More than two decades ago, Invisalign revolutionized modern orthodontics. It gave patients everywhere the chance to replace traditional braces with smooth, clear, plastic aligners that are essentially invisible when worn.
For a while, Invisalign was the only clear aligner company on the market, but it wasn’t long before they had some competition.
Then, teledentistry hit the scene. Now, at-home clear aligner brands like Candid offer a convenient and more affordable treatment alternative for busy adults on a budget. Of course, Invisalign has made moves to adapt to this new competition—they now offer Invisalign Express.
But how do Candid’s clear aligners stack up against the industry innovator’s fastest option, Invisalign Express? That’s the question we’re aiming to answer.
In this comparison review, we’ll put Candid and Invisalign Express side by side to see how they compare in terms of price, oversight, patient support, and more. By the time we’re finished, you’ll know which option best meets your needs!
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 Because of this recent change, some of the content on this page may be out of date.
Spoiler | Candid Wins
4 Things They Have in Common
Invisalign Express and Candid have very different business models, but their products are pretty similar. Here are a few things they have in common:
- Discreet: Both Invisalign Express and Candid are known for their near invisibility. Swap metal for clear plastic and that’s an obvious feature. Some patients have a slight lisp when they first start wearing the aligners, but most adjust quickly. In general, other people rarely (if ever) realize the aligners are there.
- Safe: Your smile is a central feature, so you want a treatment that is safe. No worries here; both Invisalign Express and Candid are safe methods of straightening your teeth. Their underlying technologies are similar and although Invisalign Express offers add-ons Candid can’t, the basic principle is the same. Both companies use safe, BPA-free plastic in their aligners and dental professionals to design your treatment.
- Convenient: Braces are infamous for requiring lifestyle changes, from avoiding certain foods to relearning how to brush and floss. Clear aligners reduce or even eliminate these issues. Just remove your aligners every time you eat or drink (excluding water). And cleaning your teeth is just as easy. Pop out your aligners to brush and floss, then reinsert them.
- Insurance Coverage: Insurance companies frequently cover both Invisalign Express and Candid. If your dental plan offers orthodontic benefits, contact your insurance company to see which treatments they cover and how robust that coverage is.
4 Ways They Differ
This comparison review wouldn’t be very valuable if we didn’t point out the key differences. Here are a few ways Candid and Invisalign Express diverge:
- Who can get treatment: An important distinction between Invisalign Express and Candid is who can receive treatment. Candid is only for mild to moderate crowding and spacing. More severe cases—such as overbite, underbite, or jaw problems—must be treated in-person. Invisalign Express isn’t meant for extreme cases either, but it can do a bit more than Candid thanks to their SmartForce attachments.
- Cost: Invisalign express doesn’t have a set cost. What you pay depends on your orthodontist’s fees and how many aligners are needed. As a general rule, the more complicated the tooth shifts, the more treatment will cost. For most patients, treatment costs between $1,500 and $4,000. Candid’s price is determined by the dentist administering your treatment. You will pay at least $3,500, but it can also be more than that depending on your dentist’s fees and location.
- One-on-one care: The biggest concern with at-home aligner companies is that you don’t actually see an orthodontist in person. With Invisalign Express, you’ll visit your orthodontist in person several times during your treatment. Candid’s treatment is administered by a Candid partnered dentist, and overseen remotely via the CandidMonitoring program. If any issues occur during your treatment, you can return to your local dentist to course correct. It’s not likely, but it’s nice to know you have a local option if the need arises.
- Financing: You can get financing for both Candid and Invisalign Express. The terms for Invisalign Express vary by provider; talk with your doctor to know what your options are. Similarly, Candid’s financing will vary from dentist to dentist. Be sure to ask about financing options during your initial consultation.
The Rundown: How Invisalign Express and Candid Stack Up
Invisalign is easily the most established clear aligner company. They were founded in 1997 by Align Technology, a dental supply manufacturer, then hit the market in 1998. For nearly 10 years, they were the only large company offering clear aligner technology. Even though in-person and at-home aligner companies have since arrived, Invisalign remains the big fish in the industry. They partner with more than 100,000 doctors worldwide, and have straightened over 12 million smiles.
In terms of their results, Invisalign stands out because of the wide variety of cases they can treat. Their complete system can correct nearly all orthodontic concerns thanks to their patented SmartForce attachments and the elastics and expanders that your orthodontist can add. Invisalign Express doesn’t use elastics and expanders, but they are compatible with certain SmartForce attachments.
By comparison, Candid is much, much newer. But “newer” doesn’t mean they’re inexperienced! In fact, since their inception in 2017, Candid has served over 100,000 patients. Though Candid got its start as a premium, fully remote clear aligner service, they’ve recently pivoted to “CandidPro,” a hybrid at-home/in-office treatment option. Your treatment is administered by a local dentist in the Candid network, and overseen with the CandidMonitoring system (more on that in a minute).
|Customers served||Customers served 12+ million||100,000+|
|Claim to fame||First clear aligner company||Most robust remote treatment oversight|
|No food restrictions?||✓||✓|
|No office visits?|
|Covered by insurance (with orthodontic benefits)?||✓||In some cases|
|Personalized customer service?||✓||✓|
|Price Tag?||Varies, most people pay between $1,500-$4,000||$3,500+|
|Financing Available?||Varies office to office||Varies from office to office|
|Treatment Length?||3-6 months||6-9 months|
|Start-Up Process?||In-person appointment with your Invisalign dentist or orthodontist||In-person appointment with a Candid partnered dentist|
Like what you see so far? We’re just getting started! Let’s dig into the details of each of these providers.
At first glance it may seem like all clear aligners are identical. After all, every clear aligner we review is made from safe, BPA free plastic, and gradually moves your teeth into alignment. There are plenty of similarities across providers, but there are a few differences worth noting, too.
There are two main ways to trim an aligner: straight across, or scalloped to match the gumline. Each cut has its pros and cons. For example, straight cut aligners overlap with the gums, which helps them to exert more force. However, that same overlap makes straight cut aligners a little more noticable. Scalloped aligners are a little more discreet looking, but just not quite as forceful. It’s a bit of a tradeoff either way, but we tend to prefer the straight cut because of its power.
Some providers make their aligners out of highly transparent plastic, while others opt for plastic with a slightly frosted appearance. This might sound a little counter intuitive, but the frosted plastic is actually less noticeable than the ultra clear plastic. Our teeth have a porous surface, so a matte looking aligner better blends in with our natural smile.
Let’s see what choices these providers are making with their clear aligners:
|Materials||BPA free plastic||BPA free, tri-layer Zendura thermoplastic|
|Aligner Cut||Scalloped, to match gumline||Straight cut|
|Aligner Transparency||Slightly frosted plastic||Slightly frosted plastic|
Invisalign literally invented this technology; so you can be sure your Express aligners are top-notch. Align Technology is the biggest clear aligner manufacturer out there; they bring with them high quality aligners and a great deal of expertise.
Candid used to have their aligners made by ClearCorrect (the second largest clear aligner manufacturer), but have shifted to making their own aligners in-house. So far this change doesn’t seem to have affected their product; you can still expect the same high quality from Candid.
All things considered, Invisalign Express and Candid make pretty similar choices across the board with their aligners, and both aligners will offer a discreet treatment. Since Invisalign Express can incorporate SmartForce attachments, their scalloped aligner doesn’t have such an impact on their effectiveness.
Both Invisalign and Candid keep an eye on your treatment, but they each go about this in their own particular way. Let’s dive into the particular approaches each of these providers take to oversee your clear aligner treatment:
|Frequency of check-ins||Every 4-8 weeks||Every 10-14 days|
|Check-ins via||In-person appointments||CandidMonitoring System|
|Treatment Length||3-6 months||6-9 months|
|Customer Support||Varies from office to office||Candid support every day from 9am-7pm; plus the hours of your Candid dentist’s office|
With Invisalign Express, you’ll have routine check-ups that track your progress and allow for adjustments to the treatment plan if needed. This hands-on care is excellent, but frequent appointments can be difficult for busy adults to fit into their schedules.
Candid’s hybrid treatment process works a bit differently. You’ll kickstart your treatment at an appointment with a dentist in the Candid network. They’ll take your scans and X-rays and collaborate with the Candid team to build a treatment plan just for you. Most of your treatment will occur remotely, with sophisticated oversight due to the CandidMonitoring system.
Using a special imaging device that connects to your phone, you’ll take photos of your teeth every 10-14 days for the Candid team and/or your dentist to review. This keeps your treatment on track and can even reduce your overall treatment length. Most of your treatment will happen from the comfort of your own home. But you have the peace of mind that if any treatment hiccups occur, you can always go back to your local dentist.
Aside from these appointments or check-ins, if you need anything you can reach out to customer support.
While you can contact Invisalign directly via email, it’s better to get in touch with your orthodontist or dentist. They’ll better understand your issues and have the resources to offer quick help, so if you need a replacement aligner or modification to your treatment, your local provider is the best way to get it.
Thanks to the hybrid nature of Candid’s treatment, your support is two-fold. Candid offers traditional support methods: phone, email, and webchat. Their customer support hours are from 9:00 am to 7:00, even on weekends. If you contact them through social media, you should get a response within 24 hours. The more traditional channels are usually a touch faster; a phone call, for example, will get you an almost immediate response. Your dentist’s hours will vary, but it’s nice knowing you have support from all sides with Candid.
Invisalign Express is a three-level system. You’ll purchase a set of 5, 7, or 10 aligners based on how much correction you need. The 5-aligner sets will take the least amount of time while the 10-aligner set will have you in treatment for twice as long.
With Candid, it’s hard to know exactly how long your treatment will take. The CandidMonitoring service allows Candid to potentially shorten your treatment. If your teeth respond well to treatment, the Candid team may tell you to move on to your next aligner a few days early. For average cases, Invisalign Express and Candid offer roughly the same treatment lengths.
In general, the one-on-one care you get from your Invisalign Express provider leads to highly personalized customer support. That said, it’s hard to argue with Candid’s two-pronged patient support.
Bang For Your Buck
It shouldn’t cost you a million bucks to achieve a stunning smile. The overall price tag matters, and you need to consider what your money gets you. Let’s take a look at what these providers will set you back from start to finish.
|Startup Costs||Varies from provider to provider, some offer free consultations||Free|
|Aligner Kit||Typically between $1,500-$4,000||$3,500+|
|Financing||Varies depending on your doctor, may require a credit check||Varies office to office, but most dentists will have some kind of payment plan available; though it may require a credit check|
|Insurance||Varies, but generally more insurance companies offer coverage for in-office treatments like Invisalign||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.|
|Post-Treatment||Aftercare retainers priced by the doctor overseeing your treatment, they can fall between $100-$300 per set||Retainer prices will be determined by the dentist overseeing your treatment|
You’ll kick off Invisalign Express treatment with an initial consultation. The cost of this step is set by your individual provider. Some orthodontists may offer it for free, and others will charge. It’s up to them.
To get started with Candid, you’ll need to schedule a complimentary appointment with one of the 200+ local dentists in their network. They’ll take intraoral scans, photos, and X-rays, and talk with you about your treatment goals. Using this information they’ll collaborate with Candid’s orthodontic team to build your treatment plan.
The sticker price for Invisalign Express varies based on your dentist’s or orthodontist’s fees and how many aligners you need to perfect your smile. The price typically ranges between $1,500-$4,000, but your provider should give you an accurate quote before starting treatment.
The dentist administering your Candid treatment will determine the cost. It will be at least $3,500, but it can be more depending on your dentist’s fees and your location. This price will include all the aligners you need, any office visits, the CandidMonitoring system and a bottle of whitening foam.
We might sound like a broken record at this point, but with Invisalign Express, your cost for post-treatment retainers will largely depend on what your orthodontist or dentist charges. The average prices we’ve seen are between $100-300 per set. The same goes for Candid—the cost of your retainers will be set by your dentist.
Retainers are durable, but they don’t last forever. You’ll need to replace your aftercare retainers every 6 months or so.
The prices for each of these treatments can vary, so it can be tough to know which will be easier on your wallet. If your condition is very mild, Invisalign Express may be less expensive, since they price treatments per aligner. Candid is likely the more expensive option in some cases, but you get the added benefit of the CandidMonitoring system, saving your schedule from being filled with frequent appointments.
Cost and quality are important in treatment of course, but so is how you’re treated throughout the process. Let’s see what you can expect as a customer when you choose Invisalign Express and Candid for your clear aligner treatment.
In the era of online shopping, savvy shoppers know to read online reviews before buying. This is extra important with any product related to your health.
Sifting through online reviews takes a lot of effort, and we know your time is limited, so we’ve made it easy. After extensive research, we’ve summarized the top customer likes and dislikes for both Invisalign and Candid. (A quick note, though: most of the Invisalign related reviews are for the complete system, but the products are inherently the same, so it’s still worth noting here).
|Top loves: Offers a system specifically for teens; superior comfort; ability to eat anything||Top loves: Excellent patient support, CandidMonitoring keeps things on track; convenient, effective treatment|
|Top complaints: Aligners can wear down fast; SmartForce attachments come loose sometimes||Top complaints: Requests for refinements are a hassle; a little more discomfort than other aligners; emails can get spammy|
|Average score: 4.5/5||Average score: 4.2|
Candid and Invisalign are both pretty well-loved by their customers. And that’s not terribly surprising, since Candid has a great method of interacting with their patients regularly. Even the best options, however, can experience minor mishaps. What’s important is that these mishaps are the exceptions for both companies, not the norm.
We should mention that because Candid’s pivot to CandidPro is so new, there are virtually no reviews detailing this particular aspect of their treatment. However, we believe the reviews they amassed as a fully remote provider should still be taken into account.
You never want a major purchase to go sideways, but when it involves your smile, satisfaction is even more important.
The guarantees available for your Invisalign Express treatment vary across providers. Some may replace a lost aligner, others might repair a SmartForce attachment for free, and others may have specific policies in place about your results. It all varies, so be sure to clarify the terms before you start your treatment.
Like other in-office treatment options, Candid doesn’t have refunds or overarching guarantees about your treatment. All of those policies are determined by the dentist administering your care. Be sure to inquire about any details you’re curious about at your consultation.
Teeth are usually pretty obedient, but sometimes they get a little stubborn; requiring extra aligners. These extra aligners are called refinements.
With Invisalign Express, it’s unusual to be very dissatisfied with treatment. This is because your orthodontist or dentist can make small adjustments throughout the process. If there are any problems, your doctor can spot them before they get big, keeping your treatment on track and ensuring your satisfaction.
Candid treatment doesn’t have a company wide refinement policy, either. Your refinement situation will be determined by your Candid partnered dentist. However, it’s comforting to know that if you did need refinements, you’d have your Candid dentist to return to—which might make this process simpler.
Best Alternatives to Invisalign Express and Candid?
Invisalign Express and Candid are both great companies offering effective treatment, so if you’re drawn to either one, know that you can trust in them. However, Invisalign and Candid aren’t the only companies you should consider.
If you’re not set on a company just yet, we recommend checking out Byte. They’re our number-one at-home clear aligner company. They combine excellent value with an equally good product, and they’re significantly cheaper than Candid. If you’re eager to see your perfect smile, you can’t beat Byte. Most patients wrap up treatment in just 4 months. And, if wearing aligners for 22+ hours per day isn’t your thing, Byte’s nighttime-only treatment lets you wear them for just 10 continuous hours a day.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for the most affordable option, check out AlignerCo. At just $1,145, they’re the most budget-friendly method and among our top rated aligners. You won’t get as many flashy extras, but you will get the smile of your dreams at a fraction of the cost. They also offer nighttime treatment, but it doesn’t cost as much as Byte’s. AlignerCo’s NightOnly program will run you $1,345.
Which Is the Best Clear Aligner for You?
Invisalign Express and Candid are both excellent treatments. However, one should be better suited to you than the other. So, when should you choose Invisalign and when should you opt for Candid?
- Choose Candid If: You want the robust oversight of an in-office treatment with all the convenience of at-home options.
- Choose Invisalign Express If: Your case is pretty minor and you want a professional to handle your treatment in-person.
In the end, Candid and Invisalign Express are pretty similar systems. The biggest difference between the two is convenience. We give the nod to Candid because they’ve managed to provide a ‘best of both worlds’ treatment option; plenty of oversight without a bunch of appointments filling up your schedule.
Final Verdict | Candid Wins!
Our opinion? Candid’s CandidMonitoring and excellent patient support make them an attractive option for almost any adult seeking straighter teeth.
That said, clear aligner treatment is a big purchase, and we understand if you still want to weigh your options. If you’re interested in remote orthodontic care, be sure to compare all the top-rated providers before making a decision.
Common Questions About Invisalign Express and Candid
Does either provider offer discounts?
Invisalign Express does not offer discounts as a company. However, your individual provider might. Similarly, any Candid discounts will be determined by the dentist administering your treatment since they’re the ones setting your price.
Which clear aligner is more patient focused?
Given that Invisalign Express gives you direct contact with a dental professional on a somewhat regular basis, we’d say it is more customer focused. However, Candid’s hybrid treatment gives you face time with a dentist but also frequent remote oversight thanks to the CandidMonitoring system.
How exactly does at-home teeth alignment work?
The same way in-office clear aligners do! The shape of the aligners determines where pressure is placed. Each new aligner changes shape, and this keeps the teeth steadily moving until they reach their final positions.
Is there an age requirement for using either Invisalign Express or Candid?
Invisalign Express is cleared for use by teens and adults. Candid, on the other hand, will treat anyone age 16 and up provided all of their baby teeth are gone. Both companies must receive parental consent before treating a minor.
Can I use Invisalign or Candid if I live outside the USA?
Invisalign Express is available wherever Invisalign is approved; which is over 90 countries. Candid, on the other hand, is only available in the United States.
How do I know whether at-home or in-office treatment is right for me?
In-office treatment is pretty much always an option. At-home treatment is only viable when addressing mild to moderate cosmetic issues. If you are uncertain how significant your corrections are, you can take a preliminary assessment on Candid’s website or book a free consultation with a Candid dentist.
Will either of these clear aligners make me talk funny?
When you first start wearing aligners, they make your teeth feel thicker than what you are used to, and this can result in a lisp. However, this only lasts a few days to a few weeks before your tongue adjusts to the presence of the aligners.
If I lose my aligners during or after treatment, do I have to pay for new ones?
Candid doesn’t replace lost aligners. Instead, you’ll just wear your previous aligner until it’s time to move on to the next step. Invisalign Express, however, depends on your doctor’s policies.
Can I drink coffee when using Invisalign Express or Candid?
You can, but you shouldn’t until you take out the aligners. While Candid and Invisalign Express are fairly resilient, coffee is good at staining. Drinking any beverage besides water with your aligners in puts you at the risk of discoloring them.
Are there any hidden costs?
Not really. You might need to pay for replacement aligners if you lose or damage them, but that’s an added expense that you can prevent. You will also need to purchase post-treatment retainers, and replace them every 6 months or so.
Are at-home aligners as effective as in-office treatment?
In most cases, yes. Your aligners should match your teeth as well as they would with Invisalign Express. So long as you follow your treatment instructions, you should get the same final result as you would with in-office aligners.
Which is easier: at-home or in-office aligner treatment?
At-home aligner treatments are a little easier. That’s because your schedule isn’t flooded with appointments. With Candid, you just do remote check-ins every 10-14 days, and only return to your dentist’s office when absolutely necessary.
Can I still use Invisalign Express if I’m not a candidate for Candid?
In some cases, yes. Both Invisalign Express and Candid are mostly limited to minor cosmetic cases. Invisalign Express can incorporate SmartForce attachments, allowing for more nuanced movements. So a case that’s slightly beyond what Candid can treat might be suited to Invisalign Express.
Why is Invisalign Express sometimes more expensive and sometimes less expensive than Candid?
Both treatments vary in price. With Candid, your price depends on your location and your doctor’s fees. Those factors also contribute to your Invisalign Express cost, but so does the severity of your condition. So if your condition is very mild, you’ll probably spend less with Invisalign Express than Candid.