SmileDirectClub vs. Candid

Written by Chris Pearson GDP Registered Dentist

You should be proud of your smile. The path to a straighter smile can take many forms, but clear aligners are amongst the most popular choice. Convenient, affordable and easy to use, clear aligners are also incredibly discreet so that you can wear them almost all the time.

You’ll wear your clear aligners through the day and overnight, only taking them out of your mouth for eating and brushing your teeth. You’ll also temporarily remove your aligners if you’re drinking something other than water. As long as they’re properly over your teeth, your aligners will be working their magic.

Clear aligners are made using dental impressions. Every set of aligners is unique, made to fit your mouth and gently reposition your teeth. In just a few months, you could have a straighter smile and teeth that you’re really happy with. Clear aligners are almost invisible, so you can wear them wherever you go and other people won’t even notice.

Two leading providers of clear aligners are SmileDirectClub and Candid. Find out more about their products and services with our in-depth comparison.


How much do SmileDirectClub’s clear aligners cost?

Your SmileDirectClub treatment will cost $2,700. You’ll also need to decide if you want to make impressions at home. A home impression kit costs $59, adding to the overall cost, but visiting one of the SmileDirect clinics means you’ll get a free 3D scan.

To help you with the costs of SmileDirectClub treatment, you can choose to pay in instalments. You’ll pay a $300 down payment, then $115 a month for a total of 26 months. This brings the full cost of your treatment to $3,290, which is significantly higher but might be easier to manage.

If you need new aligners, replacement trays cost $50 each. You don’t need to pay for additional trays unless you lose or damage yours. After treatment is complete, you’ll keep wearing retainers that must be replaced approximately every six months. Each set of retainers costs $99.

How much do Candid aligners cost?

Candid treatment is more expensive, even without a payment plan. If you pay up front, expect to pay $2,400.

There are three ways to start your Candid treatment. If you want to take things slow, order a Starter Kit for $95. Your Starter Kit is used to make dental impressions, so you can invest a small amount of money and take more time to make your decision. Alternatively, if you know you’ll go ahead, sign up for a full treatment plan and the cost of your Starter Kit’s included. Your third option is to visit one of Candid’s clinics where you’ll get a free 3D scan. With this, you don’t need to use a Starter Kit at all.

Paying for Candid treatment in instalments requires a down payment. You’ll pay $299, then your monthly costs could be anything from $79 upwards. There is a 0% APR and $0 down payment option but the credit checks are more robust with fewer customers accepted.

If you lose or break your aligners, replacements cost $49. After your treatment finishes, each set of retainers costs $99. Your first set will be provided free of charge.

So, which is more affordable?

SmileDirectClub treatment is significantly cheaper than Candid. Even the monthly payment plan is more predictable, with Candid using an external company that may charge some customers more. Candid will include a free set of aligners, but even still you’ll be better off financially if you choose SmileDirectClub.

Winner: SmileDirectClub


How long does treatment last with SmileDirectClub’s aligners?

With SmileDirectClub, treatment is expected to take 4-6 months. If your teeth need considerable movement, you’re likely to be wearing aligners for 6 months or more. If smaller adjustments are needed, 4 months should be enough.

To ensure that your treatment is as quick as possible, follow SmileDirectClub’s recommendations. Wear your aligners for at least 22 hours a day.

How long does treatment take with Candid?

Candid offers a vague window of 3-10 months for total treatment time. Whilst this might seem broad, it’s a realistic window that should cover almost all cases. If your teeth require small movements, you might only need to wear your aligners for 3 months. The most severe cases of dental malocclusion could take almost a year to resolve. The average time for Candid treatment is about 6 months.

Candid aligners must also be worn for 22 hours every day. Wearing your aligners less frequently will extend your treatment time.

So, which is more effective?

Though both providers give different estimates, your treatment is likely to take the same amount of time with SmileDirectClub or Candid. SmileDirectClub’s estimate covers most users, but Candid’s larger window will also encompass those outliers at either end.

When you receive your clear aligner treatment plan, you should be given a more specific indication of how long you’ll need to wear aligners for.

Winner: tie


How good is the service provided by SmileDirectClub?

SmileDirectClub is a leading provider for good reason. This company has many happy customers, whilst offering some reassurance for those that aren’t impressed.

If you decide that you don’t want to go through treatment, you can back out at any time. In the first 30 days you’ll get all your money back. Once your 30-day guarantee has expired, cancelling your treatment will get money back for any months that remain.

SmileDirectClub may refine your treatment if you’re not happy when it finishes. This means that they’ll give you more clear aligner trays, until you’ve got the smile you expected.

How good is the service provided by Candid?

Once you’ve started your Candid treatment, there’s no going back. Candid will refund your home impression kit if you’re not a candidate for treatment, but won’t give any money back once you’ve agreed to get started.

If you’re unhappy at the end of your treatment, Candid will offer free refinements in the form of extra clear aligners. Make sure that you’ve followed the treatment plan properly, checking in with Candid when they ask you to.

So, which offers the most reassurance?

It’s a close call, but SmileDirectClub wins here. Both providers will offer free refinements if your treatment doesn’t go to plan. By the end, you should be happy no matter which provider you’ve chosen. The difference is that SmileDirectClub will let you stop at any time.

Very few people will start using clear aligners then change their mind halfway through their treatment, but at least if you had a good reason to cancel SmileDirectClub would give you some money back.

Winner: SmileDirectClub


How easy is it to get started with SmileDirectClub?

It’s easy to get started with SmileDirectClub, at home or in one of their clinics. With SmileShop clinics in most states, a  short appointment is everything you need to get a 3D scan and map your teeth. If you’d prefer not to visit a SmileDirectClub clinic, you can order a home impression kit that will be shipped to your door.

Once your dental impressions have been made, they’re used to create your clear aligners. You’ll be waiting about 5 weeks for these to be shipped to your door.

How easy is it to get started with Candid?

There are 11 Candid clinics that you can visit to get started, though six of these are in California. Further Candid clinics are in Washington DC, Boston, Chicago, New York and Austin, Texas. You can also make impressions at home, using Candid’s Starter Kit.

Once your dental impressions have been created, your aligners will take about 3 weeks to get to your house.

So, which has the best availability?

SmileDirectClub has the best availability, with clinics in most US states. There are some Candid clinics, but nowhere near as many which means that they might not be accessible.

SmileDirectClub will take a bit longer to ship your aligners to your door. If you’re desperate to get started quickly, Candid can help start your treatment sooner if you use a home impression kit.

Winner: SmileDirectClub

Options & Additional Services

What’s included with SmileDirectClub’s clear aligners?

When you receive your SmileDirectClub aligners, you’ll get everything at once. It’s up to you to keep track of your treatment and switch to new aligner trays frequently. You’ll get alerts through the online dashboard, to tell you when it’s time to move on.

Your SmileDirectClub treatment kit comes with some Chewies to use. Chewies are small tubes that you bite down on, to help push your aligners into place. Use the Chewies to make sure that your aligners have been properly inserted. Chewies can make your treatment more effective and might reduce early discomfort.

SmileDirectClub will also provide a bright on™ teeth whitening treatment. This is a single treatment that you’ll use whenever you want.

Retainers aren’t included, so you’ll need to pay $99 for your first set at the end of your treatment.

What’s included with Candid’s clear aligners?

Candid’s clear aligners come with everything you’ll need from the start to the end of your treatment. When you start, receive all the aligners that you’ll use on your journey to straight teeth. As with SmileDirectClub, you’ll need to keep track of when it’s time to move on to new aligners. Candid offers continuous support, to monitor results and make sure that you’re following the treatment plan.

Lile SmileDirectClub, Candid provides some Chewies to use with your aligners. These will help to make sure that your aligners fit firmly into place. Using Chewies will make your aligners more comfortable and could make your treatment more effective.

You’ll get teeth whitening foam in your Candid treatment pack. Use this at any point during your treatment, or save it until you’ve finished.

With Candid, you’ll get your first retainers at no extra cost. Use these once treatment is complete, to keep your teeth in their new positions.

So, which offers the best extra services?

SmileDirectClub and Candid have very similar offerings. In both cases, you’ll get Chewies, a teeth whitening treatment and all of your aligners at the start. It’s up to you to monitor your treatment, making sure that you stay on track. You’re also responsible for every aligner tray, so make sure that they aren’t broken or lost as you’ll need to pay for replacements.

Candid’s the winner here, though. Everything else being equal, your Candid pack includes your first set of retainers. With retainers being an ongoing cost of around $200 per year, it’s helpful to know that your first set of retainers is included in the cost of your treatment.

Winner: Candid

So, which is best overall?

SmileDirectClub wins: 3

Candid wins: 1

Ties: 1

SmileDirectClub is the overall winner in our clear aligner comparison. This company stands out for more affordable aligners, with many more clinics to visit. Availability is excellent, treatment costs less and you can stop at any time and get some money back.

Candid treatment includes your first set of retainers, but overall it’s much more expensive. Even buying your first set of retainers, your overall treatment plan would still be cheaper if you went with SmileDirectClub.

Whichever provider you choose for clear aligners, your treatment takes about the same time. Expect to be wearing your clear aligners for between 3-10 months. Some people find that their treatment’s very quick, whilst others will be wearing aligners for almost a year. Luckily, aligners are almost invisible so people won’t notice that you’re wearing them.

Once your treatment is complete, your ongoing costs will be the same with either provider. Both Candid and SmileDirectClub charge $99 for retainers, expecting you to replace them every six months.

SmileDirectClub may be the best for most customers, but either of these companies will provide great service and help you get the smile that you’ve wanted. Both are reputable, with many happy customers already enjoying their new smiles.

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