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 SmilePath and WonderSmile. In this comparison review, we’ll help you decide which of these two services is the better option for your unique circumstances.
Spoiler | SmilePath Wins!
Thanks to their industry lowest pricing and top-notch customer support, we have to hand this win to SmilePath!
The Rundown: How SmilePath and WonderSmile Stack Up
Both SmilePath and WonderSmile are pretty new, but so is the entire clear aligner industry. At first glance, you might think WonderSmile is better established thanks to their larger number of reviews. However, SmilePath has two other sister companies (AlignerCo and Straight My Teeth) that service the U.S. and the U.K., respectively, so their reach is a little broader than it may seem at first glance.
|Claim to fame||Most affordable treatment in the industry||Flexible treatment options, with both nighttime only and single arch treatment|
|No food restrictions?||✓||✓|
|No office visits?||✓||✓|
|Personalized customer service?|
|Price Tag?||All-day treatment: $1,899 |
|All-day treatment: $2,900 |
|Financing Available?||Both treatment plans have two financing options; one that requires a credit check; and one that requires a downpayment||Fee-free financing available pending a credit check|
|Treatment Length?||All-day treatment: 4-6 months |
NightOnly treatment: 6-8 months
|All-day treatment: 6 months |
NightClear: 9 months
|Start-Up Process?||At-home impression kit||At-home impression kit or an in-person scan|
Intrigued? That’s just the flyby! Let’s dig into the differences between WonderSmile and SmilePath in more detail.
At first glance all clear aligners look pretty much identical. However, there are some key differences in aligner design from company to company.
There are two main ways to trim an aligner: straight across, or scalloped to match the gumline. The straight cut overlaps with the gums, which allows it to exert more force. However, this overlap does make straight cut aligners more noticeable. Scalloped aligners are a bit more discreet, they’re just not quite as powerful.
Some providers make their aligners from ultra clear looking plastic, while others use plastic with a slightly frosted appearance. This might sound a little backwards, but highly transparent aligners are a little more noticeable than frosted aligners. This is because clear, shiny plastic catches the light in a different way than our teeth normally do. Teeth have a porous surface, so a frosted, matte aligner better blends in with our natural smile.
Let’s take a look at the aligner designs from SmilePath and WonderSmile:
|Materials||Medical grade, BPA free plastic||BPA free plastic; NightClear aligners are made from a stronger, more durable resin than all-day aligners|
|Aligner Cut||Scalloped||Straight cut|
|Aligner Transparency||Clear, shiny plastic||Clear, shiny plastic|
SmilePath’s aligners are made by RaintreeEssix, a reputable dental supplier that’s been making clear aligners since 2005.
We wish that WonderSmile would disclose who manufactures their aligners. This kind of transparency helps customers feel confident that the trays they’re wearing every day are top quality.
That said, we appreciate that WonderSmile makes their nighttime only aligners out of stronger, more durable plastic than their all-day wear option. Since nighttime only treatment allows teeth more time each day to shift out of their positions, a durable aligner can help make up for some of that lost time. Plus, durable aligners are a major plus if you’re someone who grinds their teeth at night.
SmilePath opts for a discreet look with their scalloped aligners, while WonderSmile prioritizes force with their straight cut trays. Both providers use clear, shiny plastic, so they’re on an equal playing field there.
One thing to keep in mind is that appearance is subjective; plenty of people like having some extra shine in their smiles. All you need to focus on is choosing the aligners that are the best fit for you.
These treatments happen remotely, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be left entirely to your own devices. Both SmilePath and WonderSmile keep an eye on your progress through photos you’ll submit throughout treatment. Though there are some basic similarities in their approaches for oversight, there are core differences we’ll highlight here too.
|Frequency of check-ins||Every 10-14 days||Month 1, 3, 6, and 12 of treatment|
|Photos sent via||WonderSmile app|
|Treatment Length||All-day treatment: 4-6 months |
NightOnly treatment: 6-8 months
|All-day treatment: 6 months |
NightClear: 9 months
|Customer Support||Available phone, email, and webchat; 7 days a week||Available 7 days a week via phone and email|
If you aren’t confident in your ability to snap clear images of your treatment progress, don’t panic—both providers include a cheek retractor in your aligner kit. This tool helps scoot your cheeks aside so that you can easily capture quality images of your smile. From there, just simply email them to SmilePath, or upload them through the WonderSmile app.
With check-ins every 10-14 days (everytime you change to a new aligner), SmilePath gets eyes on your treatment considerably more often than WonderSmile. However, we like that WonderSmile makes their check-in process simple with a streamlined app.
If you need anything outside of your regular photo check-ins, you’ll reach out to customer support.
Thanks to their small customer base, SmilePath can offer excellent support to each customer. Customers frequently thank their support reps by name in SmilePath’s third party reviews. There can be occasional delays, but overall they’re pretty on top of things—particularly via webchat.
Customer service is one of the categories where WonderSmile truly shines. Many of WonderSmile’s positive reviews mention the help they’d gotten from a WonderSmile rep.
SmilePath claims that their all-day treatment wraps up in 4-6 months, and that their NightOnly treatment takes between 6-8 months. However, judging by their reviews and the reviews of their sister companies (which use the exact same alignment system), treatment can take much longer than these projected timelines.
WonderSmile’s treatment lengths are right on the industry average; 6 months for all-day, 9 months for NightClear.
Overall, you’ll get more frequent treatment oversight with SmilePath. But frequency isn’t necessarily everything—we think you’d be in good hands with either provider.
Bang For Your Buck
One of the main draws to remote treatments is their relative affordability compared to traditional options like braces and Invisalign. But when it’s all said and done, how much will you actually wind up paying for at-home aligners? In this section, we’ll dig into the nitty gritty details about pricing for SmilePath and WonderSmile.
|Startup Costs||$75 impression kit||Free in-person scan or a $99 impression kit|
|Aligner Kit||All-day treatment: $1,899 |
|All-day treatment: $2,900 |
|Add-Ons||Whitening: $59.99||Whitening: $149|
|Financing||Both treatment plans have two financing options; one that requires a credit check, and one that requires a downpayment||All-day: 20% downpayment, then payments as low as $89/fortnight |
NightClear: 20% downpayment, then payments as low as $93/fortnight
|Post-Treatment||First set of aftercare retainers are free; then you can purchase them in bulk ($512 for 8 sets)||Aftercare retainers are $99/set|
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. However, a few companies, including WonderSmile, maintain retail locations that make the startup process more convenient.
SmilePath’s $75 impression kit includes everything you’ll need to kick off your treatment: putty, trays, a prepaid shipping label, and of course, detailed instructions. If you decide to pay for all of your treatment up front, SmilePath will throw in the kit at no extra charge.
WonderSmile offers a convenient alternative to the at-home impression kit—their in-person scans. WonderSmile has many locations, so if there’s one that’s convenient, you can book a free scan to start your treatment off hassle free. Otherwise you can opt for the at-home impression kit for $99. If you choose to buy aligners; WonderSmile will deduct the cost of your impression kit from your treatment bundle, so in a way this option is eventually free too.
Once you complete your impressions or scans, SmilePath or WonderSmile will create your personalized treatment plan. This includes all of the aligners you’ll need to shift your smile from meh to wow.
SmilePath has the most affordable treatment price in the industry. Even with their low prices, SmilePath still includes one set of aftercare retainers for free in your aligner bundle. Plus, they run frequent sales bringing their prices even lower, so keep your eyes out for that.
WonderSmile’s base price falls in the middle of the road; it’s not the cheapest, and it’s not the most expensive. They don’t throw in a ton of extras. Basically, you’ll get all of the aligners you need. The most notable price perk of WonderSmile is their single-arch treatment: qualifying customers who only need the top or bottom teeth treated will get $500 off their aligner kit. This isn’t an extremely common occurrence, but it’s worth noting for eligible customers.
Can’t pay all at once? Thankfully, both services offer financing.
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.
A big perk to WonderPay is that you won’t spend anything extra; you’ll just spread the cost out. First, you’ll need to pay a 20% downpayment. For example, for daytime treatment, that would be $580, and for NightClear that would be $594. After that, you’ll pay the remaining balance in fortnightly payments determined by a credit check.
All told, you can’t beat SmilePath’s prices. WonderSmile isn’t a bad price per se, but we think SmilePath offers a better value.
Most people know to look for high quality at a low cost, but when you’re choosing a clear aligner provider it’s also important to consider the way they treat their customers. After all, your smile is on the line—you want to make sure they take good care of their customers! Let’s take a look at what you can expect when you choose SmilePath and WonderSmile.
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 SmilePath and WonderSmile.
|Top loves:||Small company feel; friendly support; extremely affordable; easy to complete the process||Friendly customer service; minimal discomfort; simple adjustment process|
|Top complaints:||Frequent emails; sometimes photos get lost; written impression instructions can be tricky||Sometimes retainers break; mix-ups sometimes occur during account set-up|
Technically, both SmilePath and Wondersmile have a pretty solid online reputation, including on 3rd-party review sites. But we put a slightly higher degree of confidence in SmilePath’s score simply because they have a lot more reviews (especially since you can count their sister companies). But either option has a great reputation.
As with any purchase, there’s always the nagging question: what if it doesn’t work out? SmilePath and WonderSmile approach treatment guarantees pretty differently.
SmilePath falls a little short when it comes to their treatment guarantees. They really only offer the industry standard refund: if they determine you aren’t eligible for treatment, they’ll reimburse you for your impression kit (or anything you’d already put towards your aligners). Other than that, SmilePath doesn’t make any overarching guarantees about your treatment.
If your teeth shift out of alignment during your first year post-treatment, WonderSmile will send you aligners to correct this at no extra cost. To be eligible for this guarantee, you must wear your aligners and aftercare retainers compliantly. Additionally, this guarantee only applies to the teeth originally treated by WonderSmile. Implants, bridges, or similar dental procedures may void the guarantee.
What if I break an aligner?
Accidents happen—if you break an aligner during your treatment, reach out to your provider right away. They’ll advise you on next steps.
SmilePath doesn’t replace lost or broken aligners. Usually they advise you to move on to the next aligner in your aligner set.
If WonderSmile determines that you need a replacement, you can buy one for $50. While you wait for the replacement to arrive, wear your most recent set of aligners so your teeth don’t shift too much out of position.
If you reach the end of your treatment plan but your teeth still need a bit more movement, you’ll need refinements (extra aligners). Each provider approaches this process a little differently.
SmilePath offers refinements, but you’ll need to pay $270 for them. Though it’s never fun to dish out extra cash, we think that SmilePath’s already low price tag helps soften the blow of this potential expense.
WonderSmile offers refinements for free! As long as you followed treatment guidelines and sent photo updates when prompted, WonderSmile will cover the cost of your refinements.
Which Is the Best Home Aligner for You?
When it all comes down to it, SmilePath and WonderSmile are both good options. But at the end of the day, you can only pick one.
If you want our honest opinion, we prefer SmilePath. WonderSmile does a great job, but SmilePath is our second favorite pick overall. We just plain love their affordable treatment prices.
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.
Choose WonderSmile if:
You want an easy start-up process, or you think you might be a good candidate for single-arch treatment and you’d like to save $500.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does either home aligner kit offer discounts?
Technically, both services offer discounts. For example, while we’re writing this guide, SmilePath is running a sale for more than $400 off their aligners. Meanwhile, WonderSmile occasionally offers discounts for $100-$200 off their aligners, but you’ll need to subscribe to their email list. Note that none of these sales last forever, so if you find a good one, you’ll want to jump on it.
Are SmilePath and WonderSmile legit?
Your mom warned you about things that sound too good to be true, right? Thankfully home aligner companies like SmilePath and WonderSmile 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?
Honestly, neither company really stands out from the other since both do such a great job. The fact that customers frequently thank their support representatives by name tells us that both WonderSmile and SmilePath give individualized, friendly attention to each customer. You won’t feel like a mere face in the crowd.
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 SmilePath and WonderSmile 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 and EZ Smile and Byte?
WonderSmile and SmilePath are both pretty similar to other clear aligner companies on the market, but each competitor has its own perks. EZ Smile has the greatest payment flexibility by offering the most financing options on the market. Smile Direct has the biggest brand power. And last but not least, Byte has the shortest treatment lengths and one of the best lifetime guarantees in the industry.
Is there an age requirement for using either SmilePath or WonderSmile?
With both SmilePath and WonderSmile, 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). WonderSmile will treat ages 12 and up; SmilePath bumps that number up to 14. That said, minors must get parental consent prior to getting treatment.
Does either service give free whitening treatment?
Not at this time. WonderSmile and SmilePath both keep their aligner kits pretty simple. You can always purchase their respective whitening kits separately, though—SmilePath’s kit is $59.99 and WonderSmile’s kit is $149.
Do SmilePath and WonderSmile have aggressive upsells?
Thankfully, no. Since they don’t include many extras in your kit, they can’t be classified as “upselling.” Retainers are a necessary part of aftercare, so SmilePath offering a free set isn’t really “baiting you in,” since they’re a crucial part of treatment.
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 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?
Usually, WonderSmile will recommend that you move on to your next aligner (or go back to the previous one) until you’re scheduled to move to the next step. If you’d still like (or need) a replacement, you’ll need to pay $50. You should wear your previous aligner until a replacement arrives. That will keep your teeth from shifting too far back. SmilePath doesn’t replace lost or broken aligners, so you’ll likely need to move on to the next aligner in your treatment plan.
Can I drink coffee when using SmilePath or WonderSmile?
You can, but you shouldn’t. Aligners from SmilePath and WonderSmile 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?
Not exactly. With both WonderSmile and SmilePath, the price you see is the price you pay. But one additional expense you might not expect will be post-treatment retainers. Both companies are pretty clear that these retainers are a necessity, but they don’t list them in the initial treatment price.