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Teeth Straightening Kit

Updated on November 9, 2021
Written by
Ada Sandoval
13 sources cited
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What Are Teeth Straightening Kits?

A teeth straightening kit gives you a practical and affordable way to straighten teeth without seeing a dental professional or getting metal braces put on. It’s halfway between do-it-yourself braces and orthodontic treatment. 

Similar to DIY braces, you can purchase them online and have them delivered to your home. These kits are much safer because there’s some dental guidance involved.

Here are our most recommended teeth straightening kits:

  • Candid — Best Overall At-Home Teeth Straightening
  • Byte — Best Invisible Aligner for Fast Treatments
  • ALIGNERCO — Best Affordable Clear Aligner
  • SmileDirectClub — Most Number of Studios for In-Person Consultations
  • NewSmile — Budget Friendly Teeth Aligner

Buying a kit isn’t a straightforward process. A licensed dentist or orthodontist still has to qualify you for treatment and create custom aligners that fit your teeth. Every aligner kit is also unique, depending on the brand.

Overview of Teeth Straightening Kits

Below is a quick preview of what you can get from each aligner brand:

Candid

  • Cost: $1,895
  • Payment plan: Upfront or monthly
  • Inclusions: Aligners, chewies, impression kit, teeth whitening, retainers
  • In-person consultations: Yes
  • Number of physical locations: 40
  • Treatment type: Full arch tooth movement
  • Daytime aligners: Yes
  • Night aligners: No
  • Treatment time: 6 to 12 months
  • In-depth remote monitoring: Yes, orthodontist-directed
  • Smartphone app: Yes

Byte

  • Cost: $1,895 to $2,295
  • Payment plan: Upfront or monthly
  • Inclusions: Aligners, impression kit, teeth whitening, retainers
  • In-person consultations: No
  • Number of physical locations: N/A
  • Treatment type: Social 6 or Social 12
  • Daytime aligners: Yes
  • Night aligners: Yes
  • Treatment time: 3 to 6 months
  • In-depth remote monitoring: No
  • Smartphone app: No

ALIGNERCO

  • Cost: $1,145 to $1,345
  • Payment plan: Upfront or monthly
  • Inclusions: Aligners, chewies, impression kit, teeth whitening, retainers
  • In-person consultations: Yes
  • Number of physical locations: 1
  • Treatment type: Unknown
  • Daytime aligners: Yes
  • Night aligners: Yes
  • Treatment time: 8 to 12 months
  • In-depth remote monitoring: No
  • Smartphone app: No

SmileDirectClub

  • Cost: $1,950
  • Payment plan: Upfront or monthly
  • Inclusions: Aligners, chewies, impression kit
  • In-person consultations: Yes
  • Number of physical locations: 50
  • Treatment type: Unknown
  • Daytime aligners: Yes
  • Night aligners: Yes
  • Treatment time: 4 to 6 months
  • In-depth remote monitoring: No
  • Smartphone app: Yes

NewSmile

  • Cost: $1,295
  • Payment plan: Upfront or monthly
  • Inclusions: Aligners, chewies, impression kit, teeth whitening, retainers
  • In-person consultations: No
  • Number of physical locations: N/A
  • Treatment type: Social 6 or Social 12
  • Daytime aligners: Yes
  • Night aligners: Yes
  • Treatment time: 4 to 6 months
  • In-depth remote monitoring: No
  • Smartphone app: Yes

What Do I Get With a Teeth Aligner Kit?

When you buy a teeth straightening kit, it doesn’t come in a package with ready-to-wear aligners. You are paying for an entire treatment plan, including any additional products that the company may offer.

Here’s what you will usually find in teeth straightening kits:

1. Clear aligners

These are at-home braces made of clear BPA-free plastic. Also known as invisible aligners or teeth aligners, your kit includes enough trays to cover treatment.

ALIGNERCO Clear Aligners

The goal of aligner treatment is to get straighter teeth. Most brands offer two types of aligners:

  • Daytime aligners — worn during the day, usually for 20 to 22 hours
  • Nighttime aligners — worn at night, usually for 8 to 10 hours

Candid doesn’t offer night aligners. Dr. Lynn Hurst, Candid’s Co-Founder and Chief Orthodontist, says night aligners are not supported by any peer-reviewed studies.1

“They [daytime aligners] gently move your teeth into place using light continuous force... Because the protocols around nighttime aligner therapy generally specify only 10 hours of wear time per day... you may never experience the light continuous force necessary for effective healthy tooth movement.”

- Dr. Lynn Hurst, Chief Orthodontist and Co-Founder of Candid1

2. Teeth impression kit

The kit has all the tools you need to take a dental impression or mold of your teeth. It contains impression trays, putty, instructions, and a prepaid package. Doctors use impressions to create custom aligners that fit your teeth and gum line.

Candid Starter Kit Impressions

Most aligner companies offer these kits alone. To continue with your treatment, you have to purchase the teeth straightening kit separately.

NewSmile and ALIGNERCO are the only brands that let you purchase an at-home impression kit alone or with your clear aligner treatment.

3. Teeth whitening products

A teeth whitener dissolves teeth stains, so they become several shades lighter. Most brands provide at-home teeth whitening products with their treatment plans.

  • Candid will give you a 3-in-1 whitening foam that cleans aligners, whitens teeth, and keeps your breath smelling fresh.
  • Byte also provides a similar 3-in-1 whitening foam called BrightByte™.
  • ALIGNERCO throws in a complete teeth whitening kit for customers who opt for Advantage and Flex payment plans. It includes a thermoform mouth tray, teeth whitening gels, and an LED light that speeds up the process.
  • NewSmile offers teeth whitening foam with its invisible aligners.
  • SmileDirectClub will give you a free BrightOn™ teeth whitening pen, but only if you visit a nearby Smile Shop for a 30-minute appointment.
BrightByte Teeth Whitening Foam

About their safety: Only Candid discloses the ingredients of their whitening foam. According to their website, its active ingredient is hydrogen peroxide.2 

Other companies do not provide detailed information on their products. However, studies show that most teeth whiteners are hydrogen peroxide-based, which is both safe and effective when used as instructed.3 

4. Teeth retainers

After completing treatment with at-home aligners, the next step is to wear retainers. A retainer maintains the alignment of your teeth by holding them in place.

Byte, ALIGNERCO, and New Smile provide one set of retainers with your teeth straightening kit. Candid and SmileDirectClub don’t have retainers included in their package. You have to purchase them separately from your at-home aligner treatment.

Here are our most recommended teeth straightening kits:

  • Candid — Best Overall At-Home Teeth Straightening
  • Byte — Best Invisible Aligner for Fast Treatments
  • ALIGNERCO — Best Affordable Clear Aligner
  • SmileDirectClub — Most Number of Studios for In-Person Consultations
  • NewSmile — Budget Friendly Teeth Aligner

How Do Teeth Straightening Kits Work?

Below, we’ll walk you through the process of buying and using clear aligner kits:

Step 1: Get qualified for treatment

First, you need to qualify for at-home teeth straightening with your preferred brand. Part of that process is taking an online quiz so they can quickly assess if you’re qualified for treatment. 

Some aligner companies let you skip the survey and others don’t.

The next step is to buy an at-home impression kit and have it delivered to your doorstep. You can use it to take molds of your teeth, which you will send back to the company using a prepaid envelope.

Teeth Straightening Kit 1

If you buy Candid’s starter kit, you also have to take 8 photos of your face and teeth as suggested by the American Board of Orthodontics. It allows them to better assess you for conditions that may disqualify you for treatment.4

But if you opt for NewSmile treatment, you also get a one-on-one video call with an Impression Specialist. During the call, the specialist will guide you through the process so you can take accurate impressions of your teeth.

Aligner companies such as Candid, ALIGNERCO, and SmileDirectClub also have studios in several U.S. states. Instead of buying an impression kit, you can visit the nearest studio for an in-person assessment.

SmileDirectClub Smile Studio

At the studio, a specialist (usually trained technician) will gather your dental records. This may include your dental and medical history, as well as digital scans and photos of your teeth.

A licensed dentist or orthodontist will review your impressions, photos, and dental records to see if you qualify for treatment. If you do, they will create your custom treatment plan and present it to you.

Step 2: Approve your custom treatment plan

Your treatment plan either be a 3D image or an interactive 3D model of your teeth. It will show the progression of tooth movement throughout your treatment. It also gives you a visual of what your teeth may look like before and after treatment.

Candid Treatment Plan

You can request for changes at this stage. But if you’re satisfied, you can approve the plan and have your custom aligners made. When they’re ready, the company will mail them to you with your teeth straightening kit.

Step 3: Begin treatment at home

You can start wearing your at-home clear aligners as soon as they arrive. If you opted for daytime aligners (which we recommend), you must wear them for 20 to 22 hours a day. You also have to switch invisible aligners every 1 to 2 weeks.

If there’s a teeth whitener with your kit, use it as instructed.

Step 4: Monitor your progress

Companies such as NewSmile, Byte, and SmileDirectClub allow you to track your progress. But only Candid provides in-depth remote monitoring. An assigned orthodontist will review photos of your teeth every 2 weeks and decide if it’s time to move to the next aligner.

Step 5: Complete your treatment

Treatment takes anywhere from 3 to 18 months. The actual length of treatment will depend on the brand of aligners and your treatment plan.

Byte includes a HyperByte® device with your teeth aligner kit. The company claims it shortens treatment time. The technology works by sending high-frequency vibrations (HFV) to the roots of your teeth and surrounding bone tissue.5

HyperByte Device

You can use HyperByte with your Byte aligners. But there isn’t enough evidence to support this claim. Studies on high-frequency acceleration (HFA) devices have contradicting results.6

If your kit includes teeth retainers, you should switch to them as soon as you finish treatment.

Here are our most recommended teeth straightening kits:

  • Candid — Best Overall At-Home Teeth Straightening
  • Byte — Best Invisible Aligner for Fast Treatments
  • ALIGNERCO — Best Affordable Clear Aligner
  • SmileDirectClub — Most Number of Studios for In-Person Consultations
  • NewSmile — Budget Friendly Teeth Aligner

Am I Eligible for At-Home Teeth Straightening?

Before beginning treatment, there are certain criteria you have to meet. This ensures that you can safely and effectively straighten teeth with invisible aligners.

Who can use clear aligners?

Adults with mild to moderate cases of malocclusion are candidates for at-home teeth straightening. Malocclusion is a medical term for misaligned or crooked teeth. 

If you have dental crowding (e.g., overlapping teeth) and mild to moderate spacing issues (e.g., gapped teeth), then you may be eligible for aligner treatment.

Teenagers with minor cases of teeth misalignment may also qualify. But they must be at least 12 years old and have all permanent teeth.

Each aligner company has its own standards when deciding on eligibility:

  • Candid says they cannot do bite correction.7 However, case studies show that Candid clear aligners improve bite or how your teeth come together when the jaw is closed.8 Examples of bite issues include overbite, underbite, crossbite, and an open bite.
  • SDC claims that SmileDirectClub aligners can be used to correct tooth rotations (twisted teeth) and some bite problems. You can also wear them if you have implants and missing teeth.9
  • Byte says they can treat rotated teeth and some bite problems. Byte aligners can also improve a deviated midline but not fully correct it. You can wear them with veneers as long as they are not on molars.10

ALIGNERCO and NewSmile do not specify who is qualified to use aligners and which problems they can correct. But they will ask you to take an online survey. Other companies will ask you to do the same, on top of taking dental impressions.

Important note: You may find it more difficult to qualify for Candid than other brands, but for a good reason. The company only prescribes aligners if they’re confident your treatment will be safe and effective.4

This means having good oral health and having seen a dentist in the past 12 months. Teenagers are also required to visit a Candid studio so they can get teeth scans and in-person consultation with a specialist7

Who is not qualified for at-home teeth aligners?

Teens and adults with baby teeth, severe cases of malocclusions, and jaw misalignment cannot use clear aligners. Opt for orthodontic treatment like traditional braces if you have extreme teeth misalignment, significant bite problems, and huge gaps between teeth.

People with pre-existing dental restorations such as partial dentures, bridges, and tooth implants also cannot qualify for treatment. If you have a permanent retainer, it has to be removed.

Important note: If you have dental problems such as tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease, Candid’s orthodontists will refuse to treat you unless your doctor addresses them. 

Are At-Home Aligners Safe and Effective?

Teeth straightening kits include clear aligners made of non-toxic, BPA-free, and medical-grade plastic so you can wear them every day. While no studies are linked to specific brands, research suggests that invisible aligners are generally safe and effective.

A survey published in the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) shows that out of 470 respondents who used aligners, up to 87.5% were satisfied with the results. Only few (6.6%) experienced adverse effects.11 

That being said, teeth aligner kits are associated with some valid concerns.

The risks of moving teeth to fast

Dr. Stephen Belli, a board-certified orthodontist, says that moving teeth too fast can damage your gums and bone, and result in bite problems.12 When your bite doesn’t line up, it causes unnecessary friction, leading to teeth wearing out.

Teeth straightening kits generally have shorter treatment periods than metal braces and Invisalign, which last 18 to 24 months. Most aligners have an average treatment period of 6 months, which is the fastest time you can safely move teeth for orthodontic benefits.13 

ALIGNERCO and Candid require at least six months of treatment which falls within the safe range. Some brands like SmileDirectClub, Byte, and NewSmile offer treatments in as little as 3 to 4 months, which is less than ideal.

Keep in mind that a faster treatment period doesn’t make it safer or more effective. But it doesn’t mean that aligners are completely unsafe.

Each patient gets a customized treatment plan based on their unique condition. So your actual treatment time may be a bit longer than advertised. For your safety, we do recommend seeing a doctor before you consider wearing aligners.

Front teeth vs. Full Arch tooth movement

Invisible aligners either move your front teeth or the full arch, including your molars. Byte and NewSmile only move the social 6 or social 12.

The Social 6 (sometimes called the Social 12) refers to your most visible teeth when you smile. It comprises of the six front teeth on your upper arch, the six front teeth on your lower arch, or both — which totals to 12 teeth.

Social 6 or Social 12 treatment usually corrects minor cosmetic problems associated with misaligned teeth. However, you may end up with a “bad bite” since it only aligns your front teeth. 

Social 6 or social 12 treatments do not make room for your front teeth to settle into their new position. Eventually, this pushes them back to their previous place. 

Candid’s Co-Founder and Chief Orthodontist Dr. Lynn Hurst says the whole bite should be addressed for lasting results. This can be done with full arch tooth movement.

Candid is the only company that performs full arch tooth movement. ALIGNERCO and SmileDirectClub do not say if they do the same, or if they only move the social 6 or social 12.

Candid treatment begins by pushing molars back and expanding side arches. Once there is adequate room at the front, Candid will align your front teeth with the rest of your bite.

Pros and Cons of Teeth Straightening Kits

A teeth straightening kit is just one of few ways you can correct crooked teeth. Below, we discuss its pros and cons, and how it compares to other teeth straightening methods like Invisalign and traditional braces.

Pros of At-Home Teeth Straightening

Here are the advantages of clear aligner kits:

  • More convenient — As an at-home treatment, it doesn’t require visits to the dentist. You can do the entire process from home, including tracking your progress.
  • Practical for daily wear — Like Invisalign, you get removable aligners. If you want to eat, brush your teeth, or clean your aligners, you can just take them out. Invisible aligners are also more discreet than metal braces since they’re made of clear plastic.
  • Shorter treatment time — Treatment with aligners usually takes 6 months on average. Orthodontic treatments like metal braces and Invisalign take 18 to 24 months.
  • Affordable teeth straightening — A clear aligner kit usually costs less than $2,000. It’s comparably cheaper to traditional braces, lingual braces, Clear Correct, and Invisalign which can cost up to $8,000.
  • Flexible payment options — Aligner companies accept one-time payments and monthly payments with or without down payment.
  • Treats minor teeth misalignments — If you have mild to moderate overlapping or gapped teeth, at-home kits give you a fast, safe, and affordable way to correct it. Some brands claim they can treat rotated teeth and improve bite and a deviated midline.

Cons of At-Home Teeth Straightening

Following are the disadvantages of clear aligner kits:

  • The qualification process is too easy — Most companies perform limited assessments. It may cause them to overlook issues such as misaligned jaw and poor oral health, which increase your risk for complications during treatment.
  • High risk for error — If you are not careful enough, you might take bad molds of your teeth. This can lead to ill-fitting aligners and ineffective treatment.
  • Remote monitoring — Without the supervision of an orthodontist (teeth alignment expert), problems that arise during treatment may go unnoticed and potentially lead to complications.
  • Cannot treat severe misalignment — Teeth straightening kits cannot help with severe cases of malocclusion. These include huge gaps, several overlapping teeth, and bite issues like overbite, underbite, open bite, and crossbite.

Candid has several advantages over other brands. For starters, they work exclusively with orthodontists who have at least 20 years of experience.

An orthodontist specializes in diagnosing, treating, and preventing teeth misalignment, making them experts in tooth movement. General dentists are simply concerned with a person’s dental health.

Most aligner brands work with a combination of doctors, dentists, and orthodontists, so you can’t expect the same level of care at all times. By limiting its network to orthodontists, Candid can provide you with consistent expert care.

Your assigned orthodontist will design your custom aligners and continue to monitor you until you complete treatment. Tools such as the CandidApp® and CandidScan® enable Candid to provide in-depth remote monitoring.

Qualifying for Candid treatment is also more difficult, but it better ensures your safety during treatment. You need to see a dentist and have good oral health before they prescribe aligners.

Straighten Teeth At Home With Clear Aligners

For people with mildly crooked teeth, at-home aligners are an affordable and convenient option to straighten teeth. These invisible aligners can be purchased online and will cost you less than orthodontic treatment.

You have several brands to choose from. The onboarding and treatment process is practically the same, but each aligner company has something different to offer:

  • Byte has the fastest treatments. In three to six months you can correct minor teeth misalignment. They also provide a HyperByte device with your kit.
  • ALIGNERCO and NewSmile have the cheapest clear aligners. You can buy a teeth straightening kit for $1,145 to $1,295.
  • SmileDirectClub has the most physical locations. If you prefer getting an in-person assessment before your treatment, you can visit one of 50 Smile Studio’s in the United States.

Candid is the best at-home aligner treatment. The company works exclusively with orthodontists (teeth alignment experts) to provide comprehensive care.

They perform thorough assessments and remote monitoring to ensure your safety throughout treatment. Unlike other aligners, Candid moves all of your teeth for longer-lasting results.

Regardless of which brand you choose, you should get a dental checkup. Make sure that you have good oral health and that your teeth misalignment is mild enough to be treated with invisible aligners.

If you have severe bite problems and too many overlapping and gapped teeth, you might want to consider other teeth straightening methods.

Here are our most recommended teeth straightening kits:

  • Candid — Best Overall At-Home Teeth Straightening
  • Byte — Best Invisible Aligner for Fast Treatments
  • ALIGNERCO — Best Affordable Clear Aligner
  • SmileDirectClub — Most Number of Studios for In-Person Consultations
  • NewSmile — Budget Friendly Teeth Aligner

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