Best Invisible Braces for 2024

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Best direct-to-consumer option


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The Best Budget-Friendly Direct-to-Consumer Options

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Straightening teeth has always been associated with metal braces, but advances in dental technology and medical care have given people a new option: “invisible braces” or clear aligners. Today, people have more choices than ever before when deciding which company to choose and which direction to take their orthodontic journey.

There are some important caveats to clear aligners or clear braces: between companies like Invisalign, which requires some in-office appointments with a dental professional, and direct-to-consumer sites, which remotely take the molds and ship the aligners to your home. The difference does not require any checking.Direct-to-consumer sites are cheaper in most cases, but they usually no Recommended by many dental and orthodontic professionals, including the American Dental Association.

After SmileDirectClub closed in December, with many customers undergoing treatment, the ADA issued a general statement (without naming any specific company) about the potential dangers of straightening teeth at home without medical supervision. . The ADA says that in some cases, moving teeth without understanding someone's oral health can lead to bone loss, tooth loss, gum problems, bite problems, jaw pain and permanent problems.

This is not to scare you away from wanting treatment, but is an important reminder that our teeth are an important part of our bodies (heads) and need to be safely straightened in the context of our gums, Orthodontist & Oral Care Company Health, bone health, tooth roots, jaws and more, says Dr. Kami Hoss, founder of SuperMouth. Hawes said you can't understand the condition without a doctor's examination and some X-rays.

He does not recommend direct-to-consumer braces for most people (more on that below), but people interested in straightening their teeth at home should make sure to get an oral health exam before proceeding,” Hawes said. He added, Many orthodontists already offer free consultations, so you have the opportunity to get a free dental exam before making a decision (here is a provider finder link from the American Association of Orthodontists, or you can call your local dentist.)

“If you absolutely want to do this at home, at least get an orthodontic consultation. Get a feel for how complex your situation is,” Hawes says.

“Appointment required” braces vs. “At-home only” braces

If you choose the in-office braces route, your oral exam and dental X-rays should be included in your company's care plan as well as your doctor's office's care plan. Dentists and orthodontists can become providers for different aligner companies, including companies like Invisalign, Spark, Reveal, and Candid. You will have appointments throughout the process to check your progress, but the frequency of appointments and your care plan will depend on your circumstances.

In addition to having the supervision of a doctor who can adjust the treatment if problems arise, another advantage of these clear aligner companies is that they offer accessories in many cases, Hawes said. Attachments are small, often unnoticeable, nubs that attach to some teeth and hook onto the aligners and help them move. He compared the accessories to furniture handles.

“If you want to open a cabinet or move it, it's much easier to put handles on the cabinet,” he explains.

If you prefer treatment strictly at home (direct-to-consumer), you typically sign up through the company's website and then wait for home molds to be shipped to provide impressions of your teeth. The company's medical network will then review your mold results to determine if you can continue treatment. New aligners will be shipped to you every few weeks or so, depending on the company and your personal plans. Because a work-from-home-only company is just that—at home—and you don’t have attachments.

Hawes said those who could benefit from direct-to-consumer adjustments include what he called “minor relapse cases.” These people may have had braces, but their lower teeth have moved a bit, and they need some mild braces treatment to straighten them back out.

He reiterated the importance of making sure your teeth and everything else are healthy. In some cases, evidence of damage caused by unsafe tooth alignment may emerge years later when someone goes to the dentist for another problem, Hawes said. Additionally, he says, straightening teeth with braces — even if they work initially — can miss the source of the problem, and ignoring the cause of the problem can lead to problems or cause teeth to revert after initial treatment.

No matter where you get your clear aligners, they usually need to be worn all day unless you are eating. Some people may also choose the “Nights Only” plan.

While what's best for you will depend on your needs, here are some companies worth considering.

best invisible braces

The name Invisalign brought the whole concept of invisible braces into the mainstream. It works similarly to “traditional” braces in that you need to find a doctor to start treatment and work with your entire treatment plan. You'll find a provider in your area, develop a treatment plan, get attachments or whatever you need, and start straightening your teeth.

Invisalign says it costs about the same as regular braces, but how much you end up paying depends on your specific needs. According to Invisalign, dental insurance can cover up to $3,000 of the cost, depending on your plan, and you can use your FSA/HSA dollars. Because you'll be working with a doctor, you may also be able to work out some kind of payment or installment plan.

After treatment, your doctor may recommend that you use a retainer to hold your teeth in place. How it looks depends on your treatment plan.

Reveal is similar to companies like Invisalign and Spark in that it requires checkups and appointments with a dentist or orthodontist to ensure you stay on track throughout treatment.

We included it on this list because the claims the company makes on its website may make it a good aesthetic choice for people who are more concerned about the clarity of their aligners. Reveal says its aligners are guaranteed to maintain their clarity after two weeks of wear and consumption of beverages such as coffee. The company also says it will minimize the use of attachments, which are typically used in clear aligners because they aid tooth movement, but some people may want to minimize them.

First, find providers in your area by searching for your zip code. Reveal says its price range is between $2,000 and $5,000, and the company offers monthly payment options.

Byte doesn't require a dental care provider appointment or accessory, but it's relatively well-known in the direct-to-consumer dental world. It's one of the few companies still open that isn't yet requiring doctor appointments (like Candid, which used to be direct-to-consumer but has moved to a more hybrid model with a provider-assisted approach), but it could go that way a little bit . Byte offers premium options for its aligners, which include a free 1:1 consultation with an affiliated dentist to see if you're a good candidate for aligners, rather than just sending home molds and getting a virtual medical clearance.

Byte says its average treatment time is four months. Impression kits cost $95 and are sold separately; full-day clear aligners are available for a one-time fee of $2,099, or $89 per month for 36 months.

One cool addition to Byte is that it offers a tool called HyperByte, which is a type of vibration therapy that sends pulses through the teeth to help secure the aligners for better treatment results. Byte also provides you with your first set of maintainers after treatment for free.

Byte says if you're not a candidate for treatment, you'll get a refund for the impression kit you ordered. As part of the company's guarantee, Byte says if your teeth shift and you follow the rules of your treatment plan, you may be eligible for additional braces and a new treatment plan at no additional cost. It does not mention refunding the cost of treatment if you are not satisfied with it for any reason.

AlignerCo is a direct-to-consumer company, so before going this route it's best to get a clean oral health bill from your dentist, preferably an orthodontist, so you can make sure you're a good fit candidates for this treatment.

If you're completely comfortable with home braces, AlignerCo appears to be one of the most affordable options. The company offers a flat-rate one-time payment of $995 (or a discount), which includes the cost of the impression kit and retainer. AlignerCo also offers the option of spreading the fee into 12 monthly payments through Affirm. There is also a six-month program.

The company does not work with any insurance companies, but you can use your FSA/HSA. You can always try to file a claim with your insurance company after the fact.

If you have questions about your treatment, AlignerCo says you can contact your “Smile Staff,” who are designated individuals and will forward your request to the dentist. If you want to contact the health care provider directly who is responsible for developing your treatment plan, this may not be ideal.

On its refund and return policy page, AlignerCo says you need to complete the entire treatment and follow the rules of your treatment plan to be eligible for “additional aligners.” While it doesn't appear that it will refund the cost of treatment once you're approved and begin your plan, you will get a refund for the impression kit if it turns out you're not a candidate.

Candid started out as a strictly direct-to-consumer company, but has since transitioned to require some physician involvement. The result is a very cool model that may help alleviate some doctors' fears about not being monitored or interfering with tooth alignment, while incorporating the benefits of telemedicine, such as virtual check-ins and most at-home methods.

First, you need to find a provider to meet with you to begin treatment. You'll then share updates on your progress through the app, and your provider may bring you back in if they sense something is off track.

Ask your provider for information on pricing, but Candid's hybrid model is designed to make braces less expensive than traditional braces. Candid also sells retainers like hybrid models that you can purchase with HSA/FSA dollars.

We selected clear aligner companies with different models, taking into account concerns about medical oversight, affordability, the type of care needed, and the popularity of the aligner brand. Where applicable, we also take into account the company's distinctive features.

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