A million dollar smile is great and all, but what about getting one as an adult?
No one past their teen years wants to deal with the “brace face” life (or relive it if the effects of their braces have worn off).
Thankfully, home teeth aligners make it possible to straighten your teeth from the convenience of your house. No braces, no wires, no office visits.
These clear aligners have become a popular alternative to braces. Why? They’re much cheaper than braces and Invisalign. They’re also much more convenient.
There are a few popular home teeth aligner companies on the market today, including Byte and SmilePath. In this comparison review, we’ll help you decide which of these two services is the better option for your unique circumstances.
The Rundown: How Byte and SmilePath Stack Up
Home teeth alignment is a fairly new industry. Even so, it’s important to consider each company’s respective track record.
SmilePath and Byte are both relatively new companies in the grand scheme of things. But technically speaking, remote aligner treatment is a pretty new concept. In our opinion, both companies have established a pretty impressive reputation in the short time they’ve been in business.
Byte’s main focus is delivering short treatment lengths, while SmilePath prides itself on having the lowest cost aligner treatment in the industry.
Let’s see how these two providers compare:
|Claim to fame||Shortest treatment lengths in the industry||Most affordable treatment in the industry|
|No food restrictions?||✓||✓|
|No office visits?||✓||✓|
|Personalized customer service?||✓|
|Price Tag?||All-day treatment: $2,749 |
|All-day treatment: $1,899 |
|Financing Available?||100% approval for in-house financing, BytePay||Both treatment plans have two financing options; one that requires a credit check, and one that requires a downpayment|
|Treatment Length?||All-day treatment: 4 months |
At-Night: 5 months
|All-day treatment: 4-6 months |
NightOnly treatment: 6-8 months
|Start-Up Process?||At-home impression kit||At-home impression kit|
Intrigued? That’s just the flyby! Let’s dig into the differences between SmilePath and Byte in more detail.
At first glance, all clear aligners might look identical to you. Which makes sense; there’s plenty of similarities from provider to provider (all are made with medical grade, BPA free plastic, for example). Aside from their core similarities, there are a few differences worth noting too.
There are two main ways to trim an aligner: straight across, or scalloped to match the gumline. There are pros and cons to each approach. The straight cut overlaps with the gums, so it’s a little more noticeable; but can exert more force. The scalloped cut has a lower profile, but isn’t as powerful.
Some providers make their aligners from ultra clear, shiny plastic. Others use plastic that has a slightly frosted appearance. Most people assume that the clearer the plastic, the more invisible the aligner. But in the clear aligner world, that logic doesn’t hold up. Since our teeth have a porous surface, a frosted, matte aligner actually better blends in with our natural smiles.
Let’s take a closer look at the ways Byte and SmilePath have designed their clear aligners:
|Materials||BPA free, PETG plastic (basically a modified, more affordable polyurethane) |
At-Night aligners are made of a thicker, more durable plastic than their all-day aligners
|Medical grade, BPA free plastic|
|Aligner Cut||Straight cut||Scalloped|
|Aligner Transparency||Clear, shiny plastic||Clear, shiny plastic|
Both Byte and SmilePath partner with reputable dental suppliers to manufacture their aligners. This gives us a great deal of confidence in the quality and consistency of their products.
We appreciate that Byte uses a more durable plastic for their At-Night aligners than their all-day option. Nighttime only treatment requires fewer hours of daily wear, which gives your teeth a larger window to shift each day. Thicker, more durable nighttime only aligners can help make up for some of that lost time. Plus, this stronger tray is better equipped to withstand overnight teeth grinding.
Byte prioritizes effectiveness every step of the way of their treatment, so it’s no surprise they trim their aligners straight across. SmilePath opts for discretion, and uses the scalloped cut. It’s a tradeoff either way, but we prefer the straight cut because of its effectiveness.
Both Byte and SmilePath use clear, shiny plastic for their aligner trays. This won’t have as natural of a look as a frosted aligner, but don’t forget that appearance is subjective. Plenty of customers like having an added shine in their smiles. The only thing you need to worry about is finding the aligner that works for you.
These treatments occur remotely, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be left high and dry once your aligners arrive. Instead of the in-person appointments required by braces or Invisalign, at-home clear aligner providers keep an eye on your progress through photos you submit throughout your treatment. The frequency and sophistication vary from provider to provider, though, so let’s take a look at how Byte and SmilePath approach your remote oversight:
|Frequency of check-ins||Every 3-4 weeks||Every 10-14 days|
|Photos sent via||Patient portal|
|Treatment Length||All-day treatment: 4 months |
At-Night treatment: 5 months
|All-day treatment: 4-6 months |
NightOnly treatment: 6-8 months
|Customer Support||Available via phone, email and social media||Available phone, email, and webchat; 7 days a week|
If you aren’t confident in your ability to adequately capture your treatment progres—don’t worry; Byte and SmilePath include a cheek retractor in your treatment bundle. This handy tool helps scoot your cheeks aside so you can snap quality photos of your smile. From there, simply upload those photos to your Byte patient portal, or email them to SmilePath.
SmilePath gets their eyes on your treatment progress more frequently than Byte, but frequency isn’t everything. Byte’s patient portal is a streamlined approach to treatment oversight, especially when compared to SmilePath. In your Byte patient portal you’ll be able to track your treatment progress and see all your photos and information organized in one place. SmilePath’s email system can be a tad more chaotic.
Byte wraps up treatment faster than any other at-home clear aligner provider. Byte’s short treatment lengths are largely thanks to their HyperByte system. This device uses tiny, rapid vibrations to help move your teeth to their final destination faster than usual. The HyperByte is a staple to both daytime and nighttime treatment, cutting treatment by as much as 50%. It also helps reduce discomfort, so using it is a win-win.
SmilePath’s advertised treatment lengths are at odds with the treatment lengths we see customers report in third party reviews. This feedback is consistent across all of SmilePath’s sister companies, too. You may finish within their given timeframe, but we recommend taking those projections with a grain of salt.
If you need anything outside of your regular photo check-ins, you can reach out to customer support.
Thanks to dedicated personal representatives, Byte truly shines in the customer service department. If you’re in a rush, call them—in our experience, that’s the speediest way to get a response.
Thanks to their small customer base, SmilePath can offer excellent support to each customer. Customers frequently thank their support reps by name.
As friendly as the support teams are at Byte and SmilePath, we hope you won’t need to contact them much. We’d prefer your treatment go off without a hitch. But if a hiccup ever occurs, or if you’d just like to ask a question about your treatment, your smile is in good hands with both companies.
Bang For Your Buck
One of the main draws to remote treatment is the comparative affordability to traditional options like braces and Invisalign. But when it’s all said and done, how much will you actually end up spending on at-home treatments? In this section, we’ll dig into the nitty gritty pricing details for Byte and SmilePath.
|Startup Costs||$95 impression kit||$75 impression kit|
|Aligner Kit||All-day treatment: $2,749 |
|All-day treatment: $1,899 |
|Add-Ons||Byte Protection Plan: all-day coverage, $899, At-Night coverage $999 |
Whitening: first bottle free, then $49/bottle or $39/bottle when you buy a pack of 6
|Financing||All-day: $53/fortnight for 24 months (plus account fees) |
At-Night: $66/fortnight for 24 months (plus account fees)
|Both treatment plans have two financing options; one that requires a credit check; and one that requires a downpayment|
|Post-Treatment||First set of retainers is free, then $189/set afterwards||First set of aftercare retainers are free; then you can purchase them in bulk ($512 for 8 sets)|
With any home aligner company, you’ll kick off your treatment by taking impressions of your teeth. Most companies require you to use an at-home impression kit. Some competitors offer retail locations where you can have a 3D scan taken of your teeth. Most customers find that scans are a lot easier. But with both Byte and SmilePath, an impression kit is your only option.
Byte’s kit includes everything you need to take your impressions at home, including trays, putty, and, of course, a prepaid shipping label. If $95 gives you sticker shock, keep in mind that Byte sometimes runs sales on the kit. For example, as we’re writing this guide, Byte is running a sale for $47.50 off the kit.
Like Byte, SmilePath includes everything you’ll need to kick off your treatment: putty, trays, a prepaid shipping label, and of course, detailed instructions. The $75 price tag isn’t too bad, but if you decide to pay for all of your treatment up front, SmilePath will throw in the kit at no extra charge. So in a sense, you get the impression kit for free if you pay up front.
Once you complete your impressions or scans, Byte or SmilePath will create your personalized treatment plan. This includes all of the aligners you’ll need to shift your smile from meh to wow.
Byte creates a nice blend of value and affordability with their kit. You’ll get everything you need to straighten your teeth and keep them that way, including the HyperByte device and one set of post-treatment retainers. Bought separately, the HyperByte costs a whopping $999, so you get a lot of value for your money.
SmilePath has the most affordable treatment price in the industry. And as a nice plus, nighttime treatment only costs $100 more. Even with their low prices, SmilePath still manages to include a free set of aftercare retainers in your treatment bundle.
Can’t pay all at once? Thankfully, both services offer financing.
BytePay automatically approves every customer for financing. When you select BytePay at checkout, you’ll agree to a $40 account set-up fee and an $8 monthly account maintenance fee. Then, you’ll pay thirty monthly payments of $118. If you opt for Byte At-Night, that monthly payment jumps up to $143.
With SmilePath, each treatment option has two different financing plans: one that requires a credit check, and one that requires a downpayment.
For all-day treatment (pending a credit check), you’ll make 18 monthly payments of $117. Alternatively, you can make a $499 downpayment followed by 6 monthly payments of $300. NightOnly pricing is similar, the payments are just a bit higher. For NightOnly (pending a credit check), you can make 18 monthly payments of $122. Or you can make a downpayment of $555, followed by 6 monthly payments of $316.
Your first bottle of BrightByte is included in your aligner kit for free. It’s safe to use during your treatment; in fact, it doubles as a cleanser for your aligners and a breath freshener. If you run out, you can buy a replacement bottle for $49.
SmilePath doesn’t include free whitening in your aligner package, but you can purchase their whitening kit separately for $59.99.
With Byte, you have the option to enroll in the Byte Protection Plan. Here’s how it works: For $899 ($999 for At-Night treatment), Byte will replace any lost or broken aligners (a $2,000 value) for free during your treatment. Plus, you’ll get 5 years’ worth of retainers at no extra charge (a $1,521 value). In our opinion, it’s a great way to protect your smile in both the short and long term.
All told, both Byte and SmilePath are very good values. It really depends on what your priorities are. If you want a super budget-friendly option, SmilePath is the clear choice. But if you’re willing to spend a bit extra for perks like whitening, free retainers, and the shortest treatment lengths available, then Byte is the way to go. They pack a lot of value into their kit.
When shopping for a clear aligner provider, there’s more to consider than just high quality and affordable pricing. You want to find a company that puts their customers first. After all, your smile is on the line here! It’s important to take a look at how each provider has treated their customers in the past, so you can get a sense of whether they’re the right fit for you.
For many shoppers, customer reviews can make or break purchase 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 Byte and SmilePath.
|Top loves||Excellent customer service; visible, quick results; fantastic lifetime guarantee||Small company feel; friendly support; extremely affordable; easy to complete the process|
|Top complaints||Mix-ups with reimbursements for private insurance; financing can add a significant amount to the cost||Frequent emails; sometimes photos get lost; written impression instructions can be tricky|
Technically, both Byte and SmilePath have a great online reputation. There are a few negative reviews here and there, but for the most part, they’re overwhelmingly positive.
That said, we have a slightly higher degree of confidence in Byte’s total score simply because they have a lot more reviews, especially on third-party websites. For example, SmilePath has 88 reviews on Trustpilot; Byte has over 3,200. That’s a big difference.
SmilePath certainly has an impressive reputation, but as other reviews join the pool, their overall score could change. Byte, however, has a score that’s unlikely to shift too much.
As with any purchase, there’s always the nagging question: what if it doesn’t work out? Byte and SmilePath both have very individualized approaches for guaranteeing your treatment.
Strictly speaking, Byte has only one refund policy: their impression kit. If you’re not a candidate for treatment, you’ll be refunded for the impression kit. However, Byte stands by their product with their “Byte for Life” guarantee.
This guarantee is essentially a lifetime warranty. If your teeth ever shift after treatment, even years down the road, Byte will send you new aligners to correct it.
SmilePath doesn’t have as fantastic of a guarantee as some of their competitors. But they do offer the industry standard guarantee on impressions. Same as Byte; if SmilePath determines you aren’t a good candidate for treatment, you’ll be refunded the cost of your impression kit (and anything you’ve already put towards your aligners).
What if I break an aligner?
If you break an aligner, reach out to your provider right away. They’ll consider where you are in your treatment plan to determine whether you need a replacement aligner or not.
If you’re enrolled in the Byte Protection Plan, then your replacement aligners will be free. Otherwise, you’ll pay $179 for an all-day aligner replacement, and $199 for At-Night replacements.
SmilePath doesn’t replace lost or broken aligners, so they usually advise their customers to move onto the next aligner in their treatment plan.
If you reach the end of your original treatment plan but your teeth still need a bit of alignment, then you’ll need refinements (extra aligners). Each provider approaches the refinement process a little differently.
If you reach the end of your Byte treatment and you’re not satisfied, you can request a re-evaluation. As long as you follow your prescribed treatment plan, Byte will send you refinements for free to achieve the smile you’re after.
If you reach the end of your SmilePath treatment and you’re not pleased with your results, SmilePath will give you an adjustment and send new aligners your way. However, they do charge a fee for their refinements: $270. It’s never fun to spend extra money, but we think that SmilePath’s low price tag helps soften the blow of this potential extra expense.
Let’s face it—teeth alignment is never going to be a totally painless experience. That just comes with the territory; even traditional treatments like braces and Invisalign have their fair share of aches and pains.
Soreness will typically be at its peak when you switch to a new set of aligners, since these will have a snugger fit than the previous set. Usually the discomfort dies down after the first few days, and switching to a new set of aligners at night can help you sleep through most of this adjustment period.
This is where Byte’s proprietary HyperByte device swoops in to save the day. With daily use, the HyperByte can help loosen your tooth’s ligaments, leading to faster tooth shifts. This helps your aligners fit better, sooner. In fact, Byte’s third party reviews are full of customers crediting their relatively pain-free aligner experience to the HyperByte device.
Which Is the Best Home Aligner for You?
When it all comes down to it, Byte and SmilePath are both good options. But at the end of the day, you can only pick one.
If you want our honest opinion, we prefer Byte, but SmilePath comes in at a close second. And depending on your needs, SmilePath might be a better fit. But on the whole, Byte earns our #1 pick of all home aligners.
Choose Byte if:
You want to perfect your smile ASAP with top-quality customer service. Byte has the shortest treatment lengths in the industry and offers personalized customer support.
Choose SmilePath if:
You want the most budget-friendly (but still effective and safe) treatment on the market without lots of extra bells and whistles.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does either home aligner kit offer discounts?
Technically, both services offer discounts. For example, while we’re writing this guide, Byte is running a sale for more than $100 off their aligners and impression kits. They also have a year-round discount for students, teachers, and military. Meanwhile, SmilePath is currently offering a whopping $450 discount off their aligner kit.
Are Byte and SmilePath legit?
Your mom warned you about things that sound too good to be true, right? Thankfully home aligner companies like Byte and SmilePath aren’t. These companies leverage a competitive product with competitive prices. But they don’t sacrifice quality to do it. How? They don’t have the overhead costs of a physical office like a traditional orthodontist’s office, so they can invest those savings in measures that ensure treatment quality.
Which home aligner is more customer-focused?
Byte is a bit more customer-centric than SmilePath in a couple of different ways. They assign a personal care assistant to each customer. That said, SmilePath does a really good job caring for their customers, so we have no real complaints.
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; a dental professional analyzes those impressions to design a series of clear trays that gently and gradually move your teeth to their final destination.
How do Byte and SmilePath 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 to secure the aligners. Those devices have to be attached in-office by a qualified orthodontist. Home aligners don’t use those, allowing you to complete your entire treatment at home.
How do these home aligners compare to Smile Direct, EZ Smile, and WonderSmile?
SmilePath and Byte are pretty similar to these companies, but each competitor has its own perks. Smile Direct has the biggest customer base (especially stateside). EZ Smile is a touch more expensive than SmilePath, but they offer a ton of different financing options to fit any budget. Last but not least, WonderSmile offers single-arch treatment to qualifying customers.
Is there an age requirement for using either Byte or SmilePath?
With both Byte and SmilePath, you must have all permanent teeth present to begin treatment (you don’t want to dump thousands into teeth that will just fall out, anyway). Byte requires patients to be 12 years or older; SmilePath bumps that age requirement up to 14. That said, minors must get parental consent prior to getting treatment.
Does either service give free whitening treatment?
Byte includes one free bottle of their whitening treatment with your aligners, and you can use it simultaneously with the aligner treatment. A replacement bottle will cost you $49. SmilePath doesn’t include any free whitening in your aligner package, but you can buy their whitening kit for $59.99.
Do Byte and SmilePath have aggressive upsells?
Thankfully, no. Byte gives you a mild one by giving you one set of their whitening treatment for free. But since there’s no obligation to buy a replacement bottle 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 a condition like overbite or underbite is the cause of your teeth’s misalignment, then clear aligners likely won’t 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 take an impression kit with either service. They’ll let you know for sure if you are a candidate or not. If you are not a candidate, you’ll get a refund for the price of the impression kit.
Will either of these home aligners make me talk funny?
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. If you are enrolled in the Byte Protection Plan, any aligner replacements you need will be free. Otherwise, an all-day aligner can be replaced for $179, and an At-Night aligner can be replaced for $199. Be sure to wear your previous aligner until a replacement arrives to keep your teeth from shifting too far back. SmilePath doesn’t replace aligners, so they are likely to advise you to move on to the next aligner in your treatment plan.
Can I drink coffee when using Byte or SmilePath?
You can, but you shouldn’t. Aligners from Byte and SmilePath 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.
Are there any hidden costs?
Byte and SmilePath don’t really have any hidden costs since you get your first set of post-treatment retainers for free. Ideally, you should get new retainers every 6 months. Byte’s cost $189, and SmilePath’s sells theirs in bulk ($512 for 8 sets).