A straight smile isn’t just attractive; it boosts your confidence and your health.
But many people put off making the changes they need. A big reason for this? They just aren’t interested in braces.
Nothing against them; braces are great for many patients. But they aren’t right for everyone. Luckily, Invisalign brought clear aligners to the masses back in the 90s.
Now, there are a bunch of companies offering this form of alignment, including those that are designed to be fully remote—no office visits required. Today, we are going to take a look at two of these Invisalign alternatives: Six Month Smiles and Byte.
How do Six Month Smiles and Byte compare? That’s the question we’re here to answer. We will put these systems side by side and examine their prices, speed, customer friendliness, and more. By the end, you’ll know if one of these options is right for you.
Spoiler | Byte Wins!
Byte wins! In our opinion, Byte’s short treatment lengths, 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. 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
Six Month Smiles and Byte may be separate companies, but the products they offer are similar. It comes as no surprise, then, that they have quite a bit in common:
1) Discreet: Both Six Month Smiles and Byte are difficult to spot when worn; their clear plastic and tight fit makes them close to invisible. Something people might notice? A slight lisp the first few days of wear.
2) Safe: This is your smile we are talking about! Safety is a top priority. The good news is that both Six Month Smiles and Byte are safe to use, and Byte has FDA clearance. Both companies rely on the same technology to move teeth, and although Six Month Smiles can incorporate attachments that Byte can’t, they achieve similar results. Both companies use safe, BPA-free plastic for your aligners or braces, and state-licensed dental professionals design your treatment.
3) Convenient: Why did people want braces alternatives in the first place? Because braces require a lot of lifestyle changes, including limiting your diet and switching how you brush and floss. This is not the case with clear aligners. Since they are removable, you just take them out for mealtimes and hygiene.
4) Insurance coverage: If you have orthodontic benefits, your insurance company can help make treatment more accessible. Six Month Smiles and Byte are covered by most major insurance providers. Just verify with your company before starting treatment.
5 Ways They Differ
What’s a comparison review without a few differences to highlight? Here are a few key features that separate Byte and Six Month Smiles:
1) Who can get treatment: Six Month Smiles is an in-person treatment, offered by dentists and orthodontists. This means it can use special attachments that allow for more significant tooth shifts and even impact jaw position to a degree. Additionally, they offer clear braces as well, which address an even wider range of conditions. Byte is fully remote, so it can only correct mild to moderate misalignment. Most people only need to make small changes, but if you need more significant shifts, you won’t be a candidate for Byte.
2) Cost: With Six Month Smiles, there is no set cost for treatment. You can end up paying more or less than others based on the type of treatment you choose, how complex your case is, the fees your doctor adds on, and more. Typically, treatment will cost somewhere between $3,500 and $5,000, but your treatment cost could fall outside this range. With Byte, though, everyone pays the same price: $1,895, which is fairly standard among home aligner companies.
3) Treatment time: When correcting your smile, you want to see your results as soon as possible. With Six Month Smiles, it usually takes 6 months to perfect your grin, though it might take as long as 9 months in some cases. With Byte, their daytime system can reach final results in just 4 months in some cases, while their nighttime option can take just 5. This makes Byte the fastest system on the market.
4) One-on-one care: If there is one downside to remote treatment, it is the lack of in-person sessions with a doctor. This is also one of its greatest benefits since it demands less of your time. Six Month Smiles will require regular visits with your doctor, while with Byte, you will never need to see one (outside of your usual dental cleanings).
5) Financing: Both Byte and Six Month Smiles offer financing. Byte approves every customer (regardless of credit score) for a down payment of $249 and then $82 per month for 32 months. Six Month Smiles’ financing depends on your orthodontist, so talk to them about the options they offer.
The Rundown: How Six Month Smiles and Byte Stack Up
Six Month Smiles may not have been the first company to offer clear aligners (that honor goes to Invisalign), but they did find ways to stand out when they started in the mid-2000s. Their founder, Dr. Ryan Swain, had a few of his own patients who wanted less visible teeth-straightening options, but they weren’t sold on Invisalign, either. His solution: clear braces. Instead of using metal appliances and wires, Dr. Swain offered tooth-colored brackets and clear wires. The result was a treatment that was nearly as versatile as regular braces but much less visible.
Later on, Six Month Smiles added clear aligners to their treatment options. These aligners aren’t quite as powerful as their braces, but they are nearly invisible. Most of their competitors don’t have that kind of variety.
Byte is a bit newer than Six Month Smiles, having launched in 2018. It was started by Dr. Marashi, who had crafted smiles for many Hollywood stars. His goal was to give the average person access to that silver screen smile he was so famous for, without needing to break the bank to get it.
Byte uses their Smile Science technology to straighten your smile in the way that best complements your unique facial features. They also have the shortest treatment lengths of any aligner company, remote or otherwise, and an excellent lifetime guarantee on your treatment. So while they may be a young company, Byte is a notable company in the orthodontics industry.
|Six Month Smiles||Byte|
|Customers served||No published number||200,000+|
|Claim to fame||Offering variety of treatments; both clear aligners and clear braces||Shortest treatment lengths in the industry|
|No food restrictions?||✓|
|No office visits?||✓|
|Covered by insurance (with orthodontic benefits)?||✓||✓|
|Personalized customer service?||✓||✓|
|Price Tag?||Between $3,500-$5,000||Daytime treatment: $1,895 |
Byte At-Night: $2,295
|Financing Available?||Varies from office to office||Daytime treatment: $249 downpayment & 32 monthly payments of $82 |
Byte At-Night: $299 downpayment & 32 monthly payments of $99
|Treatment Length?||Average 6 months; but full range is 4-9 months.||Daytime treatment: Average 4 months |
Byte At-Night: Average 5 months
|Start-Up Process?||In-person appointment with a Six Month Smiles provider||At-home impression kit; simply make your molds and mail them back to Byte with a prepaid shipping label|
All clear aligner providers offer products made from safe, BPA free plastics. But not all aligners are made the same way.
There are two main ways to cut 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.
The transparency of your aligners also varies from provider to provider. Some companies think that the clearer the aligner, the better. Others opt to make their aligners from slightly frosted looking plastic. It may seem counter intuitive, but the frosted aligners generally blend in a little bit better, since they mimic the matte surface of your teeth.
Let’s take a look at the design of the clear aligners from Six Month Smiles and Byte:
|Six Month Smiles||Byte|
|Materials||BPA free Zendura FLX plastic clear aligners, or braces with translucent brackets and tooth colored wires||BPA free, PETG plastic (basically a modified, more affordable polyurethane) At-Night aligners are made for a thicker, more durable plastic than their all-day aligners|
|Aligner Cut||Scalloped to match gumline||Straight cut|
|Aligner Transparency||Clear, shiny plastic||Clear, shiny plastic|
The scalloped cut of Six Month Smiles’ aligners mean that they will have a slightly lower profile than Byte’s aligners; but they’ll be slightly less effective. Ultimately, appearance is subjective, so just focus on finding an aligner that works for you.
We like that Byte’s nighttime only aligners are so durable, so overnight teeth grinders may still find this option viable.
Six Month Smiles and Byte each take a different approach to treatment oversight. With Six Month Smiles, you’ll attend frequent in-person appointments throughout your treatment. Byte is a fully remote treatment option, but that doesn’t mean they’ll leave you high and dry. Let’s take a look at each of these providers’ approaches to keeping an eye on your treatment:
|Six Month Smiles||Byte|
|Frequency of check-ins||Every 4-8 weeks||Every 3-4 weeks|
|Check-ins via||In-person appointments||Photos sent via a patient portal|
|Treatment Length||Most people wrap up in 6 months, but the full range is 4-9 months||Daytime treatment: 4 months|
Byte At-Night: 5 months
|Customer Support||The hours of availability will vary based on the office overseeing your treatment||Available via phone, email and social media—7am-5pm PST|
With Six Month Smiles, 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, they will tweak your treatment.
Byte offers a different experience since your treatment is 100% remote, from taking impressions to getting your retainers. However, you aren’t alone in the journey. Byte offers remote support throughout. When you take your impressions, you can hop on a video chat for guidance. And you complete photo check-ins with your dedicated Byte advisor until treatment is complete.
One thing we really like about Byte is that they assign a Byte advisor to each customer. This advisor becomes your personal guide to treatment, so any time you have a question or concern, you’ll work with a person who’s already familiar with you and your case.
While the one-on-one care you get from your Six Month Smiles provider leads to better customer support, we think Byte’s model does a great job replicating this personal touch.
No matter which company you get treatment from, you’ll likely end with the smile of your dreams. But you’ll get a bit more in-depth orthodontist interaction with Six Month Smiles.
Bang For Your Buck
You are looking for a million-dollar smile, but you aren’t looking to spend that much. We’ll be honest; no matter which system you choose, you’ll be spending more than what the average person considers pocket change. However, you’ll likely find one to offer a better value than the other. Let’s take a look at what you can expect to spend on each phase of treatment.
|Six Month Smiles||Byte|
|Startup Costs||Varies||$95 impression kit|
|Treatment||Average cost between $3,500-$5,000||Daytime treatment: $1,895 |
Byte At-Night: $2,295
|Add-Ons||Varies||Byte Protection Plan: $649 for daytime treatment; $779 for Byte At-Night|
|Financing||Will vary from office to office, may require a credit check||Daytime treatment: $249 downpayment & 32 monthly payments of $82 |
Byte At-Night: $299 downpayment & 32 monthly payments of $99
|Insurance||Likely to find coverage, check with your Six Month Smiles provider and your insurance company for details||Byte works hand in hand with several insurance companies. Byte can run a free coverage check for you, you’ll just need to send them your insurance card.|
|Post-Treatment||Varies from doctor to doctor||$129 per retainer set (but they give you the first set for free!)|
Six Month Smiles’ treatment costs more than Byte’s, but they’re definitely more affordable than most traditional braces. Plus, you get in-person oversight and the ability to treat more severe alignment problems. However, that doesn’t justify the extra expense in all cases.
We like that Byte is committed to keeping your aftercare costs low. If you’re enrolled in the Byte Protection Plan (by purchasing it outright or by paying for treatment through financing), your first five years of aftercare retainers will be free!
Office Visits—Are They Worth The Extra Cost?
In-office treatments are consistently more expensive than the average remote one. The main reason behind this? Office visits.
This means that as you evaluate your options, you need to ask yourself if these office visits justify paying thousands more to straighten your teeth.
Seeing a doctor in person offers an additional safety net, ensuring effective treatment. If you have a complex case, they might be a requirement, not an option. If your case is simple, they offer more peace of mind than anything else.
This decision is a personal one. However, Byte is a safe treatment, and the same can be said for more at-home aligner companies. If you have small changes to make, want affordable treatment, and don’t want to disrupt your schedule, office visits aren’t likely to be worth the cost.
The price and quality of your orthodontia are important, but so is how you’re treated throughout treatment. Here we’ll take a closer look at what you can expect from the customer experience when you choose Six Month Smiles or Byte for your treatment.
Online shopping is the norm, but buying medical treatments on the web? That’s pretty new. Given this is your smile we are talking about, you want to be sure you will get a good experience. One way to know what to expect? See what others have experienced with the companies you are considering. We’ve taken a look at reviews from Six Month Smiles and Byte customers and summarized them for you.
Here’s a quick glimpse into the online reviews for Byte:
- Top loves: Excellent customer service (even mentioning representatives by name); visible results within a couple weeks; easy to use
- Top complaints: Guarantee on impression kit does not apply to bite issues
We tallied up Byte’s average score for a total of 4.7/5 stars.
It’s a bit harder to tally up a score for Six Month Smiles. There are precious few customer reviews online because treatment is provided through independent dental offices (there are a few reviews available on their website, but they’re “featured” reviews, so we don’t put a whole lot of stock in them). It’s easiest to get a full review (beyond what we’ve included here) directly from your dentist or orthodontist. That said, their long-term reputation speaks pretty well to their quality and service.
You shouldn’t anticipate things going sideways with your treatment, but having the reassurance of a guarantee always helps. With both Six Month Smiles and Byte, you will have peace of mind.
With Six Month Smiles, the company itself does not make any guarantees. However, your doctor might. They can also make adjustments throughout treatment to make sure your expectations are being met. To know the exact terms, you should clarify with them before you start treatment.
Byte doesn’t offer refunds on their aligners. You can get your money back for the impression kit, but only if their doctors determine you are not a good fit for their system. Once you purchase the aligner kit, the sale is final. However, Byte stands by their product with their “Byte-for-Life” guarantee.
This guarantee functions as a lifetime warranty. If your teeth ever shift after treatment despite wearing your retainers correctly, Byte will send you new aligners to get your smile back to perfection.
What if I break an aligner?
Accidents happen—if you break an aligner during your treatment, reach out to your provider right away.
If you’re enrolled in the Byte Protection Plan (by purchasing it outright or paying for treatment with BytePay), then this replacement will be covered for free! If you aren’t in that program, your replacement set will cost $129 for all-day aligners, and $149 for At-Night aligners. With Six Month Smiles, this policy changes from doctor to doctor. Some may offer one replacement for free, but others may charge.
While you’re waiting for your replacements to arrive, wear your most recent set to keep your teeth from moving out of alignment.
Teeth can be a little stubborn sometimes, and you may need a few more aligners than your original treatment plan accounted for. These extra aligners are called refinements, and some providers charge extra for them—but not Byte. If you’ve followed their treatment guidelines, you’ll receive all of the aligners required to deliver a great new smile.
With regular in-person appointments, it’s unlikely that you’ll reach the end of your Six Month Smiles treatment with any surprises. That being said, any policies about extra aligners will vary from doctor to doctor.
Trade uncomfortable wires and brackets for smooth plastic, and clear aligner treatment is bound to be more comfortable than traditional metal braces. That being said, with any teeth alignment there’s going to be some discomfort—that just comes with the territory. As your teeth shift, you’ll experience some soreness; particularly when you switch to a new set of aligners since they’ll have a snugger fit than the last.
Luckily, with Byte you’ll have the HyperByte on your side; which can decrease soreness and offer a better aligner fit. Here’s how it works: the HyperByte releases tiny pulses that help loosen your tooth’s ligaments. This process helps your aligners fit better; faster.
Which Is the Best Clear Aligner for You?
Let’s be clear: Six Month Smiles 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 Six Month Smiles and who should opt for Byte:
Choose Byte If:
You’re eager to perfect your grin. Byte’s treatment reaches final results in four months for many patients. Byte is also great if you need a solid balance between quality and good value.
Choose Six Month Smiles If:
You need the added power of braces to correct your more extensive case, but you don’t want conspicuous brackets or wires. They’re also a good option for those who want orthodontist oversight throughout treatment.
If you discover that your condition is too severe for home aligner treatment, or if you’re simply more comfortable with in-person care, Six Month Smiles is a great option. That said, Byte is more affordable, convenient, and in our opinion, offers better value overall.
In our opinion, Byte’s short treatment lengths, lifetime guarantee, and superior convenience are just too good to pass up.
And even though they’re our #1-rated home aligner company, there are other options to consider. 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does either company offer discounts?
You can benefit from discounts whether you choose Six Month Smiles or Byte. However, with Six Month Smiles, these discounts come from your provider, not the company. Byte does offer discounts, usually on their impression kit. However, in some cases, they will offer up to $150 off their aligners. If you aren’t in a rush, sign up for their emails and keep an eye out for special deals.
Which provider is more customer focused?
Both companies are dedicated to their customers, but since you get direct one-on-one sessions with your doctor, Six Month Smiles probably delivers a more tailored approach, though this can vary between doctors. That said, we don’t think Byte is lacking in its customer service at all.
Is there an age requirement for using either Six Month Smiles or Byte?
Yes! Six Month Smiles only treats patients over the age of 16. Byte lowers this to 12. There is no upper limit so long as your oral health is solid.
Can I use Six Month Smiles or Byte if I live outside the USA?
Byte offers treatment to people in the U.S. and Australia, but they likely will expand to other countries in the near future. Six Month Smiles is still looking to add on to their international network, as they’re currently available in the United States and parts of Europe.
How do I know whether at-home or in-office treatment is right for me?
Most adults have mild to moderate issues with spacing or crowding, meaning they are a good fit for either in-office or at-home treatment. However, it can be difficult to determine on your own where your unique case falls on this spectrum. We suggest that you select a company like Byte that offers refunds on their impression kits to those who aren’t candidates. This way, you can find out without any risk involved.
Will either of these clear aligners make me talk funny?
They both can cause a slight lisp since they change how the tongue touches the teeth. Most people find that this clears up in just a few days, and some never experience any change in speech. If you do have a lisp and this bothers you, just take some time to practice speaking at home until you adjust.
If I lose my aligners, do I have to pay for new ones?
Yes, if you need a replacement, you will need to pay for new ones unless your doctor includes some for free. If you’re in the Byte Protection Plan, your replacement will be free. If you aren’t enrolled in that plan, your replacement set will be $129 for all-day treatment, and $149 for At-Night treatment.
Can I drink coffee when using Six Month Smiles or Byte?
Yes, with both companies, you can eat and drink whatever you want while in treatment; you just need to remove your aligners if eating or drinking anything other than water. Clear aligners can stain, and that makes them visible. If you get clear braces with Six Month Smiles, more items will be off limits.
Are there any hidden costs?
We wouldn’t say either has hidden costs. While some customers might not realize they need to pay for things like post-treatment retainers, these are standard parts of treatment, not big surprises.
Can I still use Six Month Smiles if I’m not a candidate for Byte?
Yes, though if your case is severe enough, you might need to use their braces instead of their aligners. There are some situations where clear braces won’t work, and in that case, you’ll need to move on to metal braces, which Six Month Smiles does not offer, but this is very rare.