AlignerCo are relative newcomers to the clear aligner industry. Since their launch, they’ve positioned themselves as one of the most affordable products on the market. With multiple payment options, a free assessment, and customized treatment plans, can they compare to the best names on the market? We take a detailed look at everything you need to know.
The aligner market is becoming increasingly overcrowded (some pun intended). As such, it’s becoming difficult for brands to differentiate themselves. To stand out, you need a unique selling point. For AlignerCo, their USP is their pricing.
Lowest price brand on the market right now.
Monthly payment options without a down payment.
Low-cost impression kits delivered directly to your door.
No clinics, meaning the only way to speak with a specialist is via video call.
Monthly repayment options are higher than with competitors.
Treatments take longer than some rival brands.
Who is behind AlignerCo?
AlignerCo was founded in 2019 in New York. As such, not a whole lot is known about the company. According to their LinkedIn page, the privately held company has between 11 and 50 employees. Their address is 182-30 Hillside Avenue, Suite #52, Jamaica, New York 11432.
Unlike many other brands in the clear aligner space, they don’t have a company story or information about their links to dentistry. Their focus is very much on their price, which is often significantly cheaper than competitors.
Who can use AlignerCo aligners?
As with similar companies, AlignerCo only offers its product to patients with minor dental issues. So, those with mild overcrowding or small spacing issues will likely be eligible for these aligners. However, those with more significant issues won’t be able to use AlignerCo products.
For those with more severe malocclusions, such as significant overcrowding, gaps, or an over or underbite, you won’t be able to use this service. The chances are, in these circumstances, you’ll have to see an orthodontist for treatment options.
On the AlignerCo website, you’ll find a free assessment tool that asks you a series of questions about your age and dental health history. After completing the survey, they’ll send you an email that you can order an impression kit from.
There are no choices when it comes to treatment options. Instead, it’s a case of you either can use the products or not. If you’re eligible for other aligner brands, the chances are you will be for AlignerCo too.
How are the dental aligners made?
AlignerCo aligners are made specifically to your requirements, meaning that the process has to be quite thorough. Unlike brands such as Candid and SmileDirectClub, AlignerCo doesn’t have any physical locations, meaning they can’t offer an in-person scan or consultation.
To get your dental aligners made, you first have to order an impression kit from the AlignerCo website. These kits include a type of putty that’s used to take impressions of your teeth. Once you’ve completed this step and sent your impressions back, you’ll schedule a video chat with an orthodontist.
As with many of the at-home kits, it can be tough to get an accurate mold first time. As such, it may take several attempts before you get something that’s viable. However, once you’ve sent off accurate impressions, you get a personalized treatment plan and your aligners in the mail.
AlingerCo aligners are made from FDA-approved plastic developed by DENTSPLY Raintree Essix, Inc. According to the company, these are the clearest on the market, making them nearly invisible.
What treatment options are available?
Like most companies in this space, AlignerCo only offers one treatment option – clear aligners. Although a few brands are branching out into things like nighttime aligners, the nature of the product means it can only treat a few specific types of issues.
Clear aligners gradually realign teeth. To do so, multiple aligners are needed. After wearing one set for a few weeks, you move onto the next. Progress is gradual and must be reinforced with nighttime retainers once the treatment plan is complete.
While wearing the aligners, you have to keep them in for around 22 hours per day. You have to take them out when eating or drinking anything aside from water, and then brush your teeth before putting them back in.
How long does AlignerCo’s treatment take?
AlignerCo treatments take quite a while in comparison to other company’s products. According to their website, the average treatment time is between 6 and 11 months. This compares to 3 to 6 months with some brands like byte and SmileDirectClub.
The exact amount of time your treatment takes will depend on the extent of your dental issues and how strict you are with wearing your aligners.
Are there any other steps to take?
One of the key parts of the AlignerCo treatment process is the monitoring of your progress. Along with changing your aligners every two weeks, you’ll also have to send regular photo updates of your teeth. An orthodontist will then remotely monitor your treatment to make sure you’re on track.
At the end of your treatment plan, you’ll have to wear a retainer at nighttime. If you don’t, you risk your teeth misaligning again.
How much does AlignerCo treatment cost?
The big selling point of AlignerCo is that they’re around $600 – $700 cheaper than their major competitors. This means that their treatment price is only $1145, compared to $1900 for CandidCo and $1895 for byte aligners. If you pay by instalments, it works out at 12 monthly payments of $110, totaling $1320.
At the time of writing, the impression kit is listed on the AlignerCo website as $39.99, down from $75. Again, this is cheaper than several other brands on the market. The final price of your treatment is also inclusive of the impression kit, meaning this price isn’t added on to your total if you proceed with aligners.
You can either pay a single lump sum of $1145 or pay in monthly payments, which equal $1320. This amount includes your impression kit, aligners, retainers, orthodontist prescription and shipping.
The cost of AlignerCo treatment is definitely the most competitively priced on the market right now. You can save yourself a few hundred dollars compared to other companies, and it’s the main selling point of AlignerCo.
There is no information about replacement aligners on the AlignerCo website. However, most companies charge a fee for any lost or damaged products. The only time you’ll get a free replacement is usually if there is a manufacturing error with the aligner.
Your first pair of retainers is included in the price of the treatment. However, there aren’t any details on additional sets. Again, usually brands charge around $50-$90 per set, and they have to be replaced roughly every six months.
Are payment options available?
AlignerCo have a few options available when it comes to paying for your aligners. The first (and cheapest) method is to pay the full amount upfront. Although expensive, it works out much cheaper than with many competitor brands.
There are two options when it comes to payment plans. The first is called their SmileFlex option, which is 12 monthly payments of $110, no deposit needed. You can only pay with Visa Credit and MasterCard Credit.
The second is SmileFlex Easy, which requires a $275 down payment, followed by 11 monthly payments of $95. All major forms of payment are accepted with this method. Both installment options come out at $1320. This is $175 more expensive than paying all at once.
Is a warranty or guarantee available?
AlignerCo follows what they call their ‘Smile Guarantee.’ This gives some protection to customers. For example, you can get a refund on unused, unopen impression kits within 15 days of purchase. If you pay for treatment and the orthodontists determine you’re not suitable, you’ll receive a full refund.
At the end of your treatment, if you aren’t happy with the results, you may be eligible for additional aligners. However, this depends on you following the instructions throughout your treatment.
How old do you have to be?
Patients must be at least 14 years old and have all of their adult teeth. Those under the age of 18 will need writer and signed permission from their parents or guardians.
Where is AlignerCo treatment available?
Patients across the US can request an impression kit in the mail. Because AlignerCo doesn’t have any physical locations, mail order and video consultations are the only available option.
What about customer service?
Generally speaking, the level of customer service from AligernCo is quite good. Their website has a variety of contact methods you can access:
Using their online chat portal on the AlignerCo website.
Customer reviews of the company often praise the response from the customer service team. However, they are quite a new company, so time will tell if they can keep up this level of service.
AlignerCo: The Verdict
So, what is our final verdict on the offering from AlignerCo? Well, overall, we’re quite impressed. As a newcomer to the party, it’s maybe a little early to say for definite, but they certainly seem to have many of the basics nailed down.
It’s pretty easy to get started with AlignerCo. The ‘free assessment’ is a simple questionnaire on their website. If you pass this, you can get your hands on an impression kit in the mail. Once you’ve sent your teeth impressions back, it usually takes a few weeks for them to assess your needs and create a personalized plan.
It can then take another few weeks for your aligners to come through in the mail. However, you get the whole set ready for you to start wearing the day that they arrive.
Alignerco has achieved our Aligners ‘Affordability’ Award 2020. This means that they stand out in front of other providers for budget-conscious patients.
The price point of the AlignerCo product is what makes it stand out from the crowd. It’s several hundred dollars cheaper than the big names out there, making it an appealing prospect for many. If the price is your motivating factor, then it’s definitely worth having a look at AlignerCo.
The one slight downside is that monthly payments are higher than companies like SmileDirectClub. However, this is offset by the fact it’s usually a much shorter repayment period (12 months instead of 24).
The low price does mean that they have to compromise on some aspects, however. The main one is that they don’t have any physical locations you can visit for a consultation. So, if you’d rather see someone and talk through the process, this maybe isn’t the service for you.
Ease of use
Overall it’s really simple to get started with the AlignerCo treatment process. A quick questionnaire, and you’re ready for a home impression kit. These can be notoriously difficult, and the AlignerCo one is no more or less intuitive than competitors. Once this part is out of the way, the rest is a breeze.
Everything you need to complete your treatment is included in your delivery box. You get a detailed set of instructions, and each set of aligners is clearly marked. All you have to do is start with the first pair and change them every couple of weeks.
Some people find it hard wearing this type of clear aligner for 22 hours per day. Initially, it can be a bit uncomfortable having them in your mouth. However, as treatment progresses, you soon get used to it.
Although there aren’t any options when it comes to treatment, there are a few when it comes to payment, which is handy. If you’re looking to split the cost of your aligners over 11-12 months, it’s pretty easy to do so.
The Smile Guarantee gives you some reassurances when it comes to your treatment. Although there is no money back option once your aligners are created (unless they’re faulty), AlignerCo will stick with you until you’re satisfied.
Once your treatment is done, they will keep making adjustments to your aligners if you’re unhappy with the results. This is done at no extra cost, provided you’ve stuck to the treatment plan.
Are AlignerCo the cheapest invisible aligners?
Currently, AlignerCo are the cheapest option if you want to straighten your teeth using clear dental aligners. AlignerCo offers a no-frills service in order to keep costs down, resulting in plans that are often hundreds of dollars cheaper than some providers’ plans.
Plus, you can save even more if you get referred by a friend – you’ll get $100 off the Smile Advantage Plan if an existing user refers you, bringing the cost down even further.
How is AlignerCo different from other providers?
AlignerCo aims to be the most affordable aligner option on the market for US citizens. So there’s no option of visiting a dentist or other location to get your initial impressions done by a professional – you’ll need to do it yourself at home.
Beyond that, the service is very similar, and treatment times are comparable too, taking between 6 months and a year on average. Some other providers may be slightly quicker but you’ll pay a premium for these options.
How often should I change my aligners?
You should change your aligners every two weeks with AlignerCo. Some providers will give you fewer sets to last longer, but AlignerCo prefers to make more regular adjustments to ensure your treatment stays on track.
Don’t immediately throw your used aligners in the garbage, as they may be needed if you lose or break a set of aligners in future. You may be advised to switch back to an older set while you wait for replacements to be shipped to you.
Can I chew while wearing my aligners?
Most dental aligner companies stress that you should not eat while you are wearing your aligners. That’s because putting pressure on them can damage the aligner, and move your teeth while they’re undergoing the gradual moves caused by the aligners’ design.
Interestingly, according to the AlignerCo website they suggest you can chew while wearing aligners, but ideally you should never eat while they’re in your mouth. It’s best to be safe and remove them during mealtimes to prevent any damage.
Will I have a lisp with my aligners?
You may have a slight lisp with your aligners as you get used to wearing them. You should adjust within a couple of days, and you’ll then be able to speak normally even as you change your aligners every two weeks.
The lisp, if you have one, will be minor and most people won’t detect it, and you’ll barely notice you’re wearing your aligners after that first two days so speaking will become completely natural again. Many people get used to wearing aligners immediately and have no issues speaking as normal from the get-go.
What is SmileFlex?
SmileFlex is the finance plan offered by AlignerCo if you wish to spread the cost of your treatment. There are two SmileFlex plans available.
The first of these is the SmileFlex standard plan, powered by the finance company Affirm. It is a straightforward instalment plan of just 12 monthly payments of $110, giving you a total cost of $1,320. This is almost $200 more than the pay upfront plan, but is still significantly cheaper than other providers’.
Alternatively, you can choose SmileFlex Easy. Powered instead by Partial.ly, this involves a $275 down payment followed by 11 monthly instalments of just $95, so that the total cost remains the same as the standard SmileFlex plan at $1,320. If you can afford the down payment and want lower monthly costs, this could be the ideal option for you.
How long does it take to get my treatment preview?
Your treatment preview will show you the results you’ll be able to expect when using AlignerCo dental aligners, so you know what your smile will look like once your treatment is complete.
Once your impression kit has been received by AlignerCo, you can expect to receive your preview within 12 to 14 business days, so approximately three weeks from the day your shipment arrives back at the lab. If you aren’t happy with your projected results, you are allowed to request a modification which may be possible.
Can I play high impact sports while wearing my aligners?
AlignerCo recommends that you remove your dental aligners while you’re playing high-impact sports such as football. If you’re wearing your aligners and you take a hit, you might damage your teeth and affect the future use of that set of aligners.
Remove them, and wear a mouth guard as you normally would. Make sure you reinsert them as soon as possible, as anytime you’re playing high-impact sports is more time in your day that your teeth aren’t being moved, and with eating and drinking breaks, plus brushing your teeth, those days may risk the 20-22 hour recommended time of wearing them.
Can I play musical instruments while wearing my aligners?
Just as some people may develop a lisp for a couple of days when first wearing aligners, they can also make it a little trickier to play musical instruments that involve using your mouth, such as a flute or clarinet. But there’s no risk of damaging your teeth or your aligners, so feel free to play.
You may just wish to spend a little extra time practising before your first performance wearing aligners, so that you’re completely comfortable with how they feel whilst you’re playing.
How should I clean my aligners?
Some aligner providers recommend using liquid soap as the best cleaning method for dental aligners, and suggest you shouldn’t use toothpaste. AlignerCo instead recommends simply rinsing your aligners, or letting them soak in tap water, and using your toothbrush and toothpaste if you want a deeper clean.
You should only brush lightly, and you shouldn’t clean aligners with an electric toothbrush, otherwise, you may cause damage to the aligner tray that could either make it more opaque, and easier for others to see, or potentially damage the molded shape so that they aren’t as effective. An alternative is to buy specialist cleaning tablets which will remove any harmful bacteria from the aligners.