Dental care of any kind is a big investment. Straightening your teeth is no exception. Home teeth aligners make it easy and more affordable to get the smile of your dreams.
That said, there are several options to choose from. We’ve reviewed the best home aligners to help you choose which is best for you.
Whenever we review a home alignment service, we focus on the following criteria: Treatment Quality, Treatment Speed, Bang for Your Buck, Customer Service, and Noticeability.
While everyone has their own tastes and preferences, these are the five critical areas everyone should consider when choosing a company to perfect their smile.
1) Treatment Quality
The treatment process for most home teeth alignment companies looks pretty similar. You start by taking an impression of your teeth. The company analyzes those impressions to make sure you’re a good candidate for treatment. If you are, they create a systematic set of clear aligners for you to use.
But who creates that treatment plan and where the aligners come from vary from one company to another. For example, each company uses a different supplier for its aligners. The supplier plays a big role in the quality of your clear plastic aligners.
But more important than the supplier is the person creating your custom treatment plan. Ideally, a home teeth alignment company uses orthodontists alone to create treatment plans. Unfortunately, though, some companies use a mixed team of orthodontists and dentists to design your treatments. With these, there’s no guarantee that an orthodontist will oversee your case specifically.
Compared to dentists, orthodontists have several more years of dedicated training. They’ve gained extensive experience in the science of moving teeth, not just cleaning them. You’ll get a better, safer treatment experience with an orthodontist.
2) Treatment Speed
Home teeth aligners are (for the most part) faster than traditional braces. That’s part of what makes them so appealing. That said, they’re not all created equal. Just how long will it take for a company to straighten your smile? Three months? Six? Nine?
It’s an important question to ask, especially if you’re in a rush to perfect your grin before a big celebration or photoshoot. Granted, your treatment time will vary depending on how crooked your teeth are to begin with. But each service has its own speed, too.
3) Bang for Your Buck
On average, a home teeth alignment system costs thousands less than braces and Invisalign. Typically, the price point for all the companies we’ve evaluated hovers between $1,800 and $2,100.
But the total price tag can be deceiving at first glance. What does that money get you? Sure, you’ll get your aligners. But what about post-treatment retainers? Some companies include them in the price of your treatment; others charge extra, and some include just the first set free.
What if you lose an aligner during treatment? Do you get a free replacement? Pay a fee?
Some companies may charge a slightly lower price but include unique features that set them apart. Those are important factors to consider.
4) Customer Service
With home teeth aligners, you don’t visit the orthodontist’s office. That’s incredibly convenient, but it usually means that you won’t have much interaction with the humans of the company.
The exception: the customer service representatives. A good company makes up for its lack of face-to-face interaction by ensuring that their customer service reps are friendly, prompt, knowledgeable, and actually helpful. No phone tag, no recited textbook answers, no gimmicks.
“Brace-face.” That harsh nickname is a thing of the past thanks to clear aligners. Across the board, home teeth aligners are nearly imperceptible. That said, some aligners are more visible than others.
There are two factors that make your aligners more or less visible: the shape of the aligner and the type of plastic they’re made of. The shape—whether it’s straight-cut or scalloped to match the gumline—affects how noticeable your aligners are.
In contrast, some aligners are created with a porous, matte finish while others are clear, shiny plastic. Technically speaking, your teeth are naturally a bit porous, so porous aligners are less visible than shiny ones.