Candid vs. SmileDirectClub: A Third-Party Comparison

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Table of Contents

  1. Key Facts
  2. How to Get Started
  3. Treatment Timeline
  4. Professional Supervision
  5. Comparing Cost
  6. Reimbursement for Care
  7. Provider Convenience
  8. Comparing Appearance
  9. Comparing Customer Experience
  10. Alternative Options
  11. References

Should you undergo aligner treatment with SmileDirectClub? Or should you choose Candid? Or is another company capable of delivering a better experience altogether?

It's often hard to get clear answers to questions like this. And digging through website after website, trying to parse all the marketing messaging, isn't fun for anyone.

We did the hard work for you. This is a clear-eyed comparison of aligner therapy from both SmileDirectClub and Candid. We don't have a financial stake in either company and don't profit from the analysis. But we believe that consumers have a right to know how the companies work before they buy.

We hope this information is helpful for you as you shop.

Candid vs. SmileDirectClub: A Third-Party Comparison
How to get startedIn personIn person or telemedicine
Treatment timeline6 months4–6 months
Professional supervisionTelemedicineTelemedicine; In person available for emergencies
CostVariesAbout $2,000
ConvenienceVery convenientVery convenient
AppearanceClear alignersClear aligners

Key Facts when Comparing Candid & SmileDirectClub

Both Candid and SmileDirectClub offer clear aligner therapy with a telemedicine option. You can get the smile you always wanted without in-person checkups. But there are core differences. 

Candid and SmileDirectClub differ by in the following ways:

  • Price: Candid costs $2,400, while SmileDirectClub costs $2,050.

  • Kickoff: SmileDirectClub has the option of a telemedicine for treatment kickoff, while Candid requires an in-person appointment.

  • Timelines: Candid treatment can take a little longer than SmileDirectClub.

How to Get Started: Comparing the Two

Aligners are medical devices that apply gentle pressure to teeth. Their work is both significant and lasting, and you'll need a professional to oversee the process. SmileDirectClub and Candid handle this demand in different ways.

Both companies offer an in-person option to start your journey to a better smile while SmileDirectClub also has a telemedicine option.

Getting started with Candid 

You must work with a qualified Candid provider, and while there are many, they may not be located close to you. If you live in a small town, or you don't have reliable transportation to a major city, this may not be the right choice for you.

If you can find a provider, you'll sit for an assessment, including dental impressions. That data will help your doctor create your treatment plan. Your team could also help to diagnose health issues that could impair your treatment plan.

How does Candid work? 

Once your treatment plan is approved, your treatment begins in earnest. Candid uses a telemedicine option, so you won't visit your doctor in person again. 

The Candid company will send you aligners, and you'll wear them according to your treatment plan. You'll check in with your treatment team via photos, and you'll have someone always available at the company to help with questions and concerns. In a few months, you'll be done. 

Getting started with SmileDirectClub

SmileDirectClub provides two main methods to begin your smile journey.

  • In person: Shops are scattered throughout the country, and some are even housed in pharmacies like Walgreens or CVS. It's very easy to get in-person help with impressions if you choose this company.

  • At home: But if you'd rather skip an in-person visit, use at-home impression kits. Pay $59 with SmileDirectClub.

How does SmileDirectClub work?

Dental professionals look over your impressions and provide a 3D model of your current teeth and your future smile. If you approve of the plan, SmileDirectClub will create your trays and send them to you. 

You will wear your trays per recommendations, and you’ll use telemedicine to stay in touch with your dental professional. In a few months, your treatment plan will be completed.

Treatment Timeline: Which is Quicker?

Aligners slide over your teeth, and while they can be slightly uncomfortable, they shouldn't cause intense pain. Even so, few people want to wear them longer than they must. Timeframe differences and a few process options differentiate SmileDirectClub from Candid.

Candid vs. SmileDirectClub: A Third-Party Comparison_1
6 months4–6 months

Candid treatment timeline

Treatment with Candid involves aligners that are worn for 22 or more hours per day. Treatment times vary, but most people need about 6 months to finish the process.

SmileDirectClub treatment timeline

SmileDirectClub customers need 4 to 6 months of treatment. And they have two types of care to choose from.

  1. Standard aligners: Wear them all the time, except when eating or drinking.

  2. Nighttime aligners: Wear them for just 10 hours per day (typically while you’re asleep).

Most people will need to wear their aligners for the majority of a 24-hour period.

Professional Supervision: Are there Differences?

Both Candid and SmileDirectClub have qualified professionals capable of giving you the smile you always wanted. But the programs work a little differently.

Candid vs. SmileDirectClub: A Third-Party Comparison_2
In-person options availableYesKickoff and emergencies only
Available everywhere?Limited by local availabilityYes

Candid supervision & support

A network dentist begins your treatment process. You'll have an in-person, full-mouth examination and assessment with someone who knows your teeth inside and out. After this sole visit, you'll use telemedicine treatment.

Every 14 days or so, you'll submit photos to the Candid website. A doctor will look the progress over and reach out if something should change. You can reach out to customer service via the website if something goes wrong. 

If your treatment goes very wrong, you could potentially go back to your dentist for help. But this may not be required. 

SmileDirectClub Supervision and Support

A network of over 200 dentists and orthodontists participate in SmileDirectClub. When you sign up, you'll be matched with a professional licensed in your state. 

Every 90 days or so, you’ll log into the SmileDirectClub for a telemedicine progress report. If you have questions or concerns, you can reach out for support via the website.

Comparing Cost: Which is Less Expensive?

Invest in your smile, and you'll reap the rewards for years. But no savvy consumer wants to pay more than necessary. Both SmileDirectClub and Candid are cheaper than braces. But significant cost differences separate them from one another.

Candid vs. SmileDirectClub: A Third-Party Comparison_3
CostVaries by provider$2,050

How much does Candid cost?

The Candid program cost varies. Dentists and orthodontists can set their own pricing. They can also offer discounts and guarantees. But these perks don't come from the Candid company directly. 

How much does SmileDirectClub cost?

SmileDirectClub offers two treatment plans:

  • Daytime: Wear your aligners most of the day.

  • Nighttime: Wear your aligners at night. 

Follow your treatment plan closely, and you’ll be eligible for a guarantee.

Can you get Reimbursed for Care?

Since aligners are medical devices used to correct a legitimate health issue, it's reasonable to expect insurance companies to chip in to cover the cost. But in reality, getting payment can be tricky.

Insurance companies may have rules regarding the following:

  • Necessity: If your teeth are slightly crooked but don't cause harm to your mouth or overall health, aligners may seem like a cosmetic solution rather than one dictated by medical needs. Insurance is more likely to pitch in on the cost if you need your teeth straightened for a medical reason.

  • Authorization: Some companies require a professional (like a dentist) to prove that you need care before they’ll cover the cost.

  • Limits: Some companies will only pay a portion of your bills rather than covering all of them.

Sorting through these questions takes time. SmileDirectClub will do that hard work for you. It’s harder to get answers with Candid, as your doctor can set pricing and policies.

Which Provider is more Convenient?

Both Candid and SmileDirectClub offer clear aligners to provide you with an optimized smile. But convenience levels can vary.

Candid vs. SmileDirectClub: A Third-Party Comparison_4
Who answers questions?The Candid team, or your dentist in an emergencyTelemedicine team
How do you stay connected?TelemedicineTelemedicine
Who can participate?Anyone who lives close to a Candid providerAnyone

How convenient is Candid? 

Some people find at-home assessments convenient, but others really want to see someone in person for an exam. Candid's convenience comes in the following ways:

  • Detailed kickoff: A dental professional does an exam and takes tooth measurements. 

  • Online support: The Candid website makes it easy for you to talk with your treatment team, get answers to questions, and more. 

  • Emergency assistance: If your treatment plan goes seriously wrong, you could potentially visit your dentist for help. 

How convenient is SmileDirectClub?

SmileDirectClub provides some customization options, so you can get the help you need. SmileDirectClub's convenience comes in these ways:

  • Options: Kick off your program with an in-person appointment, or use a kit to take impressions of your teeth at home.

  • Telemedicine: You'll work remotely with your team, so you can skip appointments and long waits.

Comparing Appearance: Candid vs. SmileDirectClub

Clear aligners are not as visible as braces. Both Candid and SmileDirectClub offer clear, plastic aligners. But the appearance can be slightly different. 

Candid clear aligners 

Candid clear aligners look like this:

  • Cloudy: Trays are slightly frosted. Some say this makes them harder to see. 

  • Variable: Trays are cut to follow the edges of your gums. 

  • Fixed: You don't need appliances to keep trays on your teeth. They snap in place. 

SmileDirectClub clear aligners

Smile Club clear aligners look like this:

  • Clear: Trays are made of clear plastic free of BPA.

  • Square: Trays are cut straight across rather than following your gum line.

  • Fixed: Trays snap on your teeth, so they don’t move.

Comparing the Customer Experience

Both Candid and SmileDirectClub use telemedicine techniques, so people can skip appointments and take care of their teeth at home. But customer experiences between the two companies can vary.

What customers can expect with Candid 

Candid's process begins with a visit to a professional in your city. You'll sit for an exam and impressions of your teeth. 

Candid also offers the following:

  • Telemedicine: Visit the website and get help around the clock. Conduct all of your appointments via the website.

  • Scheduled appointments: You must visit the website every few weeks. This mandated schedule ensures you stay on track.

  • Emergency care: If something about your treatment goes wrong, you could visit your doctor for help. 

What customers can expect with SmileDirectClub

SmileDirectClub offers the opportunity for an in-person assessment. Then, you move to telemedicine appointments. You can expect the following:

  • Professional care: A dental professional creates your plan and ensures everything progresses as it should.

  • Prompt service: If you have questions, someone is always available to work with you.

What Other Options are Available?

Many companies provide aligner treatments. If you're not happy with Candid or SmileDirectClub, you could choose the following:

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.