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 treatment quality, speed, financing, customer service, 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.
Is Six Months Smiles Legit?
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 in 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 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.
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, he or she 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.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Six Month Smiles
Six Month Smiles is pretty versatile and, compared to Invisalign, they’re a bit more affordable. But there are other perks, too. Here are some of the main advantages and disadvantages of using Six Month Smiles to straighten your teeth:
Six Month Smiles Advantages
✔ Since Six Month Smiles is administered in person, it’s easier to make repairs and adaptations on the fly.
✔ While the details vary depending on your individual provider, you can likely get a financing plan for your Six Month Smiles treatment so you don’t have to pay it all at once.
✔ You get to choose your treatment provider yourself, allowing you to pick someone who fits your personality, your schedule, and more.
✔ Six Month Smiles has a pretty fast treatment time. It’s right there in the name: six months (on average).
✔ 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 effective.
Six Month Smiles Disadvantages
✖ Six Month Smiles is typically more affordable than Invisalign and traditional braces, but it’s still an extensive investment. On average, treatment from Six Month Smiles costs between $3,500 and $5,000.
✖ Clear braces are more powerful than clear aligners, but they’re a little more noticeable, too. In addition, Six Month Smiles uses braces that are only attached to the front, visible teeth. Those aren’t as effective as regular braces, meaning any product from Six Month Smiles is reserved for minor cosmetic cases.
✖ Aftercare retainers are a necessity for any teeth straightening treatment, but with Six Month Smiles, they cost extra. The exact price depends on your provider, but typically it’s around $100.
✖ Six Month Smiles is designed as a treatment for dentists, not orthodontists. In general, we find that in-office treatment is more effective than at-home treatment. But dentists aren’t as well-trained as orthodontists in the specific science of straightening teeth.
Still curious about Six Month Smiles? Check out our in-depth review below.
Six Month Smiles: Treatment Efficiency
Everyone will have a slightly different Six Month Smiles experience because everyone’s smile is different. The total timing of your treatment depends on a couple of factors:
- The severity of your teeth crowding or spacing
- The number of aligners in your treatment plan
- How long you wear your aligners each day
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.
Six Month Smiles Customer Reviews
Normally, in our reviews, we 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).
Six Month Smiles Prices and Features
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:
1) Initial consultation, cost varies: 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 “sticker price.”
2) Total cost of treatment, $3,500-$5,000 (on average): 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.
3) Aftercare retainers, ~$100: 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.
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.
Six Month Smiles Customer Support
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. If you ever have questions or issues, you’ll get help from someone who truly understands your teeth and condition.
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. They’re affordable, fast, and they offer an unbeatable Byte-for-Life guarantee that prioritizes your satisfaction for all time.
Most at-home aligner companies can’t offer extensive orthodontist oversight throughout your treatment. Candid, however, provides Remote Monitoring, which essentially uses your smartphone (and a special imaging device) to stand in for regular office visits.
Orthodontic treatment is a lot of things, but it’s not affordable…usually. AlignerCo is an exception, though. 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). Right now, Byte and Smile Direct are the only two companies that offer nighttime-only treatment.
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. He or she 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 aligners, 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.