20 years ago, clear 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.
The most well-known option is Invisalign. For a while, they had a monopoly, but numerous challengers have since taken some of the market share.
One of their earliest competitors was ClearCorrect, and in recent years, at-home treatments have become equally attractive options. At-home clear aligner brands like AlignerCo offer more convenient affordable treatment alternatives for busy adults on a budget.
But how do these services—ClearCorrect and AlignerCo—compare? That’s the question we’re here to answer. In this review, we’ll put AlignerCo and ClearCorrect side by side to see how they stack up in terms of cost, treatment oversight, customer experience, and more.
Spoiler | AlignerCo Wins
4 Things They Have in Common
ClearCorrect and AlignerCo 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 ClearCorrect and AlignerCo 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, ClearCorrect and AlignerCo are safe ways to straighten your teeth. Both companies use similar technologies and although ClearCorrect has a few add-ons that AlignerCo 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.
4) Insurance Coverage: Both ClearCorrect and AlignerCo may be covered by your insurance. If your plan includes orthodontic benefits, there’s a good chance you can receive partial coverage. Some general dental policies may cover your treatment, too. However, insurance providers are more likely to cover in-office treatments like ClearCorrect than at-home ones like AlignerCo.
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 ClearCorrect and AlignerCo:
1) Who can get treatment: One of the biggest differences between ClearCorrect and AlignerCo is who can receive treatment. AlignerCo can treat only mild and 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. ClearCorrect, however, can handle the full gamut of cases, from mild to relatively severe.
2) Cost: There is no one-size-fits-all price tag for ClearCorrect. 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. They also have Limited 6, Limited 12, and Flex options for mild cosmetic cases that are often significantly cheaper. On average, most people will spend between $2,500 and $5,000. AlignerCo, however, incorporated for the express purpose of providing affordable treatment. They have very few overhead costs, too, making your price much lower: $1,145.
3) Treatment Length: ClearCorrect’s average treatment lengths range from 12 to 18 months, although the Limited or Flex plans may take as little as a few months. AlignerCo is a touch faster—their treatments last 6 to 11 months on average.
4) One-on-one care: The biggest disadvantage of at-home aligner companies like AlignerCo is that you don’t actually meet in-person with an orthodontist. That can make it tough to individualize your treatment. AlignerCo checks in periodically via email, but it’s not the same. With ClearCorrect, you’ll have direct, in-person care from your orthodontist each time you visit the office.
5) Financing: Both AlignerCo and ClearCorrect offer financing. AlignerCo has two methods, SmileFlex and SmileFlex Easy. SmileFlex requires a credit check, but SmileFlex Easy swaps the check for a down payment. ClearCorrect’s financing is a bit different. You may be able to get a customized plan directly from your dental provider. There’s also beWell, ClearCorrect’s financing partner, although this option may require a credit check.
The Rundown: How ClearCorrect and AlignerCo Stack Up
Invisalign was the first clear aligner option, but ClearCorrect followed closely on their heels. In 2006, founder Dr. William Pumphrey realized that over 400 of his patients needed clear aligners, but there wasn’t a good manufacturer in line to provide them. So Dr. Pumphrey decided to produce his own. The rest is pretty much history. Now ClearCorrect is the second-largest clear aligner producer in the industry.
What really stands out about ClearCorrect’s treatment is the wide variety of conditions they can correct. That’s largely due to the attachments and extra plastics that your dentist or orthodontist can use. These ‘extras’ are attached to your teeth and work in conjunction with your clear aligners to create powerful, nuanced movements. Your dentist or orthodontist can also add any spacers, elastics, or other attachments you may need. That flexibility and technology allow ClearCorrect to treat more extreme cases.
Compared to ClearCorrect, AlignerCo is much, much newer. Founded in 2019, their goal was to create the most cost-effective treatment possible. So unlike a lot of at-home aligner companies, AlignerCo doesn’t include any whitening treatments in their kit so they can keep their customers’ price low. AlignerCo may cut down on expensive extras, but they don’t skimp on quality. Each aligner provided by AlignerCo is top-notch.
Affordability isn’t the only quality AlignerCo has—they’re also flexible. Their NightOnly treatment option requires just 8-10 hours of daily aligner wear (as opposed to the all-day, 20-22 hour option). You’ll simply pop in your aligners a few hours before bed and dream your way to a new smile.
|Customers served||No published number|
|Claim to fame||Second largest clear aligner manufacturer||Most affordable clear aligner treatment in the industry|
|No food restrictions?||✓||✓|
|No office visits?||✓|
|Covered by insurance (with orthodontic benefits)?||✓||✓|
|Personalized customer service?||✓|
|Price Tag?||Ranges from $2,500-$5,000||All-day treatment: $1,145 |
NightOnly Treatment: $1,345
|Financing Available?||Varies office to office, may require credit check||Financing available with 100% approval|
|Treatment Length?||12-18 months, though Flex program can wrap up in just a few months||6-11 months|
|Start-Up Process?||In-person appointment with a ClearCorrect dentist or orthodontist||At-home impression kit|
All clear aligners are made from safe, BPA-free plastics. But beyond these basic similarities, there are some differences from provider to provider.
There are two main ways to cut the tops of your aligners: straight cut, or scalloped to match the gumline. The straight cut overlaps with your gums; so it can exert more force than the scalloped aligners. However, the scalloped aligners are a little less noticeable, since they don’t overlap with your gums; so it’s a bit of a tradeoff either way.
Providers vary in terms of how clear they make their aligners as well. This may seem a little counterintuitive, but highly transparent clear aligners aren’t necessarily the most discreet. Some providers opt to make their aligners from slightly frosted plastic, which better mimics the naturally porous surface of your teeth. Ultra clear-looking aligners tend to have a bit of a shine, which can draw attention to them.
All that said, let’s take a look at the differences in the clear aligners from ClearCorrect and AlignerCo.
|Materials||Zendura plastic||Essix plastic|
|Aligner Cut||Straight cut||Scalloped to match gumline|
|Aligner Transparency||Slightly frosted plastic||Clear, shiny plastic|
ClearCorrect is the second largest clear aligner manufacturer out there; they know what they’re doing. That said, AlignerCo’s aligners are made by RaintreeEssix, a respectable dental supplier, so you’ll be in good hands no matter which you choose.
ClearCorrect’s frosted aligners may have a slightly lower profile than AlignerCo’s shiny ones, but appearance is subjective; so pick whichever aligners work best for you. Some people like having a little extra gleam in their grins!
Both of these providers keep an eye on your treatment; they just go about it in different ways. Let’s take a look at the way your treatment oversight takes shape with ClearCorrect and AlignerCo.
|Frequency of check-ins||Every 4-8 weeks||Every 10-14 days, or whenever you switch to a new set of aligners|
|Check-ins occur via||In-person appointments|
|Treatment Length||12-18 months on average; Flex program can be just a few months||6-11 months|
|Customer Support||Varies from office to office||Everyday from 9am-9pm|
ClearCorrect’s frequent appointments mean you’ll be getting plenty of hands-on care throughout your treatment. However, this also means you’ll need to make room in your schedule for a dozen or so appointments. That’s no simple task for a busy adult. With AlignerCo, you’ll avoid this hassle by sending photos of your progress each time you switch to a new aligner (roughly every 10-14 days).
Outside of these appointments and check-ins, if you have any questions or need additional help throughout your treatment you’ll need customer support.
There isn’t an overarching “customer support” method for ClearCorrect. Instead, you’ll contact your chosen dentist or orthodontist whenever you have questions about your treatment, payment, lost aligners, and so on. They’ll know 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.
AlignerCo, on the other hand, is completely remote. So if you have any questions about your payment, need to get replacement aligners, or something else, you’ll need to contact customer support methods. If you contact them through email, you’ll probably get a response within 24 hours. In our experience, their online chat is the fastest way to receive a response.
Bang For Your Buck
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: startup procedures, the treatment itself, and post-treatment retainers. We’ll cover those here.
|Startup Costs||Varies||$75 impression kit, but if you pay for treatment outright AlignerCo will throw in the kit for free|
|Aligner Kit||$2,500-$5,000 on average||All-day treatment: $1,145 |
NightOnly treatment: $1,345
|Adds-Ons||Varies||Whitening kit: $49.99 |
WorryFree Protection Program: $599
|Financing||Payment plans are likely to be available, but the details will vary from office to office and may require a credit check||Both treatments have two payment plan options; one requires a credit check, and the other requires a downpayment|
|Insurance||If your plan includes orthodontic benefits, there’s a good chance you can receive partial coverage||If your insurance policy has orthodontic benefits, you may get partial reimbursement. Check with your insurance provider to be sure before moving forward with AlignerCo|
|Post-Treatment||Varies, determined by the provider overseeing your treatment||AlignerCo includes your first set of aftercare retainers for free! After that you can buy them in bulk through the WorryFree Protection Program|
AlignerCo has the lowest prices in the industry, but that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone is eager to fork over a thousand dollars all at once for treatment. Thankfully, AlignerCo offers payment plans to make their treatment blend into your budget more easily.
For all-day treatment, you can either make a downpayment of $275 followed by 6 monthly payments of $175, or (pending approval from their third-party financing partner Affirm) you can make 12 monthly payments, starting as low as $81.
For NightOnly treatment, you can either make a $345 downpayment followed by 6 monthly payments of $175, or (pending approval from Affirm) you can pay in 12 monthly installments for as low as $99.
It’s likely your ClearCorrect dentist or orthodontist will be able to offer payment plans, but the terms will vary from office to office, and it may require a credit check. Another cost that varies? Your aftercare retainers. These retainers are durable, but they don’t last forever. You’ll typically need to replace them every 6 months or so.
AlignerCo has the most affordable retainers in the industry, thanks to their WorryFree Protection Program. For $599, you’ll receive a new set of retainers every six months, for six years. That’s twelve sets total—about $50/set—which is nearly half of the cost of the industry average. Keep your eye out for sales too; we’ve seen this package on sale for $499.
You won’t find a better deal on clear aligner treatment than AlignerCo, but that doesn’t mean that ClearCorrect is an all out price gouge. They have understandably higher prices due to the costs associated with in-person care. With their Flex program, you’ll only pay for the aligners you use, so if you have a mild condition and want to receive in-person care at an affordable rate, ClearCorrect could be worth exploring.
Office Visits—Are They Worth The Extra Cost?
Regular office visits are the biggest difference between in-office treatments like ClearCorrect and at-home ones like AlignerCo. As part of your ClearCorrect 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 safe, effective treatment, it also makes ClearCorrect 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.
Affordability and quality are top of mind for many shoppers. But when choosing a clear aligner provider, it’s important to also consider the way the companies you’re considering treat their customers. Let’s get a little insight into what you can expect from the customer experience when you choose ClearCorrect and AlignerCo.
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 AlignerCo, which you can only purchase online. Your orthodontist can give a professional opinion on ClearCorrect, 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 AlignerCo:
- Top loves: Small-company feel; extremely affordable treatment; process is easy to complete
- Top complaints: Frequent emails from multiple addresses; misplaced photos; extra aligners aren’t complimentary
We tallied up AlignerCo’s total average score for a total of 4.5/5 stars. Overall, their customers seem pleased with both their results and the oversight they received along the way. We can understand why some customers would be frustrated to spend more money on extra aligners (more on that in a minute), but we think that AlignerCo’s low pricing makes that potential extra expense a little easier to accept.
It’s a bit harder to tally up a score for ClearCorrect. There are very few customer reviews online because treatment is administered 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.
It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be too dissatisfied with your ClearCorrect treatment. That’s 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. You’ll have to ask your orthodontist or dentist to know for sure.
Like a lot of home aligner companies, AlignerCo offers only one true refund: their impression kits. If you buy one and you aren’t a candidate, you’ll get a refund for the kit. Beyond that though, once you purchase your aligners, you’ll only receive a refund if there are manufacturing defects with your aligners.
Remember those extra aligners we mentioned earlier? Those are called refinements. If you reach the end of your AlignerCo treatment and you’re not satisfied with your results, you should contact customer support. Provided you’ve followed all the requirements of your treatment, you can request a re-evaluation and potentially receive refinements for $200.
It’s never fun to spend extra money, but even with the added $200, AlignerCo is still the most affordable provider out there.
Refinements are unlikely with ClearCorrect treatment, since you’ll have in-person oversight with your doctor who can tweak your treatment plan as needed.
The Best Alternatives
ClearCorrect and AlignerCo are both great companies, so if you’re drawn to either one, you’ll get excellent service. However, these two aren’t the only good options.
If you’re still curious about other companies, we’d also recommend checking out Byte. They’re our #1 ranked provider for a reason! They have the shortest treatment lengths on the market, and they offer an impressive Byte-for-Life guarantee. You can find a full review here.
Candid is our #2 pick behind Byte. Candid offers incredible treatment oversight due to their CandidMonitoring program, which helps you to send in regular photo updates to the Candid team so they can closely monitor your progress. You can read more about Candid in our full review here.
Which is the Best Clear Aligner For You?
Let’s be clear: ClearCorrect and AlignerCo 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 ClearCorrect and who should opt for AlignerCo:
Choose AlignerCo If: Your case is relatively minor, and you need a budget-friendly treatment method.
Choose ClearCorrect 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, ClearCorrect is a great option. That said, AlignerCo is more affordable, convenient, and in our opinion, offers better value overall.
AlignerCo Wins! We think AlignerCo’s budget-friendly price point and sheer convenience make them a better option than ClearCorrect for most young adults.
That said, AlignerCo is not the most well-known name in the industry, so you may want to look into other options if brand power is important to you. If you’re interested in remote orthodontic care, be sure to compare all our top-rated providers before making a decision.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does either provider offer discounts?
ClearCorrect doesn’t really offer discounts in the traditional sense. However, your individual provider may give you benefits or perks as part of your treatment. AlignerCo frequently offers referral discounts for $100 off your aligners. They occasionally run sales on their aligners and impression kits too.
How exactly does at-home teeth alignment work?
At-home aligner kits like the one from AlignerCo borrow the technology Invisalign pioneered. When you send in your impressions, AlignerCo 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, AlignerCo gradually moves your teeth from their initial positions to their final destination.
Is there an age requirement for using either ClearCorrect or AlignerCo?
ClearCorrect does not post an explicit age requirement for their treatment; your dentist or orthodontist will consider age on a case-by-case basis. AlignerCo, on the other hand, will treat anyone age 14 and up provided all of their baby teeth are gone. Both companies must receive parental consent before treating a minor.
Can I use ClearCorrect or AlignerCo if I live outside the USA?
AlignerCo currently does not ship internationally. However their sister company, SmilePath, is available in Canada, the U.K., and Australia. ClearCorrect is limited to the U.S.
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 AlignerCo. You can also take a preliminary assessment on AlignerCo’s website. If you purchase an impression kit and it turns out that you’re not a good candidate for treatment, AlignerCo 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?
If you lose an aligner from AlignerCo, contact customer support right away. They’ll get the situation corrected as soon as possible. In the meantime, you should wear your previous aligner to keep your teeth from shifting too far back. ClearCorrect, 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 ClearCorrect or AlignerCo?
You can, but you shouldn’t. Aligners from AlignerCo and ClearCorrect 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 AlignerCo nor ClearCorrect have 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. AlignerCo offers the first set for free, but ClearCorrect’s retainer cost will depend on your individual provider.
Are online aligners as effective as traditional orthodontic treatment?
In most mild and moderate cases, yes. Thanks to the tested technologies used by remote treatment companies like AlignerCo, your aligners will fit your teeth as snugly as they would with ClearCorrect. 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 clear aligner service, 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-person treatment?
Once you get past the impression kit, 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 ClearCorrect if I’m not a candidate for AlignerCo?
In most cases, yes. AlignerCo cannot treat some cases remotely because they require extensive orthodontic oversight. So if AlignerCo’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 ClearCorrect has orthodontist oversight, it’s usually a good option for people with tougher cases.
Why is ClearCorrect so much more expensive than AlignerCo?
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 sometimes, ClearCorrect can cost nearly $4,000 more than AlignerCo. That cost discrepancy comes from a variety of factors.
AlignerCo has a one-size-fits-all pricing model. Mild and moderate cases pay the same amount. With ClearCorrect, it’s the opposite. The more severe your case, the more you’ll spend. The only unique case is their Flex line, which lets you pay for each aligner separately. Flex is dedicated to minor cases, so it’s not as expensive. But in every case, AlignerCo is always more affordable.