Find the Best Invisible Braces
Our picks for best invisible braces
When making our top picks for invisible braces, we considered some trustworthy ConsumerAffairs Accredited Partners. We weighed several factors: customer reviews and ratings, cost, average treatment plan, impression types, and daytime versus nighttime options.
We also looked at other factors including payment plan options, whether or not you can use your insurance for the treatment and the specifics of the aligners' fit and issues they cover. ConsumerAffairs looked at 10 companies and selected this list of five invisible braces providers.
Our pick for shortest treatment time
Byte is an at-home clear aligner brand that serves customers in all 50 states. Start by taking a five-minute assessment, then the company sends an impression kit to your doorstep with instructions. Byte’s team analyzes your answers and impressions to decide if you’re a candidate for treatment. If you do not qualify, the cost of the impression kit is refunded.
One of the biggest advantages of Byte is that you don't have to visit an orthodontist in person. Byte works with you through a teledentistry service, which makes it a convenient choice.
Cost: The impression kit costs $95 (refundable upon non-qualification). The nighttime aligners cost $2,245, and the daytime aligners cost $1,895.
Treatment time: Byte’s daytime aligners need to be worn for about 10 to 22 hours a day for up to six months.
Impression type: Byte delivers a putty mold impression kit to your home.
Day/night options: Both nighttime and daytime options are available, but the nighttime option is recommended only for very mild corrections.
Our pick for orthodontic collaboration
Candid follows a hybrid service model that uses brick-and-mortar dental centers and at-home checkups. You can either visit one of their locations or order a starter kit for $95. The company uses the kit to determine whether or not you qualify for the aligners — if you don’t, the cost of the kit is refunded.
Candid uses exclusively orthodontists — many other dental service providers use both general dentists and orthodontists. It also offers one-time or monthly payment plans.
Cost: The starter kit costs $95 (refundable upon non-qualification). For the aligners, you can choose between a one-time payment of $1,900 or monthly payments of $88 for 24 months.
Treatment time: Candid treatment can last from six months to about eleven months.
Impression type: 3D scan for in-person visits and putty impressions used at home.
Day/night options: Daytime only.
Our pick for in-person and at-home treatments
Since its inception in 2014, SmileDirectClub has helped more than a million patients. The company offers in-person and at-home assistance. For the latter, you can order an impression kit for $59. If you’d prefer in-person assistance, you can visit one of its 300 clinics nationwide.
SmileDirectClub offers one-time and monthly payment options. This is particularly helpful for those on a budget.
Cost: The impression kit costs $59, and the treatment costs $1,950 upfront or $85 monthly for 24 months with a $250 down payment.
Treatment time: SmileDirectClub aligners can work to correct teeth alignment within four to six months.
Impression type: 3D scan available in person and impression kit available at home.
Day/night options: SmileDirectClub offers nighttime and daytime aligners.
Our pick for complex ortho issues
Invisalign offers in-person checkups and treatment only. While this may not be the most convenient option, the company provides smart solutions to more complex dental problems. Invisalign employs SmartForce technology to attach tooth-colored shapes to your teeth for additional correction.
Invisalign's treatment is slightly more expensive than you'll find with our other picks, but it’s a good option for those who need major corrections. It can also take longer if complex corrections are necessary.
Cost: Invisalign treatments cost between $3,000 to $7,000, depending on the level of correction required.
Treatment time: The estimated treatment period ranges from 12 to 18 months.
Impression type: 3D scans and X-rays available on location.
Day/night options: Both nighttime and daytime aligners are available, depending on the kind of treatment needed.
Our pick for treatment cost
AlignerCo is an affordable at-home dental treatment service. Its clear aligners are typically less expensive than other clear aligner options. The process is simple — you need to answer an online questionnaire and then purchase an impression kit to see if you qualify for treatment. The kit costs $39, which is refunded if you’re not a good candidate for treatment. The impression kit is also more affordable than that of some of its counterparts.
AlignerCo doesn't have any physical locations for customers to visit. The company’s aligners are handmade with FDA-approved materials and should be worn for approximately 20 to 22 hours a day for the best results.
Cost: The impression kit costs $39 (refundable upon non-qualification), and the treatment costs $1,145 — one of the lowest prices on the market.
Treatment time: AlignerCo’s treatment takes between 6 to 11 months.
Impression type: Putty mold available at home.
Day/night options: Both nighttime and daytime aligners are available, depending on the kind of correction needed.
Compare Top Invisible Braces Companies
Read 308 Reviews
New year, new choices. Choose smile! $18 kit (free after rebate) use code: NYNY18KIT2021 for offer! **Partner terms and conditions apply.
Average treatment takes four to six months. At-home kits available. Pricing starts at $1,950. Offers monthly payment options starting at $89 a month for 24 months with a $250 down payment.
Read 3,117 Reviews
70% OFF your Impression Kit + an additional $100 OFF your aligner purchase*Partner terms and conditions apply.
Accepts payment through dental insurance, FSAs and HSAs. Treatment lasts three months on average. Includes free teeth whitening and a lifetime guarantee. Offers financing for $83 per month over 25 months. Pricing starts at $1,895.
|Read 152 Reviews|
All-inclusive price of $2,400. Financing starts at $99 per month after a $399 down payment. Delivers all your aligners to your door at once. Offers remote monitoring and access to licensed orthodontists during treatment.
|Invisalign||Read 34 Reviews|
Takes payment through dental insurance, FSAs, HSAs or payment plans. No financing. BPA- and latex-free liners. Average treatment takes 12 to 18 months. Pricing varies depending on your needs and other factors.
Offers flexible payment and treatment options. Usually not covered by dental insurance. Remote monitoring options available. Pricing starts at $2,000. Average full treatment costs $4,000 to $5,500.
Offers complete treatment plans starting at $1,145. Works with orthodontists for teeth alignment. Impressions are DIY and treatment is entirely remote. Nighttime-only treatment option available for an extra cost.
|Easysmile||Read Author Review|
Average treatment takes five months. Alignment plans start at $1,890. Offers financing for $180 a month for 12 months. $110 fee for an at-home evaluation kit. Post-treatment retainers cost $110 per set.
|Smilelove||Read Author Review|
Average treatment takes six to eight months. DIY dental molds. Preview custom digital treatment plans from board-certified orthodontists at home. Pricing starts at $1,895. Financing options available.
|SnapCorrect||Read Author Review|
Treatment typically takes nine to 10 months without dentist or orthodontist visits. Plans include free whitening products. No-risk guarantee. Pricing starts at $1,749, with financing available through Affirm.
|SureSmile||Read Author Review|
Local professional provides initial dental scan. Aligners are meant to be worn for 20 to 22 hours a day. Treatment usually takes six to 18 months. Pricing varies by provider and client needs.
What are invisible braces?
Invisible braces are clear retainers that straighten and align your teeth over time. Sometimes called clear aligners or dental aligners, invisible braces usually come in a series and are an excellent option for those with:
- Crooked teeth
- Gapped teeth
Invisible braces aren't as obvious as other methods because the aligners are made of clear plastic (like clear polypropylene) or acrylic material instead of metal wires.
Some people think of ceramic braces, which are wired to the teeth like traditional metal braces, as invisible braces, but ceramic braces are visible and require extensive in-office orthodontic care. Clear aligners, on the other hand, don’t require hardwiring attached to the teeth.
How do clear aligners work?
Clear aligners use a series of clear plastic retainer sets, sometimes called trays. The trays fit tightly and put low-pressure force on your teeth to gradually shift them into place over time.
The first clear aligner tray fits easily because the plastic has been vacuum-formed or thermoformed over a model of your teeth. Each new retainer set presses your teeth into slightly straighter positions than the one before.
Clear aligners must be worn at least 20 to 22 hours per day.
Invisible braces companies use advanced imaging technology to create the right treatment option for every customer’s smile. Some people experience a minimal amount of discomfort each time they put in a new set of aligners, which is required every couple of weeks.
Some companies use attachments, which are tooth-colored bumps fitted to your teeth. The exact points at which these bumps are placed, as well as the shape of these bumps, vary based on the shape of your teeth and the results you're striving to achieve.
These bumps act as pressure points and direct each tooth to move toward the desired position. In some cases, your treatment may require elastics. These are attached to the inner part of your jaw and help aid the tooth movement.
Clear aligners do’s and don'ts
- Soak your aligners once a day.
- Brush and floss your teeth each time you take out and put in aligners.
- Think about your snack and food intake while you have on aligners.
- Drink plenty of water and keep track of your progress.
- Drink many caffeinated beverages — they can stain your aligners.
- Leave your trays out in the open where they’re susceptible to bacteria.
- Forget to switch aligners when it's time to do so.
- Smoke, which can result in your aligners becoming discolored.
You must typically keep clear aligners on your teeth at least 20 to 22 hours per day for them to fully work and bring your teeth to the proper position. You can take them out to eat, brush and floss, but that’s about it. You can drink water with your aligners in, but it's recommended that you avoid soda, coffee, tea and other dark liquids that might stain the retainer sets. Hard candy, crunchy breads and gum should also be avoided to prevent plaque buildup.
Some people who wear clear aligners experience unintentional weight loss due to the hassle of removing the retainer for snacks, which many people refer to as the "Invisalign diet." If you are actively trying to determine whether Invisalign or braces would be the best fit for you, consider reading Invisalign vs. Braces to look at some of the pros and cons of both.
Some companies offer nighttime aligners that don’t need to be worn during the day. While these aligners may be more convenient, they typically take longer to achieve full results.
Clear aligners vs. braces
Much like traditional metal braces, clear aligners correct crooked teeth and misaligned bites. Busy professionals and young adults with mild to moderate dental misalignments typically prefer invisible braces. They're cheaper, easier and more discreet than traditional metal braces.
Instead of wires and brackets like traditional or lingual braces, invisible braces use clear retainers. Traditional braces require more frequent office visits for regular tightenings and checkups, whereas most clear aligner companies mail you all your trays at one time. Braces must often be worn for years, while dental aligner treatment typically takes months. Clear aligners are also more hygienic and let you eat all types of food throughout treatment.
Invisible braces aren't always the best fit for extensive teeth straightening or severe alignment issues. If your dentist requires you to use traditional braces, such as the typical metallic wired ones, then clear aligners may not be an option for you.
Otherwise, you have the option to get clear plastic aligners, which may not be as visible, or lingual braces that attach to the back of your teeth. Clear aligners are great for making small adjustments, but traditional metal or ceramic braces are usually required to complete severe corrections.
|Clear aligners||Traditional braces|
|Average cost||$1,850 to $5,000||$3,000 to $8,000|
|Treatment duration||6 to 18 months||16 to 24 months|
|Mild to moderate corrections||Yes||Yes|
|Discreet and removable||Yes||No|
How to straighten teeth at home
Straightening teeth at home with invisible braces is simple. After your initial consultation, an orthodontic specialist creates a treatment plan and fits you for invisible braces. Depending on your plan, the orthodontic treatment duration can be as short as a few months or as long as a year. After your teeth are straight, there are a few post-care boxes to check. The typical steps in the process are:
- Consultation: The first step to straightening teeth at home is to determine if you’re a candidate for invisible braces. Many invisible braces companies start the process with an online questionnaire that asks about the severity of crowding, spacing and bite issues and whether or not you’ve had previous dental work.
- Fitting: Some companies require an office visit and X-rays to create dental impressions, but many of the best invisible braces companies provide at-home impression kits so you can do this at home and mail your impressions to the company.
- Evaluation: Dental impressions are usually scanned and 3D-printed. An orthodontist then evaluates the impression of your mouth and creates a treatment plan for you to review. If you like what you see, a series of clear aligners (called trays) are mailed to you in a few weeks.
- Orthodontic treatment: You wear each clear aligner for approximately two weeks before moving on to the next tray in the series. Clear aligners typically must be worn around 22 hours each day, so you need to keep the tray in your mouth as much as possible. Most invisible braces treatments take between six and 18 months, but you could start seeing improvements to a misaligned tooth within a month. You can clean the aligners with a little water and soap or peroxide.
- Aftercare: Once your alignment treatment is complete, the company sends you a post-care retainer to ensure your teeth don’t shift back to how they were before. Removable retainers are available for nighttime wear, or you might opt for a permanent retainer, which is a small strip of metal fastened to the back surface of your teeth.
How much do invisible braces cost?
Invisible braces typically cost between $2,000 and $8,500. Depending on your treatment plan and your insurance provider, invisible aligners may be covered in part or in full by dental insurance. Most HSA and FSA plans can also be used to cover the cost of invisible braces. Additionally, all the best dental alignment companies offer financing options to help you reduce the upfront costs.
Compare invisible braces costs
|Cost of treatment||$1,895 (daytime)|
|Cost of impression kit||$95||$95||$59||$39.99|
|Duration||3 to 6 months||6 to 11 months||4 to 6 months||6 to 11 months|
|Accredited partner||Cost of treatment||Cost of impression kit||Duration||Insurance|
|$95||3 to 6 months||Yes|
|$2,400||$95||6 to 11 months||Yes|
|$1,950||$59||4 to 6 months||Yes|
|$1,145||$39.99||6 to 11 months||Yes|
Your invisible braces’ cost ultimately depends upon the severity of your case. Some invisible braces companies let you mail in your dental impressions without seeing a doctor, dentist or orthodontist. If your situation requires in-office fittings and approval, you should expect to pay a higher price.
Overall, clear aligner systems are usually more affordable than traditional braces. The cost of traditional braces can be anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000. The cheapest invisible braces start at around $1,800 and have financing options available.
Invisible braces pros and cons
There are a few advantages and disadvantages to having invisible braces that you should consider. Here are a few pros and cons you'll want to be aware of:
- Typically more comfortable and attractive than traditional metal braces
- Convenient form of treatment that can be handled from home
- Can be removed for everyday tasks like brushing and eating
- Low-maintenance removal and cleaning
- May require more attachments to reposition misaligned teeth
- Must be removed for eating and drinking
- Wearer usually has to change trays regularly
- Not always effective for extensive alignment
Clear aligner FAQ
- What do retainers do?
- Retainers are used to make and maintain orthodontic corrections to achieve straighter teeth. Clear alignment treatments use retainers to slowly straighten and align teeth through gradual force over time.
A retainer for teeth straightening is designed to be slightly smaller than your teeth placement to slowly and safely close gaps. Because of this, customers receive multiple clear aligners that are switched out over time to continue to push their teeth together once they reach their desired position in one retainer.
- Can you straighten your teeth without braces?
- Yes, you can straighten your teeth without traditional braces. You can fix crooked and gapped teeth at home by using clear retainers that gradually realign your teeth. Clear aligners use custom-made molds and gentle force to shape your teeth into alignment. These aligners are typically fitted and created by dentists or orthodontists, so the same level of care and support is provided with this smile solution as with traditional braces.
- What type of braces works the fastest?
- Invisible braces generally work faster than traditional wire braces. Clear retainers can solve a host of dental issues, including overcrowding, overbites, underbites and gaps between teeth, in as few as six months. The average treatment time for clear retainers is between six and 18 months, though more severe issues might require a longer treatment plan.
Traditional braces are specifically designed to target problem issues in the most effective ways, meaning they may be faster than clear teeth aligners for correcting severe problems. But for the most part, invisible braces offer faster solutions — sometimes in half the time — at a more affordable price.
- Can you get teeth aligners over the counter?
- Yes, you can buy teeth aligners over the counter. Some companies sell cheap teeth-straightening aligners that are not custom-designed to fit each customer’s smile. Other companies sell dental impression kits that customers complete and return for custom-made trays. Getting a retainer for teeth straightening doesn’t require an in-person office visit or consultation with a dentist or orthodontist, although some clear aligners are sold directly by orthodontists.
- Do invisible braces hurt?
- Invisible braces can be uncomfortable. However, invisible braces typically cause less discomfort than traditional metal and wire braces. Many customers say it’s not exactly pain that they feel with invisible braces — it’s more like discomfort or pressure.
With invisible teeth aligners, the most common pain points are where the trays brush up against your gums for a few days after switching to a new retainer. As your teeth and gums get used to the retainer, the pain fades and may even become nonexistent until a new tray is required.
- What are the benefits of clear aligners?
- The most important benefit of clear aligners is the orthodontic correction of mild to moderate dental issues, including crooked teeth, crowded teeth, gapped teeth, overjets, overbite and underbite. Clear aligners are less expensive than popular alternatives like metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces and veneers. They are also more comfortable and discreet.
Because they can be removed, there isn’t the unsightly issue of getting food stuck in clear aligners. They can also be removed for special occasions like pictures. Invisible braces require fewer or no visits to a dentist’s office.
On the other hand, invisible braces aren’t ideal for correcting severe alignment issues like crossbites and malocclusions. People must be diligent for clear retainers to work, and wearers must clean them each day to prevent dental problems like gum disease.
- Can anyone get invisible braces?
- The short answer is no. Invisible braces can treat many of the common issues around teeth alignment such as crowding or crookedness. You can talk to your dentist about your suitability. However, many companies offer clear aligners without requiring you to visit a dentist’s office. If the dentist determines you require extensive dental correction, then invisible may not be an option.
However, invisible braces may be a good idea if:
- A few of your teeth are visibly crooked or crowding in a certain area.
- You have difficulty flossing in certain areas.
- You end up biting your tongue by accident occasionally.
- Your mouth doesn’t close properly because of your teeth.
- You experience fatigue or stress after or while chewing.
- What are invisible braces made of?
- Invisible braces are made of acrylic, which is a type of plastic. This plastic is molded and fitted to the shape of your teeth and designed to move your teeth into the proper position.
- What are the different types of invisible braces?
- There are three types of invisible braces:
- Ceramic braces use brackets and wires to straighten teeth, much like traditional braces. The brackets in ceramic braces, however, are clear, which makes them much less visible than traditional braces. These could take as little as six months for quick effects.
- Clear aligners are removable trays made of plastic or ceramic material that fit over the teeth. The trays put low-force pressure on the teeth and move them over time. These take six to 18 months, on average.
- Lingual braces use a bracket-and-wire system to align teeth and repair bite issues, just like traditional braces. The difference, however, is that lingual braces are placed behind the teeth rather than on the front, making them virtually invisible because of their low profile.
- Are invisible braces worth it?
- Invisible braces can be worth it if you're diligent about sticking to the treatment, including wearing the retainers as directed. If you're self-conscious about your smile or the way your teeth look, invisible braces can make you feel more confident and boost your self-esteem. Invisible braces can be a good path to take if you're looking for something to help straighten your teeth discreetly.
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Clear aligners reviews
Byte uses proprietary Smile Science to move customers’ teeth in a way that aligns with facial features and symmetry. Customers also get free BrightByte teeth whitening.
- Invisible braces cost: Make a one-time payment of $1,895 or opt into $83 monthly payments for 25 months.
- Treatment duration: Clear aligner treatments typically last about three months.
- Aligner specifications: The HyperByte treatment option offers the fastest treatment times on the market by using high-frequency vibration technology.
- Fitting options: The company uses at-home dental impressions to create custom plans. Its mail-in impression kit comes with a no-risk guarantee, and an orthodontist uses it to evaluate your smile and creates a customized treatment plan.
- Byte For Life Guarantee: Byte promises to keep your smile on track for years to come at no additional cost.
Candid employs orthodontists who are experts on clear aligner treatments and trained in remote care. Treatments come with personalized care and 24/7 customer service to answer any questions.
- Invisible braces cost: Make a one-time payment of $1,900 or opt into $88 monthly payments over 24 months.
- Treatment duration: The company’s clear aligner treatment typically takes six months.
- Aligner specifications: Each set of clear teeth aligners is 3D-printed and designed to straighten teeth over time.
- Fitting options: Customers can get a free scan at a Candid studio location or purchase a starter kit to take photos and impressions at home. The $95 starter kit includes cheek stretcher, putty catalyst and base, bite guide, lower and upper trays and a prepaid return shipping box.
- Money-back guarantee: Candid provides a money-back guarantee on its starter kit.
Easysmile offers professional care paired with at-home alignment treatments. The company provides highly accurate treatments and transparent, step-by-step results before purchase.
- Invisible braces cost: Make a one-time payment of $1,890 or opt into recurring payments of $88 per month for 12 months.
- Treatment duration: Average treatments take about five months.
- Aligner specifications: The company designs multiple clear teeth aligners using technology like 3D printers and laser scanners. Its U.S.-made invisible aligners are sourced from the same place traditional orthodontists receive them but come without the five-to-10-times markup.
- Fitting options: An at-home evaluation kit costs $110 and includes everything you need to create an accurate impression of your teeth.
Invisalign uses advanced technologies to correct gaps and crowding. Its alignment retainers are comfortable throughout the treatment duration.
Smilelove offers completely clear teeth aligners that are trimmed to follow the gum line. Its board-certified orthodontists review mold impressions to build a custom treatment plan and preview.
- Invisible braces cost: The company charges a one-time cost of $1,495, and financing with guaranteed approval and 0% financing is available with a $250 down payment.
- Treatment duration: The average clear aligner treatment time is six to eight months.
- Aligner specifications: SmileLove uses ClearComfort technology. Its clear teeth aligners are made from Essix plastic to be more durable and long-lasting than those made of other materials.
- Fitting options: The company sends an at-home impression kit in the mail.
SnapCorrect prioritizes effectiveness and efficiency. Its team provides one of the clearest aligners available on the market, plus free dental foam and gel home whitening kit.
- Invisible braces cost: Pay a one-time cost or $1,749 or opt into $80 monthly payments over two years. Financing has a 10% APR.
- Treatment duration: Most customers see results in three to 18 months.
- Aligner specifications: The company designs multiple invisible aligners to straighten teeth over time. SnapCorrect does not use 3D printers, which allows its aligners to fit more snugly and comfortably to the teeth.
- Fitting options: The SnapCorrect impression kit comes with everything you need to get started.
- No-risk guarantee: Customers can try SnapCorrect for free with its no-risk guarantee.
SureSmile offers customized treatment plans created using advanced orthodontic technologies. Using the help and expertise of SureSmile doctors, the company provides customized solutions tailored to your specific smile and desired results.
- Invisible braces cost: Costs vary by treatment plan.
- Treatment duration: The length of treatment plans vary by customer.
- Aligner specifications: SureSmile’s aligners are made from high-grade materials and designed with advanced software and anatomically correct movements. Each customer receives multiple invisible aligners to gradually correct their teeth over time.
- Fitting options: Customers must meet with a SureSmile doctor for evaluation and impressions.
Smile Direct Club offers clear daytime aligners and clear nighttime aligners. Each customer is assigned a licensed orthodontist or dentist to track their progress every 90 days.
- Invisible braces cost: Pay a one-time cost of $1,895 or opt into financing for $85 a month over 24 months. Financing requires a $250 down payment. Smile Direct Club also offers customers the option to purchase a $99 retainer after treatment to keep their smile in place after being corrected.
- Treatment duration: Average treatment lengths are six to 10 months.
- Aligner specifications: The multiple invisible aligners are designed to move teeth together over time.
- Fitting options: Get started with an in-store appointment or receive an at-home impression kit in the mail.
- Free whitening pen: Customers get a free Bright on whitening pen.
ClearCorrect aligners reposition and correct teeth using continuous gentle force. ClearCorrect was founded by doctors who emphasize safety, reliability and effectiveness.
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