Comparing the Best Mail-In Teeth Aligners

Clinical Content Reviewed by Byte Licensed DDS
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Table of Contents

  1. Comparing the Best Mail-Order Aligners in 2023
  2. Pros & Cons
  3. Mail-In Aligners vs. Invisalign
  4. Visiting Orthodontist for Teeth Alignment
  5. Frequently Asked Questions
  6. Do Mail-In Aligners Work?

At-home clear teeth aligners are rapidly growing in popularity. Just as more people are opting for greater convenience in their shopping and health routines, many also see mail-order teeth straightening aligners as a win-win. They can enjoy the results and cutting-edge technology of clear aligners with the convenience of at-home treatment. 

This also means there are more mail-order clear teeth aligners on the market. Choosing the right product and service can make all the difference in your results and aligner experience, so it's important to research and find the right provider.

Byte’s at-home clear aligners are doctor directed. Impressions you make at home are used to design a personalized treatment plan approved by a licensed dentist or orthodontist.

Get a smile you love right from home

Transform your smile without going to the dentist. Our clear aligners ship directly to you, and they can cost thousands less than braces.

Comparing the Best Mail-Order Aligners in 2023

Many companies want to sell you aligners. Which should you choose? 

The best teeth straighteners come from the four companies we'll discuss in depth in the sections below. Read about the different types of clear aligners, and make a choice that's right for your smile.

Comparing the Best Mail-In Teeth Aligners
Mail order or in-office impressions?Mail-orderIn-officeMail-orderIn-office or mail-order
Average length of treatment4 months6 months4–6 months4–6 months (22-hour per day wear)8-10 months (nighttime wear)
Cost$2,099 + $95 (impression kit)Varies per patient (hypothetical cost provided on website is $3,500)Starting at $895$2,050 + $59 (impression kit)
Maintenance and guaranteesByte for Life guarantee, offering another evaluation and aligners for shifted teethNo. Any agreements are made between CandidPro provider and patient$499–$599 WorryFree Protection Plan for retainer replacementLifetime Smile Guarantee provides aligner touch-ups during treatment and yearly touch-up aligners for those who have purchased replacement retainers ($99) every 6 months and worn them as prescribed
Standout accessories and productsScience-backed HyperByte high-frequency vibrational device to promote fast, effective results and minimize discomfortCandidMonitoring tools for virtual check-ins with CandidPro doctorNo frills, but describes their aligners as customized, handcrafted, and comfortableComfort Sense technology for comfortable fit

Byte offers mail-in aligners to consumers all across the country. Here's what you need to know:

  • Completely mail-order or requires in-office visits? Byte’s products are completely mail-order.

  • Average treatment time: 4 months (can vary per patient)

  • Cost: The Byte Impression Kit ($95) helps medical professionals determine if you’re a treatment candidate. If you’re not, the impression kit is refundable. The full aligner set (including byte’s HyperByte* teeth movement accelerator and BrightByte™ teeth whitener) is $2,099.

  • Customer service: They are available 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST through telephone, online chat, Facebook messenger, text, and email.

  • Maintenance and guarantees: During treatment, Byte will provide any additional aligners needed to achieve the desired result. Once treatment is complete, Byte offers the Byte for Life™ guarantee, ensuring you'll get help if your teeth shift.

  • Standout accessories and products: HyperByte* (a high-frequency vibrational device that helps the aligner achieve proper teeth movement) and a one-month supply of BrightByte™ (a whitener that doesn’t cause tooth sensitivity) are included with your aligners.

  • Benefits: Byte’s lifetime guarantee and user-friendly impression kit make them stand out. The average length of treatment is shorter than many other options. In addition, the technology behind vibrational devices for aligners, such as HyperByte*, has shown promise in improving results and minimizing discomfort.

  • Potential downfalls: Byte offers a fully remote option for those looking for an aligner treatment that can be completed at home from start to finish. So, if you’re looking for in-office visits, it’s probably not the best choice for you.

Here's what you need to know about mail order teeth aligners from Candid:

  • Completely mail-order or requires in-office visits? Candid offers a hybrid approach. They require an in-office consultation with one of their CandidPro doctors before at-home treatment. 

  • Average treatment time: 6 months (can vary per patient)

  • Cost: This varies by patient and provider. On Candid’s website, they use $3,500 as an example of what their aligners could cost in a hypothetical situation.

  • Customer service: They are available 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., 7 days a week, through online chat or phone.

  • Maintenance and guarantees: Candid does not provide any. Guarantees or service agreements are made between CandidPro providers and patients. 

  • Standout accessories and products: Candid focuses on doctor-directed care and offers their trademarked CandidMonitoring virtual checkups, so patients can send their follow-up pictures every 14 days to be reviewed by their CandidPro doctors. Candid aligner kits come with the CandidMonitoring tool and premium whitening gel.

  • Benefits: Virtual check-ins with a CandidPro provider make Candid an appealing option for those seeking a hybrid of in-office and mail-order alignment treatment.

  • Potential downfalls: Because payment and service agreements are worked out between the patient and CandidPro provider, there could be some confusion about pricing and warranty.

Here's what you need to know about mail-order aligners from ALIGNERCO:

  • Completely mail-order or requires in-office visits? These are completely mail-order products.

  • Average treatment time:  4 to 6 months (can vary per patient)

  • Cost: An ALIGNERCO kit, which includes the at-home impression kit, aligner set, and retainer, costs $895. During some promotions, a teeth whitener is also included.

  • Customer service: They are available 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST via a toll-free number or email. Online chat is available 24/7. A patient is assigned a Smile Crew Member from ALIGNERCO. Any treatment questions will be addressed with the Smile Crew Member, who will then refer any questions or concerns to the dentist assigned to the treatment. 

  • Maintenance and guarantees: ALIGNERCO offers a WorryFree Protection plan, which costs $499 to $599, depending on promotions. It covers a new retainer every six months and an on-demand retainer in case of a lost retainer.

  • Standout accessories and products: ALIGNERCO describes their clear aligners as “customized, handcrafted & trimmed to the gum line, making them a snug fit and more comfortable to wear.”

  • Benefits: With low prices and many payment plans available, ALIGNERCO appeals to those looking for teeth straightening aligners on a budget.

  • Potential downfalls: For those looking for direct contact with their dental professional or a clear guarantee or warranty on service, ALIGNERCO may not be their top choice.

You can straighten teeth by mail with SmileDirectClub. Here's what you need to know:

  • Completely mail-order or requires in-office visits? SmileDirectClub offers the choice of coming to an in-office smile shop for the initial tooth scan or using an at-home impression kit.

  • Average treatment time: 4 to 6 months for 22-hour per day aligners and 8-10 months for the nighttime aligners (can vary per patient)

  • Cost: An initial scan or impression kit is $59. Mail-order aligners start at $2,050 or $89/month.

  • Customer service: A toll-free number and online chat assistance are available 24/7.

  • Maintenance and guarantees: As part of their Lifetime Smile Guarantee™, SmileDirectClub offers a 30-day money-back promise and aligner touch-ups throughout treatment. After treatment, patients who wear their retainer as prescribed and replace it ($99) every six months are eligible for a free aligner touch-up every year if approved by a SmileDirectClub dental professional.

  • Standout accessories and products: Aligners are created with Comfort Sense™ lasers to precision cut for a comfortable fit.

  • Benefits: SmileDirectClub offers many customer service options and a teen benefit program.

  • Potential downfalls: The after-service guarantee depends on purchasing retainer replacements twice a year.

Pros & Cons of Mail-Order Aligners

Whether you call them mail-order braces, braces by mail, or mail-in aligners, these products can be right for some people who want to change their smile. But they do come with some drawbacks you should know about.

Comparing the Best Mail-In Teeth Aligners_1
Less painfulNot always covered by insurance
Treatment can be completed from homeRelatively new devices
Can be more cost-effectiveMay not be as effective as braces
Support staff often readily availableNo in-person consultations or checkups

Mail-order aligners allow patients with moderate dental issues to get the smiles they always wanted without long office visits and the hassle of in-person appointments. These benefits are clear and easy for anyone to recognize. But other hidden benefits of clear aligners vs. traditional braces could be even more important to you. 

Researchers say that clear aligners are significantly less painful than traditional appliances (like braces). They don't rip your lips or tug on your gums, and their gentle pressure can push your teeth into position. Researchers say high pain levels during treatment lead to more dissatisfied patients, so aligners could make for a happier smile. 

Aligners can also be more cost-effective than braces, as at-home visits come with a smaller price tag. And since staff is available 24/7 via chat with many aligner companies, people can get their questions answered quicker.

If you have dental insurance with orthodontic coverage, your mail-order aligners could be covered. Many of the companies we’ve mentioned in this article accept payments from major insurance companies. Most orthodontic dental insurance plans pay only a portion of the final bill (such as 80%). Choosing an at-home aligner product could save you money, as the overall bill will be lower.

Traditional braces have been used for decades to help people get the smiles they always wanted. A significant amount of published data is available about how these devices work, why they work, and who needs them. Aligners are relatively new. However, some research suggests these tools aren’t right for everyone.

In a study published in 2023, researchers examined health problems faced by people who used direct-to-consumer aligners. They found 651 reports of issues between January 2010 and December 2021, with 54 reports in 2019 alone. Some of the issues they found included the following:

  • Bite problems (41.3%)

  • Pain (29.8%)

  • Periodontal disease (26.6%)

The researchers also found that 69.2% of people addressed their issues by visiting a doctor who didn’t use direct-to-consumer aligners.  

Research published in 2020 suggests that people choose direct-to-consumer aligners because they’re convenient and cost less.

However, researchers explain that aligners rarely achieve 100% treatment accuracy. While modern aligner companies can use detailed tracking tools and AI to ensure that their programs work properly, the results aren’t always what people want. Studies like this suggest that aligners might not be right for people with significant dental problems. They may need more help than aligners can provide.

Do mail-in aligners work?

Mail-in aligners are medical appliances created from scans and impressions of your teeth. Typically, they’re made of a clear plastic material that wraps around your teeth from the tip to the gumline. While they’re not right for everyone, research suggests they could be helpful for many people. 

In a study published in 2021, researchers surveyed 470 people who were either currently using mail-in aligners or had done so in the past. They found that the majority of people were either very happy (43.1%) or somewhat happy (44.4%) with their treatment programs.

The researchers also found that people using aligners for mild issues like crowding or gaps were more likely to be happy than those using the tools for significant problems, such as a poor bite.

Studies like this demonstrate why the assessment phase of treatment is crucial. It’s important for your treatment team to check your mouth carefully and ensure this type of care is right for your smile. If you need more help than aligners can provide, your treatment team should tell you this clearly.

Mail-In Aligners vs. Invisalign

Invisalign by mail isn't a product anyone can buy. While Invisalign uses clear aligners to straighten teeth, they're managed in a series of in-person appointments with a dental professional. The trays are similar, but the treatment process is very different. 

When comparing Byte and Invisalign, cost differences become clear. The at-home model means you’re not required to subsidize office space and equipment. Your costs are dramatically reduced as a result. 

But for people with significant dental issues, in-person visits could be an important part of the treatment process. A dental professional might need to examine your smile in person to determine what should happen next. And an in-person option allows you to switch to conventional braces if needed.

When Should You Visit an Orthodontist for Teeth Alignment?

In-person orthodontic treatment isn't required for every person. Some get by just fine with at-home aligners to straighten their teeth. But there are some scenarios in which it's best to visit a conventional dentist to get help with your teeth.

Those scenarios include the following:

  • Extreme teeth misalignment: Very misaligned teeth often need more help than at-home aligners can provide. If your teeth are far out of place, you may need traditional braces to treat them.

  • Jaw misalignment: A significant overbite, underbite, crossbite, or other issues can benefit from braces and other orthopedic appliances. Jaw misalignment treatment isn't possible with all aligner products. 

  • Jaw pain: Some types of jaw pain stem from significant dental issues that could be treated with braces or dental appliances. 

  • Gum and teeth pain: Some oral pain, including pain in your teeth, could get better with traditional orthopedic appliances. 

  • Missing teeth: Significant gaps between your teeth, caused by one or two missing molars, might need more help than aligners can provide.

  • Misaligned molars: Few aligner treatment plans move molars. If these teeth need to move, you may need to visit an orthodontist.

Mail-Order Aligner Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the questions people often ask about mail-order teeth aligners:

The best mail-order aligners come with guarantees that ensure you get the results you want. If you follow your treatment plan and all of the rules from your experts, you should get reliable results.

Byte offers professional expertise, a best-in-class guarantee, and very comfortable aligners. If you're comfortable with a completely remote experience, Byte could be right for you.

No. Invisalign is offered by dental professionals via in-person appointments.

Some mail-in teeth aligners offer a completely remote experience, meaning that you don't need to go to an in-person orthodontist appointment.

Mail-in aligners typically cost around $2,000, but prices can vary per patient and company.

*Preliminary clinical studies of small groups of users have shown that daily recommended use of a high-frequency seating device functionally equivalent to HyperByte with clear aligners may help with comfort and speed of tooth movement.

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.