Everyone wants a million-dollar smile, but getting one as an adult can be tough. After all, no one past their awkward teen years wants to deal with the “brace face” life. Thankfully, with at-home clear aligners, you don’t have to.
At-home clear aligners make it possible to straighten your teeth from the comfort of your home. No brackets, no wires, no office visits.
Two top at-home aligner companies are Candid and AlignerCo, but which is right for you? In this comparison, we’ll answer that question. By the time we’ve finished, you’ll know which is the better option for your unique grin.
Important: Candid recently discontinued their fully-remote clear aligner treatment option and now only offers their premium hybrid treatment, CandidPro. Because of this recent change, some of the content on this page may be out of date.
Spoiler | Candid Wins
3 Things They Have in Common
For the bulk of this review, we’ll talk about the ways AlignerCo and Candid are different. But they do have a fair bit in common. On the obvious side, both companies will help you perfect your grin. But the commonalities between AlignerCo and Candid go much deeper than that:
- Convenience: Traditional treatment options like braces and Invisalign require in-person appointments every 4-8 weeks of your treatment. That’s no small feat for a busy adult. With at-home clear aligners like Candid and AlignerCo, the bulk of your treatment is completed from the comfort of your own home.
- Discreet: Candid and AlignerCo use slightly different aligners, but the general idea is the same. And unlike braces, aligners from Candid and AlignerCo are nearly invisible when you have them on.
- Safe: We get it. Home dentistry (also called teledentistry) sounds a bit sketchy. But in reality, it isn’t. Both Candid and AlignerCo use teams of qualified dental professionals to create a custom treatment plan just for you. They use your dental impressions or scans to craft a personalized series of aligners. Basically, they’ve taken the technology Invisalign perfected and brought it to the comfort of your home.
That covers the similarities. For the remainder of this review, we’ll dig into the differences so you can pick the home aligner that’s best for you.
The Rundown: How AlignerCo and Candid Stack Up
Home teeth alignment is a fairly new industry. Even so, it’s important to consider each company’s respective track record.
AlignerCo and Candid are both relatively new to the industry, but they’ve already made a significant mark in a short time. That’s because they saw the holes created by the industry giant, Smile Direct, and decided to fill them. AlignerCo filled the affordability gap; they have better prices than any other at-home clear aligner provider.
Candid, however, fills the gap between at-home convenience and in-office oversight. Although Candid began as a premium at-home clear aligner provider, they’ve recently made a switch to “CandidPro,” a hybrid at-home/in-office treatment model that offers the flexibility of remote treatments, but with the hands-on attention of a local dentist.
If affordability is top of mind for you, then you’d be better suited with AlignerCo. But if you’re seeking the highest level of treatment oversight in the at-home clear aligner industry, then Candid may be more your speed.
|Customers served||No published number, but enough to receive a good amount of third party reviews||100,000+|
|Claim to fame||Most affordable clear aligner treatment in the industry||Most robust remote treatment oversight|
|No food restrictions?||✓||✓|
|No office visits?||✓|
|Covered by insurance (with orthodontic benefits)?||✓||In some cases|
|Personalized customer service?||✓|
|Price tag?||All-day treatment: $1,145 |
NightOnly Treatment: $1,345
|Financing available?||There are two payment plan options; one requires a credit check, and one requires a downpayment||Varies from office to office|
|Treatment length?||6-11 months||6-9 months|
|Start-up process?||At-home impression kit||In-person appointment with a Candid partnered dentist|
Intrigued? We’re just getting started! Let’s dive in deeper with AlignerCo and Candid to see which is the right fit for you.
All clear aligners might seem identical at first. After all, there are plenty of similarities from provider to provider. For example, all the aligners we review are made from safe, BPA free plastic and gradually shift your teeth into alignment. However, there are some differences worth noting, too.
Clear aligners are usually trimmed one of two ways: straight across, or scalloped to match the gumline. There are pros and cons to each style. The straight cut can exert more force, since its overlap with your gums acts as an anchor. However, this overlap makes this cut a little more noticeable. Scalloped aligners have a lower profile, they just aren’t as forceful.
Some providers opt to make their aligners out of highly transparent, shiny plastic. Others choose plastic that has a slightly frosted appearance. This may seem a little backwards, but frosted plastic is actually the most discreet option for clear aligners. This is because our teeth have a porous surface, so a matte aligner better mimics our natural smile. Ultra clear, shiny aligners can reflect the light and make treatment more noticable.
|Materials||BPA free, Essix plastic||BPA free, tri-layer Zendura thermoplastic|
|Aligner Cut||Scalloped to match gumline||Straight cut|
|Aligner Transparency||Clear, shiny plastic||Slightly frosted plastic|
AlignerCo’s aligners are made by a trusted dental supplier, RaintreeEssix. Candid used to have their aligners made by ClearCorrect (the second largest clear aligner manufacturer) but have since shifted to making their own aligners in-house. The change doesn’t seem to have affected their product; you can still expect the same great quality from Candid.
All things considered, Candid’s aligners are slightly more discreet than AlignerCo’s due to their frosted plastic. However, it’s important to keep in mind that appearance is subjective. Plenty of people like the added gleam their grins get with shinier plastics. All you need to focus on is finding the aligners that work for your particular preferences.
Just because these treatments occur remotely doesn’t mean you’ll be left high and dry. Both AlignerCo and Candid keep an eye on your progress through photos you’ll submit throughout your treatment. Each provider has their own system for oversight, so let’s take a look at the details for AlignerCo and Candid.
|Frequency of check-ins||Every 10-14 days, or whenever you switch to a new set of aligners||Every 10-14 days|
|Photos sent via||CandidApp|
|Treatment Length||6-11 months||6-9 months|
|Customer Support||Everyday from 9am-9pm, via email, phone, and webchat||Candid support every day from 9am-7pm; plus the hours of your Candid dentist’s office|
With AlignerCo, you’ll email photos to their team every time you switch to a new aligner (about every 10-14 days). Your dedicated “smile crew” member will review the photos and make any necessary adjustments.
Candid offers more robust oversight with their remote monitoring system: CandidMonitoring. Using your smartphone and a special imaging device, you’ll submit photos every 10-14 days, which is the same frequency to AlignerCo. However, the Candid team and your local dentist can review the images. If an issue ever arises, you can visit your local dentist to get your treatment back on track.
Additionally, Candid offers a more comprehensive treatment than AlignerCo. Candid is able to move every tooth, including the molars. The rest of their at-home aligner competitors (AlignerCo included) mainly focus on the upper and lower front six teeth (also known as “the social six”).
AlignerCo and Candid have pretty similar treatment lengths. However, if you respond well to treatment, your dentist and the Candid team and/or your dentist may give you the go-ahead to move on to your next aligner. If so, your treatment may speed up by a few weeks.
Outside of your photo check-ins, if you need anything during treatment you can reach out to customer support.
Candid and AlignerCo both have quality support teams. It’s tempting to think that Candid’s CandidMonitoring program automatically offers better support than AlignerCo. But honestly, AlignerCo does such a good job with their traditional support methods that we don’t find Candid appreciably better than AlignerCo’s support team. Both do a pretty good job giving prompt, friendly support.
However, Candid’s hybrid treatment methods mean that you’ll also have the support of your local dentist office. Availability will vary from practice to practice, but it’s nice that you can count on two-fold support when you choose Candid.
You’ll get convenient, quality treatments from both of these providers. Candid just offers more sophisticated oversight throughout the process.
Bang For Your Buck
In this section, we’ll dig into the pricing details for start-up costs, treatment, and retainers from AlignerCo and Candid.
|Startup Costs||$75 impression kit, but if you pay for your treatment outright AlignerCo will throw in the kit for free||Free|
|Aligner Kit||All-day treatment: $1,145 |
NightOnly treatment: $1,345
|Add-Ons||Whitening kit: $49.99 |
WorryFree Protection Program: $599
|Financing||Both treatments have two payment plan options; one requires a credit check, and one requires a downpayment||Varies office to office, but most dentists will have some kind of payment plan available; though it may require a credit check|
|Insurance||If your insurance policy has orthodontic benefits, you may get partial reimbursement. Be sure to check with your insurance provider to be sure before moving forward with AlignerCo||If you have orthodontic insurance benefits you may receive partial coverage; be sure to reach out to your insurance company to learn about your coverage|
|Post-Treatment||AlignerCo includes your first set of aftercare retainers for free! After that you can buy them in bulk through the WorryFree Protection Program||Retainer prices will be determined by the dentist overseeing your treatment|
In order to build your treatment plan, your provider needs to see your teeth.
With AlignerCo, this happens with an impression kit. You’ll complete an at-home impression kit and mail it back to them. Bought separately, the kit costs $75, but AlignerCo will give you the kit for free if you pay for your entire treatment up front.
You’ll begin your Candid treatment at an appointment with one of their partnered dentists. They’ll take intraoral scans, photos, and X-rays, and have an in-depth conversation about your treatment goals. Unfortunately the in-person nature of this option means that if you don’t live near a Candid dentist, you’ll need to choose another provider for treatment. That being said, Candid already has over 200 partnered dentists, and they’re expanding all the time.
AlignerCo has the most affordable clear aligner treatment in the industry. They’re hundreds of dollars cheaper than their closest price competitor (NewSmile charges $1,395). The treatment plan includes all of your aligners plus your first set of post-treatment retainers.
Candid’s pricing is determined by the partnered local dentist who oversees your treatment, but the base price is $3,500. That gets you all your aligners, the CandidMonitoring system, any extra appointments you may need, plus a bottle of whitening foam. This is significantly more expensive than fully remote clear aligner options like AlignerCo, but that’s to be expected with the added costs of in-person care.
Can’t pay all at once? Let’s explore each provider’s financing options.
AlignerCo actually offers two financing plans: SmileFlex and SmileFlex Easy. SmileFlex requires you to pass a credit check. But once you do, you’ll be able to start making your 12 monthly payments of $110. SmileFlex Easy lets you skip the credit check; instead, you’ll make a down payment of $275. After that, you’ll have 6 monthly payments of $175. Financing for nighttime only treatment is similar, just a bit pricier.
The financing terms of your Candid treatment will vary from office to office, just like the treatment cost. Be sure to ask what your financing options are during your initial consultation.
Though AlignerCo doesn’t include complimentary whitening in your aligner package, they do sell a whitening kit separately for $49.99. Candid includes your first bottle in your aligner kit for free. It’s safe to use during your treatment; in fact, it doubles as an aligner cleanser. If you run out, you can buy a replacement bottle for $25.
When your treatment concludes, the best way to keep your smile aligned is by wearing aftercare retainers. AlignerCo includes your first set for free, but with Candid you’ll need to purchase them outright (the price is set by your provider). AlignerCo sells their retainers in bulk through their WorryFree Protection Program. For $599 AlignerCo will set you a new set of retainers every 6 months, for 6 years. We understand if that price gives you some initial sticker shock, but it brings the per retainer price down to about $50; or about half the industry average.
There’s no question that AlignerCo offers a more affordable price point than Candid. We still think Candid’s price is fair, especially considering the fact that you’re being treated by a local dentist, and that you’ll have robust oversight from CandidMonitoring throughout your treatment. That said, if you need a truly budget-friendly option, AlignerCo is your best choice.
Price and quality are important of course, but so is finding a provider that takes care of their customers. Here, we’ll cover what the customer experience is like when you choose AlignerCo and Candid for your clear aligner treatment.
For many shoppers, online reviews can make or break purchasing decisions. If you’re one of those shoppers, we’ve got you covered. We’ve done the legwork for you to see what customers across the web are saying about AlignerCo and Candid.
|Top loves: More affordable than other options; process is easy to complete; excellent support team||Top loves: Excellent patient support, CandidMonitoring keeps things on track; convenient, effective treatment|
|Top complaints: Sometimes aligners don’t fit and refinements are tricky; products manufactured overseas||Top complaints: Requests for refinements are a hassle; a little more discomfort than other aligners; emails can get spammy|
|Average score: 4.5/5||Average score: 4.2/5|
For the most part, AlignerCo and Candid receive pretty positive reviews. That’s especially true for AlignerCo; for example, over 95% of their reviews on Trustpilot are positive. Candid has a few more negative reviews, but they’re still mostly positive. And for both companies, the negatives usually have to do with requesting refinements (extra aligners). That’s an understandably complicated process, and if you’re expecting an instant fix, you’ll be disappointed.
We should mention that because the transition to CandidPro is so recent, there are virtually no reviews detailing this new hybrid treatment form. We’ll keep checking back for those, but we definitely think Candid’s overall positive reviews from their fully remote treatment should still be taken into account.
All told, though, the two companies both get good reviews.
With any purchase, there’s always the nagging question: what if it doesn’t work out? AlignerCo and Candid both have very individualized approaches to guarantees.
AlignerCo offers a guarantee on your impression kit. If you send in impressions and it turns out you’re not a good candidate for treatment, they’ll refund the kit price and any money you prepaid on your aligners. If you are a candidate, though, you’ll pay the kit price regardless of whether or not you decide to get treatment.
Beyond that though, once you purchase your AligernCo aligners, you’ll only receive a refund if there are manufacturing defects with your trays.
Like other in-office treatment options, Candid doesn’t have refunds or overarching guarantees about the results of your treatment. All of those policies are determined by the dentist administering your care.
For the most part, teeth are pretty obedient during clear aligner treatment. However, sometimes they can be a little stubborn, which may lead to you needing more aligners. These extra aligners are called refinements, and every provider approaches this process a little differently.
If you reach the end of your AlignerCo treatment and you’re not satisfied with your results, you should contact their support team. Provided you’ve followed all the requirements of your treatment, you can request a refinement for $200. It’s never fun to fork over extra cash, but even with this potential added expense, AlignerCo is still the most affordable provider out there.
Candid treatment doesn’t have a company wide refinement policy, that will be determined by your Candid partnered dentist. However, it’s comforting to know that if you did need refinements, you’d have your Candid dentist to return to; which could simplify the process.
Which is the Best Clear Aligner for You?
When it all comes down to it, AlignerCo and Candid are both good options. They’re two of our top three favorite services. But at the end of the day, you can only pick one.
If you want our honest opinion, we prefer Candid. Sure, AlignerCo’s low price tag makes treatment much more approachable. That’s why they’re our #3 pick! But in our opinion, it’s hard to argue with the ‘best of both worlds’ hybrid treatment offered by Candid. From the oversight of a local dentist, to the sophisticated CandidMonitoring system, we think Candid could be worth considering for many of our readers. In terms of overall rankings, Candid wins our #2 pick.
- Choose AlignerCo if: Saving your money is an absolute priority. AlignerCo has the best prices in the entire industry.
- Choose Candid if: You want a high-quality treatment that balances convenience with robust oversight.
Final Verdict | Candid Wins!
Our opinion? Candid’s CandidMonitoring and excellent patient support make them an attractive option for almost any adult seeking straighter teeth.
That said, clear aligner treatment is a big purchase, and we understand if you still want to weigh your options. If you’re interested in remote orthodontic care, be sure to compare all the top-rated providers before making a decision.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does either home aligner provider offer discounts?
AlignerCo always has a referral discount for $100 off their aligners (provided you know someone with or can find a code). Since Candid operates a bit differently than 100% remote providers, with the dentists administering the Candid treatments setting their own pricing. This means that there aren’t any overarching deals for Candid, but some providers will have lower prices than others.
Are AlignerCo and Candid legit?
Your mom warned you about things that sound too good to be true, right? Thankfully home aligner companies like AlignerCo and Candid aren’t. Though these providers approach treatment differently, we believe you’d be in good hands with either one. AlignerCo is able to offer competitive pricing since they’re a 100% remote treatment option. Whereas Candid costs more than fully at-home options, but usually less than Invisalign and braces.
Which home aligner is more customer-focused?
We have to give Candid the win for patient focus. With their hybrid treatment option, not only do you begin treatment with an in-depth dentist consultation, but you have both your dentist and the Candid team overseeing your treatment from start to finish via CandidMonitoring. That kind of two-fold support makes Candid a great option for someone seeking clear aligner treatment with superior oversight and support.
How exactly do at-home clear aligners work?
They’re nearly invisible, but they’re not magical. Technically speaking, at-home clear aligners use roughly the same technology that Invisalign uses. This starts with your impressions or scans, which a dental professional will use to design a series of clear trays that gently move your teeth to their final destination.
How do AlignerCo and Candid compare to Invisalign?
They’re distant cousins, really. Invisalign pioneered the clear aligner alternative to traditional braces. However, Invisalign adds one aspect to the aligners: devices affixed to your teeth that help secure them. These devices have to be attached in-office by a qualified orthodontist. Candid and AlignerCo don’t use attachments, which restricts the conditions they can treat. Candid’s hybrid treatment option is somewhere in between Invisalign and AlignerCo.
How do these home aligners compare to Byte and Smile Direct?
AlignerCo is pretty similar to both Byte and Smile Direct. Smile Direct is the industry’s powerhouse (they started business in 2014) with a ton of experience. Byte boasts the shortest treatment lengths in the entire industry (their average treatment is just 4 months). Candid is a little bit different, since it is a hybrid form that combines at-home and in-office treatments.
Is there an age requirement for using either AlignerCo or Candid?
AlignerCo and Candid both recommend that you have all permanent teeth present before you begin treatment (you don’t want to dump thousands into teeth that will merely fall out, anyway). AlignerCo will treat anyone 14 and up. Candid will treat teens from ages 13 to 17, but the actual process for treatment looks slightly different for teens than for adults (they call the program Candid Teen).
Does either service provide free whitening treatment?
To keep their prices and costs low, AlignerCo doesn’t offer any free whitening. You can buy their whitening kit separately for $49.99. Candid, however, offers whitening foam that you can use in conjunction with your aligners. The first bottle is free, but each additional one is $25.
Can I use AlignerCo and Candid if I live outside the USA?
Candid doesn’t currently operate internationally. AlignerCo isn’t technically available internationally; that said, their sister company—SmilePath—is available in Australia, and their other sister company—Straight My Teeth—is available in the UK.
Do AlignerCo and Candid have aggressive upsells?
Thankfully, no. Candid “baits you in” (mildly) by giving you one set of their whitening treatment for free. But since there’s no obligation to buy a replacement kit once yours runs out, it’s not a true upsell.
How do I know if at-home aligners are right for me?
Many people are good candidates for at-home treatment. In general, the only people who should automatically steer clear of at-home aligners are people with significant bite issues. If underbite, overbite, crossbite, etc. is the cause of your misalignment, then clear aligners may not be able to permanently correct your issue.
Individuals with implants may still be able to get treatment. To know for sure, you’ll need to complete an impression kit with AlignerCo, or schedule an in-person dental consultation with Candid. They’ll let you know for sure if you are a candidate or not. If you are not a candidate, AlignerCo will give you a refund for the price of the impression kit.
Will either of these home aligners make me talk less funny?
Once they’re in your mouth, Candid’s and AlignerCo’s aligners are very similar. Most people take a few days to adjust to the feeling of aligners—after all, there’s a foreign object in your mouth—but very few experience long-lasting issues. The average observer can’t detect that you’re wearing aligners, even while talking.
If I lose my aligners during or after treatment, do I have to pay for new ones?
If you lose an aligner, reach out to your provider right away. Neither AlignerCo or Candid will replace a lost or broken aligner. They’ll likely advise you to move on to the next alignr in your treatment plan.
Can I drink coffee when using AlignerCo or Candid?
You can, but you shouldn’t. Aligners from AlignerCo and Candid are fairly stain-resistant, but you should generally avoid eating or drinking colored liquids and foods while wearing your aligners. Water is a safe bet, though—just make sure it isn’t hot, as this could warp the plastic.
Are there any hidden costs?
Candid and AlignerCo don’t really have any hidden costs. With either company, however, you’ll need to purchase new post-treatment retainers occasionally. They do wear out over time.