byte vs. SmileDirectClub

Written by Chris Pearson GDP Registered Dentist

Straighter teeth don’t have to be something you just dream about. If you want a straighter smile, there are many providers with treatment plans to help you achieve it. Clear aligners are convenient, discreet and affordable.

Your clear aligners should be worn day and night, only removed when you’re eating or brushing your teeth. You will also need to take them out if you’re drinking something other than water. Over time, your clear aligners will gradually shift and move your teeth. In just a few months, you could see a difference.

Custom made from dental impressions, or 3D scans from a clinic, clear aligners are made of transparent plastic and are almost invisible when worn. This means that you can fully enjoy your smile even when it’s still a work in progress.

Two providers of clear aligners are byte and SmileDirectClub. Which should you choose? Our clear aligner provider comparison should help you to make your decision.


How much do byte aligners cost?

With byte you’ll pay $1,895 for your treatment. This is the cost of all sets of aligner trays and byte’s ongoing support. There’s a small up-front cost not included in this price which is the impression kit for $95.

You can choose to pay in instalments, using a finance plan. This will raise the price. Spreading your treatment costs over 25 months, paying $83 monthly with a $349 down payment, brings the total cost to $2,424.

Replacement aligners, if yours are lost or damaged, can cost up to $500. It’s likely you’ll be charged a more reasonable price, but best to be prepared for the worst. The cost of your replacement will depend on which trays and aligners you need, with prices starting from $29.

Your other ongoing cost will be retainers that you’ll need to keep wearing after treatment. Retainers cost $99, and you’ll need to replace these approximately every six months. Luckily, your first set of aligners is included in your treatment costs.

How much do SmileDirectClub’s clear aligners cost?

SmileDirectClub treatment costs $2,700. You can visit a clinic for a 3D scan or pay an additional $59 to make your own impressions at home. Visiting a clinic might be inconvenient, but at least you can be sure that no mistakes are made and you won’t have additional costs. If you get an impression kit shipped to your door, you can go through the whole treatment process without seeing anyone in person.

If you want to pay in instalments, SmileDirectClub charges a $300 down payment. You’ll then pay $155 monthly for 26 months. This brings the total cost of treatment to $3,290.

Replacement aligners are a predictable cost. The price is set at $50 a tray. Retainers cost $99, and you’ll need to replace these every six months after you’ve completed your treatment.

So, which is more affordable?

byte offers the most affordable treatment, regardless of whether you choose to pay a single fee upfront or in instalments.

The difference in costs is almost $1,000 – it's not insignificant.

Winner: byte


How long does treatment take with byte?

With byte, treatment could be complete in less than three months. The actual length of time will depend on your current smile alignment and how much work they’ll need to do. Dramatic movement takes longer, with smaller adjustments happening relatively quickly.

Treatment times will vary, but byte claims that the average treatment takes 3 months with their all-day aligners. Get the best chance of fast treatment by wearing your aligners for at least 22 hours each day.

How long does treatment last with SmileDirectClub’s aligners?

As you’d expect, results will vary for individual customers. SmileDirectClub makes a broader estimate, saying that typical treatment times are around 4-6 months. You’re likely to need the full six months if your teeth need lots of movement, but could be finishing treatment quicker if you just need minor adjustments.

Again, for your treatment to be as quick as possible you will need to wear your clear aligners for 22 hours a day. Only remove them when you’re eating, drinking or brushing.

So, which is more effective?

If you’re an average customer, byte’s estimates will be the most appealing. With byte you should expect to see results after just three months of wear. SmileDirectClub treatment could take a bit longer, if their estimated average is anything to rely on. It’s worth bearing in mind that the average treatment time is only a rough guide for anyone. Your treatment plan, before you begin, should tell you how long yours should take.

Winner: byte


How good is the service provided by byte?

Expect good support from byte. They offer to refund the cost of your impression kit if you’re not suitable for treatment, but will also go further with a lifetime guarantee for any treatment carried out. Get ongoing support as you wear your clear aligners, plus extra adjustments even years down the line if your smile starts to shift out of place.

Your first retainer is included free in your original treatment plan. This will help you to maintain your smile once clear aligner treatment is complete. Previous customers rate their byte experience highly.

How good is the service provided by SmileDirectClub?

There are great reviews for SmileDirectClub, though you won’t get a lifetime guarantee on any alignment treatment. Instead, SmileDirectClub offers 30-day returns if you’re not happy with aligners. If you decide that you don’t want to go ahead, once you’ve received your first set of aligners, there’s still time to back out and get a refund.

Even after you’ve gone past the initial 30-day guarantee, you can stop treatment at any time for a pro-rata refund. You won’t get all your money back, but will get a refund for remaining treatment if you return unused aligners.

If you’re not happy with the results after you’ve finished your treatment, SmileDirectClub might provide extra aligners until the results meet expectations.

So, which offers the most reassurance?

Both SmileDirectClub and byte offer different types of reassurance. The byte guarantee is an incredibly offering, and you might want to take advantage, but SmileDirectClub’s option to back out at any time could be useful if you’re feeling unsure.

Even a quick scan of customer reviews shows that byte and SmileDirectClub both really care about providing great customer support. If you’re not happy, with either provider, you can expect things to be fixed.

Winner: Tie


How easy is it to get started with byte?

You’ll go through treatment at home. You don’t need to visit any clinics. You’ll start treatment using an impression kit, making a map of your teeth. Instructions are clear and full support is available by email or phone.

It takes about 4-6 weeks for aligners to be made and shipped out. When you’re waiting to get started, this might feel like a long time. Fortunately, byte ships to all 50 US states, so nobody needs to miss out on byte’s clear aligner treatment.

How easy is it to get started with SmileDirectClub?

There’s a good chance that you’ve got a SmileShop near you. These SmileDirectClub clinics are a great option if you like face-to-face meetings. You can get your dental impressions made by the professionals, with clinics in 30 states. If you visit a SmileShop, your dental impressions will be made using 3D scan technology. The appointment takes about 30 minutes and you don’t need to pay.

If you don’t want to visit a SmileShop, you can order an impression kit that will be shipped to your door. You can make your own dental impressions, though there is a cost involved with this option. SmileDirectClub will take about 5 weeks to ship your aligners to your door.

So, which has the best availability?

SmileDirectClub is the clear winner, with two different options to start treatment. If you can drive to a SmileShop, you’ll get a free appointment and a 3D scan to map your teeth alignment. If you can’t, you can start aligner treatment from anywhere with a home impression kit. With byte, only home impressions are available.

Winner: SmileDirectClub

Options & Additional Services

What’s included with byte aligners?

You’ll receive, in your treatment pack, every set of aligners you’ll need. You’ll get everything to take you from the start of your treatment through to the final result. You should switch your aligners every two weeks (or every week, if you’re using a HyperByte® tool). Your treatment pack also includes your first set of retainers, so that you can maintain your perfect smile once your treatment is complete.

In addition to your aligners and retainer, you’ll get a one month supply of BrightByte. This is a teeth whitening product that you can use with your aligners. Squeeze some BrightByte into your aligners to clean them and remove any stains, then put the aligners into your mouth for the same improvements to your teeth.

You’ll also get a HyperByte® tool, which uses vibrations to help slide your aligners into place. This ensures that you get the perfect fit, with your aligners exactly where they should be. The HyperByte® tool needs to be worn for five minutes after you’ve inserted your aligners, reducing any discomfort and making sure that your treatment works effectively.

What’s included with SmileDirectClub’s clear aligners?

You’ll get all your SmileDirectClub aligners at the same time. Keep these safe, and switch to a new set approximately every two weeks. The online dashboard will provide an alert when it’s time to switch to new trays. You’ll also receive a bright on™ teeth whitening treatment that you can use whenever you want.

Included in your pack are SmileDirectClub Chewies, to help fit your aligners into place. Put the Chewies in your mouth and bite down on them, pushing the aligners onto your teeth and gums. Chewies are a low-tech alternative to the HyperByte® tool provided by byte. They won’t make your treatment progress any faster if you use them, though they may help to make your aligners more comfortable.

With SmileDirectClub, you won’t get your first set of retainers. You have the option to purchase these for an additional $99. Unless you want your teeth to shift back, that’s a price you must be willing to pay.

So, which offers the best extra services?
Both byte and SmileDirectClub provide all your aligners at once, but only byte will also include your first set of retainers. Both provide a teeth whitening product, though SmileDirectClub’s is single use and byte’s will last a full month. Finally, where SmileDirectClub offers Chewies, with byte you’ll get a high-tech vibrating HyperByte® tool. Everything considered, it’s clear that byte is the winner when comparing additions.

Winner: byte

So, which is best overall?

byte wins: 3

SmileDirectClub wins: 1

Ties: 1

If you’re looking for clear aligners, you can’t go wrong with either byte or SmileDirectClub. Both companies offer excellent products with effective customer support. When comparing the two, both have their good points and areas where they lag behind.

If you want fast treatment, it’s probably best to choose byte. Their HyperByte® tool could cut your treatment time in half, when compared to SmileDirectClub’s estimates.

If you want face-to-face customer support, you’ll want to choose SmileDirectClub. Visiting a SmileShop clinic can be very reassuring, as well as making sure you get a free 3D scan and don’t need to make impressions at home.

Both companies provide impressive reassurance, though you’ll need to decide if you’d prefer a lifetime guarantee or the chance to back out at any time with a partial refund. If it’s the former, choose byte. For the latter, choose SmileDirectClub.

Your kit from byte comes with fancy features like the HyperByte® tool and longer lasting teeth whitening products. In comparison, SmileDirectClub’s kit feels like a low-budget alternative. You’ll get Chewies to help position your aligners, and just one teeth whitening treatment. But, the real difference comes from byte’s free set of retainers. That’s something you simply don’t get from SmileDirectClub. 

Of course, one of the biggest differences is price – and SmileDirectClub is a lot more expensive.

Whichever provider you choose, you can spend your money with confidence. Both treatment plans are very similar, and either company will serve you well.

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