I recently went searching for invisible aligners to fix some bottom teeth that were shifting out of place. I started with the grandaddy of them all, Invisalign, then researched Smile Direct and a few others before discovering Candid.
I get my aligners in about four weeks, so I haven’t tried them out yet. But read on if you’d like to know how and why I chose them. I’ll be writing more about them when they come in and I give them a try! *Not a sponsored post, just sharing my experience!
First There Was Braces
I had terrible teeth as a kid. I had a big overbite and a big space in the middle, and my incisors grew in way up high like vampire fangs. I had traditional metal braces for two years, and that resulted in the nice straight smile I have today. Unfortunately, I was not great at wearing my retainer and lost it years ago.
My top teeth have remained in place pretty well, but one bottom tooth started twisting. It stayed that way for the next 30 years, just slightly twisted. But everything seems to catch up with you once you hit 40 and that one twisty tooth started to bring others along with it. In just a couple years several bottom teeth started shifting and at that point I knew I needed to stop it before everything went out of whack.
Not Just About Looks
When I’ve mentioned getting invisible aligners, a few people have mentioned how it doesn’t matter, you can’t even see my bottom teeth. It’s true, you can’t see the twisty teeth, but it’s not about how it looks. It’s about preserving my bite and the integrity of my teeth. First, it’s harder to clean the twisted teeth because stuff gets stuck in them. The dentist always has to scrape a little more on the twisted one. Second, the shifting teeth will eventually get worse and affect my bite, and once that goes weird a lot of other things can follow like headaches and teeth grinding from a misaligned bite.
I definitely didn’t want metal braces again (so that part IS about looks, lol) so I started researching clear alternatives. I started with my regular dentist, who does Invisalign.
My Invisalign Consultation
Before I went to the dentist, I did some research on costs of different invisible aligners and thought I was prepared for the price quote. My dentist did a quick consult, proclaimed me an excellent candidate for Invisalign and said I’d only need the cheaper Invisalign Go, which is under 20 trays. I’d also just need the bottom trays. Plus they take $2000 off the price upfront! Wow!
So then I nearly fell out of the dentist chair when they quoted me $4600. I was expecting it to be a bit less. Silly me. And of course my dental insurance doesn’t cover any of that.
I took a photo during the consultation and tagged Invisalign. The sent me a direct message saying, “Thanks for sharing your excitement!! Can’t wait to see your progress!”
I wrote back, “Thank you, unfortunately it was too expensive for me to get done.”
They sent me back a link to get an Invisalign consultation. Ummmm….what?!? lol
So either I’m dealing with a bot, or someone who just doesn’t understand English very well.
I wrote back letting them know I had already gotten that done and was setting up an appointment to check out Candid.
They gave that message a heart. Guess they love people checking out the competition?
Next Up: Smile Direct
Disheartened by the Invisalign quote, I went in search of affordable alternatives and started with Smile Direct. Once you start researching, you’ll find TONS of these type companies! With a price around $2000 to $2500, the DIY braces approach was really starting to appeal to me.
Smile Direct has offices where you can go in and get your teeth scanned or do the impressions at home. The other places all only have the option to make your own dental impressions at home with a kit they send.
I then started researching reviews and ran across a whole trove of Smile Direct horror stories, where people were left with misaligned bites or even lost teeth as a result. As someone who puts a lot of effort into caring for their teeth, I started getting worried and really preferred the safer approach of going through an in-person dentist.
So after much research, I stumbled across one I’d never heard of- Candid Aligners.
The Clear Winner: Candid Aligners
Candid appealed to me because it was a hybrid of at-home aligners with the guidance of a dentist, and it was going to be (hopefully) cheaper than Invisalign. I used the “Find a Dentist” tool on their website and made an appointment with the closest dentist to me.
The first thing they wanted to do was take x-rays and I was like, whoah, wait, is this going to cost me anything? They let me know it was all included in the free consultation. After the x-rays, they used a wand type thing to make a 3-D scan of my teeth. Once that was all complete, I watched a video explaining how Candid works, and then the dentist came in to speak to me.
She explained that Candid is a bit less invasive than Invisalign because you don’t have to have the “buttons” attached to your teeth, which was something I didn’t like about Invisalign. You have little anchors attached to your teeth to keep the aligners in place, and later they remove them.
She said I was a good candidate for Candid, and that it would probably take 6-9 months for the correction. The process is much like Invisalign, where after the scan they send the aligners to my house, and I get started wearing them and changing as needed. But instead of going to the dentist for check-ups, I’ll be using a contraption that connects to my phone and turns it into a tooth scanner. I’ll then send those scans to the dentist every two weeks for her to evaluate, and she will adjust the treatment as needed. (You can see the scanning thing on their website: https://www.candidco.com)
The grand total, including everything I’ll need, dentist follow-ups and the retainer afterwards, was $3500. So it was more than Smile Direct, but less than Invisalign. I decided to go for it! I also got a free Zoom whitening kit to use with my aligners, so I get to whiten my teeth while straightening them.
Everything should arrive in 3-4 weeks, so I’ll be doing a follow-up post once I get started!