Clear aligners are crafted from transparent plastic or acrylic to custom-fit your teeth structure while still being removable for eating or cleaning. Aligners are more convenient than metal braces, but treatment efficiency varies between brands. Discover what is best for your health needs.
TOP 3 Invisible Braces
One of the main motivations to improve your looks is to be perceived as more intelligent and healthy. That’s not just an unfounded statement. It’s a proven scientific fact extending to specific facial parts, such as your smile. Fixing the gap between teeth with appliances like aligners (and practices like mewing!) makes a major difference.
An improved smile will have a tremendous impact on how others perceive you. The only thing stopping people from taking action is a lack of understanding of where to begin. Here, I will focus on clear aligners so you can choose the best combination of convenience, effectiveness, and affordability.
Best Clear Aligners Brands
Since the market of orthodontic aligners is quite big, I have narrowed the choices to five leading brands. Each of them is best in its own category, but it doesn’t mean that it won’t perform for other purposes as well.
- Best At-Home Aligners: Byte
- Budget Invisible Braces: AlignerCo
- Best Remote Service: NewSmile
- Best Dentist Consultations: Candid
- Best Brand Credibility: Invisalign
I considered factors such as price, financing options, treatment plan variety, and treatment length as the most important ones. I also looked into the experiences of other users and supplementary services that manufacturers provide.
Some other major dental aligner brands didn’t make it to the final top five. The reasons vary, but they all can be considered superior in some respects. Here are some of the aligners and clear braces brands worth mentioning.
Smile Direct Club is a now discontinued brand praised for being affordable and having a great remote service. There was some controversy regarding their promises to customers, which made me double-check the trustworthiness of each brand in my top teeth aligners list.
SureSmile is a custom-fit, partially remote aligner option. It stands out because of great supplementary features – a mobile app and a High Frequency Vibration Device. Despite these benefits, its price-to-quality ratio does not match the likes of Byte or AlignerCo.
Motto is one of the most widely available aligner brands in the USA, with over 900 locations. Despite the availability, you still need lengthy and costly visits, which offset its benefits compared to at-home aligner options in this list.
Many other aligners covered by insurance are worth considering for the price and convenience. Reveal, Strayt, ClearCorrect, Smileie, and Straight My Teeth are all great aligners if your insurance covers it. However, if you can, I recommend one of the five brands presented in the table below.
Transparent Braces Comparison
|Full Treatment Cost
|All-Day: $1,999; Night: $2,399
|Credit cards, FSA, HSA, Affirm, CareCredit
|Remote monitoring; At-home impressions
|Midpoint check-in through the Byte app
|Mild to moderate spacing, crowding, rotation
|Dentists and orthodontists
|My Byte App, HyperByte, BrightByte, Protection Plan
|SmileAdvantage: $795-$995; Night: $1,195
|0% APR SmileFlex; HSA/FSA accepted
|Impression kit or video assistance
|Varies by plan with
|Overbite, underbite, crowding, spacing
|Consultation with licensed dentists, orthodontists
|AlignerTracker app, video assistance, 24/7 support, retainers, whitening kit
|Starts at $1,495
|0% APR, $77/month, HSA/FSA accepted
|$139 (often discounted)
|Home kit with video call assistance
|Virtual consultation every 6 weeks
|Mild to Moderate crowding, spacing, and bite issues
|Overseen by board-certified dentists or orthodontists
|NewSmile Life app, virtual consultations, retainers
|$3,300 – $7,000
|Dental insurance, HSA, FSA
|Included in the overall price
|Visiting a CandidPro provider
|Initial in-person; remote monitoring every 14 days
|Crooked, crowded, gapped teeth
|Supervised by orthodontists
|Teeth whitening, retainers, CandidApp™ for monitoring
|$2,800 – $9,000, varies by case complexity
|Dental insurance, HSA, FSA
|Included in the overall price
|Physical or digital impressions (iTero)
|In-office every 4-6 weeks; virtual check-ins possible
|Mild to severe crowding, spacing, misalignments
|Trained and certified dentists, orthodontists
|Professional Whitening System, retainers, My Invisalign app
Best Invisible Braces
Best At-Home Aligner
Byte aligners stand out in the US market for their efficient and convenient at-home teeth straightening solution. They offer quick results with a high degree of comfort and minimal intrusion into daily life.
The All-Day Aligners cost $1,999, while the At-Night system is priced at $2,399. The Byte Protection Plan, costing $749, includes a new set of retainers every six months for five years. The impression kit costs $95 but is refundable if deemed unsuitable for the treatment.
Byte supports major credit cards, FSA, HSA, and financing through Affirm and CareCredit for eligible customers. I haven’t found any other aligner brand to be so flexible for payment options.
Byte aligners are crafted from a high-grade, grind-resistant polymer material known for its durability and tear resistance. It ensures a comfortable experience throughout the treatment. The My Byte App supplements the experience well, as it’s the best in this category for treatment tracking, reminders, and remote check-ins.
More advanced features, such as the HyperByte vibration device, ensure excellent fitting of the aligner to speed up the treatment. If you are also looking for teeth whitening, the BrightByte whitener is the best device for whitening compatible with aligner use.
Byte aligners provide a streamlined and user-friendly experience. My experience with Byte aligners was efficient and straightforward. Ordering was easy, and the at-home impression kit came with clear instructions, while the completed aligners took four weeks to arrive. Some users reported receiving them faster, so I’m guessing it’s because of the shipping.
My treatment plan spanned five months, requiring each aligner to be worn for a week, at least 22 hours daily. Regular app check-ins ensured professional oversight, which was super convenient. My teeth gap was closed by these aligners effectively. However, my results were greatly improved by the HyperByte device.
Best Budget Aligners
If you want to save money and keep the quality, AlignerCo aligners are your best bet. They offer effective teeth straightening solutions at a more accessible price point even when compared to other aligners.
AlignerCo’s SmileAdvantage plan, including the impression kit, aligners, and retainers, is priced at only $995. Their NightAdvantage plan is available for $1,195 upfront. The SmileFlex plan allows for 12-month installments with 0% APR.
AlignerCo accepts various payment modes, including insurance, and provides easy installment options. Treatment duration typically ranges from 4-6 months. It is relatively short, so the final count of replacement aligners you might need could lower the cost even more.
AlignerCo aligners are crafted from a clear, comfortable, medical-grade plastic that applies precise force to straighten teeth. They are virtually invisible and easily removable. Compared to traditional braces, there is almost no disruption to daily activities. Supplementary services include the AlignerTracker app for progress tracking, and outstandingly good video assistance sessions for impression taking.
My experience with AlignerCo aligners was largely positive, but I must admit that I am biased toward products that are affordable when testing. The impression kit arrived quickly, and after sending back my impressions, I received my custom aligners within three weeks. Wearing them daily for the recommended hours, most users report improvements within a few months already.
However, some users have reported issues with aligner fit and customer service, although my interaction with their support team was satisfactory. The treatment time aligns with expectations, so it’s hard to deny that they are effective. However, some users expect faster results and are disappointed with the app. Still, the price of AlignerCo aligners justifies the drawbacks in my book.
Best Remote Service
NewSmile aligners excel in providing top-notch remote orthodontic service. Their system is optimized for avoiding lengthy in-office visits. The whole experience is smooth from impression to treatment, all from the convenience of your home.
In terms of price, NewSmile aligners sit in between other options in this list – at $1,495 for night aligners and $1,595 for invisible aligners. A monthly plan with 0% APR and HSA/FSA compatibility raises the affordability considerably. The impression kit, although expensive, is often discounted (currently at $49). Aligners need to be changed every 2-3 weeks, for up to 10 months, which is quite lengthy, but it all depends on your dental condition.
The aligners are crafted from ultra-clear, medical-grade plastic, offering an almost invisible and less irritable experience. NewSmile focuses on aligner treatments only. The supplementary services, like a 15-minute virtual consultation and the NewSmile Life app, are focused on enhancing the remote treatment experience. They are the main reason why NewSmile provides the best remote tracking and consultations.
Some users find the process of ordering the NewSmile impression kit confusing as it lacks a delivery time date. Mine arrived in a few days, but others complained of waiting more than two weeks.
Making impressions at home with video call assistance was a breeze. The delivery of the first aligners took about 7 weeks, but the wait was worth it as the aligners themselves were durable and could provide an effective treatment.
Users generally express satisfaction with the comfort and effectiveness of the aligners, though some note the lack of additional services. The remote service model of NewSmile, combined with professional oversight, made the entire process efficient and user-friendly.
Best Dentist Consultations
Candid aligners should be your go-to option if you are willing to travel to the dentist for impressions. The CandidPro blends in-person dentist assessments with convenient remote follow-ups. This hybrid approach ensures personalized and professional care without compromising convenience.
Candid aligners are one of the most expensive options, ranging from $3,300 to $7,000. The impression kit and consultation costs are included in this price, so compared to traditional braces, Candid aligners are still very affordable. Monthly payment plans spanning 6 to 36 months and HSA or FSA financing reduce the costs even further.
Candid aligners are crafted from a smooth, flexible, transparent, and BPA-free plastic material, which makes them comfortable and virtually invisible. Since the aligners are custom-made, they target specific correction areas very well. The CandidApp and CandidMonitoring system offers exceptional scans and remote consultations with doctors.
Candid aligners provided an effective and comfortable treatment for my tooth gap issue. The initial in-person consultation adds personalization and much-needed assurance to the whole fitting process, while the remaining process is similar to at-home aligners. My first aligner arrived three weeks after the assessment via mail.
Remote check-ups through CandidMonitoring are even better than in some fully at-home aligners. Of course, this quality comes with a higher price tag, so you will find some reviews complaining about it. Still, the overall blend of professional in-person assessments with remote monitoring is a great middle-ground Candid offers.
Best Brand Credibility
Invisalign is such a popular brand that it’s often used interchangeably with aligners in general. The established place of Invisalign is well-deserved due to wide recognition among orthodontists and proven results among patients.
Invisalign treatments typically range between $2,800 and $9,000, influenced by factors like case complexity and treatment duration. The cost includes impression kits, aligners, and supplementary tools. Many dental insurance plans partially cover Invisalign in the same way as traditional braces, including even family discounts.
Invisalign aligners are crafted from SmartTrack – a patented thermoplastic material, ensuring elasticity and consistent force. This technology is proven to be the best for comfortable and effective teeth movement. Many other Invisalign complete the brand’s experience – My Invisalign app for treatment tracking, the Invisalign Professional Whitening System, retainers, mouthguards, and the SmileView tool for visualizing potential outcomes.
From the initial consultation to receiving the aligners, the process took about four to six weeks. The aligners, comfortable and virtually invisible, needed changing every 1-2 weeks, with regular in-office check-ups every four to six weeks.
Although expensive, Invisalign’s credibility and effectiveness justify the cost. The overall journey was smooth, with reliable consultations and results. Other users echo this sentiment, appreciating the brand’s established presence and consistent results, despite the higher price and longer wait times.
About Invisible Aligners
What are Clear Aligners?
The name of these cheap teeth straightening options derives from their near invisibility while on teeth. Clear aligners are transparent, plastic dental devices, designed as an alternative to traditional braces. They straighten teeth by applying consistent pressure. Made from medical-grade thermoplastic, clear aligners are customized for each user, often using at-home methods to increase convenience.
Typically worn for around 20 hours daily, they require a commitment of three weeks to six months to yield noticeable results. Users appreciate their convenience because it is possible to clean teeth aligners by removing them. Unlike traditional braces, clear aligners are less noticeable making them a better choice for aesthetic reasons alone.
However, that isn’t all the advantages. They are more affordable than braces, especially because you need fewer visits to a dentist. Clear aligners are also more comfortable and help to maintain better oral hygiene, as you can take them out when eating or cleaning your teeth. The only drawback is that they are less effective for severe dental misalignments.
All-Day vs Nighttime Only Aligners
All-day aligners, worn for approximately 22 hours, provide continuous teeth straightening. They offer faster results due to prolonged wear. Nighttime-only aligners cater to those seeking less daytime interference. Worn for about 10 hours, primarily during sleep, they align teeth gradually and are less intrusive to daily routines.
However, the treatment duration is longer compared to all-day aligners. Some people might prefer to use aligners longer daily, but for a shorter period overall, while others see more convenience with aligners worn at night. If you are one of them, read our article about the best night-only dental aligners.
At-Home Aligners vs Traditional Braces
At-home aligners and traditional braces, including lingual options, serve different dental needs. Clear aligners, ideal for minor misalignments, offer a discreet solution. They are often more affordable and convenient, especially for adults.
Traditional metal and lingual braces, recommended by dentists for complex cases, can be costlier. Dentists may suggest more expensive options even for minor bite issues, but clear aligners often suffice. That’s why the discussion of transparent aligners vs braces is highly dependent on your dental issues.
What Are Invisible Braces Used For?
Clear aligners are one of the best ways to straighten teeth without braces for minor malocclusions, alignment issues, or other dental problems. More challenging cases often necessitate traditional braces. Here are some of the main problems aligners can help with.
- Overbite happens when the upper teeth significantly overlap the lower teeth. Best aligners for overbite sufferers can gradually push the upper teeth back.
- Crossbites can be fixed with aligners as they reposition misalignment when upper teeth sit inside the lower ones. Some mewing exercises for crossbite can also help.
- Underbite is when lower teeth protrude past the upper front teeth. Underbite mewing and the use of aligners are both effective against this condition.
- Open bite fixing includes aligners as they can assist in closing the gap when upper and lower teeth do not meet.
Teeth Alignment Problems:
- Teeth crowding: insufficient space causes overlapping but aligners can create space for teeth.
- Gaps between teeth: as with creating space, aligners can close the gaps for a uniform appearance.
- Crooked teeth: aligners straighten bad teeth over time.
- Misaligned teeth: aligners can methodically correct general positioning issues.
- Relapse after previous orthodontic treatment: If you notice your teeth are shifting back after other methods, such as braces, aligners can help in re-aligning them.
Invisible Braces: What to Know Before Purchase
Can Your Teeth Benefit From Using Invisible Braces?
The ideal candidate for invisible braces exhibits mild to moderate dental misalignments. These include spacing issues, slight overbites, or crowding. Severe cases may require more intensive orthodontic treatment. It’s essential to understand that each dental case is unique, so you should consult your doctor before investing in expensive aligners.
Choose a Trusted Teeth Aligners Provider
Not all brands of invisible braces are reliable. Some are offering subpar products without proper dental oversight. It’s critical to choose reputable brands known, such as those mentioned in our list, for their quality and the involvement of real orthodontists or dentists. These professionals can provide the necessary guidance and adjustments, ensuring the aligners work effectively and safely.
Face-to-face vs. Distance vs. Hybrid Treatment Options
In the face-to-face model, exemplified by Invisalign, the process starts with a digital 3D scan of the teeth, using the iTero Element® scanner. This scan is pivotal in creating a custom treatment plan. Regular in-person check-ups, typically every few weeks, are scheduled to monitor progress and make necessary adjustments.
Distance treatments, as offered by AlignerCo, begin with a consultation with an orthodontist or dentist experienced in clear aligner treatment, which might include impressions, photos, and X-rays. Advanced software creates a 3D digital model of the teeth to plan precise movements. The custom aligners, made from transparent, BPA-free plastic, are worn continuously, except during eating and cleaning, and changed approximately every two weeks. Periodic check-ups, usually every 6-8 weeks, are essential to adjust the treatment as needed.
The hybrid model, like that offered by Candid, combines remote convenience with professional oversight. It starts with locating a CandidPro doctor for an initial assessment. Patients receive a set of aligners along with CandidMonitoring™ materials. Regular scans of the teeth are sent to the doctor every 14 days to ensure the treatment stays on track. This model offers a blend of the hands-on approach of face-to-face treatments and the flexibility of distance treatments.
Prepare to Commit to the Provided Treatment Plan
Each brand designs its products and treatment plans based on extensive research and individual patient needs. Invisalign’s range, from three to 18 months, reflects the varied complexity of dental cases. Similarly, Byte aligners, known for their expedited treatment using the Hyperbyte device, still require adherence to their 3 to 6-month plans.
NewSmile and AlignerCo, with average treatment times of 4-6 months for day aligners and 8-10 months for night aligners, underscore the importance of consistent wear. Candid aligners, ranging from 6 to 18 months, require diligent adherence to wearing and changing schedules as advised by dental professionals.
The treatment duration of invisible braces is tailored to balance efficiency with safety, ensuring teeth are moved effectively and healthily. Deviating from these plans can lead to suboptimal results or even dental health issues. Hence, commitment to the prescribed treatment plan is essential for successful teeth alignment.
Transparent Aligners Treatment Process
Consultation and Fitting
The process begins with a comprehensive oral examination. For Byte aligners, as an example, this involves assessing dental conditions to establish how invisible braces should fit the particular teeth structure. After approval, impressions or digital scans of the teeth are taken. These are sent to a lab to create the custom aligners, ensuring a precise fit.
Patients receive a series of aligners, each worn for 1 to 2 weeks. These aligners are designed to incrementally move teeth toward their desired positions. Byte, like most brands, requires the aligners to be worn for 20 to 22 hours a day, only removing them for eating, brushing, and flossing.
A licensed dental professional monitors the treatment’s progress, ensuring teeth are moving as planned. Brands like Byte may offer digital tools for patients to track their progress and communicate with their care team.
Upon completion, wearing a retainer is crucial to maintain alignment. In case of any post-treatment issues, orthodontists might provide additional aligners or other corrective measures. This ensures long-term success and stability of the treatment results.
Clear aligners and retainers differ significantly in their purpose and treatment process. Retainers, unlike aligners, are prescribed post-treatment to maintain teeth position. Their acquisition lacks the initial comprehensive scans and is simpler, often requiring only a basic fitting. Unlike progressive aligner changes, retainers maintain rather than alter dental alignment, emphasizing stability over transformation.
How We Chose The Best Invisible Braces
We assessed various factors while selecting top Clear Aligners. The weight of each of them depends on the specific product. Their importance also depends on your preferences and teeth conditions. Make sure to run through all of them before making a decision.
- Price. Affordability is crucial as clear aligners are frequently chosen instead of braces for this reason.
- Financing options. Flexible payment plans and health insurance options show the brand’s reliability and make the product even more affordable.
- Personalization. There are no universal dental treatments, so you must look for options where professionals customize plans.
- Treatment Length. Longer treatments are usually more effective, but patients tend to stop using aligners if it is too long. A good aligner treatment plan aims for a good balance.
- User Feedback. Real user experiences are the only way to know the aligner’s efficiency before use.
- Additional services. Multiple oral problems often occur together, so I prefer brands that have products that combine well with teeth whitening and other services.
- Comfort. Even if effective, an uncomfortable aligner is unlikely to be used during the whole treatment plan.
- Professional oversight. Regular supervision ensures safety and effectiveness, but depending on your condition, you might want a dentist or an orthodontist.
- Durability. High-quality materials ensure the aligners are both effective and long-lasting.
- Brand credibility. Established brand trustworthiness indicates quality.
Clear Aligners FAQ
What aligner attachments to choose (buttons, rubber bands, chewies)?
Aligner attachments are additional elements used in orthodontic treatment to enhance the effectiveness of aligners. They come in various shapes and are bonded to the teeth to improve aligner retention and facilitate precise tooth movements.
Choosing the right type—buttons, rubber bands, or chewies—depends on the individual’s specific case. While buttons and rubber bands cater to more complex misalignments, chewies for invisible braces are the most versatile option. They help keep the aligner trays firmly seated, ensuring optimal tooth movement.
Can you get aligners with missing teeth?
Yes, it is possible to get aligners even with missing teeth. Clear aligners can effectively prepare the dental arch for replacement teeth by aligning the remaining teeth and optimizing the bite. This approach not only enhances the aesthetics but also addresses any bite issues, creating a stable foundation for future dental restorations.
Are DIY teeth aligners feasible?
The primary concern of DIY teeth aligners is the lack of comprehensive assessment and personalized treatment planning. However, reputable brands like Byte or Candid have customized treatment processes with tailored solutions to suit a variety of needs. At the same time, they bring in the benefit of cost-effective compared to traditional methods.
How to remove aligners?
To remove aligners, start at the back of the mouth, gently lifting the edges of the aligner from the molars on each side and then slowly working your way forward. Carefully and steadily peel the aligner down and away from the teeth to avoid damaging both the aligner and your teeth. I have covered this process more thoroughly in the article on how aligners work.
Top teeth aligners or bottom teeth aligners?
The choice between top teeth aligners or bottom teeth aligners depends on an individual’s specific orthodontic needs. For instance, top teeth aligners may be recommended for correcting an overbite, where the upper teeth protrude significantly over the lower teeth.
Conversely, bottom teeth aligners might be more appropriate for addressing an underbite, where the lower teeth extend beyond the upper ones. Ultimately, an orthodontist will determine the best approach based on a thorough evaluation of your dental alignment and bite issues.
Should you use aligner wax?
Aligner wax is a soft and flexible wax used to alleviate discomfort or pain caused by invisible braces. Such discomfort is usually caused by the edges or other parts of clear aligners rubbing against the gums or cheeks. The wax is efficient in reducing friction, and alleviating the pain as a result.
You should use aligner wax if you feel discomfort or pain that does not disappear after a few days of use. Aligner treatment with a good wax provides a much smoother and comfortable experience.
Can aligners change your face shape?
Aligners can subtly change your face shape by improving your bite and alignment, which in turn can slightly alter the jawline and overall facial aesthetics. If the change isn’t to your liking consider practicing mewing for face change.
What can you eat with aligners?
Since aligners are removable, you can eat everything during your treatment. However, it’s recommended to remove aligners before eating or drinking anything other than water. Most importantly, you should avoid hard and sticky foods as they can damage the aligner or worsen your oral hygiene if the aligners are not removed while eating.
Can you start teeth whitening with aligners?
Teeth whitening while wearing aligners is possible, and some aligner brands offer compatible whitening products to be used during treatment. However, some traditional teeth whitening options, such as whitening gels and trays, may not be that effective. Consider the guidelines provided by the aligner manufacturer before starting to whiten your teeth.