Nowadays, at-home clear aligner services like Byte and Candid make the process of straightening your teeth just discreet, but convenient too.
Still, how do you choose between all the options on the market today? That’s what we’re here to help out with. In this comparison review, we’ll help you decide between two of the most popular clear aligner services: Byte and Candid.
Spoiler Alert: Byte Wins! Based on our 4-part review criteria, Byte offers significantly better overall value than Candid.
The Rundown: How Byte and Candid Stack Up
Byte is just one of several companies in the teledentistry scene, which is still a relatively new industry (the “oldest” company just got started in 2014). Byte got started in 2018, so if you’re wondering whether they’re “too good to be true,” you’re not alone.
In the few years they’ve been on the market, Byte has already served thousands of customers. And there’s a lot to love about them! Byte has the industry’s shortest treatment times, a flexible nighttime only treatment option (Byte At-Night), and thousands of positive third-party reviews. In a short time, they’ve proven themselves as an excellent resource for teeth-straightening.
In your treatment bundle, Byte includes their proprietary device: the HyperByte. The HyperByte releases gentle, high frequency vibrations, which help loosen your tooth’s ligaments to ensure a more comfortable aligner fit and potentially shorter treatment lengths. Just put in your aligners, and bite down lightly on the HyperByte for 5-10 minutes a day, and you’ll vibrate your way to a new smile.
Candid got their start as a premium at-home clear aligner provider. However, they’ve recently made the switch to “CandidPro,” a hybrid at-home/in-office treatment model that offers all the convenience of an at-home treatment option but with the hands-on attention of a local dentist.
You’ll kick off your treatment with a thorough consultation with a local dentist in the Candid network. Then throughout your treatment, the dentist will work with the Candid team to monitor your progress. Despite this initial in-person appointment, most of your treatment takes place remotely, and is overseen through the CandidMonitoring program (more on that in a minute).
CandidPro strikes a nice balance between the oversight of in-person care and the convenience of at-home treatment. However, the addition of in-person care means that only those living near Candid’s partnered dentists will be able to choose this option for treatment.
Let’s take a closer look at how these providers compare.
|Claim to fame||Most robust treatment oversight||Shortest treatment lengths in the industry|
|No food restrictions?||✓||✓|
|No office visits?||✓|
|Covered by insurance (with orthodontic benefits)?||In some cases||✓|
|Personalized customer service?||✓||✓|
|Price Tag?||$3,500+||Daytime treatment: $1,895|
Byte At-Night: $2,295
|Financing Available?||Varies from office to office, may require a credit check||Daytime treatment: $249 downpayment & 32 monthly payments of $82 |
Byte At-Night: $299 downpayment & 32 monthly payments of $99
|Treatment Length?||6-9 months||Daytime treatment: Average 4 months |
Byte At-Night: Average 5 months
|Start-Up Process?||In-person appointment with a Candid partnered dentist||At-home impression kit; simply make your molds and mail them back to Byte with a prepaid shipping label|
All clear aligner providers offer products made from safe, BPA free plastics. Despite these similarities, there are still many differences in aligners from company to company.
There are two main ways to cut the top of your aligners: straight across, or scalloped to match the gumline. Since they overlap with your gums, straight cut aligners are capable of exerting more force. Scalloped aligners are slightly more discreet, but they aren’t as powerful; so it’s a bit of a tradeoff either way.
The transparency of your aligners also varies from provider to provider. Some companies think that the clearer the aligner, the better. Others opt to make their aligners from plastic with a slightly frosted appearance. It may seem counter intuitive, but the frosted aligners are usually more discreet, since they mimic the matte surface of your teeth.
Let’s take a look at the aligners you’ll be wearing when you choose Candid and Byte:
|Materials||BPA free, tri-layer Zendura thermoplastic||BPA free, PETG plastic (basically a modified, more affordable polyurethane) |
At-Night aligners are made for a thicker, more durable plastic than their all-day aligners
|Aligner Cut||Straight cut||Straight cut|
|Aligner Transparency||Slightly frosted plastic||Clear, shiny plastic|
We love that Byte’s nighttime only aligners are more durable than their all-day wear option. These aligners can withstand any overnight teeth grinding you throw at them.
Candid used to have their aligners manufactured by ClearCorrect, the second largest clear aligner manufacturer. However, Candid recently shifted to making their own aligners in-house; but it seems like you can expect the same high quality as before. With the frosted plastic, your Candid aligners are likely to look slightly less noticeable than Byte’s shiny aligners.
That being said, appearance is subjective! Some customers love having an extra gleam in their smiles. All that’s important is that you choose the aligner that works for you.
At-home clear aligner treatments are far more convenient than traditional in-office treatments. But how do these providers keep an eye on your treatments without in-person appointments? Let’s take a closer look at the oversight you can expect when you choose Candid and Byte for your treatment.
|Frequency of check-ins||Every 10-14 days||Every 3-4 weeks|
|Photos sent via||CandidApp||Patient portal|
|Treatment Length||6-9 months||Daytime treatment: 4 months |
Byte At-Night: 5 months
|Customer Support||Candid support every day from 9am-7pm; plus the hours of your Candid dentist’s office||Available via phone, email and social media—7am-5pm PST|
Candid’s CandidMonitoring is the most robust treatment oversight of any at-home clear aligner provider. Here’s how it works: using your smartphone and a special imaging device (included in your treatment bundle), you’ll send virtual updates for the Candid team and/or your dentist to review. Plus, if any issues arise during your treatment, you’ll have your local partnered Candid dentist to return to if need be. Not to mention access to Candid’s support team, who are available every day.
Though Candid excels in this category, Byte isn’t too far behind. You’ll upload treatment photos to your treatment portal every few weeks for the Byte team to review. Plus, each customer gets assigned their own particular Byte advisor who is their point person throughout treatment. If you have a question or just need some assistance during your treatment, reach out to your Byte advisor and they’ll help you through it.
Smile Tip: Thanks to the HyperByte device, Byte is able to offer shorter treatment lengths than any other clear aligner service. Candid does not include a comparable device in their aligner bundle.
Bang For Your Buck
By now we know at-home clear aligners are more affordable than traditional in-office options. But how much savings are we talking about, exactly? In this section, we’ll dig into the nitty gritty details of the cost of your treatment when you choose Candid or Byte.
|Startup Costs||Varies||$95 impression kit|
|Aligner Kit||$3,500+||Daytime treatment: $1,895 |
Byte At-Night: $2,295
|Add-Ons||Varies||Byte Protection Plan: $649 for daytime treatment; $779 for Byte At-Night|
|Financing||Varies office to office, but most dentists will have some kind of payment plan available; though it may require a credit check.||Daytime treatment: $249 downpayment & 32 monthly payments of $82 |
Byte At-Night: $299 downpayment & 32 monthly payments of $99
|Insurance||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.||Byte works hand in hand with several insurance companies. Byte can run a free coverage check for you, you’ll just need to send them your insurance card.|
|Post-Treatment||Retainer prices will be determined by the dentist overseeing your treatment.||$129 per retainer set (but they give you the first set for free!)|
Candid doesn’t have one set sticker price, but it’ll cost at least $3,500. The final price will be determined by the dentist assigned to your treatment. This price is much higher than their fully remote competitors, but it’s usually less than traditional options like braces and Invisalign.
Both providers include a fair amount of extras in the price of your treatment. Candid and Byte each include free whitening with your aligner package. Candid’s price tag includes in their CandidMonitoring system, and Byte’s aligner kits come with the HyperByte system ($699 sold separately) for free.
Retainers are durable, but they don’t last forever. One thing we love about Byte is their commitment to making aftercare as affordable as possible. Since retainers are an ongoing expense, we love that they offer up your first set for free. Plus, if you enroll in the Byte Protection Plan (either by purchasing it outright or becoming automatically enrolled by paying for treatment with BytePay) you’ll receive free retainers for 5 years after your treatment.
Byte is the more affordable option by far. So if a lower price tag is a priority for you in your clear aligner treatment, Byte may be worth considering.
Treatment oversight and product quality are important, but so is how a company treats its customers. Let’s take a look at what you can expect when you choose Candid and Byte for your clear aligner treatment.
For many shoppers, online 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 people across the web are saying about Candid and Byte.
|Top loves:||Excellent support, helpful communication throughout the process via their app; convenient, effective treatment.||Excellent customer support (even mentioning representatives by name); visible results within a couple weeks; easy to use.|
|Top complaints:||Database does not work with Firefox browser; a little more discomfort than other aligners; emails can get spammy.||Guarantee on impression kit does not apply to bite issues.|
Across the board, both Candid and Byte get pretty good reviews. One of the most common complaints is the discomfort but, unfortunately, that comes with the territory. To avoid as much discomfort as possible, you’ll need to follow your treatment plan carefully.
Some reviews complain that Byte doesn’t clarify that their impression kit guarantee doesn’t cover bite issues. Unfortunately, that’s just how it works—clear aligners can’t shift your jaw. So if you have an underlying bite issue, though Byte and Candid can technically straighten your teeth, the issue will likely come back. In these cases, Byte won’t refund your impression kit. That’s a little confusing, but it’s the policy of many companies. So technically speaking, it’s no one’s fault.
We should mention that CandidPro’s in-person offerings are still so new that there are virtually no patient reviews detailing that particular experience. So we’ll stay tuned for updated information on that front. However, we think the reviews from Candid’s time as a fully remote company are still relevant and should be taken into account.
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.
With Byte, if you’re not a candidate for treatment, you’ll be refunded for the impression kit. But after you begin treatment, you can’t receive a refund on your aligners. 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. All you need to do is stay on top of wearing and replacing your aftercare retainers, and you’ll be covered!
What If I Break an Aligner?
Accidents happen—if you break an aligner during your treatment, reach out to your provider right away.
If you’re enrolled in the Byte Protection Plan (by purchasing it outright or paying for treatment with BytePay) then this replacement will be covered for free! If you aren’t in that program, your replacement aligner set will cost $129 for all-day treatment and $149 for At-Night treatment.
With Candid, the cost of your replacement aligner will depend on the policies of the dentist overseeing your treatment.
While you’re waiting for your replacement aligner to arrive, wear your most recent set of aligners to keep your teeth from moving out of alignment.
Sometimes teeth can be a bit more stubborn than your treatment plan accounted for, and you may need a few more aligners than expected. These extra aligners are called refinements, and some providers charge extra for them—but not Byte. If you’ve followed their treatment guidelines, you’ll receive all of the aligners required to deliver an ideal new smile.
With Candid—you guessed it—the refinement policy will vary from dentist to dentist.
Trade uncomfortable wires and brackets for smooth plastic, and clear aligner treatment is bound to be more comfortable than traditional metal braces. That being said, with any teeth alignment there’s going to be some discomfort—that just comes with the territory. As your teeth shift, you’ll experience some soreness; particularly when you switch to a new set of aligners, since they’ll have a snugger fit than the last.
Luckily, with Byte you’ll have the HyperByte on your side; which can decrease soreness and offer a better aligner fit. Here’s how it works: the HyperByte releases tiny pulses that help loosen your tooth’s ligaments. This process helps your aligners fit better; faster.
Which is the Best Home Aligner for You?
When it all comes down to it, Candid and Byte 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. Candid is a great service, but we love Byte’s unique mix of value, satisfaction guarantees, and excellent support.
- Choose Candid if: you’re willing to spend more for a hybrid treatment that balances convenience and robust oversight.
- Choose Byte if: you want to see the smile of your dreams as soon as possible. Byte’s treatment lengths are much shorter than their competitors; their nighttime-only treatment even takes less time than competitors’ daytime options.
Final Verdict: Byte Wins! Based on our 4-part review criteria, Byte offers significantly better overall value than Candid. We encourage you to take advantage of our exclusive Byte discount for $165 off your aligner bundle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does either home aligner kit offer discounts?
Byte has discounts for military, students, and first responders. With Candid, the dentist overseeing your treatment will determine your price, so there aren’t any overarching discounts from Candid.
Are Candid and Byte legit?
Your mom warned you about things that sound too good to be true, right? Thankfully home aligner companies like Candid and Byte aren’t. These companies approach treatment differently, but we think you’d be in good hands with either one. Byte is able to offer a more affordable price point because they have eliminated the overhead costs of in-office appointments. Whereas Candid’s hybrid set-up costs more than fully remote options, but usually less than braces and Invisalign.
Which home aligner is more customer-focused?
Candid and Byte both have great support teams. We used to say that Byte was a bit more customer-centric thanks to the fact that they assign an individual care assistant to each person. However, CandidMonitoring adds a robust level of treatment oversight, not to mention the additional support of the Candid partnered dentist office, so now we have to give this one to Candid.
How do Candid and Byte 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, which must be attached in-office by a qualified orthodontist. Home aligners don’t use these devices, allowing you to get treatment at home. Candid is somewhere between Byte and Invisalign. It can’t treat the complex cases that Invisalign can, but it does feature in-person elements which Byte doesn’t offer.
How do these home aligners compare to AlignerCo and Smile Direct?
Byte is pretty similar to both AlignerCo and Smile Direct. Strictly speaking, Smile Direct has the most brand power in the entire industry, while AlignerCo is by far the most budget-friendly option on the market. Candid is a little different from their fully remote competitors, since they offer a hybrid treatment that requires some in-office appointments. This makes Candid more expensive than their fully remote competitors, but allows for more comprehensive oversight.
Is there an age requirement for either Candid or Byte?
With both Candid and Byte, 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 that patients be at least 12 years old. Candid will treat ages 13 to 17 with their Candid Teen treatment; it looks slightly different from adult treatment, but it’s an option for younger smiles. But with either service, minors must provide proof of parental consent prior to treatment.
Does either provider offer free whitening treatment?
Candid and Byte both include one free bottle of their whitening treatment with your aligner kit. You can use it during your treatment. Replacement bottles cost $25 from Candid and $30 from Byte.
Can I use Candid and Byte if I live outside the USA?
Currently, Candid does not operate internationally. Byte is available in a few more locations; most notably, they’ve recently expanded to Australia.
Do Candid and Byte have aggressive upsells?
Thankfully, no. Byte and Candid both “bait 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 an overbite, underbite, crossbite, etc. is the cause of your teeth’s misalignment, then at-home 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 for Byte or schedule a free in-office consultation with Candid. They’ll let you know for sure if you are a candidate or not. If Byte determines 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 less funny?
Once they’re in your mouth, Candid’s and Byte’s aligners are imperceptibly different. 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, talking included.
If I lose my aligners during or after treatment, do I have to pay for new ones?
Candid won’t usually replace an aligner if you lose one. All you have to do is wear your previous one until it’s time to move on to a new set. Byte, on the other hand, will send you a replacement aligner set for $129 (all-day plan) or $149 (At-Night plan). With either, though, you should wear your previous aligner to keep your teeth from shifting back too far.
Can I drink coffee when using Candid or Byte?
You can, but you shouldn’t. Aligners from Candid and Byte 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?
These providers don’t really have hidden any costs. With either company, you’ll need to purchase new post-treatment retainers occasionally. They do wear out over time.