Pretend it doesn’t matter if you like, but at some point — whether it’s after a business lunch gone awry or a series of failed first dates — you will be forced to consider that your ‘jaunty’ teeth may not be as charming as you thought. Harsh? Sure. But recognition is the first stage in recovery.
Besides, straightening your teeth needn’t involve years of pain and clunky headsets. Times have changed and so has the market — thanks to science and technology (yep, while NASA has been failing to put people on Mars, leaps and bounds have been made in the dental sphere) you can now get your teeth straightened from home, in less than 12 months, with barely visible technology (and up to 65% cheaper than traditional braces and in-office alternatives).
To sum up, the best alternatives to braces are now:
- No longer metal
- Accessible from home
- Take less than 12 months to work
- Hardly visible
So what are your best at home options?
Smile Direct Club
How it works: Smile Direct make a 3D image of your smile either via an impression you take using their at home impression kit or by dropping into one of their “Smile Shops” for a quick scan of your smile. Your 3D smile is then reviewed by a registered dentist or orthodontist, who gives you a preview of your new smile and a set of clear aligners (with the optional add on of a teeth whitener) to achieve it, which you wear for 6 months until your smile is picture perfect. You then buy a retainer, to be worn only at night, checking in every 90 days with teledentistry, an app on your phone through which a registered dentist monitors your progress remotely.
How much it costs: AU$2,499 as a one off payment, or AU$99 a month (which ends up being AU$2,775 in total).
How long it takes: 6 months (then you have to keep them that way with a night time retainer like you would after having traditional braces).
What people say: From, “My journey to straighter teeth was easy and enjoyable,” to “I’ve been self conscious about my teeth and smile for years but not anymore,” and “I couldn’t be happier,” the general sentiment is overwhelmingly positive.
“I had braces when I was younger and all the different types of retainers I had eventually broke. I wore them every night. So when I had nothing to wear my teeth started crowding again. I hadn’t worn retainers for probably about 10 years. My teeth weren’t too noticeably crowding to anyone but myself. I only had to wear Smile Direct aligners for 5 months to get back my straight teeth. And I saved all of them in case I ever need to go through this process again.”
Where it’s available: Australia, USA, Canada, United Kingdom.
How it works: Much like Smile Direct, Candid either sends you a straightening starter kit which contains the equipment for you to take an impression of your own teeth, or you go in to get a free scan at a Candid Studio. Candid orthodontists then design your treatment, sending you an interactive 3D model of your teeth straightening over time. Your custom aligners are then delivered to your door (in a kit that also includes retainers, complimentary whitening and access to Candid’s white-glove care team).
How much it costs: US$1,900 as a one-off payment, or US$88 a month.
How long it takes: About 6 months before you move to the retainer.
What people say: Treating a case of protrusion, one client said, “No one can tell that I’m wearing my aligners. I don’t even remember I’m wearing them myself sometimes.”
Another, who used Candid to treat a case of discolouration and crowding said, “I never used to smile before Candid. Now I am so much more confident and never think twice about showing my new and improved teeth.”
Where it’s available: USA.
How it works: You receive your impression kit in the mail, spend 20-30 minutes making the moulds, and send it back to Smile Love with the included return shipping label. Smile Love’s dental team then create a preview of what your teeth will look like, along with an estimate of how long it will take to achieve (if you’re not happy with this preview, you’ll be refunded in full). You then get sent your aligners, case, and additional materials all in a single package and straight teeth await…
How much it costs: US$1,895 if you pay all at once, or a US$79 a month plan (spreading the cost over 12-24 months), or a US$1,974 “first kit” plan where you pay US$79 for your impression kit and then US$1,895 to cover the rest.
How long it takes: About 6 months before you move to the retainer (although this will vary case by case). As for when you will start to see real progress, this will depend too — but could happen after as little as a few months.
“I am 4 months into treatment and there is a huge improvement in my smile! I can’t wait to see the end results!”
What people say: “No regrets. Excellent customer service and friendly people, simple process (extremely simple), and the clear aligners are nice, high quality. Oh… and the best price out of everybody that I found, by far,” one no-longer-gap-toothed man recounts.
“I loved the service, the help (I wasn’t good at making teeth prints and received a second set for free) THANK YOU. I’m loving how my teeth look every day more,” said a woman with a similarly resurrected smile.
As to why she picked Smile Love?
“Because it was cheaper and I didn’t have to go be in line anywhere for it.”
Where it’s available: USA.