If you’re looking for discreet orthodontic treatments, then you’re in luck: there are more options than ever!
Gone are the days where you had to get traditional braces. Nowadays you can choose between a wide array of options. Six Month Smiles strikes a nice balance because they offer both clear aligners and clear braces. But is Six Month Smiles the right treatment option for you?
That’s what we’re here to find out. In this guide, we’ll review and rank the best alternatives to Six Month Smiles, so that you can confidently choose the one best suited to meet your unique needs.
Invisalign | #1
Invisalign was the first company to offer clear aligner treatment. Plenty of other providers have since thrown their hats in the ring, but Invisalign has remained a powerhouse. For good reason, too; they’re the biggest clear aligner company you’ll find. Let’s take a look at some of the main advantages and disadvantages of this treatment option.
- Discreet: Aesthetics are part of the reason Invisalign has been such a massive hit. Invisalign’s clear aligners are practically invisible.
- Experienced: Invisalign has been around for more than two decades and has treated over 12 million people worldwide. There’s no doubt they’ve encountered a case like yours. They literally invented this technology, so you’ll be in good hands if you choose Invisalign.
- Comfort: Clear aligners have smooth surfaces that won’t dig into your lips and cheeks. Unfortunately we can’t say the same for braces, since the brackets tend to cause some abrasion and discomfort.
- Effective: Invisalign includes supplementary attachments that assist in complicated tooth shifts. Their SmartForce attachments are small, tooth colored buttons that your doctor will attach to the teeth to create additional pressure. These attachments are part of the reason that Invisalign can treat almost all of the same cases that braces can.
- No food restrictions: Unlike braces, there are no food restrictions with Invisalign. You won’t need to tearfully abstain from corn on the cob — simply remove your aligners when consuming anything besides water, then brush your teeth and clean your aligners before putting them back in place.
- Cost: Invisalign’s cost ranges between $3,000-$8,000. So if you’re seeking alternatives to clear braces because of their cost, then Invisalign may not be the right fit.
ClearCorrect | #2
Though not quite as well known as Invisalign, ClearCorrect has been giving quality in-office clear aligner treatments since 2006. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of this treatment option:
- Discreet: ClearCorrect’s clear aligners have a significantly lower profile than braces. Many people don’t even notice when someone is wearing them.
- Experience: ClearCorrect has over fifteen years of experience offering clear aligner treatment. They’re the second largest clear aligner provider; they know what they’re talking about.
- Comfort: There’s no getting around the fact that clear aligners are much more comfortable than braces. These smooth plastic clear aligners won’t cause the abrasion and discomfort that braces will.
- Effective: ClearCorrect utilizes supplemental attachments to produce complex tooth shifts throughout your treatment. This means they’re able to treat a broad spectrum of cases.
- No food restrictions: Unlike clear braces, clear aligners don’t have any food restrictions. You won’t need to break your caramel habit — just take out your aligners when consuming anything other than water, then brush your teeth and clean your aligners before wearing them again.
- Cost: It varies doctor by doctor, but ClearCorrect can cost between $4,000-$5,000. So if affordability is top of mind for you, this may not be the right match.
At-Home Clear Aligners
At-home clear aligners have taken the technology that Invisalign created, and adapted it for remote care. These treatments make orthodontia much more accessible, but are they the right match for you? Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of at-home clear aligner treatment:
- Discreet: Clear aligners provide a low profile treatment — they’re practically invisible.
- 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 aligners is around $1,900 — which is thousands less than Six Month Smiles.
- 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 clear braces treatment. It’s usually much easier to incorporate remote treatment 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 requires only 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.
- Short treatment lengths: At-home clear aligner treatments usually wrap up in about 6-9 months.
- No food restrictions: Unlike clear braces, at-home clear aligners don’t have any food restrictions. You won’t have to bid a solemn farewell to popcorn — just remove your aligners when consuming anything other than water, then brush your teeth and clean your aligners before putting them back in.
- Treatable conditions: At-home clear aligners are best suited to correct mild to moderate conditions of crowding and spacing. So if your condition is more complex, then you’d be better off with an in-office option.
- 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 Six Month Smiles may be a better fit for you.
- Insurance coverage: Although some insurance companies will contribute to at-home clear aligner treatments, you’re much likelier to receive coverage for an in-office option like Six Month Smiles.
With all of that in mind, let’s take a look at some of our top ranked at-home clear aligner providers:
Byte | #1
Six Month Smiles isn’t shy about the fact that their average treatment time lasts six months. A perfect smile in half a year is their claim to fame. Byte tops their feat: instead of six months, they get it done in just four. Byte is our #1 ranked at-home aligner company, and they’re a great alternative to Six Month Smiles.Treatment length isn’t the only difference between Six Month Smiles and Byte, though. Here are other important ways the two companies compare:
|Byte:||Six Month Smiles:|
|Price: Byte costs $1,895 for daytime treatment and $2,295 for nighttime treatment.||Price: The average Six Month Smile price we’ve seen is $3,500 to $5,000. Your price will vary depending on whether you choose aligners or braces, the number of aligners you need, and your provider’s fees.|
|Discreet: You’ll find that very few people ever notice your Byte clear aligners; this is a very low profile treatment option.||Discreet: Clear braces from Six Month Smiles are a touch more visible than their clear aligners, but they’re still less noticeable than traditional braces.|
|Financing: Byte’s payment plan requires a down payment of $249 and then monthly payments of $82 (with slightly different prices for nighttime treatment).||Financing: Financing plans for Six Month Smiles vary since your provider will handle the details. You may need to pass a credit check.|
|Treatment length: Byte’s treatment lasts 4 months on average. The exception? Nighttime treatment, which typically takes 5 months.||Treatment length: The most common treatment time for Six Month Smiles is 6 months, but it can range from 4 to 9 months, depending on your case.|
|Daily wear: With Byte you can wear your aligners for 22 hours a day, or opt for nighttime only treatment that only requires 10 hours of daily wear.||Daily wear: With Six Month Smiles, you have to wear your aligners all the time (22+ hours a day, unless you opt for their braces, which are fixed in place until your treatment ends).|
|Ease of getting started:To get started with Byte you’ll complete an at-home impression kit. These can be a touch tricky, but Byte offers free video calls for extra assistance.||Ease of getting started: With Six Month Smiles, your orthodontist will handle all the details of starting your treatment.|
|Treatable cases: Byte only treats mild and moderate crowding and spacing.||Treatable cases: Their in-person care and clear braces option allow Six Month Smiles to correct a wider scope of conditions.|
Byte and Six Month Smiles both offer short treatment lengths, but Byte’s 4 month average takes the cake. Beyond just treatment length, Byte is also more convenient, and more affordable. Not to mention their Byte for Life guarantee, which guarantees your results so long as you follow your aftercare instructions.
That’s not to say that we don’t like Six Month Smiles, though. They’re great, especially if your case is more extensive. Their clear braces may cost a bit more than Byte, but they are able to treat tougher cases, so sometimes, the tradeoff is worth it.
Candid | #2
The primary advantage Six Month Smiles has over at-home aligners is the fact that an orthodontist (or dentist) will oversee your treatment every step of the way. Your treatment provider can switch up your treatment on the fly, order new aligners (or repair a broken bracket if you have clear braces), and more. At-home aligner companies don’t really have this adaptability since you never see your orthodontist in person. Candid is somewhat of an exception to this rule.
Despite their start as a fully remote clear aligner provider, Candid recently pivoted to “Candid Pro,” a hybrid at-home/in-office treatment. This treatment strikes a balance between the hands-on care 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.
Using your smartphone and a nifty imaging device (part of your treatment bundle), you’ll take images of your teeth. You’ll then send these photos in to the Candid team and/or your dentist to review. They can make sure your treatment is on track and make any necessary adjustments.
That said, treatment oversight is just one part of the equation. Here are several other important ways Candid and Six Month Smiles compare:
|Candid:||Six Month Smiles:|
|Price: Your dentist will determine the final price of your Candid treatment. It will be at least $3,500, but it can be more depending on your dentist’s fees and your location.||Price: Six Month Smiles treatment typically runs between $3,500 and $5,000, but it varies depending on whether you choose aligners or braces, the number of aligners you need, and your provider’s fees.|
|Treatment oversight: Candid includes a special imaging device that you use in conjunction with your smartphone to send virtual updates every 10-14 days. If any issue arises, you can return to your dentist to get back on track.||Treatment oversight: With Six Month Smiles you’ll have regular, in-person appointments throughout your treatment; roughly every 4-8 weeks.|
|Financing: Your local Candid dentist will determine the payment plan options available to you. You might need to pass a credit check.||Financing: Your local Six Month Smiles provider will determine the details of your payment plan. You may need to pass a credit check to qualify.|
|Treatment length: Candid’s average treatment lasts between 6-9 months, but if you respond well, the Candid team or your dentist may tell you to move on to the next aligner a little sooner, trimming a few weeks off your treatment.||Treatment length: The most common treatment time with Six Month Smiles is 6 months, but there is some variability: easier cases take 4 months while more complex ones might take up to 9.|
|Ease of getting started: With Candid, your treatment kicks off at an in-person appointment with a local dentist in the Candid network. Candid has partnered with over 200 dentists, and they’re always growing.||Ease of getting started: With Six Month Smiles, your orthodontist will handle all the details of starting your treatment.|
|Treatable cases: Candid is strictly for mild to moderate cases of spacing and crowding.||Treatable cases:Six Month Smiles can correct more severe conditions thanks to their in-person care and clear braces option.|
Candid is an all-around great option with no glaring issues. If you want the convenience of at-home treatment with the hands-on care of in-office options, then Candid is the best choice. But if your case isn’t so simple, you may want to look into Six Month Smiles instead.
AlignerCo | #3
Is the cost of treatment the biggest barrier between you and the smile you dream of? AlignerCo can help. They have the smallest price tag in the industry and offer financing plans to make their already low price work with any budget.
Of course, there is more to these two systems than just price. Here are the similarities and differences that can make or break your treatment experience.
|AlignerCo:||Six Month Smiles:|
|Price: AlignerCo has a low price tag of $1,145 for daytime treatment and $1,345 for nighttime treatment.||Price: How much will you pay for Six Month Smiles treatment? That depends on your fees and how tough your case is. Generally, the final bill ranges from $3,500 to $5,000.|
|Financing: With AlignerCo, you can pick between SmileFlex and SmileFlex Easy. The difference? One requires a credit check, and the other requires a down payment instead.||Financing: The plan details for Six Month Smiles will be set by your treatment provider, and you may need to pass a credit check.|
|Treatment length: AlignerCo’s daytime treatment takes between 6-11 months (note that nighttime treatment takes a bit longer: 8-12 months).||Treatment length: Most Six Month Smiles cases take around 6 months, but there is some variability: treatment times range from 4 to 9 months.|
|Ease of getting started: To get started with AlignerCo you need to order an at-home impression kit. These can be tricky, but AlignerCo does their best to help by offering free video support for this process.||Ease of getting started: Your dentist or orthodontist will handle every aspect of your Six Month Smiles startup process.|
|Treatable cases: AlignerCo is capable of treating mild and moderate crowding and spacing.||Treatable cases: Their in-person care and clear braces options allow Six Month Smiles to address more conditions than at-home clear aligners like AlignerCo.|
For adults who need to straighten their teeth without breaking the bank, AlignerCo is the clear winner here. They’re thousands cheaper than Six Month Smiles. (In fact, AlignerCo is the cheapest at-home aligner company we’ve reviewed.) However, AlignerCo may not be right for everyone. If your case is tricky, then Six Month Smiles is probably the better choice. Because they offer both clear braces and aligners, they can handle tougher cases.
Smile Direct Club | #4
Smile Direct Club is the biggest at-home aligner company on the market today. That’s mainly because they were the first company to provide clear aligners directly to the consumer. By being the first, they made an impression before anyone else. To many, they are the face of teledentistry. Thanks to their size, Smile Direct Club can offer a lot of perks that their competitors can’t, like nighttime treatment and retail locations.
But what’s important here is how Six Month Smiles and Smile Direct Club stack up. Here’s how the two compare:
|Smile Direct Club:||Six Month Smiles:|
|Price: Every Smile Direct Club customer pays $2,050 for both their daytime and nighttime treatments.||Price: Your price will depend on a few key factors: whether you choose aligners or braces, the number of aligners you need, and your provider’s fees.|
|Financing: Smile Direct Club requires a down payment of $250 and then a monthly payment of $89 for 26 months.||Financing: Financing plans with Six Month Smiles vary since your local provider will handle the details. In some cases 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: Typically, Six Month Smiles’ treatment lasts 6 months, but it can range from 4 to 9.|
|Daily wear: Smile Direct Club offers some treatment flexibility. You can wear your aligners for the full 22 hours a day, or opt for nighttime treatment, and wear them for just 10 hours per night.||Daily wear: With Six Month Smiles, you have to wear your aligners all day and night (22+ hours, unless you opt for their braces, which are permanent until your treatment ends).|
|Ease of getting started: Smile Direct Club offers at-home impression kits (which can be tricky), but also physical SmileShops where you can get your teeth scanned for free.||Ease of getting started: With Six Month Smiles, your orthodontist takes care of the startup diagnostics.|
|Treatable cases: Smile Direct Club is capable of closing small gaps or adding a little space when needed.||Treatable cases: Their in-person care and clear braces option allow Six Month Smiles to address more in-depth orthodontic concerns.|
For a lot of people, Smile Direct Club is the better option simply because they’re cheaper and offer a more flexible wear schedule. However, Six Month Smiles does have its place. If you want the security of working directly with your local provider or your case is more extreme than what Smile Direct Club can handle, then Six Month Smiles is a great option.
Which Six Month Smiles Alternative Should You Choose?
We get it: you might be feeling overwhelmed by all the options. Each of the options we’ve listed are excellent, so if you’re drawn to one, go for it.
Still, our favorite choices are Byte and Candid, and we love them for different reasons. Byte has the industry’s shortest treatment lengths, and their Byte for Life guarantee is sure to give you a lot of peace of mind. Candid also provides peace of mind, due to the robust treatment oversight offered by their CandidMonitoring system combined with their hands-on care. For more information about either of these companies, check out our in-depth reviews of Byte and Candid.
What should I do if I have a dental problem while in treatment?
If you are being treated with Six Month Smiles, talk to the dentist or orthodontist who is monitoring your treatment. If you are using an at-home system, talk to your general dentist. Please keep in mind that if you have a dental injury and a head injury, you should seek emergency care at a hospital or urgent care before seeing your dentist or orthodontist.
Are there foods I need to avoid eating while in treatment?
If you get the braces Six Month Smiles offers, yes. Anything sticky, hard, and crunchy can damage braces and must be avoided. With aligners, you just remove them when eating and drinking, with the exception of plain water.
How soon should I expect to see changes?
This depends on how your body responds to treatment and which system you choose. Some people will notice their teeth moving sooner than others. Additionally, some systems are just faster. With Byte, you could notice significant changes in mere weeks.
Are there reasons I cannot be treated with mail-order aligners?
Yes, at-home teeth straightening isn’t for everyone. If any of the following describe you, you might need in-person treatment:
- Your alignment concerns are bigger than 3mm gaps or small spacing issues.
- You are battling gum disease.
- You’ve experienced bone loss in your jaw.
- You have teeth in active decay.
- You’ve lost enough teeth that the aligners cannot get the leverage they need.
Will my teeth shift back once treatment stops?
They can, but they don’t have to. If you wear your retainers as directed, your teeth should remain in their new positions.
Will my orthodontist help me if I choose at-home treatment?
Part of the appeal of mail-order clear aligners is that you get to skip the visits to the orthodontist’s office. So, if you really want that direct oversight, teledentistry might not be for you. Consider Candid if you want a hybrid option.
Will I be allowed to treat just one arch?
Sometimes, people want to adjust the teeth in just one arch since many only have noticeable alignment issues in their top or bottom teeth. However, the goal of treatment isn’t just a pretty smile, but teeth that come together correctly. As a result, both arches will need to be treated in most cases.
Is it hard to keep aligners clean?
No, they are easy to clean. You should be able to just brush them with cool water and toothpaste. Just make sure the toothpaste isn’t abrasive.
Should aligners work with my lifestyle?
Yes! Clear aligners, whether in-office or at-home, are very easy to fit into any lifestyle. Since you can remove them for a few hours each day, they don’t require you to make lots of accommodations for treatment.
What are the biggest advantages clear aligners have over braces?
We think the top five advantages are:
- Being able to remove them for eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing.
- The ability to use mail-order systems and treat alignment concerns at home.
- Greater comfort since smooth plastic causes less irritation.
- An easier time playing sports and instruments.
- In most cases, faster treatment times.