If you were one of the unlucky ones, you remember painful visits to the orthodontist in your teens. The sticky leather chair, picking out your colored rubber bands (orange and black for Halloween, duh), and lots and lots of metal.
It’s safe to say that getting your teeth straightened hasn’t been fun, or even easy. While Invisalign has been a leader in the invisible braces game for awhile now, there are more and more options popping up that allow you to get straight teeth in the comfort of your own home – all while saving you upwards of $4,000.
Let’s take a deeper look into how invisible braces work, as well as some of the most popular options — Candid vs Byte vs Invisalign — to see which option could be best for your smile and wallet.
How do invisible braces work to straighten your teeth?
So you want a better smile. Luckily, with just a few clicks (and no visit to the orthodontist’s office) you can start the journey. Whether you’re opting for Invisalign or one of their newer competitors, like Byte or Candid, the steps to a straight smile are mostly the same.
1. Determine if you’re a good fit for invisible braces.
Depending on what changes you want to make to your smile, as well as your overall dental health, you’ll want to make sure that invisible braces are right for you. Most companies have a quiz or ask you take photos of your smile to help ensure you’re a good fit for aligners – and Byte, Invisalign and Candid all have licensed orthodontists involved, either online or in person, so you can ask questions to make sure this is the right way for your to straighten your smile. Of course, you can always ask your dentist at your normal visit.
2. Get a model of your teeth.
Once you’re ready to take the plunge, you’ll have to get a model of your teeth taken through a puddy impression kit or digital scan.
3. Customize your smile.
Whichever company you choose, you’ll have the chance to work with an orthodontist – online, or in some cases in person – to develop a treatment plan and customize your smile. That gap in your two front teeth doesn’t have to go anywhere if you don’t want it to.
4. Wear your aligners.
You’ll receive your aligners either in batches or as a full set. You’ll follow the instructions for how long to wear each aligner – time varies from 7 days to a few weeks – before moving along to the next set. Most patients wear their aligners for 20-23 hours a day to make sure they stay on their treatment plan.
5. Flash your new smile! (And wear those retainers.)
Most treatments take anywhere from 3 months to a year to complete. Once your aligner treatment is complete, you’ll wear retainers to follow to ensure your smile stays in place.
How are invisible braces from Candid, Byte, and Invisalign different than traditional braces?
The biggest difference in traditional vs invisible braces is the process in which your teeth are straightened. With braces, you’re using metal brackets and wires to mold and shape your teeth. Invisible braces use a set of BPA-free plastic aligners that gradually move your teeth as the molds get closer and closer to your desired smile.
When it comes to convenience, teeth aligners are much easier to manage and look a lot better than braces do, making them a perfect choice for anyone who wants to continue their day-to-day life without feeling self conscious about straightening their teeth.
Also, remember how you always used to get that piece of corn stuck in your braces? That’s not a problem with invisible braces. (Were we even allowed to eat corn when we had braces? I can’t remember. But corn is delicious.)
Which is more affordable: Candid, Invisalign or Byte aligners?
While Byte, Candid, and Invisalign all offer a relatively similar type of invisible braces and have somewhat similar processes, they may vary in price and other features. So which is more affordable, Invisalign, Byte or Candid?
With similar pricing structures and no need for office visits, Candid and Byte may come out ahead for those looking to save time and money. While Candid customers have reported successful results and positive customer service reviews, Byte’s aligner plans with their exclusive HyperByte device offers fast results, at least according to preliminary clinical studies of small groups of users. These indicate that daily recommended use of a high-frequency seating device functionally equivalent to HyperByte with clear aligners may lead to faster results, although keep in mind that individual results may vary.
Neither requires you to actually go see an orthodontist in person (although with Candid you can choose to go to one of their 25 offices for a scan, or do it all from home by yourself with their starter kit) – everything is handled online by their orthodontists.
Not having to actually go to a waiting room and hang out listening to the smooth jazz station while someone pokes in your mouth is a big difference vs. Invisalign, which requires you to go see a dentist who has received specialized training. Depending on how much you value your time, this could be a big hidden cost difference between these solutions.
While all treatment times will vary in the end based on your teeth, use this comparison chart to compare Candid, Byte, and Invisalign to see which might be the best solution for your needs and budget.
Candid vs Byte vs Invisalign: Comparing the Best Teeth Aligners
|All-Day Teeth Aligner Price||$2100 upfront, or $2,400 with payment plan ($299 down + $79/month for 36 months)||$1,895 upfront, or $349 down + $83/month for 29 months||$3,000-$8,000 $100-$260/month|
|At-Night Teeth Aligner Price||❌||$2295, or $449 down + $99.56 / month for 29 months||❌|
|Insurance Eligible||Accepts HSA + FSA + Will file claim for you||Helps walk you through filing a claim with your insurance.||Accepts HSA + FSA Insurance processed through dental office|
|Requires Initial Office Visit to Start||Optional||❌||✅|
|Requires Monthly In-Person Office Visits||❌||❌||✅|
|Retainer Price||$99 per set||First set free, then $99 per set||First set free Set of 4 for $589|
|Average Treatment Time||6 months||4-6 months||12-18 months|
|Impression Kit or Scan Cost||$95||Varies by doctor|
|Teeth Modeling Process||At-home impression kit|
or visit one of 25+ locations for scan
|At-home impression kit||In-office digital scan|
|Requires Attachments for Aligners||❌||❌||✅|
Reviewing the pricing chart above, Byte is clearly the least expensive, as well as the fastest to see results, plus they throw in a free retainer + case. Candid is a more established brand for just a few dollars more per month, while Invisalign is the MOST established of the three, but a lot pricier and requires in-person monthly office visits — not ideal, especially during a global pandemic!
Head to Head Teeth Aligner Comparisons
Candid vs Byte
Both innovative teeth aligner companies say they can straighten your choppers without the need for a doctor’s visit. And both are similarly priced ($2,100 vs $1,895 advertised price for upfront payment of daytime aligners). The major differences are:
1. Byte has a special high frequency vibration technology device that’s included with each aligner kit purchase.
2. Byte has an at-night only option, while Candid does not. Although it’s a bit more expensive than the standard all-day version, nighttime only aligners are ideal for anyone who doesn’t care to deal with teeth alignment at work or at school. If that’s important to you, look no further. Byte aligners are your only option.
3. Byte offers the first retainer for FREE, which saves you $99.
4. An impression kit from Byte is 70% less expensive than Candid’s when you use our promo code at checkout. For a limited time, Byte is also throwing in free whitening foam (see below) with that referral code as well!
We think these three nuances make Byte the best choice. That said, Candid also has a tremendous trove of positive reviews — and with the code listed below, you can save 65% on their starter kit with discount code: NEWYOU65
Byte Aligners vs Invisalign Comparison
There are some pretty major differences between these aligner companies. First off is the need for an office visit – Invisalign is going to require dental office visits to get started, and every month. With Byte aligners, you can do everything online using their at-home impression kit.
The second major difference is the price – all those office visits aren’t cheap: Invisalign is going to set you back $3,000 to $8,000 according to their website, vs just $1,895 with Byte. One key advantage of Invisalign could actually be all those dentist visits though if your dental situation is complicated and requires a fully personalized approach. If you feel that your straightening needs aren’t super complex, we recommend saving time and money with Byte.
Reddit Reviews of Byte vs Invisalign
Since we originally wrote these reviews, there have been a number of reviews written on Reddit asking about these two competitors. We’ve curated what we see as the best ones; here is the synopsis. During the COVID crisis, people couldn’t visit their Invisalign doctor, so they just…couldn’t get new trays. Many were pretty frustrated by this, because they either have to keep using the same trays – and make no progress – or stop using trays and potentially lose all progress. Here are some of the angry reviews we’ve seen recently on Reddit:
So, should you get aligners from Candid, Byte, or Invisalign? Below we review each brand individually and more in-depth.
So, should you get aligners from Candid, Byte, or Invisalign?
Reviews of Candid Teeth Aligners
Candid’s mission is to deliver you the best smile you can have, period. The first step in the Candid process is to determine if you’re a candidate with their quick and easy survey.
The ideal Candid candidate has good oral care, no permanent retainers, and desires only mild to moderate changes to their smile. They are not great for folks with more difficult cases (scroll down to Invisalign if that’s you).
Once you determine whether you’re a good fit, it’s time to get a model of your teeth. Candid is the one company that has options when it comes to getting your model made.
For the busy bees out there, you can have an at-home impression kit sent to you for $95. If you live near one of their 25+ locations nationwide, you can pop in for a scan of your teeth.
Either option takes approximately 30 minutes, but you obviously get the benefit of not having to leave your house (thus saving time) if you choose the at home option, but if you prefer a human touch, it’s nice to have the option of visiting one of their luxurious studio locations.
From there, your local Candid orthodontist will review the model of your teeth and work with you to create a plan that meets your smile goals. Once your treatment plan is set, you’ll review a 3D model of your new smile before receiving your aligners. Unlike Invisalign, Candid provides you with all of the aligners you need in your treatment plan in one shipment.
An added bonus? Feel good while you straighten your teeth. For each set sold, Candid donates $25 to Smile Train, an organization that helps provide cleft palate treatments to children around the world.
Your new teeth with Candid will set you back $2,100 all at once, or $2,300 in installments of $79 per month (plus $299 down) with their payment plan.
A newer player in the invisible braces game to emerge near the top of the heap during COVID is Byte. Their mission? To promote the importance of oral health wellness and offer affordable solutions for consumers to use from the comfort of home.
Like Candid, Byte helps you decide if you’re a good fit for their product with a 30 second survey that asks you about your teeth spacing and crowding, existing dental work, as well as your insurance.
Byte doesn’t have any offices, so as soon as you’re ready, you’ll get your impression kit (normally $95, but 70% off with this promo code) delivered to your door to make a model of those pearly whites. Next, you will receive a customized treatment plan and a 3D model of your teeth. A licensed dentist or orthodontist and you will approve your treatment before you receive any aligners. That work is all done online, so you don’t need to do any office visits to get your Byte aligners.
Happy with your future smile? It’s time to get shaking. Literally. Byte will mail you all of your aligners, along with a HyperByte™ and a free whitening kit.
Does Byte really work for straightening teeth?
We recently interviewed 30 real customers to find out. Check out these Byte before and after pics to see for yourself!
Overall, Byte works just like the other clear aligner companies, Candid and Invisalign, with one major technology difference. As you work through your treatment, typically you change aligners and each new set slowly moves your teeth into a new position (see diagram below). However, unlike other treatments, Byte also offers something called “HyperByte” which promises to make your alignment process fast.
HyperByte is a high frequency vibration tool, and it’s their so-called secret weapon. Using this vibration therapy for five minutes per day during treatment, HyperByte may help reduce the discomfort found in wearing aligners and accelerate orthodontic tooth movement.*
We also think that it’s important to review the company’s policy around movement after you complete the treatment, and really like their “byte-for-life” guarantee:
“We guarantee your new smile forever. If at any time after going through your byte treatment and while using your retainers that your smile moves out of alignment, we’ll help get it back into alignment at no additional cost. No questions asked.” (Conditions apply).
Byte reviews: What are customers saying?
We’ve also scoured the internet looking for Byte reviews, and have a few choice ones to share. In summary, most of the complaints seem to be around the shipping time for the initial impression kit or for the aligners. Some people did also complain about their retainers being bent and were able to request new ones or refunds. We found this review of Byte on reddit:
And here is an example of what seems like a typical negative Byte review, highlighting a delay:
And there are quite a few other good Byte reviews on the internet, such as this one from Consumer Affairs:
Byte’s program costs $1895, or they offer low monthly payments and 100 percent approval for financing, so if you want straighter teeth just in time for that big event at a slightly lower price than Candid (for daytime aligners), Byte might be the perfect fit.
The tried and true invisible braces solution – but is it right for you?
Unlike Candid and Byte, Invisalign requires multiple in-office visits, including an initial consultation with your orthodontist to examine your teeth.
Once you’re ready and the doctor confirms you’re a good fit, they’ll take a digital scan of your teeth and begin to develop your treatment plan.
You’ll receive your first few sets of aligners initially, wearing each set for about two weeks. To keep track of your progress, Invisalign recommends in-office check ins every six to eight weeks so that your orthodontist can adjust your plan as needed.
With in-office care and regular check-ins with someone who can actually see and feel your teeth, Invisalign may be a better solution for those with more severe or unique teeth issues, or if you just want more oversight during your treatment.
Invisalign’s pricing varies, depending on your needs and treatment time, but most treatments average between $3,000 and $8,000, with varying monthly payment plans if needed
Which do we recommend: Candid, Byte, or Invisalign?
With great reviews across the board, Byte is our top choice, especially for impatient patients looking for results FAST. Preliminary research shows that the high frequency vibration (HFV) technology used in Byte’s Hyperbyte device may help hasten orthodontic tooth movement, and the brand was started by renowned dentist-to-the-stars Dr. Jon Marashi, so you know it’s legit.
As a bonus: their all at-home option is ideal for anyone who hates visiting the orthodontist in person! They also offer aligners that work to straighten your teeth at night only so you don’t have to fuss with them during the day. Candid, unfortunately, does not. Fin vs Fin readers can get an at-home impression kit and slash 70% OFF the price with this discount code.
Candid is our second favorite for invisible braces. With Candid, you’ll save time with no required orthodontist office visits (unless you live near one of their locations and want to go in), and save money compared to the industry veteran, Invisalign. At the moment they are offering 65% off their starter kit with code NEWYOU65.
Once touted as an innovative industry disruptor, Invisalign is not for the time or cash poor. With required in-office visits and steep scale when it comes to pricing, Invisalign may beat braces, but it isn’t be our first pick for straightening out a smile on a budget.
Before finalizing your decision, you may want to throw one more brand into the mix: Smile Direct Club. Read our recent comparison of SDC vs Candid for the full scoop. And if you’ve had experience with any of these (or other!) teeth aligner companies, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
*Preliminary clinical studies of small groups of users have shown that daily recommended use of a high-frequency seating device functionally equivalent to HyperByte with clear aligners may have this effect.
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