Dreaming of a million-dollar smile? Looking at your options? Odds are, you’ve heard of Invisalign.
And that’s not surprising: they were the first company to introduce clear aligners as an alternative to traditional braces.
Like so many pioneering businesses, though, Invisalign soon found itself with some competitors, such as Six Month Smiles. In the aligner scene, each company has its own “perk” to make it stand out from the industry’s giant.
For Six Month Smiles, it’s their variety. They offer both clear aligners and clear braces. You can choose whichever option you prefer for a comparable price.
Let’s be clear, though: variety is not the only factor to consider when choosing a treatment method. There’s oversight, quality, financing, patient support, and so much more. Fortunately, that’s what we’re here to cover. This guide contains everything you need to know about Six Month Smiles, so you can decide if it’s a good fit for you.
How Does Six Month Smiles Work?
Since a dentist or orthodontist oversees your Six Month Smiles treatment, the entire process is relatively simple. To get the ball rolling, you’ll need to schedule a consultation with your dentist or orthodontist of choice. Here’s a fly-by of what you can expect from Six Month Smiles’ full treatment process:
- Step 1: You schedule and attend a consultation with your local Six Month Smiles provider. The dentist will take a 3D scan of your teeth; if it looks like you’ll be a good candidate for treatment, they will take impressions or teeth scans, too.
- Step 2: Six Month Smiles analyzes those impressions and uses them to design your custom clear aligners. Your dentist will collaborate with Six Month Smiles to design your unique treatment plan, and you get to review it with your dentist before you start.
- Step 3: Pay for your treatment all in one go, or arrange a payment plan with your dentist.
- Step 4: If your treatment requires aligners, Six Month Smiles will create them and send them to your dentist. All you have to do is schedule an appointment to pick up your aligners or have your braces installed. At this appointment, your dentist will brief you on all the ins and outs of caring for your aligners or braces.
- Step 5: You wear your aligners for 22+ hours per day (or all day if you have braces) and schedule an office visit every month, and your teeth gradually shift into place.
It’s a pretty straightforward process from start to finish! Your Six Month Smiles provider will guide your treatment—all you really need to do is show up to your appointments and follow your treatment guidelines.
What Sets Six Month Smiles Apart?
Like several of the other top Invisalign competitors, Six Month Smiles got their start in the mid-2000s. Their founder, Dr. Ryan Swain, developed it after listening to the needs of his clients: they wanted a more discreet option than traditional braces, but they weren’t sold on Invisalign.
At first, Six Month Smiles offered only clear braces—regular braces with tooth-colored brackets and clear wires. As the company and customer base grew, they decided to introduce clear aligners as well. Thanks to that variety, Six Month Smiles has options that are powerful and nearly invisible. In addition, Six Month Smiles can accept more clients than many other companies.
One of the biggest advantages of in-office treatments like Six Month Smiles is that you get to pick the provider you work with. That provider will supervise your treatment directly, ensuring safety and top-notch results.
Regardless of whether you choose clear aligners or clear braces, you’ll be wearing your treatment pretty much constantly. It only makes sense you’d want to know what the gear you’re wearing all day is made of; let’s take a closer look.
Six Month Smiles makes their clear aligners from a BPA-free plastic called Zendura Flex. This material is meant to have a little give to it, in order to make the wear experience a bit more comfortable for its users.
Six Month Smiles allows you to customize your treatment to some extent. For example, we’ve seen some customers wear aligners on the top and braces on the bottom to have a treatment method that’s both discrete and highly effective.
Six Month Smiles’ clear braces are more noticeable than their clear aligners, but they’re far more discreet than traditional braces. The brackets and wires are translucent or tooth colored, allowing the treatment to camouflage against your teeth.
There are two different approaches to the cut of clear aligners: either cut straight across the top, or scalloped to match the gumline. There’s a bit of a tradeoff regardless of which method your provider uses. The straight cut is able to exert more force since your gums act as an anchor, but it’s a bit more noticeable since the aligners overlap your gums.
Scalloped aligners are less noticeable since they follow the natural waves of your gumline, but they’re just a bit less effective. Six Month Smiles trims their aligners to match the gumline; so your treatment will look very discreet, it just won’t be as forceful.
The transparency of aligners also varies from provider to provider. This might seem a little counterintuitive, but the most transparent aligners aren’t always the most discreet. Some providers made their clear aligners out of a slightly clouded plastic, which better mimics the naturally porous surface of your teeth. Six Month Smiles makes their aligners out of shiny plastic, which may not be as discreet as matte options.
However, appearance is subjective—some people love that their smiles have a little extra gleam during their treatments. All that’s important is finding the right treatment option for you.
Six Month Smiles technically has customer support, but it’s largely reserved for the dentists who provide SMS treatment to their patients. For traditional support—questions about payment, a repair or replacement for a broken or lost aligner, and so on—you’ll need to talk with your dentist.
You’ll get very personal, customized support from your dentist throughout your Six Month Smiles treatment. With some other companies, you’ll talk with a remote customer service representative who doesn’t know the ins and outs of your case, which can cause some frustrations and misunderstandings. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen with Six Month Smiles.
Your dentist not only helps design your treatment but also checks in with you regularly. Throughout your treatment you’ll attend appointments every 4-8 weeks. If you ever have questions or issues, you’ll get help from someone who truly understands your teeth and condition; and you’ll be able to work through any problems in real time.
Six Month Smiles treatment typically lasts six months, but some tougher cases can go a bit longer. In that sense, Six Month Smiles lives up to their name and self-given reputation. And since Six Month Smiles is reserved for minor cosmetic cases, that speed is pretty consistent across the board.
Bang For Your Buck
Six Month Smiles is usually cheaper than Invisalign, but there’s still some cost involved. Here’s a quick glance at the impact Six Month Smiles will have on your wallet:
To start your treatment, you’ll need to schedule a consultation with your local Six Month Smiles provider. The provider will set the costs for this consultation, so it’s tough to give a standard price, though sometimes these are offered free of charge.
Cost of Treatment
The exact price of your treatment will depend on the type of treatment you pick (braces, aligners, or a combination of both) as well as how severe your case is. The typical prices range between $3,500 and $5,000, which is a touch cheaper than both Invisalign and braces, but more expensive than at-home treatments.
If you’re thinking $4,000 or so seems like too much to pay all at once, then you’re not alone. Technically, you could pay the whole thing up front, but for in-office treatments, many people prefer financing options. Most likely, your Six Month Smiles provider offers some sort of payment plan; you should inquire with them for the full details.
If your insurance policy has orthodontic benefits, it’s possible that you’ll be reimbursed at least partially for treatment. It’s often easier to get coverage for an in-office option like Six Month Smiles than some of their at-home competitors like Smile Direct.
Be sure to reach out to your insurance provider to see what your options are before starting your treatment.
Like your treatment, the exact price for your aftercare retainers will depend on your provider’s fees. The average price tag is about $100, though. That’s not a huge cost, but still one you’ll want to plan for. Aftercare retainers are durable, but they’ll still need to be replaced every 6 months or so after treatment.
The cost and quality of your clear aligner treatment are important, but so is how you’re treated throughout the process. Let’s see what you can expect when you choose Six Month Smiles for your treatment.
When we cover a provider, we usually like to include a summary of the reviews customers post on external websites to give you a feel for what others are saying.
Unfortunately, though, that’s not really possible for Six Month Smiles because it’s a business-to-business company; they sell directly to your dentist, who administers them for you. So while there may be customer reviews for your dentist, you won’t really find reviews for Six Month Smiles. There are some posted on their website, but we don’t like to include those because they’re usually featured reviews.
If you’d like someone’s opinion on Six Month Smiles (aside from ours), we recommend asking your local provider or chatting with other patients (if you know any).
Just to be clear; no matter which teeth straightening method you choose, there will always be some soreness and discomfort. After all, you’re forcibly moving your teeth from one location to another—it was never going to be a total walk in the park! That being said
Generally speaking, clear aligners are a more comfortable treatment option than braces. Clear aligners won’t cause the same level of abrasion against your lips and cheeks that braces will.
Six Month Smiles doesn’t have any overarching guarantees about your treatment. However, due to regular in-person appointments, it’s hard to imagine you’d reach the end of your Six Month Smiles treatment and be dissatisfied with your results. If you’re looking for specific policies, these will all vary from office to office, so be sure to ask your provider.
Best Six Month Smiles Alternatives
Is Six Month Smiles right for you? Your smile is a big decision, and you get to keep it for life. So you should definitely take some time to consider all the available options. In-office treatments like Six Month Smiles and Invisalign are more traditional, but there are also at-home aligner companies.
As a general rule, people with more extreme cases will need to stick with in-office treatments (typically Invisalign or ClearCorrect). The in-person oversight ensures that your condition gets the care it requires. That said, people with mild to moderate cases may be good candidates for at-home aligners. Knowing that, here are some of our favorite alternatives to Six Month Smiles:
The top name in clear aligners deserves a spot on our list of top alternatives. They may be a bit more expensive than Six Month Smiles, but they can treat a wider variety of conditions and many people report that their aligners are more comfortable. They also offer Invisalign Express, which is faster and more affordable than traditional Invisalign for mild cases. They’re our top in-office treatment.
We’ve ranked Byte as our top at-home aligner company, and for good reason. Their treatment lengths are the shortest in the industry, they’re affordable, and they offer an unbeatable Byte-for-Life guarantee that prioritizes your satisfaction for all time.
Candid began as a fully remote clear aligner provider, but has recently pivoted to “CanidPro,” a hybrid at-home/in-office treatment option. If you’re interested in the convenience of home aligners, but want the robust oversight of in-office care, look no further than Candid. Their sophisticated CandidMonitoring system allows you to complete the majority of your treatment from home—without compromising on oversight.
Orthodontic treatment is a lot of things, but it’s not affordable…usually. But with a sticker price of $1,145, AlignerCo is an exception. They’re truly budget-friendly, but they don’t sacrifice quality in the name of low prices, either.
Should You Use Six Month Smiles?
Six Month Smiles is an intriguing option with a fair amount of variety. But that doesn’t mean they’re right for everyone. Let’s talk about when you should use Six Month Smiles and when you should steer clear.
✔ When to use Six Month Smiles:
Use Six Month Smiles if you’re willing to pay the price of in-office treatments but you’re still craving expedited treatment.
✖ When NOT to use Six Month Smiles:
Avoid Six Month Smiles if you’re on a tight budget or you want to skip the hassle of going to your dentist’s office every month for six months. Six Month Smiles also isn’t a good option if you have a tougher case or bite issues.
All told, Six Month Smiles is a good alternative for those who want to use an in-office treatment but still want to use a quick method. The biggest drawback is that they can’t treat difficult cases. But if you’re aware of that from the get-go, you’ll know exactly what to expect.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between Six Month Smiles and companies like Smile Direct?
Six Month Smiles is administered in-person by a dentist. That means you’ll need to attend office visits (and pay the accompanying fee). Smile Direct is one of the biggest names in the at-home aligner scene, which is a bit different. At-home aligners don’t require in-office visits. They ship customized aligners directly to your home, and they’re generally cheaper, too. The downside is that you won’t get direct orthodontist oversight throughout your treatment.
What if I’m not happy with the outcome?
With Six Month Smiles, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be dissatisfied with your results. That’s because your treatment provider will make any adjustments to correct minor issues long before they become major ones. That said, if you’re looking for a “satisfaction guarantee” or a “warranty,” you’ll need to touch base with your treatment provider. Individual dentist offices usually handle these issues.
Does Six Month Smiles have a nighttime-only treatment option?
No. The success of your Six Month Smiles treatment hinges on the fact that you wear your aligners for at least 22 hours per day (unless you go with braces, which will stay on your teeth until the end of treatment). If you’re intrigued by nighttime treatment, we recommend looking into Byte or AlignerCo.
Do I need an X-ray before getting treatment with Six Month Smiles?
Ultimately, it depends. The dentist you choose for treatment will probably give you an X-ray as part of your initial consultation. If you’ve had one recently (and let the dentist see it), you may not need a new one. Your dentist will make the final call on X-rays. At the very least, you’ll need to have impressions taken.
Is Six Month Smiles better than traditional braces?
It depends on what you mean by “better.” In terms of power and versatility, braces are the be-all, end-all. Traditional brackets and wires haven’t ever met a case that they couldn’t handle. Six Month Smiles does not have the same power as braces, so they can only take on minor cosmetic cases. They’re much faster and more discreet than braces, though. As for which is better, you’ll have to choose according to your priorities.
Is Six Month Smiles cheaper than traditional braces?
Usually, yes. Clear braces sometimes cost more than traditional braces, but that’s not true for Six Month Smiles because they use an expedited version of clear braces. Thanks to that, Six Month Smiles is a bit cheaper than traditional braces.
Do the results of Six Month Smiles last forever?
Your Six Month Smiles treatment should be pretty set in stone—as long as you wear your aftercare retainers. Teeth tend to shift back to their original positions if you let them. Your retainers will keep that from happening. Provided you wear them as recommended by your dentist, your perfect smile will stay that way.
Can I whiten my teeth during Six Month Smiles treatment?
It depends. If you opt for clear braces, you’ll need to stay away from whitening until your treatment is finished. That will prevent any odd stains from forming on your teeth. If you’re using aligners alone, you may be able to whiten mid-treatment. The catch? Some whiteners can damage the plastic in your aligners. If you must whiten simultaneously, we suggest that you contact your dentist for recommendations on aligner-safe whitening formulas.
Is there an age requirement for Six Month Smiles?
Six Month Smiles is ideal for patients ages 16 and up. As a general rule, though, if you need your wisdom teeth removed, you should do it before you begin treatment.
Will Six Month Smiles make me talk funny?
With any clear aligner system, you have a foreign object in your mouth. That’s unavoidable. So, your mouth might feel a bit funny, and you could have the slightest hint of a lisp. For most people, though, the aligners are minimally invasive and practically imperceptible to others.
How many hours a day should I wear my Six Month Smiles aligners?
You’re required to wear your Six Month Smiles aligners for 22+ hours per day. As a general rule, you should only take out your aligners to eat, drink, brush, or floss. Of course, if you have clear braces, you’ll wear them constantly until your treatment is complete.
Can I drink coffee while using Six Month Smiles?
With any aligners, you should not eat or drink anything (except water) with your aligners in. That said, you can remove them during meals and snacks, drink, replace them, and repeat as needed. You can drink coffee while wearing clear braces, but keep in mind that the brackets are susceptible to stains. Like traditional braces, you’ll want to avoid sticky and tough foods that could break your brackets and wires.
What happens if I lose my aligners (or retainers)?
If you lose an aligner or retainer, you should contact your Six Month Smiles provider. They will help you sort through the situation. Your provider will also set the “rules” on how much it costs to replace an aligner or retainer. Some providers will give you one “free” lost or broken aligner, and some won’t.
Is Six Month Smiles covered by insurance?
That depends on your policy. If you receive orthodontic benefits, then your insurance will likely reimburse you for your treatment. We recommend that you check with your provider before committing to treatment just to make sure.