
Get a starter Byte kit mailed to your home or office (no in-person measurements offered).
Price: $1,895 or $83/month.
Insurance accepted: FSA, HSA, CareCredit, and dental insurances.
Get a SnapCorrect starter kit mailed to your home or office (no in-person measurements offered).
Price: $1,749 or $81/month.
Insurance accepted: FSA, HSA, CareCredit, and some dental or orthodontic treatment insurances.
Ready to get a perfect smile? Order your at-home starter kit, or head to a brick-and-mortar location to get fitted for your clear aligners, and get results in as few as four months.