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Candid Review: Is Candid teeth straightening legit?

Find out the pros, cons and all details about Candid aligners, retainers and Candid’s treatment process

Last Updated: Aug 11, 2020

Candid review

Teeth straightening treatments are usually expensive, slow, and more than a little uncomfortable. They’re also not cheap: a typical treatment usually costs between $4,000 and $7,000. The costs from the initial consultation, the frequent follow-ups and the tools can add up throughout a year or two.

Candid provides a less daunting and much more affordable alternative for people with mild to moderate teeth positioning problems, such as crowding, spacing, or protrusion. This company offers the same custom-made aligners you would use if you went to a traditional dentist. However, they combine this remote monitoring and the chance to make your homemade dental impressions. Add five to eight months, and you will get a symmetrical, healthy smile for a lot less money and hustle.

So is Candid right for you? We thoroughly tested Candid’s teeth straightening service and in this review we will share the pros and cons, exploring all details so that you can decide whether to give it a try.

Review Summary

Pros

  • More affordable than equivalent in-person treatments
  • Flexible payment options
  • Transparent about eligibility and the risks involved
  • You can choose between fully remote treatment or an in-person diagnostic process with remote follow-ups
  • All treatments are designed and supervised by registered orthodontics specialists

Cons

  • Slightly pricier than other online alternatives such as Byte or Smile Direct Club
  • Only 10 studios around the country for those who want some in-person care
  • Making at-home dental impressions is a bit complicated

Bottom line

We recommend Candid as a great option for anyone looking for an affordable but high-quality solution for mild to moderate teeth malocclusion. Candid has developed an acceptable process for obtaining the requisite 3D model of your teeth either 100% remotely or by visiting one of its studios.

Some companies like Byte offer similar teeth alignment services for a cheaper price, but Candid stands out by hiring certified orthodontists, rather than dentists, to design all treatment plans. Flexible payment options and detailed materials and packaging make Candid very user-friendly throughout the stages of treatment.

Our Top Picks

Candid

Candid has created a great process for at-home teeth straightening treatments, freeing you from trips to the orthodontist.

Rather than waiting in dental office lobbies, Candid helps you make your own dental impressions and then delivers a customized treatment plan with clear aligners to straighten your teeth. Your entire treatment is designed and supervised by an orthodontist.

Why you should trust us

Innerbody Research recently celebrated its 20-year anniversary. Over the past two decades, we have helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions about staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles.

This review, like all medical-related content on this website, is thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy. Additionally, we extensively analyze each health-related service we review. We evaluate the entire customer experience from signing up use of the product or service, and then offer unbiased, marketing-jargon-free analysis based on the latest scientific evidence and medical standards.

How Candid works

Candid was founded by a team of tech entrepreneurs and orthodontists who wanted to create a “different type” of teeth alignment treatment. The goal was to provide the same results with a simpler and more affordable process, but without sacrificing medical standards.

For the most part, Candid clear aligners work just like traditional brands of aligners or “invisible braces”, such as Invisalign. This type of treatment uses a series of stiff plastic trays that apply gentle, but steady pressure on your teeth in order to push them into their new, improved position. These aligners are made from clear, BPA-free thermoplastic. Wearing them on top of your teeth for about 18 to 20 hours a day achieves the desired effect of improving your bite.

A full treatment typically consists of 5 to 12 trays that you must wear in a specific order. On average, you’ll wear each one for 10 to 14 days before moving onto the next one. The full treatment may last between four to ten months (usually around six months).

To ensure that new patients get all the care they need, Candid offers its service as a comprehensive package. It has added a couple of extra customization options throughout the years. For example, now you can replace the starter kit for an in-person visit to one of 10 Candid Studios spread around the country.

Despite the flat fee, Candid’s treatment plans are tailored specifically to each patient. Aligner trays are all made to order and designed by a licensed orthodontist (a dentist who has had additional training to specialize in orthodontics). Because orthodontists are most qualified to treat patients for issues with their bite, occlusion or teeth straightness, Candid stands out from other online companies whose plans are overseen by dentists without this specialized training.

The full menu at Candid is straightforward. The company offers:

  • Clear Aligner Treatment
  • Starter Kit
  • Retainers

Candid’s clear aligner treatment

Candid’s main product is its Clear Aligner Treatment, which costs $2400 and can fix mild to moderate teeth malocclusion (that is, problems with the position or alignment of your teeth). Treatment can address issues like gaps between the teeth, crowded sections (which may push teeth too tightly against one another), or protruding teeth (when one tooth is being pushed behind or in front of the surrounding teeth).

The full treatment includes a set of clear aligners, in addition to:

  • The starter kit, which you can also buy separately
  • A pack of whitening foam
  • A set of retainers for use following completion of the treatment
  • A treatment plan designed by a certified orthodontist
  • Access to remote monitoring, supervised by the same orthodontist, until you complete your treatment

The idea behind this bundle is that you should not need to buy or spend anything else until you get the desired results. You will still need to buy retainers every six months after finishing the treatment.

Just like any other type of aligner, Candid aligners can only correct mild to moderate problems. If you have a more severe underbite, crossbite, or teeth crowding problem, you will probably need to get one or more teeth removed, or to get wires to stabilize your jaw. This is why Candid begins the process by reviewing the pictures and impressions that are produced as you use the starter kit. Upon review, Candid can determine whether you’re a suitable candidate for the aligner treatment. If you aren’t a good candidate, then Candid will fully refund you.

Candid aligner

Starter Kit

Before designing a full treatment plan or manufacturing the aligners, Candid needs a 3D model of your teeth. You have two options for this:

  1. You can visit one of Candid’s Studios

  2. You can make your dental impressions at home using their Starter Kit

Candid’s Starter Kit comes included when you buy the aligner treatment, but the company also sells this kit separately for $95 for those who prefer to spend less upfront in order to discover if they’re suitable candidates for Candid aligners.

Candid has only 10 studios around the country, mostly located in big cities on the West or East Coast. If there is no Candid Studio close to you, and you don’t want to pay for the full treatment upfront, you can also order the Starter Kit separately. This kit will be shipped to your home and includes:

  • A cheek stretcher
  • 3 trays for your upper teeth impressions
  • 2 trays for your lower teeth impressions
  • 6 sets of hardening putty
  • An instruction manual
  • A wooden poker tool
  • A prepaid return box

After you take your dental impressions and pictures, just send them back to Candid, and one of its orthodontists will design your treatment plan. At this point, you are under no obligations; you can either buy the full treatment plan for $2,400 or leave it at that.

Our advice

Check for discounts on the Clear Aligner Treatment before opting for the Starter Kit at the outset. If you buy the full treatment from the start, you can take advantage of a current sale that would otherwise not be an option by purchasing the Starter Kit first. Depending on the sale, this could save you hundreds of dollars. Plus, if you aren’t a good candidate after the orthodontist assesses your pictures and impressions during the Clear Aligner Treatment, then you will be refunded your money.

For these reasons, if you are in a good position to seek treatment and are serious, we definitely recommend that you explore buying the full treatment at the outset.

Retainers

Candid’s Retainers are identical to your last aligning tray and made from the same material. As with other clear aligner programs, after you complete a full treatment with Candid’s aligners, you will continue wearing retainers at night for the foreseeable future. The retainers prevent your teeth from shifting back to their previous position after you have completed the treatment. Each set of retainers is meant to last for six months, as long as you keep them clean. The price of retainers with Candid is $99.

Candid only sells retainers to past clients who have already completed their treatment. Candid’s retainers come with a nice carrying case and a small bottle of whitening foam.

How does the Candid treatment process work?

Just as if you were undergoing a traditional orthodontic treatment, Candid’s treatment package follows three main stages:

Stage 1: Impressions, professional review and devising a plan

Your first step is to go to the Candid website and order the product.

In order for treatment to work, you first must get 3D impressions of your mouth so that Candid can design a treatment plan for you. Candid’s orthodontist will make sure you are suitable for this type of treatment, at the outset, and then prescribe the treatment plan if so.

Stage 2: Follow the plan for wearing aligners

In this stage, you wear the series of aligners for the prescribed amount of time, as indicated by your treatment plan.

Stage 3: Wearing retainers at night

Two weeks after you start wearing your last aligner tray, your treatment will technically be complete. Stage three is all about protecting the results by wearing retainers at night.

Some of the details and time frames vary from person to person, depending on the exact results you want and the degree of your teeth malocclusion. On average, Candid treatment includes 12 trays and lasts about six months.

Let’s explore these stages in greater detail.

Stage 1: Assessment and treatment design

Candid package

Before you order anything, Candid recommend that you take its online “Smile assessment”. This is a very short quiz that takes a minute or less and prompts you to tell them the type of problem you want to correct (gaps, crowding, or protruding teeth) as well as whether you have had orthodontic treatments in the past.

This serves as an initial filter, helping them determine whether you would be a good candidate for Candid Clear Aligner Treatment. Just keep in mind that you won’t have the final word on this until after you visit a Studio or send in your dental impressions.

If the quiz concludes you are eligible, you have three options:

  1. Buy a treatment plan right away, directly from their website

  2. Buy the Starter Kit alone, and decide if you want the full treatment later

  3. Book an appointment at one of their studios

If you choose either of the first two options, you can expect to receive your Starter Kit in 3 to 6 days. The box includes almost all materials that you need, all neatly labeled – but you will need your gloves and a timer.

Before you get started with the impressions, you should watch a video with detailed instructions and also read the helpful manual. You may also want to recruit a friend to help you, as the process is a bit complex.

Using the putty to make impressions

The hardening putty comes in an inactive form, divided into a deep blue and a grey putty. First you must blend them thoroughly in order to activate them. Once you do, you will have one minute before the putty starts to harden (hence the timer). In our experience, one minute gives you just enough time to shape the putty into the right size (the manual comes with a box to serve as a guide) and place it neatly inside the tray. Then, place the tray inside your mouth and make sure your teeth are all touching the tray (even the back ones). Keep the tray in your mouth like this for three and a half minutes before removing it.

Both the video and the manual describe the common mistakes people sometimes make at this stage. Candid also provides an extra tray for your upper teeth, which is meant to be a trial run. You will only need to send two impressions of each row of teeth.

Taking the necessary pictures

Candid’s cheek stretcher comes into play when taking the pictures. You can take your first three pics using your normal camera in selfie mode. However, any pics from the inside of your mouth will need a higher resolution and a flash; for this, you need either a mirror or a helper. You will have to upload these pics to their Members portal.

If this is all too much for you, and you live in or conveniently close to one of the following places, you can visit a Candid Studio instead: Austin, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, Chicago, or Washington DC.

By visiting one of these clean, comfortable, and sleekly decorated studios, you wouldn’t have to do any of the impressions or pictures on your own. Instead, a dental technician takes the pictures for you and creates a 3D version of your teeth using a wand scanner. This process is pain-free and largely non-invasive, so you won’t need to take any anesthetics or medications. The only restriction is to have had a professional cleaning within the last 6 months.

Stage 2: Candid aligner treatment

After you send in your impressions and pictures, Candid will match you with a registered orthodontist in your state. He or she will be in charge of designing your full treatment plan and overseeing it for the ensuing months.

It can take up to 14 days for your treatment plan to be ready. After devising the plan, Candid will email you, at which point you can login to the Members Portal in order to see a 3D image of the expected results.

Once you give your approval of the plan, Candid manufactures your aligners and sends them for you. You can expect the treatment box to reach your doorstep within 20 days of approving your plan.

In this box, you will receive between 8 and 12 custom-made aligners, numbered according to the order in which you’ll need to wear them. Generally you can expect to wear each aligner for about 2 to 3 weeks each, at least 18 hours a day.

In this box, you will receive between 8 and 12 custom-made aligners, numbered according to the order in which you’ll need to wear them. Generally you can expect to wear each aligner for about 2 to 3 weeks each, at least 18 hours a day.

Plus, if you have any problems, such as a new cavity or side effects like pain or inflammation, you can always contact Candid yourself. Tooth realignment is a lengthy process because it requires shifting the bone and ligaments around your teeth and pushing your teeth into their new position, just like braces would.

Stage 3: Maintenance using retainers

Your last aligner actually doubles as your first set of retainers. Approximately two weeks after you start wearing it, your Candid orthodontist will give you the OK to consider your treatment complete. Congratulations! Now in this third and final stage, you continue wearing retainers only while you sleep.

Each set of retainers is meant to last for six months. After that, they won’t really retain much and also wouldn’t be easy to keep clean. You can order more sets from Candid for just $99. Just like with any other teeth alignment treatment, you should be sure to continue wearing retainers while you sleep for as long as you want to maintain the positive effects of the Candid treatment.

Privacy, support and insurance options

Candid’s customer service practices are solid. The company replies to messages promptly and is eager to solve any problems that arise throughout the process.

Candid is also very empathetic when dealing with the side effects of aligner treatment: headaches and soreness are pretty common during the first two weeks of treatment. Though these are not dangerous side effects, they can be pretty frustrating.

If your assigned orthodontist determines that you are not a good candidate for treatment upon reviewing your impressions and pictures, then Candid will refund you quickly and without hassle.

Privacy

The company takes your privacy seriously. The Members Portal uses HIPAA-compliant encryption standards, and all your data is stored in a secure server. Any information you send to your assigned orthodontist will also be protected by HIPAA and treated just like that of any in-person patient.

Even when you are just shopping around, Candid doesn’t capture or store the amount of information you might expect: it asks for your age range, but not your full date of birth, and stops at an email and zip code.

Finally, the packaging is quite discreet. It has the company’s logo, but unless you have eagle eyes and already know the brand, you wouldn’t know what’s inside. The aligners themselves are invisible.

HSA, FSA and health insurance

Depending on your insurance and plan, you may be able to claim a refund for up to 50% of the cost of treatment. Candid can provide you with an itemized bill and guide you through the claim process, but it won’t take direct credit as a form of payment.

The company is also eligible to take HSA or FSA payments. If yours is tied to a major debit card, you can even use it directly on their normal checkout page. If not, you will need to claim a refund later on.

Finally, they also offer payment plans. These require you to buy the full treatment upfront. You will have to pay $399 down, followed by monthly installments of $99. The payment plan option is run by Amazon Affirm and is subject to prior approval.

How we evaluate health services and products

We customize our evaluation criteria depending on the type and nature of the health service or product. For most products and services, we have five areas that we use for our evaluations, including:

Quality: How well does the company deliver its core service(s) to the customer? Is the quality of the product or service high enough that we would recommend it to loved ones without hesitation? Does the company have a high quality medical review board with oversight? Do the testing companies use the latest and most accurate testing technologies available? How accurate are the tests compared to alternatives?

Value: Are you getting your money’s worth? Are there any hidden costs or charges? Does the provider offer discounts or free services to our readers?

Customer Support: How well does the company provide information about its product or service? How clearly are options presented? How clearly are test results presented? How well does the testing company help you understand results and get treatment if necessary?

Privacy: Are all products sent in discreet packaging? Will your data be stored securely? Could your data ever be shared without your permission?

Speed: How fast will you receive your product or test results, from the moment you click “buy?” Are the waiting times stated by the company accurate and consistent?