Over 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 Candid offer a more convenient approach to traditional methods.
But how do Candid’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 Candid and Invisalign side by side to see how they stack up in terms of cost, treatment oversight, customer experience, 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 | Candid Wins
3 Things They Have in Common
Invisalign and Candid 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 Candid 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 Candid are safe ways to straighten your teeth. Both companies use similar technologies; Invisalign has a few add-ons that Candid doesn’t, but the basic principle of both is the same. Both companies use safe, BPA-free plastic for your aligners, and state-licensed 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 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 Candid and Invisalign:
1) Who can get treatment: One of the biggest differences between Invisalign and Candid is who can receive treatment. Candid 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 either provider. With Invisalign, 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 $3,000 and $8,000. With Candid, the price is also determined by your local Candid partnered dentist. The base price for treatment is $3,500, but your treatment could cost more. Unlike Invisalign, your Candid price won’t be based on severity, just your dentist’s fees.
3) Treatment Length: Invisalign’s average treatment time ranges from 12 to 18 months, although the toughest cases can last as long as 24 months. Treatment with Candid is considerably shorter, with their average treatments wrapping up in 6-9 months. They’re not the fastest among home aligner companies, but Candid is still pretty quick.
4) Appointment frequency: With Invisalign, you’ll need to attend in-person appointments every 4-8 weeks during your treatment. Though this offers a great deal of face time with your dentist or orthodontist, it can be a little challenging schedule-wise. With Candid, you’ll have a local dentist overseeing your treatment, but due to a sophisticated remote monitoring system, most of your treatment can happen from the comfort of your own home. But if an issue arises, you’ll be able to head back to your local dentist’s office to get back on track.
The Rundown: How Invisalign and Candid Stack Up
To say that Invisalign is the biggest clear aligner company is an understatement. They got their start in 1998 thanks to Align Technology, a dental supply manufacturer. For roughly a decade, they had a complete monopoly on the clear aligner scene. Even though plenty of competitors have popped up since then, Invisalign is still a (nearly) household name.
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 dentist or orthodontist can also add any spacers, elastics, or other attachments you may need. That technology allows Invisalign to treat more extreme cases than at-home clear aligner providers.
By comparison, Candid is much, much newer. But “newer” doesn’t mean they’re inexperienced!
Though Candid got their start as a premium at-home clear aligner service, they’ve recently made the pivot to “CandidPro,” a hybrid at-home/in-office treatment model. This new system allows Candid to offer the convenience of remote providers, but with the hands-on attention of a local dentist. Currently there are over 200 dentists offering Candid treatment, but they are expanding all the time.
|Customers served||12+ million||100,000+|
|Claim to fame||First clear aligner company||Most robust treatment oversight of any at-home clear aligner provider|
|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 $3,000-$8,000||$3,500+|
|Financing Available?||Varies office to office, may require a credit check||Varies from office to office, may require a credit check|
|Treatment Length?||12-18 months on average||6-9 months|
|Start-Up Process?||In-person appointment with your Invisalign dentist or orthodontist||In-person appointment with a Candid partnered dentist|
There are some constants across all clear aligner providers; for example, all clear aligners are made from safe, BPA free plastics. But there are some differences, too.
There are two main ways to trim the top of your aligners: straight across, or scalloped to match the gumline. Since they overlap with your gums, straight cut aligners are capable of exerting more force. Scalloped aligners are slightly less noticeable, but they aren’t as powerful; so it’s a bit of a tradeoff either way.
It may seem counter intuitive, but the most transparent clear aligners aren’t necessarily the most invisible. Since our teeth are naturally porous, a slightly frosted plastic actually better mimics the matte surface of our teeth.
Let’s take a look at the aligners you’ll be wearing when you choose Invisalign and Candid:
|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’s aligners are basically as low profile as it gets. But Candid utilizes the straight cut aligner, which can exert more force. Since Invisalign can incorporate other attachments, you’ll get a highly effective treatment when you choose either of these providers.
Invisalign’s aligners are made by Align Technology, which is the largest clear aligner supplier in the world. Candid used to partner with ClearCorrect, the second largest manufacturer, but they’ve recently shifted to manufacturing their own aligners. So far it seems like you can still expect the same great quality as you could before.
Invisalign and Candid take different approaches to your treatment oversight. Since Invisalign is a traditional, in-person treatment method, you’ll attend regular in-person appointments. Since Candid is a remote treatment option, your treatment oversight happens from the comfort of your home.
Let’s see how these approaches to treatment oversight compare:
|Frequency of check-ins||Every 4-8 weeks||Every 10-14 days|
|Check-ins via||In-person appointments throughout treatment||CandidApp|
|Treatment Length||12-18 months||6-9 months|
|Customer Support||Availability will vary from office to office||Candid support every day from 9am-7pm; plus the hours of your Candid dentist’s office|
With Invisalign, you’ll visit your orthodontist 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, they will tweak your treatment.
Treatment oversight with Candid happens primarily via their remote monitoring system: CandidMonitoring. Using your smartphone and a special imaging device, you’ll submit photos every 10-14 days for the Candid team and/or your local dentist to review. These frequent updates can help your treatment stay on track. Due to CandidMonitoring, if an issue ever arises, the Candid team or your local dentist can intervene early without causing treatment delays.
If you need anything outside of these check-ins or appointments, you’ll need to contact patient support.
With Invisalign, you’ll get in touch with the orthodontist or dentist who’s overseeing your treatment. They’ll know 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.
Candid’s patient support is two-fold. They offer traditional support methods: phone, email, and webchat, but you’ll also have your local dentist’s office to reach out to with any questions or concerns about your treatment.
With either provider, we think you’ll be in good hands in terms of support. Invisalign’s frequent in-person appointments allow for direct, hands-on care. Though Candid’s support mostly occurs remotely, having both your local dentist office as well as the full power of the Candid support team is a real plus.
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 includes a few basic costs.
We’ll take a closer look at those costs here:
|Aligner Kit||No set sticker price, average cost between $3,500-$8,000||$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||Price determined by your provider; can be between $100-$300 per retainer set||Retainer prices will be determined by the dentist overseeing your treatment|
Neither of these treatments are an all-out price gouge, but both are at the higher end of the clear aligner price spectrum. Candid will usually cost less than Invisalign, but Candid is by far the most expensive remote clear aligner treatment; due to its in-person element.
The cost and quality of your clear aligner treatment is important, but so is how you’re treated throughout the process. Let’s take a look at what you can expect when you choose Invisalign and Candid for your treatment.
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.”
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 patient likes and dislikes for both Invisalign and Candid.
|Top loves||Works for patients of all ages; comfortable and easy to wear; no changes to diet||Excellent support, helpful communication throughout the process via their app; convenient, effective treatment|
|Top complaints||Sometimes the aligners wear down fast; SmartForce attachments might loosen or pop off; expensive||Database does not work with Firefox browser; a little more discomfort than other aligners; emails can get spammy|
Candid and Invisalign are both pretty well-loved by their patients. And that’s not terribly surprising since both companies are well-established in the industry. But even the best options can experience some minor mishaps. What’s important is that these mishaps are the exceptions for both companies, not the norm.
We should mention that because the transition to CandidPro is so recent, there are virtually no reviews detailing this new hybrid treatment form. We’ll keep checking back for those, but we definitely think their overall positive reviews from their fully remote treatment should still be taken into account.
With Invisalign, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be too dissatisfied with your treatment. That’s mostly 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. 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.
Like many other clear aligner treatment options, Candid doesn’t have refunds or overarching guarantees about the results of your treatment. All of those policies are determined by the dentist administering your care.
Best Alternatives to Invisalign and Candid
Invisalign and Candid are both great companies, so if you’re drawn to either one of them, know that you’ll get excellent service. However, Invisalign and Candid aren’t the only good options.
If you’re still curious about other companies, we recommend checking out Byte. They’re our top-ranked home aligner company. They leverage excellent value with an equally good product. And their prices are much more affordable since they don’t have in-office expenses to cover. If you’re eager to see your perfect smile, you can’t beat Byte. Their average treatment length is a short 4 months. Or, if wearing aligners for 22+ hours per day isn’t a good fit for your lifestyle, Byte’s nighttime-only treatment is a convenient alternative.
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 any flashy extras or special monitoring, 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?
Let’s be clear: Invisalign and Candid 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 Invisalign and who should opt for Candid:
- Choose Candid If: You want the best of both worlds treatment: the convenience of remote treatment, with the hands-on expertise of a local dentist and the robust oversight of CandidMonitoring.
- 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’re more comfortable with fully in-person care, or your condition is too severe for home aligner treatment, Invisalign is a great option. But all things considered, we think Candid is the overall better value.
We think the convenience offered by Candid’s mostly remote treatment, plus their relative affordability over Invisalign, makes them a compelling option worth considering for clear aligner treatment.
That said, Candid isn’t the only great at-home clear aligner provider out there. If you’re interested in remote orthodontic care, be sure to compare all the top-rated providers before making a decision.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which clear aligner provider is more patient-focused?
With Invisalign, you’ll work directly with an orthodontist or dentist, getting individualized attention along the way. However, Candid’s CandidMonitoring service is the next best thing. With frequent photo updates, your local dentist and the Candid team will see your treatment progress more frequently than Invisalign. Invisalign offers more in-person appointments, but Candid’s oversight is more frequent, albeit remote.
How exactly does at-home teeth alignment work?
At-home aligner companies like Candid borrow the technology Invisalign perfected. Candid takes the scans from your initial appointment and uses 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, Candid gradually moves your teeth from their initial positions to their final destination.
Is there an age requirement for using either Invisalign or Candid?
Invisalign is unique because they have a variety of treatment methods for all ages, 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. Their traditional treatment, however, is reserved for teens and up. 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 is available in over 90 countries thanks to their provider network of more than 100,000 dentists and orthodontists. Candid, on the other hand, does not operate internationally.
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 Candid. You can also take a preliminary assessment on Candid’s website.
Will either of these clear aligners make me talk funny?
Most clear aligner users find that they are practically imperceptible to others, including during conversation. That said, some people find that they speak with a slight lisp when they’re first adjusting to their aligners. But don’t worry. 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?
Candid doesn’t usually replace a lost aligner. Often patients can simply move on to the next step in the treatment. But you should contact patient support or your dentist to know for sure. But if you choose Invisalign, 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 Candid?
You can, but you shouldn’t. Aligners from Candid 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. Retainers are durable, but they do need to be replaced about every 6 months.
Are at-home aligners as effective as in-office treatment?
In most cases, yes. Thanks to the tested technologies used by remote treatment companies like Candid, your aligners will fit your teeth as snugly 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, 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 will be.
Which is easier: at-home or in-office aligner treatment?
We think it’s a little easier to use at-home aligner treatments. That’s simply because you won’t spend so much time getting to frequent appointments. Instead, you’ll get a notification that it’s time to check in with the Candid team and/or your local dentist remotely. They might tell you that you can move on to your next aligner ahead of schedule. 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 Candid?
In most cases, yes. Candid cannot treat some conditions because they require extensive orthodontic oversight. So if Candid’s orthodontic team determines 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 requires dentist or orthodontist oversight, it’s usually a good option for people with tougher cases.