20 years ago, Invisalign became the superhero of modern orthodontics. It rescued adults everywhere from the unsightly wires & brackets of traditional braces, replacing them with smooth, clear plastic aligners.
Early on, Invisalign had a monopoly on the market, but soon after, competitors began to throw their hats in the ring. Today, at-home clear aligner brands like Byte offer a faster and more affordable treatment alternative for busy adults on a budget.
But how do Byte’s clear aligners actually compare to the industry innovator, Invisalign? That’s the question we’re here to answer.
In this comparison review, we’ll put Byte and Invisalign side by side to see how they stack up in terms of cost, treatment speed, customer friendliness, and more. By the time we’re finished, you’ll have a much clearer image of which company better lines up with your needs!
Spoiler | Byte Wins
In our opinion, Byte’s accelerated treatment times, lifetime guarantee, and superior convenience are just too good to pass up.
And even though they’re our #1-rated home aligner company, they’re not the only one out there. For example, our #2 pick, AlignerCo, is a great option if you’re looking for the most budget-friendly aligner. If you like the idea of straightening your teeth from home, we encourage you to compare all the top-rated home aligner services before making a final decision.
4 Things They Have in Common
Invisalign and Byte 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 Invisalign and Byte 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. But rest assured, both Invisalign and Byte are safe ways to straighten your teeth. Both companies use similar technologies; Invisalign has a few add-ons that Byte doesn’t, but both have the same basic principle. Both companies use safe, BPA-free plastic, and state-licensed dental professionals 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 chew 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 Byte and Invisalign 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, many insurance providers are more likely to cover in-office treatments like Invisalign than at-home ones like Byte.
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 Byte and Invisalign:
1) Who can get treatment: One of the biggest differences between Invisalign and Byte is who can receive treatment. Byte can only treat mild to moderate cases of crowding and spacing. More extensive cases—like those caused by an overbite, underbite, or misshapen jaw—must be monitored in-person by an orthodontist. Invisalign, however, can handle the full gamut of cases, from mild to severe.
2) Cost: There is no one-size-fits-all price tag for Invisalign. 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. On average, most people will spend between $3,500 and $8,000. With Byte, though, there are very few overhead costs, so your treatment will be much more affordable: $1,895, which is fairly standard among home aligner companies. As their premium option, byte’s nighttime-only treatment costs $2,295, a bit higher than their standard treatment.
3) Treatment time: The average treatment time with Invisalign ranges from 12 to 18 months. Byte is a bit faster, with their quickest times clocking in at just 3-4 months. That raw speed is thanks to their HyperByte device. Some orthodontists offer similar devices, but they cost significantly more.
4) One-on-one care: The biggest disadvantage of at-home aligner companies like Byte is that you don’t actually meet in-person with an orthodontist. Sure, an orthodontist will design your treatment plan, but you won’t have opportunities to sit down with him or her and discuss how your treatment is progressing. Invisalign, however, provides direct, in-person care from your orthodontist when you make office visits every few weeks.
5) Financing: Both Byte and Invisalign offer financing. With Byte, you’ll get it with a down payment of $349 and then $83 per month. Invisalign’s financing is a bit different, as your orthodontist’s office will arrange the details of your payment plan.
Company Track Records
To say that Invisalign is the biggest clear aligner company is an understatement. They got their start in 1997 thanks to Align Technology, a dental supply manufacturer. For roughly a decade, they had a complete monopoly on the clear aligner scene. Even though at-home aligner companies have since popped up, Invisalign is still a (nearly) household name. They partner with dentists around the world (more than 100,000 of them!), and as a result, they’ve served more than 8 million customers.
In terms of treatment, what really stands out about Invisalign is the wide variety of cases they can treat. That’s largely due to their patented Smartforce attachments. These ‘extras’ are attached to your teeth and work in conjunction with your clear aligners to create powerful, nuanced movements. Your orthodontist can also add in any spacers, elastics, or other attachments you may need. That flexibility and technology allow Invisalign to treat more extreme cases.
In comparison to Invisalign, Byte is much, much newer. They got started in 2018 as the brainchild of Dr. Marashi, who has perfected smiles for several of Hollywood’s brightest stars. He wanted to bring his celebrity-level treatment to the masses, so he partnered with some fellow smile pros and got to work.
Byte wants to make you feel like an A-lister with their Smile Science. Instead of giving you a cookie-cutter smile, Byte develops a treatment plan that will straighten your smile in the way that best complements your unique facial features. They also have the fastest treatment time of any at-home aligner company and an excellent lifetime guarantee on your treatment. So while they may be the “new kid on the block,” Byte is set to make some big waves in the orthodontics industry.
Long story short, treatment with both Byte and Invisalign will be great. By the end, you’ll have a million-dollar smile. But that’s not an entirely helpful description now, is it? What goes into your treatment is important to keep in mind.
With Invisalign, you’ll visit your orthodontist on a regular basis for routine check-ups (and sometimes, to pick up new aligners). At each appointment, your orthodontist will ensure that your teeth are shifting in a predictable manner. If anything seems off, he or she will tweak your treatment.
Byte works a bit differently. You won’t have any orthodontist appointments. In fact, all of your treatment will occur remotely. You’ll take impressions of your teeth, send them back to Byte, and Byte’s orthodontists will design a treatment plan for you. If you approve it, they’ll manufacture aligners for you. Once you finish, you’ll wear your post-treatment retainers to protect your smile.
So long story short, you’ll get orthodontic expertise with both treatment types. But if you’re hoping for orthodontist oversight throughout every step of your treatment, you’ll have to go for Invisalign.
No two smiles are created equal, so no two smiles get treated equally. That means that your treatment prognosis will be quite different from someone else’s. How long you’ll wear your aligners will largely depend on your condition’s severity and complexity. Then, of course, there’s your own wear schedule to think about; if you follow your treatment to a ‘T,’ you’ll finish faster than if you were to wear your aligners inconsistently.
That said, each company has its own speed factor. Here are the average treatment times for Invisalign and Byte:
- Invisalign: 12 to 18 months
- Byte: 3-4 months for daytime treatment, 5-6 months for nighttime treatment
We’ll dig into more detail about Byte’s nighttime treatment in a moment, but the difference is clear: Byte is much faster than Invisalign thanks to their HyperByte technology, which can potentially cut down your treatment time by half, allowing you to finish in just 3 months.
Pricing & Features
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 includes a few basic costs: the cost of starting your treatment, the cost of treatment itself, and the cost for post-treatment retainers. We’ll cover those here.
Invisalign, price varies: To kick off your Invisalign treatment, you’ll need to have an initial consultation with your dentist or orthodontist of choice. The cost of this consultation largely depends on your individual provider. Some orthodontists may offer it for free, and others will charge a nominal fee. It’s up to them.
Byte, $95: With Byte, you’ll need to purchase and complete an impression kit so your orthodontist can design your treatment plan. The kit includes putty, trays, a smile stretcher, and everything else you’ll need to complete impressions at home. They’ll even coach you through the process over video chat, if you’d like. The sticker price for this kit is $95, but Byte will frequently run sales that cut the cost.
Invisalign, $3,500-$8,000 (average): The actual cost of Invisalign largely depends on your dentist’s or orthodontist’s fees and how much treatment you need to perfect your smile. Your orthodontist or dentist will give you a full quote before beginning treatment.
Byte, $1,895 or $2,295: Once you agree to treatment, Byte will send you your full aligner kit, from Step 1 to your last aligner. They also throw in the HyperByte device (retails for $699) and a bottle of BrightByte, their whitening system. It also doubles as a breath freshener and a cleanser for your aligners. Byte At-Night includes all the same things but costs $2,295.
Invisalign, $100-300: Like everything else with Invisalign, 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, but you may end up paying more or less.
Byte, FREE: Byte includes your first set of post-treatment retainers for free with the purchase of your aligner kit. That’s a big plus, since you’ll need it to keep your newly-perfected smile in position for a lifetime. However, the retainers don’t last forever. Whenever you need a replacement (Byte recommends every six months), you can pick up another for $129.
Invisalign treatment isn’t an all-out price gouge, but it isn’t the most budget-friendly option. Byte costs less than $2,000 start to finish, making it a great option for penny-pinchers and smart shoppers alike.
No one wants to have issues with their treatment. But sometimes, life happens. An aligner could break, payment information could change, you could misplace an aligner – you get the idea. When issues arise, you’ll need to get in contact with customer support.
Technically speaking, you can contact Invisalign directly via email. But the better approach is to get in touch with the orthodontist or dentist who’s overseeing your treatment. He or she knows the ins and outs of your case, so if you need a repair, a replacement, or a modification to your treatment, your local provider is the best way to get it.
Byte, on the other hand, is completely remote. If anything goes wrong, you can contact them via email, phone, text, webchat, or even social media. Their customer support hours are from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm PST. 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.
One thing we really like about Byte is the fact that they assign a ‘Byte advisor’ to each customer. This advisor becomes your personal customer service rep, so any time you have a question or concern, you’ll talk directly with a person who already understands all the details of your case.
In general, the one-on-one care you get from your Invisalign provider leads to better customer support. That said, we think Byte’s model works really well for an at-home aligner company.
Office Visits – Are They Worth The Extra Cost?
Regular office visits are the biggest difference between in-office treatments like Invisalign and at-home ones like Byte. As part of your Invisalign 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 Invisalign 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.
Ease of Getting Started
As we’ve mentioned, there are different ways to kick off your Invisalign or Byte treatment.
The ‘trickiest’ part of starting your Invisalign treatment is finding your local Invisalign provider and booking a consultation. After that, the provider will handle all the technical aspects of taking scans, x-rays, and molds of your teeth at your appointment. You just have to show up, answer questions, and, of course, keep your mouth open when asked.
Byte’s start-up process is a tad more complicated. From the start to finish of your treatment, you never actually step foot in an office. But their orthodontists still need images and molds of your teeth to design an individualized treatment plan. That’s why you’ll need to buy an impression kit from Byte for $95 (or less during sales).
Once your kit arrives, you’ll use the included trays and putty to take molds of your teeth. Then, using the smile stretcher, you’ll take a few pictures so your orthodontist can analyze how your smile compares to your facial features and how your teeth look from different angles. After you send back the impression kit and your photos (with a prepaid shipping label), Byte can begin to develop your treatment plan.
A fair number of customers struggle to take good impressions, regardless of which at-home aligner company they use. In this category, Invisalign definitely takes a win since your dentist or orthodontist will handle the difficult parts. Byte does their best to ease the process, though; you can schedule a video chat to have one of their care assistants coach you through the steps.
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 Byte, which you can only purchase online. Your orthodontist can give a professional opinion on Invisalign, but it is still nice to hear the opinions of others who’ve used the system.
You could dig through online reviews yourself, but we know your time is valuable, so we’ve made it easy. We’ve compiled our extensive research into a brief summary of the top customer likes and dislikes for both Invisalign and Byte.
|Top loves: Teen-friendly usage; much more comfortable than braces (for customers who’ve had both); ability to eat anything||Top loves: excellent customer service (even mentioning representatives by name); visible results within a couple weeks; easy to use|
|Top complaints: Some aligners wore out too quickly; SmartForce attachments can come loose; basically as pricey as braces||Top complaints: no shipping to North Carolina; guarantee on impression kit does not apply to bite issues|
|Average score: 4.5/5||Average score: 4.7/5|
Byte and Invisalign are both pretty well-loved by their customers. And that’s not terribly surprising since Byte is our top-rated at-home service and Invisalign is the top in-office method. 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.
Refund Policies & Satisfaction Guarantees
No one wants a purchase to go wrong, and when it comes to your teeth, your satisfaction is critical.
With Invisalign, your orthodontist or dentist will be able to make small adjustments throughout the treatment 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. Some will replace a SmartForce attachment for free, some will charge you for new aligners if you lose one, and others don’t have any sort of warranty policy. You’ll have to ask your orthodontist or dentist to know for sure.
The “Byte-for-Life Guarantee”
Byte doesn’t technically have a refund policy for their aligners. You can get your money back for the impression kit, but only if it turns out that you’re not a candidate for treatment. Once you purchase the aligner kit, there’s no refund. However, Byte stands by their product with their “Byte-for-Life” guarantee.
This guarantee is essentially a lifetime warranty. If your teeth ever shift after treatment, Byte will send you new aligners to correct it. Similarly, if you reach the end of your treatment and you’re not satisfied, you can request a re-evaluation. As long as you’ve followed your prescribed treatment plan, Byte will help make it right.
Which is the Best Clear Aligner for You?
Let’s be clear: Invisalign and Byte are both good options. However, what works for one person may not be what’s best for you. Here are some general guidelines for who should choose Invisalign and who should opt for Byte:
Choose Byte If: You’re in a rush but still want quality treatment. Typically, Byte’s treatment time takes as little as three months. Byte is also an excellent choice if you need a balance of quality and good value.
Choose Invisalign 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, Invisalign is a great option. But we think that Byte, our top-rated home aligner service, is a better overall value.
Byte wins! In our opinion, Byte’s accelerated treatment times, lifetime guarantee, and superior convenience are just too good to pass up.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does either aligner kit offer discounts?
Invisalign doesn’t really offer discounts in the traditional sense. However, your individual provider may give you benefits or perks as part of your treatment. Byte occasionally offers discounts on their impression kits and their aligners, but they don’t often exceed $200. They also have year-round discount programs for students, military, and first responders.
How exactly does at-home teeth alignment work?
At-home aligner kits like the one from Byte borrow the technology Invisalign perfected. When you send in your impressions, Byte uses those molds and advanced software to create a treatment plan for you. 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, Byte gradually moves your teeth from their initial positions to their final destination.
Is there an age requirement for using either Invisalign or Byte?
Invisalign is unique because they have a variety of treatment methods, one of which is called Invisalign First. This treatment is designed specifically for patients as young as 6 years old to help correct dental issues before they become too severe. More traditional treatment is reserved for teens and up. Byte, on the other hand, only offers treatment for ages 12 and up. Minors must get parental consent prior to receiving treatment.
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 Byte’s at-home aligner treatment. You can take a preliminary assessment on Byte’s website, but their impression kit is the only way to know for sure if you are a candidate, and thankfully, there’s no risk.
If you purchase an impression kit and it turns out that you’re not a good candidate for treatment, Byte will refund you the cost of the impression kit, plus any money you prepaid for your aligners.
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 days, this feeling usually goes away.
If I lose my aligners during or after treatment, do I have to pay for new ones?
Byte will send you a replacement aligner for $129, and you’ll have to wear your most recent aligner to keep your teeth from shifting too far back until it arrives. Invisalign, 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 the policies your provider has in place.
Can I drink coffee when using Invisalign or Byte?
You can, but you shouldn’t. Aligners from Byte and Invisalign 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 company has 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; with Byte, you get the first set for free. Invisalign requires you to purchase your first set, but the cost will depend on your individual provider.
Are at-home aligners as effective as in-office treatment?
In mild or moderate cases, yes. Thanks to the tested technologies used by remote treatment companies like Byte, your aligners will match your teeth as well as they would with Invisalign. 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 aligner company for your treatment, you should be careful to follow your treatment plan extra carefully. And in 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-office aligner treatment?
Once you get past the impression kits, we think it’s a little easier to use at-home aligner treatments. That’s simply because you never have to schedule, remember, and go 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 Invisalign if I’m not a candidate for Byte?
In most cases, yes. Byte cannot treat some cases remotely because they require extensive orthodontic oversight. So if Byte’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 Invisalign has orthodontist oversight, it’s usually a better option for people with tougher cases.
Why is Invisalign so much more expensive than Byte?
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 on average, Invisalign costs $3,000+ more than Byte. That cost discrepancy comes from a lot of factors. Byte has a one-size-fits-all pricing model. Mild to moderate cases pay the same amount. With Invisalign, it’s the opposite. The more severe your case, the more you’ll spend.
In addition, Invisalign is administered in-person by a dental provider. With that comes a host of overhead costs, from the orthodontist’s salary and his or her support staff’s pay to the electricity and rental fees for the office itself. The price tag you pay on your Invisalign treatment contributes to those overhead costs. Since Byte doesn’t have those costs, it’s considerably cheaper.