SmileDirectClub vs. Candid: A Third-Party Comparison

SmileDirectClub vs. Candid: A Third-Party Comparison
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SmileDirectClub vs. Candid: A Third-Party ComparisonClinical Content Reviewed by Licensed DDS
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Table of Contents

  1. Pricing
  2. Getting Started
  3. Treatment Timeline
  4. Insurance Reimbursement
  5. Customer Satisfaction
  6. 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 we 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.

Pricing: How Much Will You Pay?

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.

We've spotted differences involving:

Impression Kits
Both Candid and SmileDirectClub have in-person shops that customers can visit for an aligner assessment. But if you'd rather skip an in-person visit, both companies offer at-home impression kits. Pay $95 for the Candid version, or pay $59 with SmileDirectClub.
Overall Cost
Choose Candid, and you'll pay $2,400 for your treatment plan. Pay $1,950 with SmileDirectClub.
Payment Plans
Both companies offer financing options. But you must put down a $399 down payment with Candid, and your monthly cost is $99. SmileDirectClub requires no down payment, and monthly costs are $89.
Clearly, SmileDirectClub offers significant financial savings over Candid. If cost is a major driver for you, the choice may be clear.

Getting Started: Who Helps to Craft Your Plan?

Aligners are medical devices that apply gentle pressure to teeth. The work they do 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 kick off your journey to a better smile. But their offices are slightly different.

  • Candid: Fewer than 20 in-person studios are available, and they're all in major cities. If you live in a small town, or you don't have reliable transportation to a major city, you're almost sure to choose an at-home impression kit to demonstrate how your teeth should move.
  • SmileDirectClub: Shops are scattered all across the country, and some are even embedded in pharmacies like Walgreens or CVS. It's very easy to get in-person help with impressions if you choose this company.

Once you've submitted information about your teeth, both Candid and SmileDirectClub have professionals available to guide you through the aligner process. But staffing differences exist.

  • Candid: All plans are developed and monitored by orthodontists. But you may never speak to the doctor assigned to your case. Customers talk with a care team instead, and that representative may have no dental degree.
  • SmileDirectClub: Orthodontists work for this company too, but your plan might be developed or supervised by a dentist instead. Customers can't specify that they'd rather talk to an orthodontist. Day-to-day questions are handled by a customer care team rather than a dental professional.

These differences may seem subtle. But it's important to know who is guiding your new smile and how you'll work with that professional.

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

Treatment Specifics: How Long Does It Take?

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 one minute longer than they must. Timeframe differences and a few process options differentiate SmileDirectClub from Candid.

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

SmileDirectClub customers need four to six 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).

Notice that both companies need a chunk of time to change your smile. This isn’t a process you can finish in a flash. But if you’re hoping to save time, SmileDirectClub is a better option.

The severity of your misalignment will determine your treatment timeline and also your options. Usually, only mild cases can be effectively treated with only nighttime aligners.

Insurance: Can You Get Reimbursed for Care?

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

Insurance companies may have rules regarding:

If your teeth are just slightly crooked but don't cause harm, aligners may seem like a cosmetic solution rather than one that's dictated by medical needs. If you need your teeth straightened for a medical reason, insurance is more likely to pitch in on the cost.
Some companies require a professional (like a dentist) to prove that you need care and to ask for permission before racking up charges.
Some companies will only pay a portion of your bills rather than covering all of them.
Sorting through these questions takes time, and only SmileDirectClub will do that hard work for you. Candid asks customers to speak with their insurance companies and return with the results of that conversation.

Reviews: Are Customers Satisfied?

Both SmileDirectClub and Candid have been in business for years. They've served hundreds of customers, and many of those people have shared their opinions about the experience.

Candid has mixed reviews. Some customers are thrilled with the company's customer service team, and while they had bumps in the process, they were happy the company got them back on track quickly. Other customers say customer service is poor or missing altogether, and the aligner treatment plan doesn't work as expected.

SmileDirectClub shares plenty of happy customer stories on the customer website. Those reviewers look genuinely happy, and they have plenty of wonderful things to say about the company. But some customers take to Reddit to complain about price deceptions and poor customer service.

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.