If your smile isn’t perfectly straight, you’re not alone. Most of us aren’t born with straight teeth, and even for those lucky few that are, teeth gradually shift and fall out of alignment as we age.
It used to be that braces were the only option to achieve a flawlessly straight smile. When invisible aligners from invisalign burst onto the scene, however, they offered a more convenient and desirable teeth-straightening treatment, but the price tag was too high for many.
Now, DTC dental care startups are breaking the mold by providing fully remote teeth alignment treatment at significantly more affordable prices. With startups like AlignerCo and Byte, the entire treatment, from taking your impressions to switching out your aligners, is carried out at home with virtual support. The result? More time in your schedule and more money in your bank account.
First, an orthodontia lowdown.
Let’s start by getting one thing straight: do you really need to focus on your smile, anyway? The most obvious benefit is aesthetic. With a straight, perfect smile, you can take on any room with confidence, which is priceless.
That said, did you know there are more concrete health benefits to straightening out your smile, too? Properly aligned teeth help people bite and chew more comfortably, as well as boost their overall oral health.
Deep gum pockets can result from misaligned or crooked teeth. These pockets increase your risk of periodontitis or gum disease. Periodontitis can lead to a host of issues, from sensitivity and soreness to tooth loss. Plus, your oral health impacts your long-term wellness in several ways — periodontitis is linked to issues from heart disease to stroke and more.
Thus investing in your smile now could actually help your mouth stay healthy for many years down the line. There’s no better time than today to get serious about your dental care and oral hygiene.
Teeth Aligners: What they are, and why you might need them!
Teeth aligners are also often called invisible braces. These thin, transparent trays do the same job as, well, traditional braces; they push your teeth into alignment to create an impeccably straight smile. Aligner treatment involves a series of trays, with the patient typically wearing each tray for about two weeks. Each tray has a slightly different fit to force your teeth to gradually shift into the desired position.
Aligners are effective at rotating the teeth into alignment in a short time frame. When you put on a new aligner, it will shift your teeth into the right position in just 24 hours. That said, you’ll need to wear each aligner for two weeks so that the gums and bones can relax into the new position as well. Wearing each aligner for the full two weeks will also help ensure that your new smile will last for many years to come.
With invisible aligners, your orthodontia is your business.
Since aligners are transparent, you can go about your day without anyone realizing that you’re in the midst of orthodontic treatment. Braces are hard to miss, which can seriously turn off adults looking to straighten their smiles. A mouth full of metal for months on end? It’s far from ideal, socially and professionally (especially if your career involves presentations, business meetings, or on-camera work). With aligners, you can steer clear of braces and still get the smile that you’re after.
Are invisible braces comfortable?
Invisible aligners don’t just look better than braces, they feel better, too. Unlike braces, teeth aligners won’t cause pain or bleeding. That’s right — you can skip out on that crippling tooth pain after orthodontist visits. Aligners omit the pain associated with braces because they gently push and rotate your teeth to move them into place. This is unlike braces, which pull the teeth into place.
Who should get invisible aligners?
Invisible aligners are ideal for anyone who wants straighter teeth, but without the expense and appearance of braces. That said, invisible aligners are generally ideal for adult orthodontic patients, rather than kids or teenagers. This is because aligners shift the teeth with less force than braces, making them a better choice for mild orthodontic concerns.
For extremely overcrowded teeth and other severe orthodontic issues, aligners probably aren’t the right choice. Braces will more effectively resolve major tooth misalignment. But, it’s worth it to check in with your orthodontist about all of your options before making a decision.
Teledentistry: Will it work for you?
Especially with COVID-19 safety concerns making it harder (and less comfortable) to go to any doctor’s office, including the dentist or orthodontist, teledentistry may be a welcome change. Rather than visiting the dentist in-person (scheduling an appointment, traveling to the dentist’s office, waiting in the waiting room), you’ll be doing it all on your own time, from the comfort of your home, when it works best for you.
For those with majorly misaligned teeth, regular visits to the orthodontist may be required to successfully treat the issue. But, if you’re an adult with mild to moderate misalignment, check out teledentistry. Many teledentistry providers today offer top-notch care in a far more convenient format than traditional orthodontist offices.
Which is better, AlignerCo or Byte?
|Cost of Impression Kit||$40|
|Cost of Aligners||$1145 – $1320||$1895||$1895|
|Cost of Retainers||$99||Free with aligners||$99|
|Payment Plan||$95 – $110/month||$83/month||$85/month|
|Time Spent Per Day||20 to 22 hours||22 hours||22 hours|
|Avg. Treatment Duration||6 to 12 months||2 to 4 months||4 to 6 months|
|Review by Professional||Licensed orthodontists||Licensed doctor, dentist, or orthodontist||Licensed dentist or orthodontist|
|Offers nighttime only aligners?||✔️||✔️||✔️|
Overview of AlignerCo
Treatment with AlignerCo starts by ordering an impression kit for $29 (if you turn out not to be a candidate, this is refundable). This kit includes a cheek retractor, impression trays and material, practice putty, gloves, an impression guide, and a prepaid shipping label. Once you place your order, the kit will arrive at your doorstep within three to four business days. If you’re having trouble making your impressions, you can schedule a video call with an AlignerCo smile specialist (at no charge) for help.
After you take impressions of your teeth using the at-home kit, you’ll send them back to the AlignerCo team. With your impressions, their dental experts will then create your personalized Smile Projection.
The Smile Projection is a 3D proposed treatment plan. It’s prescribed by the AlignerCo team and shows the positions of your teeth before and after the proposed treatment. After reviewing yours, you can decide whether or not to order your aligners. You can also request modifications to the Smile Projection before your aligners are made to ensure that you get the results that you want.
When it comes time to order your aligners, you can select all-day or all-night aligners. All-day aligners will need to be worn (you guessed it) all day, for 20 to 22 hours. All-night aligners are a convenient alternative that you’ll only need to wear while you sleep for 8 to 10 hours per night. Since you’re wearing the aligners for less time, the overall treatment period will take longer.
AlignerCo also has a SmileStudio, located in Hempstead, New York, for those who want an in-person appointment with a Smile Specialist. If you’re in the area, you can visit the office for help with the impression-taking process. You’ll also be able to ask your Smile Specialist any questions that you have about the treatment. Of course, the Smile Studio is only easily accessible to those in New York and won’t be of much benefit to other patients around the country.
After AlignerCo treatment, a custom-fit retainer can help maintain the position of your beautiful smile. AlignerCo offers retainers online, making it easy to order one alongside your aligner treatment. They charge $99 for the Impressions Kit, a set of retainers, and a retainer case. You can also order up to 9 backup retainer sets with your order for a discounted price of $49 because, let’s face it, retainers are easy to lose for even the most organized among us.
Pricing: How much does AlignerCo Cost vs Byte?
AlignerCo offers a variety of different payment plans for both all-day and all-night aligners. Here are the payment plans for all-day aligners:
- One-time payment of $1145
- Impression kit, aligners, and a set of retainers is included
- 12 monthly installments of $110
- Total: $1,320
- SmileFlex Easy
- 11 monthly installments of $95 with a $275 down payment
- Total: $1,320
The all-night aligner payment plans are:
- One-time payment of $1,345
- Impression kit, aligners, and a set of retainers is included
- 12 monthly installments of $125
- Total: $1,500
- NightFlex Easy
- 11 monthly installments of $105 with a $345 down payment
- Total: $1,500
Note that with AlignerCo’s installment plans, you’ll need to pay an extra $39.99 for the impression kit. Fortunately AlignerCo accepts HSA and FSA to help cover the cost of aligner treatment if you have some extra dollars squirreled away that you need to spend before the end of the year.
Byte Teeth Aligners Overview
Byte stands apart from many online teeth aligner companies for their focus on orthodontist-directed care. To ensure that your aligner treatment is consistently up-to-par, your orthodontist will check in with you remotely throughout the process. Speaking of, here’s how the Byte treatment process works:
First, an impression kit will be shipped directly to your doorstep for
$95 $29 with code FINVSFIN20 (which is fully refundable if you’re not a candidate). The kit has everything that you need to take impressions of your top and bottom teeth (twice through, in case you make a mistake the first time!). Once you get a good set of impressions, send them back to Byte ASAP. Their team of licensed orthodontists will create your personalized treatment plan based on your impressions. You’ll also be able to choose whether you want all-day aligners, which you’ll need to wear for 22 hours per day for 3 to 4 months, or at-night aligners, which you’ll need to wear for 10 or more hours per night for 5 to 6 months.
About four to six weeks after you send in your impressions, you can expect to receive your aligners. Then, you can begin treatment! Byte provides remote monitoring from your doctor throughout the treatment process, providing each patient with 24/7 access to their care team.
Expert Dental Network
Byte provides remote monitoring from your doctor throughout the treatment process. The Byte Expert Dental Network includes more than 200 licensed doctors, dentists, and orthodontists around the U.S., with each doctor having (on average) 12 years of experience in invisible aligners. So, you can trust that you’re getting high-quality care. Plus, Byte is fully committed to the safety and effectiveness of each patient’s treatment. If your doctor decides that you’re not a good candidate for Byte, you’ll get a full refund – it’s that simple.
What is HyperByte technology?
When it comes to dental treatment, faster is always better. That’s why HyperByte, Byte’s patented technology, is a major perk of choosing Byte as your invisible aligner brand.
HyperByte is a gadget that uses High Frequency Vibrations (HFV) to deliver soft micropulses to the teeth bones through the roots. The vibration not only eases discomfort during aligner treatment, but also allows your aligners to more effectively shift your teeth into the right position. HyperByte is FDA-cleared as a Class II medical device and is free with every treatment plan!
You’ll only need to use HyperByte for five minutes per day, and it can speed up your treatment by as much as 64%, according to data from Byte.
Simultaneous Teeth Whitening
At the end of the day, who wouldn’t want whiter teeth? BrightByte is included with Byte invisible retainers and allows you to whiten while you straighten your teeth. A one month supply of whitening solution that you can simply apply to your aligners is included for free with treatment. You won’t need to soak or rinse the aligners, and the solution kills 99.999% of the bacteria that causes tooth decay and bad breath. So, it’s an aligner cleaner and a tooth whitener all in one!
Byte offers retainers for an additional $129 so that you can maintain your perfect smile after treatment. The retainers are made for 6-month wear. With its subscription program, Byte will automatically send you a new retainer every six months, making it easy to stay on top of your orthodontic treatment.
You can choose to pay for your treatment in a single payment or with Bytepay, an installment program. The single payment option is $1,895 for the full aligner treatment system. With Bytepay, you’ll pay $83 per month for 29 months, with a $349 deposit. This payment plan has a 100% approval rate and won’t impact your credit. Byte pay includes the full aligner treatment system and the Smile Protection Program. With this program, you’ll get retainers for 5 years and coverage for retainers that get lost or stolen. This is an awesome perk, as it will ensure that your new, straight smile stays put! FYI, can get 70% off an impression kit with the coupon code FINVSFIN20.
Byte accepts FSA, HSA, and many types of dental insurance. If you’re not sure whether or not you’re covered, you can simply send Byte a photo of your insurance card and they’ll help you out.
What do users think of Byte vs AlignerCo?
Now that we’ve laid out the facts, let’s check in on some reviews from real users. We’ve scoured the internet and pasted a few below that capture the overall sentiment towards these two aligner brands.
Online reviews of AlignerCo
Online Reviews of Byte Teeth Aligners
Source: Consumer Affairs
The Verdict: AlignerCo or Byte, which teeth aligners are right for you?
There is a growing number of direct-to-consumer teeth aligner brands to choose from. We published a comprehensive comparison of all the cheapest aligners not too long ago if you’re curious to broaden your search, but rest assured AlignerCo and Byte are definitely among the top options. Both are affordable and, more importantly, reliable methods to straighten teeth in a short amount of time for MOST people. To be clear though, if you have a complicated oral case, you should consult an orthodontist directly, as neither option is built for misaligned jaws or more complex issues. If you have a few crooked teeth or have seen your teeth drift out of alignment over time, both are equally good options. So which should you choose?
It’s worth noting that AlignerCo offers the most affordable teeth aligner treatment that we’ve seen. If cost is your main concern, AlignerCo is the right choice for you. Overall, however, we recommend Byte. Their treatment plan offers more features than AlignerCo, such as their patent HyperByte technology and included teeth whitening, which makes for a more comprehensive treatment plan. Plus, with Hyperbyte, most patients finish up their treatments in just two to four months, which is way faster than other competitors.
Have you given DTC teeth aligners a go? Let us know how it went in the comments below!