20 years ago, Invisalign aligners became the superhero of modern orthodontics. They rescued adults everywhere from the unsightly wires & brackets of traditional braces, replacing them with smooth, clear plastic aligners.
Invisalign may be the oldest and most well-known clear aligner option, but they don’t have a monopoly on the Australian market. Now they have lots of competitors, including at-home clear aligner companies. Byte is just one of those competitors. And honestly, they’re our favorite home aligner.
But how do these competitors—Invisalign and Byte—compare? That’s the question we’re here to answer.
In this review, we’ll put Byte and Invisalign side by side to see how they stack up in terms of cost, treatment speed, customer friendliness, and more. By the time we’re finished, you’ll have a much clearer image of which company better lines up with your needs!
3 Things They Have in Common
Invisalign and Byte are two very different companies, but they do have similar products. It comes as no surprise, then, that they have a few things in common:
1) Discreet: Both Invisalign and Byte are far less noticeable than braces. Trade wires and brackets for clear aligners and that’s bound to happen. Some people find that they ‘lisp’ a little bit when they first start wearing the aligners, but most people adjust pretty quickly. Most users find that other people rarely (if ever) spot their aligners.
2) Safe: We’re talking about the future of your smile here, so safety is crucial. But rest assured, both Invisalign and Byte are safe ways to straighten your teeth. Both companies use similar technologies and although Invisalign has a few add-ons that Byte doesn’t, the basic principle of both is the same. Both companies use safe, BPA-free plastic in their aligners and dental professionals to design your treatment.
3) Convenient: If you ever talk to a friend who had braces back in the day, you’ll probably hear horror stories about avoiding popcorn or gum, the pains of dislodging food from the wires, and other hassles. Clear aligners take these hassles down several notches. You’ll have to remove your aligners every time you eat or drink (excluding water), but you’ll get to eat all of your favorite foods. And cleaning your teeth is just as simple as ever, too. Just pop out your aligners to brush and floss, then reinsert them.
5 Ways They Differ
This wouldn’t be a comparison review if these two companies didn’t have a few differences, now, would it? Here are a few key differences between Byte and Invisalign:
1) Who can get treatment: One of the biggest differences between Invisalign and Byte is who can receive treatment. Byte can treat only mild to moderate cases of crowding and spacing. More extensive cases—like those caused by an overbite, underbite, or misshapen jaw—need to be monitored in-person by an orthodontist. Invisalign, however, can handle the full gamut of cases, from mild to severe.
2) Cost: There is no one-size-fits-all price tag for Invisalign. That’s because your price depends on your orthodontist’s personal fees and the severity of your case. The more severe your case, the more it will cost. On average, Invisalign costs somewhere between $6,000 and $9,000 (but that range varies depending on your case). With Byte, though, there are very few overhead costs, so your treatment will be much more affordable: $2,749 (or $3,399 for nighttime treatment).
3) Treatment Time: The average treatment time with Invisalign ranges between 12 to 18 months, although sometimes the toughest cases can take as much as 24 months! Byte is much faster, with their fastest times clocking in at 3-4 months for daytime treatment. They also have nighttime treatment, which usually lasts 5-6 months. These speedy times make Byte the fastest option on the market.
4) One-on-one care: The biggest disadvantage of at-home aligner companies like Byte is that you don’t actually meet in-person with an orthodontist. That can make it tough to individualize your treatment. But with Invisalign, you’ll have direct, in-person care from your orthodontist each time you visit the office.
5) Financing: Both Byte and Invisalign offer financing. Every Byte customer is eligible for a payment plan (regardless of credit score). After a down payment of $249, you’ll pay $114 per month for 24 months (financing for nighttime treatment is a bit pricier). Invisalign’s financing is a bit different. You may be able to get a customized plan directly from your dental provider.
Why are Invisalign and Byte so different, anyway?
On the surface, Byte and Invisalign seem exactly the same: they both treat tooth misalignments invisibly, and they do it fast. But when you dig into it, you realize that there are lots of differences. And all those differences boil down to one core distinction: Byte is an at-home treatment method, and Invisalign is an in-office treatment.
As part of your Invisalign treatment, you’ll need to visit your dentist or orthodontist every few weeks so they can evaluate your progress, add attachments, and make timeline adjustments if necessary.
And while this helps ensure effective, safe treatment, it also makes Invisalign less affordable and convenient. Office visits are the primary reason in-office treatments are more expensive. Your dentist’s time, equipment and resources aren’t free, after all. Plus, fitting regular appointments into your busy schedule (and potentially taking time off work) isn’t ideal. The fully-remote service you’ll get from at-home treatments is much more convenient, and without office visit costs, much cheaper too.
With that distinction in mind, let’s check out the other differences between Byte and Invisalign.
Company Track Records
To say that Invisalign is the biggest clear aligner company is an understatement. They got their start in 1997 thanks to Align Technology, a dental supply manufacturer. For roughly a decade, they had a complete monopoly on the clear aligner scene. Even though at-home aligner companies have since popped up, Invisalign is still a (nearly) household name. They partner with dentists around the world (more than 100,000 of them!), and as a result, they’ve served more than 8 million customers.
In terms of treatment, what really stands out about Invisalign is the wide variety of cases they can treat. Thanks to their patented SmartForce attachments, elastics, and their SmartTrack plastic, they can treat just about any case of misalignment, overbite, underbite—just about anything.
By comparison, Byte is much newer. Plus, they’re a newcomer on the Australian clear aligner scene (they got their start in the U.S. in 2018). They were the brainchild of Dr. Marashi, who perfected smiles of some of the best and brightest in Hollywood. He wanted to bring his celebrity-level treatment to the masses, so he partnered with some fellow smile pros and got to work.
Byte wants to make you feel like an A-lister with their Smile Science. Instead of giving you a cookie-cutter smile, Byte develops a treatment plan that will straighten your smile in the way that best complements your unique facial features. They also have the fastest treatment time of any at-home aligner company and an excellent lifetime guarantee on your treatment. So while they may be the “new kid on the block,” Byte is set to make some big waves in the orthodontics industry.
With both Byte and Invisalign, you’ll get access to a top-notch dental treatment team, and you’ll achieve the smile of your dreams before you know it. But exactly how you reach that dream smile will vary depending on which treatment you use.
With Invisalign, you’ll go to your orthodontist’s office for regular appointments—from step one to your post-treatment retainers. If needed, your orthodontist will add on any attachments. If anything seems off during one of your appointments, your treatment provider will adjust your plan on the fly. It’s the best way to get individualized, prompt care.
Byte works a bit differently. You won’t have any in-person appointments with your orthodontist. In fact, the entirety of your treatment occurs remotely. You’ll take impressions on your own and send them back to Byte.
After your impressions are done, Byte designs a treatment plan for you. If you approve it, they manufacture your aligners and ship them to you. Then the ball’s in your court. It’s up to you to wear your aligners as prescribed. You won’t have any regular check-ins with an orthodontist.
With either Invisalign or Byte, you’ll get top-notch treatment. But if you’re hoping for more orthodontist involvement, you should opt for Invisalign.
No two smiles are created equal, so no two smiles get treated equally. That means that your treatment prognosis will be quite different from someone else’s. How long you’ll wear your aligners will largely depend on your condition’s severity and complexity. Then, of course, there’s your own wear schedule to think about; if you follow your treatment to a ‘T,’ you’ll finish faster than if you were to wear your aligners inconsistently.
That said, each company has its own speed factor. Here are the average treatment times for Invisalign and Byte:
- Invisalign: 12 to 18 months on average
- Byte: 3-4 months for daytime treatment, 5-6 months for nighttime
Why the discrepancy in treatment times? It’s partly due to the fact that Invisalign usually handles tougher cases (which naturally take longer).
Byte handles only mild to moderate cases, which take less time. And thanks to their HyperByte system, Byte is the fastest method on the market whether you choose the daytime or nighttime option. Normally, nighttime treatment takes twice as long as daytime treatment; that makes sense, since you wear your aligners for 10 hours per night as opposed to the usual 22+. But with Byte, nighttime treatment is still speedy.
All in all, for most cases, Byte is faster than Invisalign. Considerably so.
Pricing & Features
A million-dollar smile is exciting, but it shouldn’t cost you a million bucks. The overall price tag of each service matters, and it’s also important to consider what your money gets you. Every treatment option comes with a few basic costs: the cost of treatment itself, and the cost for post-treatment retainers. We’ll cover those here.
Treatment start-up costs
- Invisalign, price varies: To kick off your Invisalign treatment, you’ll need to have an initial consultation with your dentist or orthodontist of choice. The cost of this consultation largely depends on your individual provider. Some orthodontists may do it for free, and others will charge a nominal fee. It’s up to them.
- Byte, $95: With Byte, you’ll need to purchase and complete an impression kit so your orthodontist can design your treatment plan. The kit includes putty, trays, a smile stretcher, and everything else you’ll need to complete impressions at home. They’ll even coach you through the process over video chat, if you’d like. The sticker price for this kit is $95, but Byte will frequently run sales that cut the cost. For example, while we’re writing this, Byte is running a sale for a kit priced at $47.50.
- Invisalign, $6,000-$9,000 (average): The actual cost of Invisalign largely depends on your dentist’s or orthodontist’s fees and how much treatment you need to perfect your smile. Your orthodontist or dentist will give you a full quote before you start treatment.
- Byte, $2,749 ($3,399 for nighttime treatment): Once you agree to treatment, Byte will send you your full aligner kit, from Step 1 to your last aligner. They also throw in the HyperByte system (retails for $999) and a bottle of BrightByte, their whitening system. It also doubles as a breath freshener and a cleanser for your aligners.
- Invisalign, price varies: Like everything else with Invisalign, your cost for post-treatment retainers will largely depend on what your orthodontist or dentist charges. Ask before you begin treatment so you can plan for any future expenses.
- Byte, FREE: Byte includes your first set of post-treatment retainers for free with the purchase of your aligner kit. That’s a big plus, since you’ll need it to keep your newly-perfected smile in position for a lifetime. However, the retainers don’t last forever. Whenever you need a replacement (Byte recommends every six months), you can pick up another for $169.
Invisalign is worth the expense, but we won’t deny that it can put a pretty big dent in your wallet. Byte, however, costs less than $3,000 start to finish, making it a great option for penny-pinchers and smart shoppers alike.
No one wants to have issues with their treatment. But sometimes, life happens. An aligner could break or get lost, payment information could change – you get the idea. When life happens, you’ll need to get in contact with customer support.
There isn’t an overarching “customer support” method for Invisalign. Instead, you’ll contact your chosen dentist or orthodontist whenever you have questions about your treatment, payment, lost aligners, and so on. He or she knows the ins and outs of your case, so if you need to get a repair, replacement, or treatment modification, your local provider is the best way to get it.
Byte, on the other hand, is completely remote. If anything goes wrong, you can contact them via email, phone, text, webchat, or even social media. Their customer support team availability is top notch, too (but during regular business hours is your best bet for efficient responses). If you contact them through social media, you should get a response within 24 hours. The more ‘traditional’ channels are usually a touch faster; a phone call, for example, will get you an almost immediate response.
One thing we really like about Byte is the fact that they assign a ‘Byte advisor’ to each customer. This advisor becomes your personal customer service rep, so any time you have a question or concern, you’ll talk directly with a person who’s already intimately familiar with your case.
In general, we think that the personal, one-one-one care you get from your personal dentist or orthodontist provides better support than remote treatment. That said, Byte replicates this personal touch with their individually-assigned Byte advisors.
Ease of Getting Started
Like we alluded to earlier, there are different ways to kick off your Invisalign or Byte treatment.
With Invisalign, the ‘trickiest’ part of starting your treatment is finding your nearest Invisalign provider and booking a consultation. There’s a good chance your local dentist provides it (or, at the very least, they can refer you). After that, the provider will handle all the technical aspects of taking scans, x-rays, and molds of your teeth at your appointment. You just have to show up, answer questions, and, of course, keep your mouth open when asked.
With Byte, the start-up process is a tad more complicated. From the start to finish of your treatment, you never actually step foot in an office. But their orthodontists still need images and molds of your teeth to design an individualized treatment plan. That’s why you’ll need to buy an impression kit from Byte for $95 (or less during sales).
Once your kit arrives, you’ll use the included trays and putty to take molds of your teeth. Then, using the smile stretcher, you’ll take a few pictures so your orthodontist can get a good look at how your smile compares to your facial features and how your teeth look from different angles. After you send back the impressions (using a prepaid shipping label) and your photos, Byte can begin to develop your treatment plan.
Some customers struggle to take good impressions, regardless of which at-home aligner company they use. Invisalign definitely takes a win in this category since your dentist or orthodontist will handle the difficult parts. Byte does their best to ease the process, though; you can schedule a video chat to have one of their care assistants coach you through the steps.
In the age of Amazon and other Internet retailers, online shopping is pretty common. But savvy shoppers are careful to read online reviews before clicking “Buy.” This is especially important for Byte, which you can only purchase online. Your orthodontist can give a professional opinion on Invisalign, but it is still nice to hear the opinions of others who’ve used the system.
Here’s a quick glimpse into the online reviews for Byte:
- Top loves: Easy to use the impression kit and aligners, noticeable results within a matter of weeks, fantastic lifetime guarantee, excellent customer service
- Top complaints: Mix-ups can occur with insurance reimbursements (not covered by medicare, but some people with additional orthodontic benefits can get help with the cost); monthly financing adds a substantial amount to the treatment cost
Customers are generally positive about their Byte’s products, treatment, and results. We tallied up Byte’s total average score for a total of 4.7/5 stars.
It’s a bit harder to tally up a score for Invisalign. There are precious few customer reviews online because treatment is provided through independent dental offices. It’s easiest to get a full review (beyond what we’ve included here) directly from your dentist or orthodontist. That said, their long-term reputation speaks pretty well to their quality and service.
Refund Policies & Satisfaction Guarantees
No one wants a purchase to go wrong, and when it comes to your teeth, your satisfaction is critical.
With Invisalign, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be too dissatisfied with your treatment because your orthodontist or dentist will be able to make small adjustments throughout the process. If there are any issues, your dentist will spot them before they become major problems, keeping your treatment on track and ensuring your satisfaction.
That said, the exact warranty you’ll get will depend on your individual provider. Some will replace a SmartForce attachment for free, some will charge you for new aligners if you lose one, and others don’t have any sort of warranty policy. You’ll have to ask your orthodontist or dentist to know for sure.our satisfaction.
That said, the exact warranty you’ll get will depend on your individual provider. You’ll have to ask your orthodontist or dentist to know for sure.
The “Byte-for-Life Guarantee”
Byte doesn’t technically have a refund policy for their aligners. You can get your money back for the impression kit, but only if it turns out that you’re not a good candidate for treatment. Once you purchase the aligner kit, there’s no refund. 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, Byte will send you new aligners to correct it (provided you wear your retainers compliantly). Similarly, if you reach the end of your treatment and you’re not satisfied, you can request a re-evaluation. As long as you’ve followed your prescribed treatment plan, Byte will help make it right.
Which is the Best Clear Aligner for You?
Let’s be clear: Invisalign and Byte are both good options. However, what works for someone else may not be what’s best for you. Here are some general guidelines for who should choose Invisalign and who should opt for Byte:
Choose Byte If
You’re in a rush to see your perfect smile, but you don’t want to sacrifice quality. They’re also one of the few companies to offer nighttime treatment, so give them a look if you want to skip the 22-hour daytime wear schedule.
Choose Invisalign If
You need more extensive adjustments, bite corrections, or you just want the security of having a professional handle your treatment in person.
If you discover that your condition is too severe for home aligner treatment, or if you’re simply more comfortable with in-person care, Invisalign is a great option. But we think that Byte, our top-rated home aligner service, is a better overall value. If you’re still on the fence (or you’re looking for a more affordable option, check out SmilePath. They’re our #2 pick, and at $1,899, they have the most affordable treatment kit on the market.
In our opinion, Byte’s accelerated treatment times, lifetime guarantee, and superior convenience are just too good to pass up.
And even though they’re our #1-rated Australian home aligner company, they’re not the only one out there. If you like the idea of straightening your teeth from home, we encourage you to compare your options before making a final decision.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does either aligner kit offer discounts?
Invisalign doesn’t really offer discounts in the traditional sense. However, your individual provider may give you benefits or perks as part of your treatment. Byte occasionally offers discounts on their impression kits and their aligners, but they don’t often exceed $150-$200. They also have year-round discount programs for students, military, and first responders.
Which clear aligner is more customer-focused?
Technically speaking, Invisalign is more customer-focused. After all, you’ll work directly with an orthodontist or dentist, getting individualized attention along the way. However, Byte assigns an individual care assistant to each customer, so they do a good job of providing personalized care—even remotely.
How exactly does at-home teeth alignment work?
At-home aligner kits like the one from Byte borrow the technology Invisalign pioneered. When you send in your impressions, Byte uses those molds and advanced software to create an individualized treatment plan. That technology can predict exactly how your teeth will move when you switch to the next aligner in your kit. Using each new aligner as a step in the process, Byte gradually moves your teeth from their initial positions to their final destination.
Is there an age requirement for using either Invisalign or Byte?
Invisalign has treatments for all ages, even kids (with Invisalign First). Thousands of teens worldwide use it, too. Byte, on the other hand, only offers treatment for ages 12 and up. With either service, minors must have parental consent to receive treatment.
How do I know whether at-home or in-office treatment is right for me?
Unless your case is very severe, you’re probably a good candidate for at-home aligner treatment through Byte. You can also take a preliminary assessment on Byte’s website. If you purchase an impression kit and it turns out that you’re not a good candidate for treatment, Byte will refund you the cost of the kit.
Will either of these clear aligners make me talk funny?
Most clear aligner users find that their aligners are practically imperceptible to others, even during conversation. That said, some people find that they may speak with a slight lisp when they’re first adjusting to their aligners. After a couple of days, this feeling usually goes away.
If I lose my aligners during or after treatment, do I have to pay for new ones?
Byte will send you a replacement aligner for $129, and you’ll have to wear your most recent aligner to keep your teeth from shifting too far back until it arrives. Invisalign, however, depends on your individual provider. Your dentist or orthodontist should be your go-to if you lose an aligner. You’ll likely need to pay for a new one, but how much depends on your provider’s policies.
Can I drink coffee when using Invisalign or Byte?
You can, but you shouldn’t. Aligners from Byte and Invisalign are fairly resilient, but coffee is good at creating stains. Drinking coffee with your aligners in—or any beverage besides water, for that matter—puts you at the risk of staining them.
Are there any hidden costs?
Neither Byte nor Invisalign has a whole lot of hidden costs. There will be costs if you lose an aligner, but that’s an added expense that you can prevent. One cost you might not be expecting is post-treatment retainers. Byte includes your first set for free, but with Invisalign you’ll have to purchase each set.
Are at-home aligners as effective as in-office treatments?
In most mild and moderate cases, yes. Thanks to the tested technologies used by remote treatment companies like Byte, your aligners will fit your teeth as snugly as they would with Invisalign. That said, there are exceptions. Some people’s teeth may not shift as quickly as predicted. Other people might not follow the prescribed treatment perfectly. These cases tend not to be as effective.
If you do choose an at-home aligner company, make sure you follow your treatment plan extra carefully. And on the off chance that something seems “off,” you should contact customer support right away. The sooner you correct a minor issue, the more effective your whole treatment process will be.
Which is easier: at-home or in-office aligner treatment?
Once you get past the impression kits, we think it’s a little easier to use at-home aligner treatments. That’s simply because you never have to schedule, remember, or travel to appointments; you’ll get an email or text notification that it’s time to move on to your next aligner instead. For many busy adults, it’s easier to complete all of the steps at home.
Can I still use Invisalign if I’m not a candidate for Byte?
In most cases, yes. Byte cannot treat some cases remotely because they require extensive orthodontic oversight. So if Byte’s orthodontists determine that they cannot correct your issue—for example, you need an added appliance to help shift your jaw—then you’ll be declined. Since Invisalign has orthodontist oversight, it’s usually a good option for people with tougher cases.
Why is Invisalign so much more expensive than Byte?
On the surface, the two companies seem pretty similar. After all, both help you straighten your teeth and get the smile of your dreams. But on average, Invisalign costs $3,250-$6,250 more than Byte. That cost discrepancy comes from a variety of factors. Byte has a one-size-fits-all pricing model. Mild to moderate cases pay the same amount. With Invisalign, it’s the opposite. The more severe your case, the more you’ll spend.
In addition, Invisalign is administered in-person by a dental provider. With that comes a host of overhead costs, from the orthodontist’s salary and his or her support staff’s pay to the electricity and rental fees for the office itself. The price tag you pay on your Invisalign treatment contributes to those overhead costs. Since Byte doesn’t have those costs, it’s considerably cheaper.