Straighten teeth at home: 5 best teeth straightening kits

Who doesn’t love a straight, white smile? Nowadays it seems indispensable. If you didn’t win the genetic lottery though, it can be hard to come by. And expensive, too.

Well, home teeth straightening kits have come to the rescue. You can now go through the whole process in the comfort of your own bedroom, without regular visits. And the fees are a lot more digestible.

But there are so many out there, how can you choose?

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The best teeth straightening kits

Straightening teeth at home has a lot of advantages over traditional orthodontic treatment. That doesn’t mean it’s a simple choice, though. There are a lot of options out there.

Here are the three best kits available on the market today:

CompanySmileDirectClubCandid Cosmilelove
One-time price$1,895$1,900$1,895
Installment plan$85 for 24 months, $250 deposit$88 for 24 months$79 for 24 months, $250 down payment
Insurance compliant*YesYesYes
Candidate assessment costImpression kit $49 or a free scanImpression kit $95 or a free scanImpression kit $250
Specialist supportApp support, an assigned dentist or orthodontist, and a check in every 90 daysCare team support 7 days a weekVideo call support, text or chat in real-time
Cost of retainers$99$99free
WhiteningProducts includedFoam includedWhitening products included with retainers at the end of treatment

*If your plan covers orthodontia.

While such “facts in a nutshell” are great, they are not enough to make a decision. Below is a quick rundown of the five companies offering the best deals.

#1: SmileDirectClub

SmileDirectClub is a teeth straightening kit that has probably been around the longest. There are two ways to go with this option: all-day aligners and ones you wear at night only.

The former will work faster and get you where you need to be, for example, before a wedding or some other special event. The latter works more slowly but is great for those who do not have the option to wear aligners all day.

SDC give you an option of whether you would like to visit a SmileShop for an initial scan or take advantage of the remote impression kit. After the assessment you will be assigned a dental professional that will check with you every 90 days.

Your HSA, FSA, and CareCredit will be accepted. Insurance can also be taken advantage of if your plan involves orthodontia. You can order touch-up treatments if you are not happy with the results.

Pros

  • Most established
  • Two options: full and nighttime
  • You can choose to have a scan or impression
  • Dental professional is assigned to each case
  • Check-up every 90 days
  • Touch-up treatments available

Cons

  • Retainers are not free

#2: Candid Co

The makers of the Candid Co kit pride themselves in working with orthodontists only. While other kits stress how quickly they can work, Candid Co claim to work first and foremost with bone biology in mind. That way the treatment is conducted safely and surely.

This does mean that it can be harder to get approved. Just like with SDC, you can take advantage of a remote kit that you receive by mail and send back or visit a Candid Studio for a free scan.

You will get an interactive preview of the treatment. It will include what your teeth are going to look like step by step as well as at the end. Effects take place at six months on average and remote care is provided if you run into trouble.

Pros

  • Work with orthodontists only
  • Remote-only option
  • Interactive preview of results step by step
  • Remote care is provided

Cons

  • Slow progress
  • Harder to get approved
  • Most expensive of these five kits

#3: smilelove

If you love to smile but lack the confidence this kit is for you! Smilelove offers the entire treatment on the basis of mail postage and the Internet. You never have to leave your home. This doesn’t mean, however, that they don’t do a thorough check.

At first, you will have to fill out a questionnaire online (Have all of your baby teeth fallen out? Have you had braces?) and send in pictures of your mouth. If you get approved you will be able to order an impression kit.

A custom digital treatment preview will be prepared and you will be ready to smile in six to eight months. You will receive a free set of retainers to keep up the good work.

Pros

  • No visits at all
  • Custom digital preview
  • Free retainers

Cons

  • Impression kit is very expensive
  • Video call support

#4: byte

With byte the excitement comes down to their exclusive technology: the HyperByte. It’s a device that produces high-frequency waves cutting the treatment time in half and reducing discomfort. It comes complimentary with the kit. Orthodontists sell similar devices for up to $900.

Just like smilelove, byte doesn’t require you to leave your house. You can send in your impressions and skip the waiting rooms and awkward pleasantries at the front office. In return, you will receive a 3D interactive model and your set of aligners.

After that, you can decide whether you want the full, 22-hour-a-day treatment, or the nighttime option. If you opt for the first you might get to enjoy your smile in as little as three months.

Pros

  • HyperByte technology
  • Fast results
  • No visits at all
  • Two options: full or nighttime

Cons

  • No specialist support

#5: SnapCorrect

SnapCorrect’s biggest selling point? They are the clearest aligners out there. It is practically impossible to see anything at all, making the whole operation completely covert! No one will catch you on the way to the dentist’s office either, as the whole thing happens online.

You can expect to have your impression kit four weeks after ordering. Treatments last from three to eighteen months, depending on the severity of your condition.

Pros

  • Clearest aligners
  • No visits at all
  • Fast delivery
  • Cheapest option
  • Free retainers

Cons

  • Lowest rating

How do home teeth straightening kits work?

Generally, home teeth straightening works by taking little steps consistently. Here is a general guide of what you can expect during the process:

Assessment

The teeth are examined to figure out what changes should be made. Sometimes this is done by way of a 2D or 3D image, other times by a scan. Most home straightening kits send putty for you to make an impression of your bite and send back to them.

Inspection

A dental professional has a close look at your images, scans, or impressions. He or she comes up with a treatment plan and a mockup of what the end result should look like. More often than not, if it turns out that you are not a good candidate, you will be reimbursed.

You receive a set of aligners, each in a slightly different shape. You have to wear them for about 22 hours per day (10 if you opt for the nighttime ones). They put pressure on your teeth to force them into alignment. Whitening solutions can be placed inside.

Retainers

After you are done with your treatment you receive retainers. Wearing them will help ensure teeth don’t shift back to their original places.

Can anyone straighten teeth at home?

Teeth straightening kits, though great and convenient, are, unfortunately, not for everyone. They can correct crooked or gapped teeth, but some conditions might be too severe to fix without regular visits to the orthodontist.

Home teeth straightening was designed to enhance your smile, not cause dramatic changes. What’s more, your mouth must be generally healthy. If you have had your wisdom teeth removed recently you might have to wait for up to six weeks.

Suitable for

  • fixing mild spacing or crowding issues
  • those with generally healthy dentition
  • those who have all their permanent teeth
  • those who are consistent

Not suitable for

  • those with implants, bridges, veneers, or crowns
  • those with gum disease or active tooth decay
  • those who have trouble with wisdom teeth
  • children or those with baby teeth
  • those who need a tooth pulled down towards the arch

Some of these issues, such as gum disease, can be fixed. Just make sure to reapply after targeting the problem.

Is straightening teeth at home safe?

Generally, there isn’t a risk, per se, in ordering an impression kit. If you are not a suitable candidate you will probably be turned away.

You may be asked about your general health or to provide a recent X-ray. This is to make sure the treatment is safe and appropriate. It can help prevent permanent damage to your teeth.

All in all, teeth straightening kits are safe, if you:

  • are getting one from a legitimate provider,
  • follow the instructions closely,
  • visit the dentist regularly anyway, making sure your oral health is up to par.

On the other hand, it might be risky, if you:

  • don’t follow instructions,
  • do the impression incorrectly (orthodontists spend years learning this!),
  • wear aligners inconsistently,
  • break or lose aligners without replacing them,
  • have a big issue that requires X-rays, orthodontic equipment, and a specialist to review the process consistently.

The thing with straightening your teeth at home is that there are no adjustments along the way. The mouth is an organ system and it is difficult to predict 100% what is going to happen, especially remotely.

Some providers offer specialist support in case of trouble, but you yourself might not realize something is wrong. Your best bet is to consult with your dentist before and during the treatment.

Pros and cons of at-home teeth straightening

As with anything, there are pros and cons to aligning your teeth from home. Their main allurement is that they are clear and invisible. What’s more, they don’t hurt your lips or cheeks, like regular braces do. But what sets them apart from Invisalign?

First of all, they are a lot cheaper because you don’t pay for sit-greet-and-meet time. The kits are more convenient, as you can start the treatment according to your own schedule. And lastly, just like Invisalign, they are removable.

On the downside, though, the treatment cannot be altered according to changes happening in your mouth and you don’t have as much support from a specialist. It is also unsuitable for major orthodontic issues.

Pros

  • Aesthetics
  • Lower price
  • More convenient
  • You can whiten teeth at the same time
  • Removable

Cons

  • Less specialist support
  • Won’t fix large issues

It all comes down to the situation in your mouth. It is always a good idea to consult with a professional before doing any work yourself, whether it be straightening, whitening, or anything else.

Final thoughts

We all want beautiful Hollywood smiles. Some of us were fortunate enough to be born under a lucky star. Those people don’t have to worry about paying to fix imperfections. Others have to take things into their own hands.

Home teeth straightening is gaining in popularity because it’s a cheaper, more convenient way than having this procedure done at the orthodontist’s. What is your opinion? Are you thinking of trying out one of these kits?