How to Straighten Teeth At Home with Affordable Clear Aligners

How to Straighten Teeth At Home with Affordable Clear Aligners

These Four Companies Provide Online Braces Delivered To Your Door

Straightening your teeth with clear aligners is an investment of your time, money, and comfort. Even though you can remove your invisible braces to eat and drink, the smile journey takes a lot of personal discipline and sacrifice. However, many consider clear aligners to be more convenient than traditional orthodontic braces while yielding comparable results.

Thanks to a proliferation of new technology and innovation in clear orthodontics and 3D printing, you now have an affordable way to straighten your teeth using online companies, so you receive your teeth aligners at home through the mail. 

A flat shot of the Invisalign accessories offered in our favorite starter kit.

While you should always consult a dental professional prior to beginning clear aligner treatment, there are affordable and convenient ways to straighten your teeth at home, without the need for regular trips to an Invisalign doctor site.  A TechCrunch article from January 2018 points out that at home treatment isn’t just about convenience, it’s also about expanding access to care. Many people living in rural areas may not have an orthodontist or dental professional in close proximity to their home, or may not have the means to travel regularly to visit them. 

These factors make at home clear aligner treatment an important part of the oral healthcare network, especially when you consider that teeth alignment isn’t just a cosmetic issue. Crowded or improperly aligned teeth are harder to clean and maintain, which can put you at greater risk for cavities, enamel erosion, gum disease and tooth loss. At home clear aligner treatment is also more affordable than in-office orthodontic or dental treatment because you aren’t seeing a doctor throughout the process. If you choose to straighten your teeth at home, you can expect to spend $1900-$2,000 for treatment, compared to $5,000 and up for visits to an Invisalign doctor site.

Link: Deciding Between Clear Aligners and Metal Braces? Read an Orthodontist’s Opinion

If Invisalign cost doesn’t fit your budget and you want the convenience of having all your clear aligners shipped to you at once, straightening your teeth at home is a great option worth considering. But how do you select the company that is right for you? You do have options, so read on as we survey the four leading at home clear aligner companies that can straighten your teeth online (and two that offer a hybrid approach).

Smile Direct Club

The OG At Home Aligner Company

Smile Direct Club (SDC) launched in 2014 and is widely considered the premier at-home clear aligner company. The venture-backed startup has raised a significant amount of capital, including nearly $60 million from Align Technology, the makers of Invisalign.

Smile Direct Club offers invisible braces straighten teeth at home

Your relationship with Smile Direct Club starts with a 30 second smile assessment to determine whether you are a good candidate. If so, you’ll be invited to take an impression of your teeth by either purchasing the company’s $79 at-home impression kit, or by booking a free appointment at one of many Smile Shops the company began opening in 2017 (creating jobs in the dental profession and providing convenience and cost savings for their customers - not too shabby!). Note, if you purchase the impression kit and one of Smile Direct Club’s orthodontic or dental professionals determine you aren’t a candidate for their treatment, they’ll refund your money.

Pricing Options

Smile Direct Club offers two pricing options, a one-time payment and a smaller monthly payment. SmilePay is the company’s monthly option, requiring $250 down followed by 24 monthly payments of $80. The single pay option requires a one-time payment of $1850, a savings of $320 compared to the $2170 in total you’ll pay through the SmilePay plan. Smile Direct Club accepts payments from health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA) debit cards, and CareCredit.

A brief survey of customer feedback from clear aligner users on various social media channels indicates that insurance companies are beginning to reimburse them for at home and online treatment, but Smile Direct Club is unable to accept direct payment from insurance companies.  Check out this page for more information on paying for online clear aligner treatment with your health insurance.

Smile Direct Club sells retainers for $99, which will last for about 6 months. It’s a price you’ll have to pay for keeping that beautiful new smile of yours, and worth every penny!

What’s in the box?

Smile Direct Club sends you all of your invisible braces at home and includes some awesome accessories for your smile journey

We know accessories are an important part of the smile journey routine, and Smile Direct Club’s starter box comes with several choice items to keep you comfortable. There’s a retainer case, a little blue ball of chapstick (customers rave about it online),  an aligner removal tool, “bright on” teeth whitening gel, and some styrofoam chewies to help you seat your trays.

Check out YouTuber Matotosh’s unboxing for more details on your day one experience with SDC:

 Like most at home clear aligner companies, Smile Direct Club ships all your trays at once, which is awesome but requires a little management to keep them in order (each individually wrapped set of invisible braces is coded for when you are supposed to wear them). And if you need refinements during your treatment, you’ll have to get new trays mailed to you.

The Bottom Line

If you visit a scan center and opt for the one-time payment option, you can get your treatment started for as little as $1850 (although keep an eye out for discounts and promotions that can add additional savings). As with all clear aligner treatment, it is strongly recommended that you wear a retainer after you complete your treatment to prevent your teeth from sliding back into place.

Smile Direct Club offers an upper and lower retaining tray for $99 in total, and recommends customers order a new set every six months, so you will have an ongoing cost associated with maintaining your brand new smile. This is not unique to Smile Direct Club or any other orthodontic treatment option you may choose, and it is worth it to retain the smile you love!

Smile Love

Straighten Teeth with their Low Priced “Fast Track” Bundle

SmileLove might not have fancy TV commercials or NBA star users like some of its competitors, but they will straighten your teeth at home with the same care and attention as anyone. They also feature a few key differentiators worth noting. For one, SmileLove offers a free impression kit through its “Fast Track Bundle” when you pay the “upfront” fee of $1,699. I put “up front” in quotes because you can still set up a payment plan with popular financing company Affirm (but keep in mind that you will pay interest on the loan which means you’ll pay more than $1,699 for the entire clear aligner treatment).

SmileLove offers one of the most affordable online braces options for straightening your teeth at home

After you return your impression kits, SmileLove’s team of professionals will create a digital “treatment preview” for you to approve, upon which the company will create your teeth aligners in a process that takes about two weeks. SmileLove offers a free consultation to determine if you’re a good fit for their at home treatment offerings. As a nice personal touch, they offer you the chance to send a picture of your current smile and schedule an over the phone consultation before you proceed.

Pricing Options

SmileLove offers three pricing options, the aforementioned Fast Track Bundle, a “Kit First Plan” that charges $79 for the impression kit and then $1,699 for the full treatment (a price that includes your first set of retainers), and the SmileLove Monthly Plan of approximately $78 (monthly payment depends on your credit score and other variables). And as a nice service to its customers, SmileLove will help you determine how much of your treatment may be covered by insurance if you answer a few questions in their online form.

The company provides one free set of retainers, and then sells additional retainers for $99 a pair.

What’s in the box?

We reviewed the SmileLove website for more information on what comes in their initial box, and from what we can gather it includes the impression kit, your clear aligner trays, one set of clear retainers, and a whitening kit. No lip balm or chewies from what we can gather, but if anyone knows more details about what’s in the SmileLove box let us know in the comments section so we can update accordingly!

Link: Six Must Have Accessories for Clear Aligner Treatment

SmileLove at home teeth aligner box comes with a whitening kit for clear braces

Read this guest blog for more insight into SmileLove at home teeth alignment.

The Bottom Line

SmileLove’s lowest price “Fast Track Kit + Aligners” plan is $150 less than SDC’s lowest price plan ($229 when you account for the impression kit, which SmileLove includes in the Fast Track plan), and their “Kit First” plan could save around $471 for the entire treatment (a savings which reflects the $79 impression kit).

Candid Co.

Recent Startup Making Waves with Fashionable At Home Orthodontic Designs

Candid is a newer entrant to the at-home clear aligner market. With a focus on clean design and aggressive pricing to attract new patients with cost savings, Candid means business. The company promotes the experience of their remote care team as a differentiator, describing how they employ in-state licensed orthodontists with 20 years of experience to handle new patient cases. So while you won’t ever have to visit an office, Candid wants you to have the personalized care of one doctor assigned to your case throughout treatment.

CandidCo features sleek design aesthetics in its at home clear aligner kits

As with all the at-home clear aligner providers, you’ll have to start with an impression kit (Candid calls it a modeling kit, but it’s the same basic idea). After passing one of the more thorough on-line assessments we experienced in our research, you’ll be invited to pay a one-time refundable fee of $95 to purchase your modeling kit. When we completed our survey, we were offered a 25% off coupon code which lowered the cost of the kit to $71, which was a nice surprise.

Pricing Options

Candid offers two plans: a one-time payment of $1,900 or monthly payments starting at $88 dollars a month. Neither plan covers the $95 modeling kit, but other than that they claim to have no lab fees or hidden costs during the lifecycle of your treatment (anywhere from 3-10 months, on average).

CandidCo offers one free set of retainers, and then new sets for $99 each.

What’s in the Box?

Candid offers complimentary teeth whitening when you receive your aligners, and a free set of custom retainers with every purchase. Note, retainers don’t last forever; Candid offers additional sets of custom retainers for $99 per set. And you will definitely need to wear retainers for the rest of your life (or for however long you want to retain that brand new smile!).

Watch this YouTube video sharing the CandidCo unboxing experience from Taylor Parks:

Their box is worth mention for its “file folder” style magazine that keeps the aligner progression in a nice, orderly fashion. We dig Candid’s purposeful and attractive design across all of their products, which merited a review in The Dieline, an online blog that features the best in product and package design across all industries.

CandidCo features sleek design aesthetics in its at home clear aligner kits

The Bottom Line

With a price point between Smile Direct Club and SmileLove, and with their assertion of using in-state licensed orthodontists to plan and oversee your treatment, CandidCo is a great option for at home teeth alignment.


Long Time Disruptor Differentiates with “Truly Invisible” Clear Aligners

The founders of SnapCorrect have been in the teeth business for almost a decade, starting in 2008 with Beaming White, a company that pioneered teeth whitening treatment by beauty professionals, a service that prior to their entrance had only been done in dental offices. So they know a thing or two about disrupting industries, and have sold their specific brand of clear aligner plastic since 2012. In 2017, they decided to enter the at home invisible braces market.

One point of differentiation the company makes throughout its website is their “Truly Invisible Aligners”, suggesting that their competitor’s trays “aren’t even that clear to begin with.” Here’s their picture proof; Invisalign trays are on the left, and SnapCorrect’s trays are on the right.

SnapCorrect is proud of its truly invisible clear aligners which they claim are more clear than Invisalign

Prospective SnapCorrect patients start with an online assessment to determine their eligibility. If you pass, you’ll be invited to order an impression kit for $49 (regularly priced at $95, but you’ll get a coupon code for the savings) that you will do at home. In addition, you’ll also be invited to upload pictures of your teeth to your own patient portal, where you will share any additional information that SnapCorrect needs to process your teeth aligner treatment plan.

Pricing Options

With SnapCorrect, you can choose a one time payment of $1,849, or use their credit partner Affirm to create your own payment plan. Their impression kit is less than others ($49) and all plans include one free set of clear retainers for post-treatment retention.

SnapCorrect impression kit is less expensive than other at home clear aligner companies that straighten teeth online

What’s in the Box?

SnapCorrect’s box is loaded with accessories. You’ll get the standard retainer case plus a bag to store all the items you need for the smile journey, a bottle of Daily White Fusion tray whitening foam, and its “SnapWhite” whitening kit that includes whitening gel, remineralization gel, an LED light, and a coupon for free whitening gel for life.

Watch this SnapCorrect YouTube review from TheWelPlanned Kitchen:

The Bottom Line

All told, you’ll pay $1,898 for your SnapCorrect treatment, a price that includes your $49 impression kit and one free set of clear retainers (a $95 dollar value). The company also offers one of the more comprehensive lineup of in the box accessories in the at home teeth aligner space, with the whitening kit + gel for life being a particularly nice bonus.

Woman holding a package of Movemints clear aligner mints for Invisalign with overlay text offering 15% off a purchase

Tale of the Tape

Comparing Your Options for Straightening Your Teeth At Home

All four at home clear aligner companies offer something for everyone, and each offers some unique differentiation that might appeal to you. We encourage you to conduct your own research and ask questions, and hope this article will be an effective supplement for your decision making process.

Below is a table that rolls up all the key information; note that the prices listed are subject to change, and reflect the retail price non-inclusive of any special deals or coupons that these companies may be offering at any time.

Comparing your options for straightening your teeth at home from companies offering online braces and clear aligners

 And Two Hybrids to Consider…

Experience the best of both worlds with in-person orthodontic treatment and at home clear aligner delivery with these two companies that offer a combination of Invisalign office visits and online convenience. 


Technology Enables Fewer In Person Visits During Clear Aligner Treatment

Orthly’s website brags, “One visit is all it takes. All treatment is advised by a licensed orthodontist.” You will have to visit one of their partner practices for treatment devised by a state-licensed orthodontist using 3D scan, panoramic X-Ray, Cephalometric X-Ray, and Photos.

Since you’ll have in-person treatment, it’s possible to treat more complex cases. You won’t have to pay anything for impression kits since these will be done professionally, and in person. Mild to moderate treatments are $97 per month or $1900 in total, while complex cases can expect to pay $122 a month or $2600 in total (still a good bit less than you might pay, since your treatment can technically proceed without any in person visits).

If you’re approved for treatment, Orthly sends you a 3D image of their mobile application, which will also be your primary means of engaging your provider and Orthly. Technology is an Orthly differentiator. Patients can text with their doctor, watch their treatment in real time, track shipments, and time tray cycles. They also offer “Instant Help” 7 days a week, 8am to midnight.

Uniform Teeth

Local Care Provided by Orthodontic Professionals, Aligners Shipped to your Door

If you’re going to San Francisco, or live there already, consider Uniform Teeth, a startup trying to thread the needle of professional orthodontics and at-home convenience. Offering “fair” pricing, Uniform Teeth says their customers pay for “local, precise, UCSF orthodontist-led treatments.”

Local is the operative term there, as you’ll have to book a consultation with one of their orthodontists in person, in San Francisco. One advantage of this customization is a “scalloped edge” for your aligners, which can reduce discomfort, but can also require attachments on the trays to maximize tooth movement.

As with other at-home providers, the company offers a free initial screening, after which you’ll be invited to make your appointment. Prices aren’t listed on the website, but you’ll get one set of free retainers and pay $99 for additional retainers. Professional quality whitening gel is included with your treatment.


Leave a comment