Smile Direct Club vs Candid Review
Table of Contents
About Smile Direct Club
A great, straight smile is definitely desirable. But constant trips to the orthodontist and uncomfortable, clunky braces? Not so much.
Luckily, this Smile Direct Club vs Candid review is here to open your eyes to two teledentistry brands that offer a simple and comfortable solution: invisible aligners.
Smile Direct Club was founded in 2014 by childhood friends Jordan Katzman and Alex Fenkell, who believed “that affordable and convenient premium oral care should be accessible to everyone.”
And so they delivered, in the form of inexpensive aligners. Actually, they are about 60% less expensive than braces.
The aligners are designed and manufactured in the USA with a super snug and comfortable fit, crafted from BPA-free plastic. So far, the brand has helped over 1.5 million users turn their smiles into grins.
Not sure if Smile Direct Club is what you’re looking for? Fortunately, I’ll guide you through Candid as well and you’ll be able to determine which brand works best for you!
On a mission to “empower people to change their lives,” Candid strives to give the highest quality care to people without any barriers to access it. The brand was actually started by 5 people having a conversation about teeth.
Essentially, they realized that they all wanted straighter, brighter smiles, but didn’t want to have to pay the costs associated with braces.
Surely there had to be an easier and cheaper way! After no luck finding an affordable option, they decided to create their own in the form of invisible aligners.
The team partnered with “world-class orthodontist,” Dr. C. Lynn Hurst in 2017 to bring the vision to life. Today, the brand continues to work with the best orthodontists in the biz to help customers receive the best treatment and outcome possible.
Ready to start singing along to My Shiny Teeth and Me? Tune into my Smile Direct Club vs Candid review.
I’ll floss through the nooks and crannies to get you all the facts about each brand, how they work, overall price and value, as well as the highlights from customer testimonials, to help you determine which company is worth the investment.
What To Consider
Smile Direct Club and Candid are designed for people who would rather avoid the discomfort and expense of braces. They’re ideal for fixing issues with spacing, crowding, biting, and achieving overall straighter teeth.
The brands are also a great option for people who want those Hollywood pearly whites since the straightening services come with teeth whitening!
With both brands, prices are much more affordable than traditional braces and other options on the market.
Most people will qualify as candidates, unless they have an issue that braces are required to fix, such as very large gaps, intrusion, or extrusion, or if the client has had previous dental work like bridges or permanent retainers.
SmileDirectClub clear aligners are available in the US, Canada, Australia, UK, and New Zealand. The brand also has almost 300 locations across the US.
On the other hand, Candid is available in the US with around 30 in-person locations.
With both companies, free premium teeth whitening is included with a straightening treatment. Candid focuses mainly on this, while Smile Direct Club also offers oral care necessities like toothbrushes, floss, toothpaste, and aligner accessories like cases and water flossers.
Both Smile Direct Club and Candid accept HSA and FSA and some insurance policies will partially reimburse you for treatments. Regardless, be sure to check with your provider and review policies to ensure that you will receive insurance coverage.
There are a few potential risks or side effects that come with wearing invisible aligners. This includes feelings of nausea, a sore throat, itchiness and hives, swollen lips, dry mouth, and discomfort in the gums.
If retainers are worn for too long without cleaning, they may result in poor gum health or gingivitis. So, taking care of the liners and your teeth is important, and users should remove the aligners if they cause discomfort and speak with their provider.
The journey to straight teeth and pearly whites is not a short one, but treatment does take less time than traditional methods. With Candid, virtual check-ins take place every 14 days and only two in-person visits are required.
On the other hand, Smile Direct Club ships all retainers at once with a personalized plan, and follow-up appointments can be made to track your progress.
When it comes to aftercare, users simply need to continue wearing their final set of retainers nightly as recommended by their treatment plan.
Smile Direct Club vs Candid: How Do They Work?
When it comes to getting started in this Smile Direct Club vs Candid review, I discovered both brands follow similar processes. Each website has an “Am I a Candidate?” quiz to help the user and company determine if invisible retainers are the right fit. Here’s how they work:
Smile Direct Club’s quiz takes about 30 seconds to complete, asking questions about whether you have worn braces in the past, what your biggest concern is, and how your teeth currently look.
Candid’s survey also only takes 30 seconds and asks you to describe your teeth (overcrowded, spaced, colored, etc), if you have ever had braces or used a retainer, and how soon you would like to get started!
After you’ve been determined to be a candidate, they will give you two options:
- Purchase a starter or impression kit
- Book an appointment for an in-person visit
Once you get your first invisible trays, the process is similar with both Smile Direct Club and Candid, though they do have some differences. The former requires an at-home impression kit or in-person scan to create a 3D image of the teeth to create a customized plan.
Then a state-licensed doctor reviews all of the information, including the image, your history, and photos to develop personalized invisible retainers with Smart Sculpt for the perfect fit and Comfort Sense so your teeth will move slowly and painlessly.
Plus, users can choose between different schedules to wear their retainers, whether they would prefer daily (22 hours a day) or nighttime use (10 hours). Then, the aligners will be shipped. You’ll want to wear them immediately, following the plan as prescribed and you’ll see results as soon as 60 days.
With Candid, you can also decide between using an at-home starter kit and taking molds of your teeth or visiting an orthodontist in their area for a 3D scan. If you go for the at-home process, you’ll submit photos of your teeth using your phone and the cheek stretcher.
After that, the brand matches you up with a nearby orthodontist. You’ll have a plan within 14 days. Then, the brand ships you 8-12 custom retainers, which are to be worn about 22 hours a day.
Then, you’ll take scans of your teeth using ScanBox, submitting the images to the Candid app every 7 to 10 days for the orthodontist to review. For both brands, once the treatment has finished, the final set of invisible aligners will become your permanent retainer, to be used as recommended.
Overall, based on the research done for this Smile Direct Club vs Candid review, I feel that both brands are committed to providing a seamless and simple experience. The quizzes help determine if the user is eligible right away so they won’t have to waste any extra time.
While the treatment plans are quite similar because they both create 3D molds of the teeth and create personalized retainers, they differ in the sense that Smile Direct Club offers a nighttime version, while Candid’s check-up process is a bit simpler and requires no virtual meetings.
Smile Direct Club vs Candid: What To Expect During A Visit
Now, not everyone wants to attempt taking impressions of their teeth from home and would prefer an in-person visit. Luckily, for this Smile Direct Club vs Candid review, I found that both brands offer in-person consultations, scans, and plans.
At Smile Direct Club, the customer will be matched with a “SmileGuide” in their area who will take 3D images of their teeth and send them to a state-licensed dentist or an orthodontist. Once the shopper is determined eligible, they will go over a treatment plan to get started.
At Candid, customers will visit an in-person studio near them. A dental technician will take 3D scans of your teeth as well as photographs.
They will also discuss your personal goals and different treatment plans. Similarly, these images will be submitted to an orthodontist who will determine the treatment plan from there.
With both companies, this process only takes about 30 minutes, so you’ll be grinnin’ in no time. They also have no commitment, meaning they are completely free! Smile Direct Club is available at 387 stores in the US, while Candid has 27 and can be found in or near most states.
Smile Direct Club Journey Starter Kit vs Candid Starter Kit Review
I’ve mentioned these starter kits a few times in this Smile Direct Club vs Candid review, so it’s only fair that I let you in on what’s included in each and how they work! Down below, I’ll outline the details of each option.
The Smile Direct Club Journey Starter Kit is designed to help users on and after their treatment with aligner accessories and oral care necessities. Here’s what you’ll find inside:
- A pack of 20 Movemints: breath mints that users chew to press their aligners comfortably into place
- A pack of 32 cleaning tablets. Drop into a glass of warm water, allow to dissolve, and leave your retainer in the water for a few minutes
- Lip balm
- Stylish travel bag
- Travel toothbrush
- Dental floss
- Whitening toothpaste
- Mini hand sanitizer
The Candid Starter Kit is the first step in your journey with the brand as it takes the molds you need to create the 3D rendition of your teeth. Here’s what’s included:
- Instructions for photos and impressions
- A cheek stretcher (for optimal view of the teeth during photos)
- Putty and trays for the impressions
- A prepaid return box to send back the mold
Smile Direct Club also offers a kit to create molds of the teeth which comes with similar items and works the same, called the Impression Kit.
Overall, the kits offered by both brands to create the 3D image of the teeth are similar, but Smile Direct Club also offers a pack to keep your pearly whites shining even after your treatment has finished!
So, if you’re more focused on completely perfecting your teeth, Smile Direct Club has everything you’ll need to stay on track.
But if straightening is more what you’re after and you already like the toothpaste and toothbrush in your routine, then Candid is the best option for you.
Smile Direct Club vs Candid: Price & Value
But how do the prices add up when it comes to the value and are they more affordable than other options on the market? Let’s take a look down below.
- Starter Kit: $18 on sale from $49
- Impressions Kit (same as Candid’s Starter Kit): $59
- Treatment: $1950
- Starter Kit: $19 on sale from $95
- Treatment: $1895
Smile Direct Club includes free premium teeth whitening with a straightening treatment as well as nighttime liners, which are convenient for those who don’t want to wear them during the day.
That being said, Candid is a little bit more affordable and also offers free teeth whitening.
Overall, the price for the value is definitely there. The two brands deliver exactly what they claim: straighter and whiter teeth, all at an affordable price.
The retainers are high quality and designed with comfort in mind, and can easily be removed when it’s time to eat and floss. That’s a luxury not afforded by braces, which require a lot more upkeep.
With both, treatment is monitored remotely and follows a simple and smooth process, which makes either option a great alternative to the expensive discomfort of traditional braces! So, it really all comes down to your preference: would you rather save a little money, or wear your retainers at nighttime only?
Smile Direct Club vs Candid: What Do Customers Think?
My Smile Direct Club vs Candid review wouldn’t be complete without some customer testimonials.
To help you determine which brand is the better fit, I sourced comments from the brands’ websites, Trustpilot, Consumer Affairs, Better Business Bureau, and Best Company.
- Brand website: 4.9/5 stars out of 59824 reviews
- TrustPilot: 4.8/5 stars out of 22443 reviews
- Consumer Affairs: 3.8/5 stars out of 1685 reviews
- Better Business Bureau: A+
- Brand website: 4.9/5 stars out of 1734 reviews
- TrustPilot: 4.4/5 stars out of 229 reviews
- Consumer Affairs: 4.2/5 stars out of 299 reviews
- Better Business Bureau: A+
- Best Company: 4.8/5 stars out of 1791 reviews
Turns out that reviews for both brands are overwhelmingly positive. But what has earned them all these shiny stars? Let’s take a look at the highlights from the reviews for each brand down below.
Smile Direct Club:
- Fast and effective treatment
- Affordable payment plan and insurance options
- Attentive and informative customer service
- Clear process and instructions
- Accessible way to straighten and whiten teeth
One shopper enjoyed their in-person visits, rating the brand highly for its excellent customer service:
“What a wonderful experience. I had the pleasure to learn all about the process. I love the way my technician explained everything. She was so easy to talk to. She answered all the questions I had which was very informative.”
On the flip side, another shopper preferred the at-home kit:
“The impression kit was well packaged, very easy to use, and easy to ship back. I easily had enough time to mix the putty, roll, lay it in the tray, and form my impressions.”
Another happy customer outlined how easy the treatment process was, from start to finish:
“I appreciated SmileDirectClub’s low cost for the same effort as braces. I had two buck teeth on the top and then four crooked at the bottom.”
Their testimonial was so telling that we just had to include the rest of it:
“The process was user-friendly. You make the appointment and if you couldn’t make it, it’s also easy-adjustable too. They give you a whitening kit after the appointment visit. They align your teeth with the digital tool that they have and that’s it. The results are great.”
- Noticeable difference in bite and smile after only a short period of time
- More comfortable than braces
- Easy check-up process and helpful notes from orthodontist
- Affordable pricing and insurance options
- App makes it easy to avoid office visits
One customer was impressed with how simple it was to achieve the teeth of their dreams:
“Once I got over the first step of doing my own scan (which is super easy) everything has worked so smoothly. I can’t believe I’m straightening my teeth without ever going into a dentist’s office. Amazing.”
Another buyer reported how devastated they were being unable to afford braces, but was so happy to have found Candid:
“It was much cheaper and such an easy process to get started and begin treatment. I didn’t even have to leave my house. Their staff was always quick to answer questions or needs and my teeth look amazing.”
One customer also described how the orthodontist was there to guide them along the way:
“Absolutely love this company! They make sure you are not going too fast in your treatment to make sure your teeth won’t be messed up. And they’re really great about giving the perfect feedback for each step you’re going into next!”
Both brands receive an A+ on The Better Business Bureau as well, with Smile Direct Club having closed 649 complaints and Candid having closed 56 complaints in the past 12 months.
In both cases, issues tend to surround side effects or results. But, the two companies are quick to offer solutions to ensure that shoppers are happy with their experience, whether that’s with a refund or new aligners.
With the former, customer service seems to be a bit more accessible, while the orthodontist for the latter has more in-depth information at checkups. So, both brands seem to offer a different approach to helping users reach their goals!
Smile Direct Club vs Candid: Promotions & Discounts
Smile Direct Club:
- Purchase a kit for $18 with the code HOLIDAY2021
- Book a free 30-minute 3D scan with code HOLIDAY2021 and receive a free bright on® whitening pen and LED light after the visit
- Receive free shipping when you spend over $35
- Save 15% on gifts with code HOLIDAYSMILE
- Receive a 3rd set of retainers free when you purchase 2
- Successfully refer a friend for $100 off their order and $100 off yours
- Take $76 off your starter kit, no code is needed!
- Successfully refer a friend and reward them with $250 off their order, while you receive a $100 Amazon gift card
Both brands do offer some great deals when it comes to getting started, but Smile Direct Club has a little more in-store when it comes to promo codes.
That being said, Candid is the more affordable option of the two when it comes to treatment. So, no matter which brand you choose, you’re sure to find some savings!
Smile Direct Club vs Candid: Shipping & Returns
And if you don’t love the results, it’s important that you haven’t lost your investment. That being said, I’ll outline each company’s shipping and returns policies down below.
Smile Direct Club currently ships to the US, Canada, Australia, UK, and New Zealand. US and Canada orders should arrive within 2-4 weeks, while international orders can take 3-5 weeks. Costs are calculated based on location, though orders over $35 ship for free.
At Smile Direct Club, if the starter kit determines you are ineligible, you’ll receive a full refund. And, if you’re not happy with their results within 30 days of starting treatment, you simply have to contact the brand and ship back the remaining retainers for a full refund.
Since Smile Direct Club’s guarantees results for life, if you aren’t happy after 30 days, you can return the remaining retainers for a partial refund.
Candid currently ships within the US, though they hope to expand soon. Unfortunately, the brand doesn’t outline a clear shipping policy on its website. That being said, for this Smile Direct Club vs Candid review, I found that customers report fast shipping times.
With Candid, users are eligible for refunds if they are not a candidate after they have been assessed, or if they are not interested in the recommended treatment plan. Once a plan has been agreed to, refunds are not offered.
Overall, both brands offer pretty speedy shipping and fair return policies. But, Smile Direct Gives users more of a chance to determine if the items work well for them, while Candid offers faster shipping times.
So, it really depends on where your personal preference lies: how soon do you want to get started, and what returns policy suits you better?
Who Will You Shop With?
Braces are off the table for so many people. They’re uncomfortable, they break easily, and they can be super costly. But, the two brands in my review make the process so much better overall.
So if you’ve always dreamed of straight teeth and a stunning smile but never wanted to suffer through braces, you’ve met your match.
If you’ve already got your routine down pat and are simply on the hunt for a more affordable replacement for braces, Candid may be the best option for you.
In saying that, if you’re interested in upping the ante to your self-care routine, you might enjoy the extra products that Smile Direct Club has to offer. Both brands offer super similar processes when it comes to teeth straightening.
So, the final decision is up to you: which brand will be your choice when it comes to your smile journey?
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