What are the Best Teeth Aligners?

What are the Best Teeth Aligners?
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What are the Best Teeth Aligners?Clinical Content Reviewed by Dr. Jay Khorsandi, DDS
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Table of Contents

  1. Quick Aligner Comparison
  2. Price Points
  3. Discounts
  4. Guarantees
  5. Treatment Process
  6. Treatment Timeline
  7. Convenience
  8. Accessories
  9. Questions
  10. Is the Work Accredited?
  11. Other People Think
  12. Learn More
  13. Company Choices
  14. References

Aligners are clear, plastic trays that gently push your teeth into proper positions. Most aligner companies use comparable materials to adjust smiles, but some companies truly are better than others.

Which company should you choose? Focus only on price, and you could skip important factors like guarantees and customer reviews. Home in on treatment time, and you could pay far too much for the smile you want.

Use this resource to guide your decision. And remember: Don't be afraid to ask questions. Your smile is important! Don't leave your health to someone you don't trust.

things to consider when deciding on the best teeth aligners

Quick Aligner Comparison

Let's cut to the chase. Which company offers the best aligners out there? This quick chart can help.

PriceDiscountsGuaranteeProcessTimeframe
Byte$1,999YesYesDoctor-monitored, at home4 months (average)
InvisalignMay cost over $7,000Varies per dentistNoIn person6 months (minimum)
Smile Direct Club$2,050NoYesAssessment in an office; treatment at home4 to 6 month
ALIGNERCO$1,145YesNoAt-home care4 to 6 months

Price Points: Major Differences.

Aligner programs are typically developed with cost in mind. Rather than asking customers to spend thousands on the brackets and wires associated with braces, companies use less expensive plastics to move teeth.

But there are some major exceptions, and some aligners cost just as much as braces.

Here’s how the cost stacks up between aligner options:

  • Byte: $1,999, plus the $95 impression kit
  • Invisalign: May cost over $7,000, depending on your oral health and dentist
  • SmileDirectClub: $2,050, plus the $59 impression kit
  • ALIGNERCO: $1,145, plus the $75 impression kit

Why is Invisalign so much more expensive? Let us explain.

Invisalign provides aligners, but dentists and orthodontists administer the treatment plans. These professionals can charge whatever they'd like for the work, and they have expenses related to offices and upkeep. Those fees are rolled into your aligner treatment costs.

All the other aligner companies we've listed are different. They use telemedicine, which means you skip expensive in-person appointments. You still get smile supervision, but you save a lot of money.

Many companies and private-practice dental professionals offer financing packages that could help you pay for care. And most forms of aligner treatment could be eligible for reimbursement from an insurance company.

Even with insurance, you should expect to see a bill for aligner treatment. Insurance companies use copayments, deductibles, and other methods to keep costs low. And sometimes, insurance companies won’t cover aligner treatment at all.

Discounts Could Help You Save Money on Aligners

While your insurance company could help cut the cost of aligner treatment, some companies offer benefits that could reduce your overall price for a better smile.

At Byte, we offer three types of discounts. These include the following:

  • Military discounts for active service members and veterans
  • Student discounts for both undergraduates and graduates
  • First responder discounts for those who keep our communities safe

Byte also offers a $100 bonus for each friend you refer. And periodic discounts on impression kits help keep the costs even lower.

ALIGNERCO offers discounts for active and retired veterans. The company also provides rolling discounts. Sometimes you'll see them on the website or social media. When you do, act fast! They could disappear soon.

In-person options like Invisalign don't come with guaranteed discounts. Every dental professional runs an individual program. But some dentists and orthodontists use Groupon and other websites to offer discounts to potential patients.

Significant differences separate aligner companies. Some are more expensive, some take longer than others, and some do not offer guaranteed protection.

Guarantees Protect Your Smile

Aligners are investments, and guarantees ensure that you’re not spending money in vain. Some companies offer this protection, and others do not.

At Byte, we offer extensive smile protection. If you followed your treatment and retainer plan carefully and your teeth move, you’re eligible for the following:

  • An assessment: A professional will look at your tooth placement now, which will be compared to your tooth placement at the end of your treatment plan.
  • New aligners: You'll get a new custom aligner treatment plan.
  • New retainers: At the end of treatment, you’ll have new tools to keep your teeth in place.

SmileDirectClub offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. Other than Byte and SmileDirectClub, no other companies on our list discuss formal discounts on their websites.

How Does Aligner Treatment Work?

Aligner companies fall into one of two models. One involves in-person appointments; the other does not.

Choose Invisalign, and you’ll work with an orthodontist who lives in your community. You’ll visit this person for the following:

  • An assessment: You’ll go through an exam, and you’ll talk together about your teeth and how they might be improved.
  • An evaluation: Your orthodontist will use Invisalign tools to measure your mouth and develop an aligner plan.
  • Checkups: You’ll visit your orthodontist regularly to discuss how your treatment plan is working. In some appointments, you’ll get new sets of aligners.

Some orthodontists run very efficient offices, and they allow for quick appointments that don’t impact your everyday life.

But emergencies, inaccuracies, and other unknowns can lead to long wait times. And some people just don’t feel comfortable sitting in a waiting room next to strangers.

Choose SmileDirectClub, and you'll follow a process much like Invisalign's process. You'll meet with a dentist or orthodontist for an assessment, and that appointment must happen in person. You'll stay in touch via photo check-in appointments and telemedicine. But if you run into major problems, you'll need to visit your dentist in an in-person appointment.

Doctor-monitored, at-home aligners are different. You have a dental professional assigned to your case, and that person both develops your aligner plan and ensures your teeth are moving as expected. But you may only see that person via virtual chats rather than in person.

This approach allows for the following:

  • Social distancing: You won’t sit in a crowded waiting room with other people.
  • Professional care: A dental expert is still in charge of your smile.
  • Unpredictable schedules: You may find it hard to schedule appointments if you have shift work or an unusual work arrangement. At-home aligners let you tackle your smile on your own time.
  • Lower cost: Telemedicine allows doctors to reach many customers without maintaining an office. They can pass those savings on to you.

Byte and AlignerCo all follow this model.

How Long Will Aligner Treatment Take?

Aligners are made to move your teeth at a safe but steady pace. Each tug encourages new bone to grow below your teeth so they’ll hold their position when you’re done with treatment. Aligners are often quicker than braces, but significant differences in treatment timeframes exist.

Byte offers fast treatment timelines. We use an innovative technology, HyperByte®, that can help to shorten treatment duration.

Place the tool between your teeth for 5 minutes per day and turn it on. The gentle vibration helps your teeth seat into your aligners, and it could reduce discomfort. Tools like this are also clinically proven to shorten treatment times.

Choose Invisalign and prepare for long treatment times. This therapy is approved for severe smile issues, which take longer to treat.

That could be, in part, why treatment seems to move so slowly. Those significant timeframes drag up the average. But Invisalign doesn’t come with vibration technology, which could play a role.

How Convenient Is Your Aligner Treatment?

More than 80 percent of American adults report prolonged feelings of stress. We're dealing with conflicting demands of work and home, and we often wonder how we'll get everything done. How does your smile therapy fit into your life?

At-home, doctor-directed programs (like those we offer at Byte) are the most convenient way to give you the smile you always wanted.

Do the work at home on a schedule you set. If you work late, no problem! Send in your scans at midnight. We won't mind.

But you must choose your aligner company carefully. Some of the options we've mentioned have poor customer service programs, leaving you hanging for days with questions you must get answered.

At Byte, we're known for our exceptional service. Others aren't.

What Accessories Are Included?

Aligner accessories can shorten treatment times, brighten your teeth, keep aligners straight, and more. Many companies offer perks with your order.

At Byte, we include the following:

  • HyperByte: Shorten treatment times and reduce pain with our vibrating tool.
  • BrightByte: Clean aligners and brighten your teeth with one minty foam.
  • Chewies: Aligner tray seaters help ensure your products fit snugly over your teeth.

We offer much more as part of your treatment program than our competitors. In fact, most of our competitors don't talk about accessories at all on their websites.

Who Answers Your Questions?

Your smile is so important to your health and well-being. Aligners are medical devices, and you'll notice the difference almost immediately when you start using them. It's reasonable to have questions about your care.

At Byte, your care is supervised by a dentist. You'll submit photos via our app to ensure your treatment is on track. If you have any questions, we're just a tap or a click away.

Use Invisalign and you'll speak to your dentist or orthodontist about your concerns. Some professionals have small caseloads, and they're always ready to talk with patients. But others can be hard to contact without an appointment, and you could get charged for each visit.

SmileDirectClub and ALIGNERCO also have customer service teams available via websites and apps. It's not clear if you'll talk directly to a dentist when you use these tools or if you'll go through a receptionist first.

Is the Work Accredited?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recognizes sequential aligners as medical devices. Via this definition, all of the companies we've discussed here are accredited.

But the person applying the aligners can also factor into accreditation, and here's where things get murky. Dentists and orthodontists are licensed in their states, and they must be supervised by a regulatory body. Choose Invisalign and you're within this framework.

At Byte, we also work with accredited dental professionals. You're in very good hands with our staff.

But it's unclear whom other companies use to supervise their work. This is a great question to ask as you shop for appliances for your smile.

What Do Other People Think?

More than 75 percent of consumers read reviews when shopping for services. If you're one of them, you may have read a bit about each company you're considering. If not, read on.

ConsumerAffairs keeps a detailed list of reviews about most aligner companies. Their ratings go up to 5 stars, so the higher the score, the better the performance. Here's how each company stacks up:

  • Byte: 4.4 stars
  • Invisalign: 3.7 stars
  • SmileDirectClub: 3.8 stars
  • ALIGNERCO: 2 stars

Most of the companies we've profiled here also include customer reviews on their websites. Check those out for more information.

Where Can I Learn More?

Ready to do your own research? Start by checking out the websites of all the companies we've discussed:

Which Aligner Company Will You Choose?

We know Byte is a solid aligner competitor, and we're proud of that. Cost, hassles, and timeframes are kept to a minimum.

For people with mild to moderate smile issues, we are hard to beat. We'd love to connect with you and help boost your smile.

References

Frequently Asked Questions. Byte.

Frequently Asked Questions. Invisalign.

Frequently Asked Questions. SmileDirectClub.

Frequently Asked Questions. Candid.

Frequently Asked Questions. ALIGNERCO. 

The Effects of Brief Daily Vibration on Clear Aligner Orthodontic Treatment. (December 2018). Journal of the World Federation of Orthodontists

APA: U.S. Adults Report Highest Stress Level Since Early Days of the COVID-19 Pandemic. (February 2021). American Psychological Association. 

Aligner, Sequential. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

Local Consumer Review Survey 2022. (January 2022). BrightLocal.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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