Achieving the perfect smile with orthodontic treatment costs time and money, and the unfortunate reality is that price is a huge factor. Traditional in-clinic treatments such as braces and Invisalign may be prohibitively expensive, and dental insurance doesn’t always cover the bill.
Most people don’t have thousands of dollars lying around to pay for treatment, and often, the cost is the only thing holding them back from committing to treatment.
Fortunately, there is a more affordable solution to smile transformation, at-home teeth aligners. Typically, they come in at less than $2,000, and you can even spread the cost with monthly payments and, in some cases, with $0 down.
What Makes At-Home Aligners So Affordable?
Unlike traditional orthodontic treatments, most at-home aligner brands operate remotely using direct-to-consumer (DTC) methods. Many don’t have the expense of multiple clinics or hundreds of staff and can therefore pass these savings directly onto the consumer.
In addition, while traditional ortho treatments require multiple trips to the dentist for consultations, planning and follow-up treatments, cheap invisible aligners (e.g., those aligners purchased online) cut out the dental visits altogether.
Regardless of the brand you choose, the process for at-home aligners is more or less the same.
At-Home aligners – A step-by-step process
Getting cheap invisible aligners is a simple four-step process, as follows:
Step One: Questionnaire and impressions – Fill out an online questionnaire, then order an impression kit. Once it arrives in the mail, take impressions of your teeth using the enclosed impression kit. Once taken, simply send the molds back to the aligner company so they can study them and decide if you’re a good candidate for treatment. If you are, the molds will determine the shape of your aligners and overall treatment plan.
Step Two: Following your treatment plan – Customized aligners are made in a laboratory and then mailed to you. Once they arrive, you can start treatment. To ensure the best results, you must follow the company’s instructions.
Step Three: Virtual check-ins – During the treatment period, you will periodically check in virtually with a dentist or orthodontist so they can ensure everything is going according to plan.
Step Four: Retainers – As with any other type of teeth straightening treatment, you’ll need to wear retainers once the process is complete. This is to ensure teeth don’t move back to their old position.
NB – Some brands of at-home aligners have physical locations where you can have a 3D scan of your teeth instead of using an impression kit at home to make molds. Usually, this is included in the price.
So, now you know that you can get cheap invisible aligners without compromising on quality, let’s make some direct comparisons.
The Four Most Affordable Clear Aligners
When shopping for clear aligners, it’s essential to know what you’re getting for your money. A few years ago, the starting price was around $2,000, but it’s common nowadays to see base prices closer to the $1,000 mark. So which brand should you choose?
To help you decide, here are a few insights into four of the cheapest invisible at-home aligners on the market.
An orthodontist-directed invisible aligner treatment. Byte has a network of more than 200 licensed US-based doctors, dentists, and orthodontists to oversee treatments remotely.
|All-Day Aligner System $1,895 (or $82/month with Byte’s flexible payment plan).
|A speedy procedure compared to typical braces, usually taking three to six months.
|No locations to visit for in-person scans.
|Byte-At-Night Aligner System $2,295 (or $99/month with Byte’s flexible payment plan).
|The Byte Protection Plan supplies five years’ worth of retainers and provides cover for lost or stolen aligners.
|Only suitable for moderate cases of misaligned teeth.
|Treatment plans are reviewed and approved by licensed dentists and orthodontists in all 50 US states. You can access professional care seven days a week.
|No questions asked about your dental history.
|All purchases include a lifetime guarantee and their revolutionary HyperBite technology to speed up tooth movement
Invisible at-home aligners made from medical-grade plastic that can correct misaligned teeth in as little as three months.
|Price includes whitening gel to help you maintain your dazzling smile.
|SnapCorrect offers financing options through a third-party company called Affirm. This means customers have to pass a credit check to qualify
|Aligner treatment: $1,749 (or $80.84/month at 10% APR for 24 months).
|Top-grade plastics for optimum fit comfort and clarity
|APR rates on monthly payments are between 10% and 30%.
|Treatment supported by dental technicians
|Purely remote access, so no clinics are available for check-ups.
Daytime and nighttime aligners that claim to give customers straighter teeth in four to six months.
|Clear aligners: $1,295 (or $77/month for 18 months).
|Both day and night aligners are available at lower prices than most of their competitors
|No physical locations to get your teeth scanned.
|Night aligners: $1,395 (or $83/month for 18 months).
|Online remote support and video access are available 7 days a week
|Although you will receive free retainers with your treatment, subsequent retainers have to be paid for. At $149, the price is among the highest in the at-home aligner industry.
|Offers a satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not happy with the results after your treatment, New Smile will work with you to achieve the results outlined in your original treatment plan
No physical locations to get your teeth scanned.
AlignerCo has the lowest price tag in the at-home aligner market. The company offers all-day and at-night aligners and claims they give results after approximately four to six months of treatment.
|Invisible aligners: $1,145 (or $81/month for 12 months or $95/month for 11 months with $275 down payment).
|The cheapest invisible aligner on the market to date
|Free whitening is not included in the treatment, unlike some other companies.
|Flexible payment options include a financing plan with a soft credit check and no down payment or plans with a $275/$345 down payment but no credit check
|No refunds or warranties, although AlignerCo provides refinements if you are not completely satisfied with the results (as long as you have followed their treatment plan).
|NightOnly clear aligners: $1,095 (or $99/month for 12 months or $95/11 months with $345 down payment).
|Impression kits and the first set of retainers are included in the overall price. Some at-home aligner companies charge for these.
|Remote company only – No physical locations offering free teeth scans.
|With AlignerCo’s WorryFree Protection Plan, customers are guaranteed a six-year supply of clear retainers.
|NightOnly and Day aligner options available
Consider Other Brands of Cheap Invisible Aligners
There is a wide variety of other clear aligner brands out there worth considering, even though they may not be the cheapest around. While operating on a budget, it can be seductive to focus on the headline price, but it’s a good idea not to decide on cost alone if you can help it. Below are some of the other clear aligner providers that we think are worthy of your consideration.
Candid: Candid Clear Aligners range from $1,895 to $2,400, but you’ll receive a premium quality product for your money. The price includes everything you need for treatment, such as remote check-in with an orthodontist every 14 days to examine progress. Candid only uses orthodontists, not general dentists, because they are trained in diagnosing, preventing, and correcting irregular alignments of teeth and jaws.
Smile Direct Club: Founded in 2014, Smile Direct Club was one of the first companies to offer at-home clear aligners. Since then, they’ve helped more than one million customers transform their smiles. The price tag is a single payment of $1,950 or $89/month for 24 months and a $250 deposit (total price=$2,386).
ClearCorrect: This company provides nearly invisible appliances to correct misaligned teeth for approximately $3,500 – $5,000 on average. This is an in-office treatment that involves your dentist or orthodontist scanning the shape of your teeth, deciding how they should move and then sending the prescription to ClearCorrect to design the aligners.
Invisalign: Known for its versatility, Invisalign can correct more complex cases than many standard home aligners. This trusted, reliable brand has a successful track record of more than 20 years. Like other in-office aligner treatments, Invisalign is not cheap. Prices can run from $3,500 to $8,000 depending on the dentist, their location and your situation’s complexity.
Is Cost The Only Factor To Consider?
While the price tag is important, especially if you are on a tight budget, there are other considerations you should bear in mind when choosing your clear aligner provider. For example, one company may have an attention-grabbing ticket price, but the treatment time is a lot longer than you were hoping.
In addition to cost and timeframe, we recommend factoring in the following considerations:
- Years of experience and reputation. Check out online reviews to see what customers are saying about the company.
- The quality of customer service.
- The effectiveness and quality of the treatment.
Remember, as with anything, cheap invisible aligners or the most expensive option may not always be the best for you. Instead, we advise spending time researching and considering various factors, not just the price, to help you make an informed decision.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Make sure you compare brands and evaluate the criteria covered by this article to discover which is best placed to deliver the teeth straightening results you long to achieve.