Invisalign took the orthodontic world by storm when they first introduced clear aligners as a discreet alternative to braces. And they keep on innovating.
One of their more affordable offerings is Invisalign Express, a shortened version of Invisalign for minor cosmetic cases.
But is Invisalign Express right for you? That’s what we’re here to figure out! In this guide, we’ll review and rank the best alternatives to Invisalign Express so you can focus on correcting your smile.
ClearCorrect | #1
Though they might not have the same level of name recognition as Invisalign, ClearCorrect has been offering in-office clear aligner treatment since 2006. They’re the second largest clear aligner provider out there. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of ClearCorrect:
- Discreet: ClearCorrect’s clear aligners have a very low profile; it’s unlikely anyone will notice them.
- Experience: ClearCorrect has over fifteen years of experience offering clear aligner treatment; you’ll be in good hands if you choose them.
- Effective: ClearCorrect utilizes supplemental attachments to produce complex tooth shifts throughout your treatment. This means they are able to treat a broad spectrum of cases.
- Flexible: ClearCorrect offers a program called Flex, in which you only pay for the aligners you need. This can help you save some money if your condition is on the milder side.
- Cost: If your condition isn’t mild enough for the Flex program, then treatment prices can get pretty high. It varies doctor by doctor of course, but can run between $4,000-$5,000.
Six Month Smiles | #2
Six Month Smiles offers both clear aligners and ceramic braces through local partnered doctors. Six Month Smiles has been transforming smiles since 2007, so they have plenty of experience backing them up. Let’s take a closer look at their main advantages and disadvantages:
- Variety: With Six Months Smiles, you get to decide whether clear braces or clear aligners are the right fit for you.
- Short treatment lengths: Six Month Smiles isn’t bashful about their short treatment lengths — after all, it’s in the company’s name. Though 6 months is their most common treatment length, their full range is 4-9 months.
- Discreet: Clear braces and clear aligners are both very low profile treatment options. Clear aligners are a bit more disguised than clear braces, but neither are very noticeable.
- Cost: Six Month Smiles typically costs between $3,500-$5,000, which can be a pretty daunting price tag for most people.
- Treatable conditions: The clear aligners from Six Month Smiles can’t treat the same complex conditions as other brands because they don’t use supplemental attachments.
At-Home Clear Aligners
At-home clear aligners have taken the technology that Invisalign created and they’ve adapted it for remote care. These treatments are intriguing, but are they right 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 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 price range for at-home aligner treatments is $1,145-$2,400, with most hovering around the $1,900 mark.
- 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 like you would with Invisalign Express treatment. Remote oversight is usually much easier to incorporate into a busy schedule.
- 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 doesn’t offer an option like this.
- Short treatment lengths: At-home clear aligner treatments usually wrap up in just 6-9 months. These treatments can take a bit longer than Invisalign Express, but are much faster than other in-office options.
- 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 Express may be a better fit for you.
- Insurance coverage: Although some insurance companies contribute to at-home clear aligner treatments, it’s more likely that you’ll receive coverage for an in-office option like Invisalign Express.
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 changed the game 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 alternative to Invisalign Express.
Here’s what you need to know about how these companies stack up against each other:
|Price: Byte costs just $1,895 for daytime treatment, and $2,295 for nighttime treatment.||Price: Invisalign Express varies in price. The average range we’ve seen is $1,500 to $4,000. Your price will depend on how many aligners you need (5, 7, or 10) and your doctor’s fees.|
|Treatment length: Byte’s average treatment lasts 4 months for daytime treatment, and 5 months for nighttime only treatment.||Treatment length: Typically Invisalign Express treatment lasts between 3 to 6 months.|
|Financing: Byte’s all-day treatment payment plan requires a down payment of $249 and then a monthly payment of $82, and everyone qualifies for their financing.||Financing: Invisalign Express’s financing varies, but it’s available through your local provider. You may need to pass a credit check to qualify.|
|Daily wear: With Byte you can choose between wearing your aligners for 22 hours a day for all day treatment, or 10 hours a night for nighttime only treatment.||Daily wear: With Invisalign Express, you have to wear your aligners all the time (22+ hours per day).|
|Treatable cases: Byte is able to treat mild to moderate cases of crowding and spacing.||Treatable cases: In-person care and supplementary attachments might allow Invisalign Express to correct slightly complicated conditions than Byte; but it’s best suited for mild to moderate crowding and spacing.|
|Ease of getting started: With Byte, you’ll kickstart treatment with an at-home impression kit. These can be a touch tricky, but Byte offers free video calls to help you through it.||Ease of getting started: Your orthodontist will handle all the details of starting your Invisalign Express treatment.|
|Customer Service: Byte provides each customer with a personal Byte advisor, who you can consult remotely.||Customer Service: Any questions or concerns you have about your Invisalign Express treatment should be directed to your provider’s office.|
Byte is our #1 favorite at-home aligner company. That said, Invisalign Express is an excellent option, too. If you prefer having direct contact with your orthodontist throughout treatment, then Express is the way to go.
You won’t get extensive, in-person oversight with Byte, but they still have an excellent treatment regimen. And if you’re in a rush to see your smile perfected, then look no further than Byte.
Candid | #2
Invisalign Express’s primary advantage over at-home aligners is the fact that an orthodontist (or dentist) will oversee your treatment every step of the way. Your provider can change your treatment on the fly, replace broken aligners, and more. Most at-home aligner companies don’t really have this adaptability since you never see your dentist in person. Candid is somewhat of an exception to this rule.
Candid got its start as a fully remote clear aligner provider, but they’ve recently pivoted to offering “Candid Pro,” a hybrid at-home/in-office treatment. This treatment model strikes a balance between the robust oversight of in-office options, and the convenience of at-home treatment. Your treatment is administered by a local dentist in the Candid network, and overseen remotely via the CandidMonitoring system.
That said, treatment oversight is just one factor to consider. Here are several other important ways Candid and Invisalign Express compare:
|Price: Candid doesn’t have one set sticker price, but you will pay at least $3,500. Your exact price will be determined by your dentist.||Price: Invisalign Express, has an average range of $1,500 to $4,000. Your price will depend on how many aligners you need (5, 7, or 10) and how your doctor sets their prices.|
|Treatment length: Candid’s average treatment lasts between 6-9 months, but if you respond well to treatment, your dentist may tell you to move on to the next one a little sooner, cutting off a few weeks.||Treatment length: The average Invisalign Express treatment ranges between 3 to 6 months.|
|Financing: Candid doesn’t have one overarching financing plan. The local dentist overseeing your treatment will determine the details of your financing.||Financing: The particulars of your Invisalign Express financing options will vary from office to office.|
|Ease of getting started: Your treatment begins with a local dentist in the Candid network. Candid has partnered with over 200 dentists. But unfortunately this means not everyone will be able to choose Candid — due to location.||Ease of getting started: With Invisalign Express, your orthodontist will handle all the details of starting your treatment.|
|Treatable cases: Candid is capable of correcting mild to moderate crowding and spacing.||Treatable cases: Invisalign Express might be capable of treating a slightly wider scope of conditions thanks to in-person care and SmartForce attachments. However it’s best suited for mild to moderate crowding and spacing.|
Candid is our #2 ranked home aligner provider for a reason. If you want to work with a company that strikes a nice balance between the convenience of at-home treatment and hands-on dentist oversight, then Candid is probably a great choice. In some cases, though — especially if your misalignment is minor — Invisalign Express may be the faster option.
AlignerCo | #3
One of the biggest advantages Invisalign Express has over traditional Invisalign is its price. And that makes sense because Invisalign Express needs fewer aligners and office visits.
That said, Invisalign Express is not the most affordable method on the market; that honor goes to AlignerCo. Still, when choosing between Invisalign Express and AlignerCo, there’s more to keep in mind. Here are other ways these two compare:
|Price: AlignerCo’s sticker price is a very affordable $1,145 for daytime treatment and $1,345 for nighttime treatment.||Price: The price of Invisalign Express varies depending on how many aligners you need (5, 7, or 10) and your provider’s fees. The average price for Invisalign Express Ranges between $1,500 to $4,000.|
|Financing: AlignerCo has two different payment plans. One requires a down payment, and the other requires a credit check. Either way, you’ll be eligible for monthly payments starting at $95 per month.||Financing: With Invisalign Express, the specifics are up to your doctor, and you may need to pass a credit check.|
|Treatment length: AlignerCo tends to be a touch slower than their competitors — most treatments take 6 to 11 months (8 to 12 months for nighttime treatment).||Treatment length: The average Invisalign Express treatment ranges from 3 to 6 months.|
|Ease of getting started: You can kickstart your AlignerCo treatment with an at-home impression kit. These can be tricky, but AlignerCo does their best to help with video support sessions.||Ease of getting started: Your dentist or orthodontist will handle the entire Invisalign Express startup process.|
|Treatable cases: AlignerCo can treat mild to moderate cases of crowding and spacing.||Treatable cases: In-person care and SmartForce attachments might allow Invisalign Express to correct slightly more complicated conditions, but this option is best equipped to treat mild to moderate crowding and spacing.|
|Wear requirements: AlignerCo offers both daytime and nighttime treatments. You can choose between 22, or 10 hours of daily wear.||Wear requirements: With Invisalign Express, you’ll have to wear your aligners for 22 hours a day.|
If you need a budget-friendly option and you don’t mind waiting slightly longer to see your perfect smile, then AlignerCo could be the better choice for you. It’s hard to argue with their low price tag. But Invisalign Express has its own perks: they’re quick, and their quality is high. Not to mention they’re the most well-established aligner creators in the industry.
Smile Direct Club | #4
Smile Direct Club and Invisalign Express are basically distant cousins. Invisalign invented clear aligners, but Smile Direct Club was the first company to sell them directly to the consumer. And for a while, Invisalign actually produced Smile Direct Club’s aligners. Smile Direct Club and Invisalign Express were equal quality, aligner for aligner. The only real difference was that Invisalign Express was administered in-person at an orthodontist’s office.
The partnership doesn’t exist anymore, so there are now a few differences between the two companies. Here’s how Smile Direct Club and Invisalign Express compare:
|Smile Direct Club:||Invisalign Express:|
|Price: Smile Direct Club costs $2,050, regardless of how many aligners you need. Their nighttime only treatment is the same price.||Price: Invisalign Express has no set price. The average range we’ve seen is $1,500 to $4,000. How much you pay depends on how many aligners you need and your provider’s fees.|
|Financing: Smile Direct Club’s financing requires a down payment of $250 and then a monthly payment of $89 for 26 months.||Financing: Invisalign Express’s financing varies, but it’s available through your local provider. You may need to pass a credit check.|
|Treatment length: Smile Direct Club’s average treatment times clock in at 6 months for daytime treatment and 10 months for nighttime treatment.||Treatment length: The average Invisalign Express treatment ranges between 3 to 6 months.|
|Daily wear: With Smile Direct, you’ll have the choice between all day treatment (22+ hours) or nighttime only (10 hours) treatment. Everyone is approved.||Daily wear: With Invisalign Express, you’ll wear your aligners for 22 hours a day.|
|Treatable cases: Smile Direct Club can correct mild or moderate crowding and spacing.||Treatable cases: Invisalign Express might be capable of treating a slightly wider scope of conditions thanks to in-person care and SmartForce attachments, but they’re best suited for correcting mild to moderate crowding and spacing.|
|Ease of getting started: Smile Direct Club gives you two options to begin your treatment: you can take impressions on your own, or get an in-person scan at their Smile Shops.||Ease of getting started: You’ll begin your Invisalign Express appointment at an in-person appointment with your orthodontist.|
In the past, we might have said that Smile Direct Club and Invisalign Express were pretty much on an equal playing field aside from their price points. That was largely due to their partnership. But with that partnership gone, it’s difficult to say how the two compare.
We’ll let you decide which is better for you. It largely depends on your personal case. If your case is really minor, then Invisalign Express is probably cheaper and can offer a shorter treatment length. But if you’d need 10 aligners from Invisalign Express, then Smile Direct Club would likely be cheaper. And if you want to wear your aligners at night only, then Smile Direct Club is the way to go.
Which Invisalign Express 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, and we love them for different reasons. Byte has short treatment lengths, and their Byte-for-Life guarantee means your smile is covered for life. Candid wins our #2 pick because of their premium treatment incorporating in-person care and robust remote monitoring. If you’d like to know more about these companies, check out our in-depth reviews of Byte and Candid.
What are clear aligners made from?
This can vary between companies. However, all should use BPA-free medical-grade plastic, including Invisalign Express.
How do I know if at-home aligners or Invisalign Express are right for me?
With all of the treatments in this article, you cannot address anything other than mild to moderate crowding and spacing issues. If your orthodontic concerns are more significant, speak with an orthodontist.
Will my teeth hurt during treatment?
Most people experience sensitivity with each new aligner, and this typically lasts just a few hours. The first aligner tends to cause the most sensitivity just because the sensation is new for the teeth.
Do I need to see a dentist or orthodontist while in treatment?
With Invisalign Express, yes. For at-home aligners, you don’t need to see a dentist in person aside from your usual twice-a-year checkups and cleanings. With Candid, you likely won’t need to return for an in-office appointment after your initial consultation unless an issue arises.
What do I do to keep my smile straight after treatment?
You will need to wear retainers. Most at-home aligner companies offer these to you, either as part of the treatment price or for extra. However, you can also choose to use a Hawley retainer or a fixed retainer.
Can I use my insurance to pay for treatment?
If you have a dental plan with orthodontic coverage, it might. Some providers are hesitant to cover teledentistry, but most are becoming more open to it. As with any treatment, we suggest that you contact your insurance provider to find out what they do and do not cover.
Can FSA or HSA funds be applied to orthodontic treatment?
Yes, but not if it is strictly cosmetic. Be sure to talk to your administrator in advance to better understand the limitations.
Why are at-home aligners and Invisalign Express cheaper than regular Invisalign?
Both are cheaper because they require fewer aligners. Additionally, Invisalign Express requires fewer office visits and at-home aligners need none.
Why are these treatment times shorter than braces?
Primarily, it is because they treat more minor conditions and switching the aligners is done more frequently than braces are adjusted. However, Byte uses the HyperByte to speed up tooth movement even more.