If you’re looking into orthodontic treatment as an adult, odds are you’re considering Invisalign. Let’s be clear: Invisalign is an excellent treatment option.
It’s low-profile, versatile and highly effective. And it can treat every case, from moderate to severe. For many adults, it’s the perfect way to discreetly straighten their smile. Invisalign has plenty to offer, but that doesn’t mean they’re the right fit for everyone.
But how can you know which option is best suited for you and your unique circumstances? That’s why we’re here. We’ll cut through the noise so you can make an informed decision about which Invisalign alternative is right for you.
ClearCorrect | #1
They may not be a household name like Invisalign, but ClearCorrect has been transforming smiles with their in-office clear aligner treatment 2006. Let’s take a look at some of their main advantages and disadvantages:
- Discreet: ClearCorrect’s clear aligners have a low profile. People don’t usually notice when someone is wearing clear aligners.
- Effective: Can treat the same conditions as Invisalign, all thanks to supplemental attachments that can be added to your treatment. These attachments put focused pressure on certain teeth to aid in complex tooth shifts.
- Experienced: ClearCorrect is the second largest clear aligner provider out there, so you can be confident they’ve seen a case just like yours.
- Cost: It varies from doctor to doctor, but ClearCorrect can run between $4,000-$5,000. So if your main issue with Invisalign is its cost, then ClearCorrect might not be much of an improvement.
Six Month Smiles | #2
Six Month Smiles got their start in 2007 and offers both clear aligner treatment and ceramic braces. Let’s take a closer look at their main advantages and disadvantages:
- Variety: With Six Months Smiles, you can work with your doctor to decide whether clear braces or clear aligners are the right fit for you. Why not keep your options open?
- Short treatment lengths: Six Month Smiles isn’t bashful about their short treatment lengths — after all, the name of their company is based on their average treatment times. Though 6 months is their most common treatment length, their full range is 4-9 months. That’s quite a bit faster than Invisalign’s 12-18 month window.
- Discreet: Don’t let the word ‘braces’ fool you; both clear braces and clear aligners offer low profile treatments. Ceramic braces are made from materials that mimic the color of your teeth. Clear aligners are a bit more discreet than clear braces, but clear braces are much less noticeable than traditional metal braces.
- Cost: Six Month Smiles typically costs between $3,500-$5,000. In some cases that can be more affordable than Invisalign, but it’s still a pretty high price point for most people.
- Treatable conditions: The clear aligners from Six Month Smiles aren’t able to treat as complex of conditions as Invisalign, because they don’t use supplemental attachments. Their braces are better equipped to tackle complex movements.
At-Home vs. In-Office Options: What’s the Difference?
At-home clear aligners are a relatively new treatment option. The first provider, Smile Direct Club, just got their start in 2014 — but remote clear aligners companies have since taken the orthodontics industry by storm.
With at-home clear aligners, the entirety of your treatment takes place remotely. Without the overhead of in-office expenses, at-home clear aligner providers are able to deliver much more affordable treatments.
At-home clear aligners can treat mild to moderate cases of crowding and spacing. So if your condition is a little more complex, an in-office option may be a better fit for you.
At-Home Clear Aligners
At-home clear aligners utilize the technology that Invisalign created, but they adapt it for remote care. These treatments are compelling, but are they a good fit for you? Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of at-home clear aligner treatment:
- Discreet: At-home clear aligners provide a low profile treatment — most people won’t even realize you’re wearing them!
- Affordable: At-home clear aligners are able to deliver safe treatments at a fraction of the cost of in-office options. Why? Less overhead. In-office options have to finance, well…an office! At-home clear aligners eliminate a significant amount of upfront cost to deliver an affordable treatment option. The average cost of at-home aligner treatment is around $1,900 — which in most cases is thousands less than Invisalign treatment.
- Convenient: At-home clear aligner treatments take place from the comfort of your own home. You won’t need to attend frequent in-person appointments as you would with Invisalign treatment. Remote oversight is usually much easier for people to incorporate into their busy schedules.
- Flexible: Many at-home clear aligner providers offer a nighttime only form of treatment. Instead of the typical 22+ hours of daily aligner wear, this option allows for just 10 hours of wear a day. Most people just pop in their aligners a couple hours before they go to bed and dream their way to a new smile. Invisalign only offers full time aligner wear.
- Short treatment lengths: At-home clear aligner treatments usually wrap up in about 6-9 months; which shaves off some serious time from Invisalign’s 12-18 month timeline.
- Treatable conditions: At-home clear aligners can correct mild to moderate conditions of crowding and spacing. So if your condition is on the severe side, you’re probably better suited for an in-office option like Invisalign.
- Less one-on-one care: At-home clear aligners have a high level of oversight, but you won’t be chatting in real time with your doctor. If getting that kind of face time is important to you, then an in-office treatment like Invisalign might be more comfortable for you.
- Insurance coverage: Although some insurance companies contribute to at-home clear aligner treatments, you’re much likelier to receive coverage for an in-office option like Invisalign.
With all of that in mind, let’s take a look at some of our top-ranked at-home clear aligner providers:
Byte | #1
Since Invisalign hit the market in 1998, a lot of clear aligner alternatives have joined the scene. Byte is a newer company, but one that’s turned heads with its short treatment lengths, quality products, and excellent customer service. They’re our #1 ranked home aligner company and a great Invisalign alternative.
Here are a few key ways the two companies differ:
- Price: There is no one-size-fits-all price for Invisalign; the treatment price largely depends on the severity of your condition. Possible price points range from $3,400 to $7,100. Byte’s impact on your wallet is much smaller: the aligner kit costs $1,895 for daytime treatment and $2,295 for nighttime treatment (regardless of your initial condition). With both options, your insurance may cover some of the cost, and financing options are available.
- Ease of Getting Started: Starting Invisalign treatment is as easy as setting up an appointment with your dentist or orthodontist. They’ll handle the hard work of scanning your teeth and developing your treatment plan. Byte’s start-up process is a little more difficult; you’ll have to take impressions of your teeth yourself. Some people find this step difficult, so Byte tries to make it easier with video support sessions.
- Treatment Length: Invisalign’s minimum treatment length is usually six months, but many cases can take just as long as traditional braces (24 months). It all depends on the severity of your case. Byte, on the other hand, wraps up in a way shorter time frame. Their average treatment length is 4 months for daytime treatment and 5 for nighttime treatment. This is all thanks to their HyperByte device, a little tool used in conjunction with your aligners. It gives off micropulse to encourage the ligaments to loosen, allowing the teeth to move faster.
- Daily Wear: Invisalign requires you to wear your aligners for 20 to 22 hours each day. But Byte offers multiple aligner wear schedules. If you use their daytime aligners, you’ll need to wear them 22 hours a day. Sounds tough? You can cut it down to 10 hours per day if you choose their nighttime treatment instead.
Byte is our favorite at-home aligner company. For a lot of people, they’re probably a better choice than Invisalign. However, if you need extensive treatment, Invisalign is probably better suited to your needs.
Candid | #2
Important: Candid recently discontinued their fully-remote clear aligner treatment option and now only offers their premium hybrid treatment, CandidPro. Because of this recent change, some of the content on this page may be out of date.
Invisalign’s primary advantage over at-home aligners is the effectiveness and peace of mind that comes from direct dentist or orthodontist oversight. Even though Candid got its start as a fully remote clear aligner provider, they’ve recently pivoted to a hybrid at-home/in-office treatment. This treatment model balances sophisticated oversight with the convenience of at-home treatment. Your treatment will be administered by a local dentist in the Candid network, and overseen remotely.
- Price: The price point for Invisalign varies depending on the severity of your crowding or spacing. Their advertised prices fall anywhere between $3,400 and $7,100, making them just as pricey as braces. Candid also doesn’t have a set sticker price, but you’re sure to spend at least $3,500. Though this price is much higher than Candid’s fully at-home competitors, it’s still usually a more affordable option than Invisalign. It’s likely that the dentist overseeing your Invisalign or Candid treatment offers to finance, but the particulars will vary from office to office.
- Ease of Getting Started: If you use Invisalign, then you can trust your dentist or orthodontist to handle all the details of your treatment, including your initial scans. With Candid, you’ll kickstart your treatment at an in-person appointment with a local Candid partnered dentist. Here they’ll determine whether or not you’re a good candidate for treatment and take intraoral scans, photos, and X-rays. Using that information, your dentist will collaborate with Candid’s orthodontic team to craft a treatment plan just for you.
- Treatment Length: Invisalign’s minimum treatment length is around 6 months, but it can take as long as 24 months in some cases (much like traditional braces). Candid’s average treatment length is between 6-9 months, and there’s a chance that CandidMonitoring can help it go even faster. However, with either service, the more complicated your case, the longer your treatment will take.
- Treatment Oversight: With both Invisalign and Candid, you can have treatment that’s designed by licensed dental professionals. But the day-to-day of how that treatment works depends on which you choose. With Invisalign, you’ll have one-on-one treatment oversight thanks to regular in-person appointments. Candid’s oversight is a bit different. Beyond your initial in-person appointment, the majority of your treatment oversight will take place remotely. This is all thanks to Candid’s robust remote monitoring system: CandidMonitoring. Using your smartphone and a special imaging device, you’ll submit photos every 10-14 days for your local dentist and the Candid team to review. You’ll only need to return to your dentist’s office if an issue arises.
Candid is an all-around great at-home aligner service. Though typically more affordable than Invisalign, Candid is much more expensive than fully at-home aligner providers. However, Candid’s ‘best of both worlds’ hybrid approach offers the hands-on oversight of traditional options, with the convenience and flexibility of at-home treatments.
AlignerCo | #3
All at-home aligner companies are cheaper than Invisalign. AlignerCo, however, takes “cheaper” to the max; they’re easily the most affordable at-home aligner option. If budget is a big factor in all your decisions (and it is for most of us), then AlignerCo is worth a second look.
Obviously, AlignerCo is not the same company as Invisalign. Here are a few important distinctions:
- Price: Just how much cheaper is AlignerCo compared to Invisalign? Literally thousands. Invisalign’s average price creeps up to $3,000 or higher. But AlignerCo costs just $1,145 for daytime treatment and $1,345 for nighttime treatment. If price is a big concern for you, then AlignerCo has your back.
- Ease of Getting Started: Invisalign makes the startup process pretty easy; your dentist or orthodontist will handle everything. But with AlignerCo, you’ll need to take impressions of your teeth at home, which some people find difficult. Thankfully, AlignerCo offers video support to help coach you through the process.
- Treatment Length: AlignerCo’s average treatment lengths range between 6-11 months for daytime treatment, and 8-12 months for nighttime treatment. Invisalign can last anywhere from 6-24 months, but typically takes about 12-18 months. Long story short, choosing AlignerCo will probably result in a shorter timeline, but it ultimately depends on how severe your case is.
Invisalign is a fantastic option; they wouldn’t be a household name if their treatment wasn’t top-notch! However, for most minor cosmetic cases, we prefer AlignerCo, since it’s tough to beat their sheer affordability. That said, if you have an extreme case or bite issues, Invisalign may be the better choice.
Smile Direct Club | #4
Smile Direct Club was the very first company to bring clear aligners straight to the consumer, no middlemen involved. And for a while, Invisalign’s parent company, Align Technology, and Smile Direct Club actually worked hand in hand; they used to supply Smile Direct Club’s aligners. That meant that Smile Direct Club’s products and materials were comparable. The only real difference was that Invisalign required office visits.
However, Align Technology ended this partnership in 2020, so Smile Direct Club has begun manufacturing their aligners in-house. This makes it tough to evaluate the current quality of their aligners.
Since Smile Direct Club and Invisalign aren’t partners anymore, there are some important distinctions between the two:
- Price: Like other at-home aligner companies, Smile Direct Club is thousands cheaper than Invisalign. Where Invisalign runs somewhere between $3,400 and $7,100 (depending on the severity of your case), Smile Direct Club charges a flat price of $2,050. Both companies offer financing options to make treatment more accessible.
- Treatment Length: Treatment with Invisalign can be as short as 6 months, but some cases may last as long as 24 months. Smile Direct Club’s average treatment length is 6 months for daytime treatment and 10 months for nighttime treatment.
- Ease of Getting Started: If you choose Invisalign, your treatment will kick off as a consultation with your dentist or orthodontist. They’ll take images of your teeth in their office and design your treatment plan. Smile Direct Club’s startup process isn’t quite as convenient. You’ll either need to order an impression kit or visit a SmileShop, where they’ll take images of your teeth for free.
- Wear Requirements: With Invisalign, you need to wear your aligners for 20-22 hours per day. Smile Direct Club’s wear requirements vary: if you subscribe to daytime treatment, you’ll wear your aligners for 22 hours per day. However, they also offer nighttime clear aligners, which allow you to wear them for just 10 hours each day.
In the past, we might have said that Smile Direct Club and Invisalign were pretty much on an equal playing field assuming you were looking to treat mild cosmetic conditions. That was largely due to their partnership. But with that partnership gone, it’s difficult to say how the two compare.
In general, Smile Direct Club is probably a better option for the average person due to their affordability. But Invisalign is better for people who need extensive corrections.
NewSmile | #5
NewSmile is one of the newest clear aligner providers to hit the scene (they just got their start in 2020!), but they’ve quickly made a name for themselves due to their low prices, the convenient nighttime only option, and short treatment lengths.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways NewSmile differs from Invisalign:
- Treatment Options: NewSmile offers two different treatment types: all-day (22+ hours of daily aligner wear) and nighttime only (10+ hours of daily aligner wear). All-day treatment gives you results more quickly, but nighttime only treatment offers flexibility and convenience. With Invisalign, you’re stuck wearing your aligners for the full 22+ hours a day.
- Price: NewSmile has the second-lowest prices in the industry. Just $1,395 for their all-day treatment, and $1,495 for their nighttime-only treatment. With Invisalign prices running anywhere from $3,400-$7,100, you can be sure that you’ll save thousands by opting for NewSmile.
- Treatment Length: If your condition is mild enough for Invisalign Express, then your treatment could be finished in 6 months. However, the full Invisalign treatment can take anywhere from 18-24 months to complete. With NewSmile, however, your treatment could wrap up in a little as 4-6 months for all-day wear and 8-10 months for their Night Aligners program; which is practically the blink of an eye when compared to Invisalign.
- Ease of Getting Started: With Invisalign, your treatment begins with an in-person consultation with an Invisalign partnered dentist or orthodontist. In some cases, you may need to pay for this consultation. NewSmile keeps their treatment startup simple; in fact, you can complete it from the comfort of your own home. Just order their impression kit ($139, but often on sale for $49), take molds of your teeth, and send them back to NewSmile. Shipping is free, thanks to a prepaid shipping label.
If you’re looking to affordably update your smile from the comfort of your own home, then NewSmile is a convenient and affordable option worth considering! If your condition is on the severe side, then Invisalign is sure to be a better fit for your needs.
Which Invisalign Alternative Should You Choose?
We get it: the options can be a bit overwhelming, especially when the fate of your smile is on the line. All of the companies we’ve listed are good options, so if you’re drawn to one, go for it.
That said, our favorite services are Byte and Candid. Compared to Invisalign, they both offer shorter treatment lengths and way more convenience. Byte takes the win when it comes to treatment length, with treatments wrapping up in an average of just 4 months. Candid offers a premium, hybrid treatment model that gives you expert dentist oversight with the flexibility of an at-home treatment. If you want more information about either service, check out our in-depth reviews of Byte and Candid.
I still have my wisdom teeth. Do I need them removed to start treatment?
No, if your wisdom teeth have erupted and are not causing any issues by pressing on the other teeth, you do not need to remove them. However, if they are contributing to your alignment issues or have yet to emerge, you should wait to either get them removed or let them come through the gum line.
Are there other conditions that can stop me from correcting my tooth alignment?
Yes, there are some oral health conditions that can prevent treatment, or at least force it to be delayed. These include things like missing teeth, gum disease, and active tooth decay. Certain previous dental treatments may also complicate the process. Depending on your oral health, you may need to work with a dentist or orthodontist instead of choosing mail-order aligners.
Do I need to see a dentist while using mail-order clear aligners?
We strongly suggest you visit your general dentist before starting treatment and then also go in every 6 months for a cleaning and checkup, just as you would when not straightening your teeth.
My results are just a little off from what I expected. What can I do?
Most at-home aligner companies are happy to work with you on achieving the smile you dream of. If there are small changes you’d like to see once initial treatment is finished, let them know. Chances are good that they will make a few more aligners for you to perfect your results. But of course the particular policies vary from company to company.
Why are at-home aligner treatment lengths so much shorter than Invisalign?
Mail-order aligner systems are only designed to address mild to moderate concerns with spacing. Invisalign and other treatments like it can correct these, but also very severe orthodontic concerns. This means their average treatment lengths are going to be longer. However, some at-home systems also use special features, like the HyperByte, to shorten your treatment length.
Are there foods or drinks I need to avoid while in treatment?
No. Just make sure you remove your aligners when eating or drinking anything besides plain water.
How soon will I notice a difference in my teeth?
Everyone is different, both in the way they respond to treatment and how easily they notice the smaller changes. In theory, you should notice the tiniest difference in your teeth after you finish with your first aligners.
Are online aligners safe?
We only recommend legitimate companies with strong track records and a commitment to safety. With that said, we still suggest you take your time to do your research before settling on the option for you.