7 Questions to help you decide if at-home clear aligners are right for you

At-home clear aligners are a relatively new concept. Examples of at-home clear aligners include Smile Direct Club™ and Candid Co™. At-home clear aligner programs involve little to no dentist involvement. More and more people are turning to at-home clear aligners to straightening their teeth at the convenience of their own homes. There's no denying that at-home clear aligner therapy is convenient and in most instances, more affordable than dentist-delivered alternatives. The big question here is does at home clear aligner therapy work? The answer depends on how complex your treatment is. Complete the quiz below to find out how likely you are to qualify for at-home clear aligners:

At-home clear aligner assessment quiz



What you need to know before starting at home aligner programs:

The quiz above helps you determine how likely you are to qualify for at-home clear aligners. A high score means that you're likely to qualify for at-home clear aligners. This means that you can straighten your smile at the convenience of your own home using Smile Direct Club, Candid Co., Byte™, or Even28 at-home™. A low score indicates that you're probably not a good candidate for at-home clear aligners. Consider going with dentist-delivered clear aligners, like Invisalign® or ClearCorrect™, or braces. Let's take a closer look to see how each question impacts your chances of qualifying for at-home clear aligners:

Examples of orthodontic conditions which are good candidates for at home clear aligner therapy.

Questions 1 - Front teeth versus back teeth

Clear aligners work wonders when it comes to straightening your front teeth. Wearing aligners can fix just about any orthodontic problems concerning your front teeth. This includes closing gaps, straightening crooked teeth, rotating your front teeth, and so much more. On the other hand, clear aligners are very ineffective when it comes to moving your back teeth, particularly your molar teeth. If you need to move your back teeth to correct your bite, then you must avoid at-home clear aligners. Consider going with dentist-delivered clear aligners (like Invisalign®) or braces instead.

Questions 2 - Bite problems

As we just discussed, at-home clear aligners are ineffective at moving your back teeth. Sure, clear aligners can move your back teeth a tiny bit, they're really not meant for correcting any type of bite issues. In fact, wearing at-home clear aligners without proper dentist supervision is likely to make your bite situation worse than it already is! You should never try to fix your bite relationship without proper dentist supervision. Consult your local dentist or orthodontist and choose Invisalign® or braces to fix your bite relationship.

Questions 3 - Underlying orthodontic condition

You can use at-home clear aligners to fix some basic orthodontic conditions, like the following:

Gap teeth (Spacing)Gap teeth is when you have spaces in between your teeth. Clear aligners are extremely effective at fixing gap teeth and closing these spaces. Closing gap teeth with clear aligners is quick, easy, and convenient. Most gap teeth cases can be treated with at-home clear aligners without the need for regular dentist visits. To learn more about closing gap teeth using clear aligners click here.

Teeth crowding (crooked teeth) - If your only issuer is having one or two crooked teeth that show when you smile, then at-home clear aligners may be your answer. Simpler cases can be fixed using at-home clear aligners without having to visit a dentist regularly. However, severe tooth crowding does not qualify for at-home treatment and requires dentist supervision. Your dentist will have to create additional spaces to move your teeth into their proper position. Consider using Invisalign® to treat more complicated tooth crowding conditions. To learn more about how you can fix crowded teeth using clear aligners click here.

Overbite - Many overbites can be fixed using clear aligners. Some require dentist supervision while others can be done using at-home aligners. Mild overbites may qualify for at-home clear aligner treatment. More advanced overbites shouldn't be fixed at home and they require dentist-supervised clear aligner programs instead. Again, you need your dentist to create spacing for better tooth movement to correct larger overbite conditions. The most excessive overbites can not be fixed with clear aligners and they require braces, possibly in conjunction with other orthodontic treatments. To learn more about how to fix your overbite with clear aligners click here.

Open bite - Very simple open bite conditions can be fixed using at-home clear aligners. Most open bite cases require dentist-delivered clear aligners such as Invisalign®. Your dentist needs to continuously monitor your progress and make corrections along the way. Severe open bites don't qualify for clear aligner therapy and they 0require braces instead. To learn more about how to fix your open bite with clear aligners click here.

Orthodontic relapse cases - Orthodontic relapse is whenever you have ortho treatment, but then your teeth start shifting back to their original pre-treatment position. Luckily, almost all orthodontic relapse conditions are perfect candidates for clear aligner therapy. Your teeth are already used to being moved so it's easier to move them a second time around. Many orthodontic relapses cases qualify for at-home clear aligner therapy which saves you both time and money!

Example of dental conditions which complicate at home clear aligner therapy.

Question 4 - The condition of your mouth

Before starting any type of orthodontics program (clear aligners included) you need to evaluate the overall condition of your mouth. A few dental conditions can adversely affect your clear aligner therapy. Therefore, you must take these conditions into consideration prior to starting your clear aligner program. Let's take a look at some conditions which impact your clear aligner therapy:

Missing teeth - Having a missing tooth, or two, does not automatically mean that you can't straighten your teeth using clear aligners. What it does mean is that your teeth will not stay straight unless you close these gaps. Therefore, it's important to have a plan for replacing your missing teeth before starting clear aligner therapy. Larger gaps are usually filled with either a dental implant or bridge. This is done after completing your clear aligner program. Work closely with your dentist to open up these missing spaces in order to create the necessary room for a dental implant or bridge. Also, be sure to fill in these gaps as soon as you're done with your clear aligner program. Otherwise, your teeth will slowly shift back into the missing teeth gaps and your teeth become crooked again!

Baby teeth - Baby teeth don't affect your clear aligner program, but you need to be aware of their existence. Be prepared to remove these baby teeth once they become loose or infected and replace them with a dental implant or bridge. 

Dental implants - We recommended that you avoid at-home clear aligner treatment if you already have a dental implant in your mouth. Consider dentist-delivered clear aligner treatments like Invisalign® or ClearCorrect™. Dental implants are rigid objects that aren't supposed to move during clear aligner treatment. You could end up damaging your dental implant without proper dentist supervision. This is very important, as any amount of force could potentially damage your existing dental implants. Be sure to let your dentist know if you have dental implants in your mouth. Your dentist will work closely with the lab technician to avoid placing forces onto your dental implant. 

Bridge - Avoid at-home clear aligners if you have a bridge in your mouth. Bridges, similar to dental implants, can not be moved during clear aligner treatment. Therefore, you must follow the same protocol as dental implants if you have an existing bridge in your mouth. Talk to your dentist to make sure that they are aware of any existing bridges you have. Your dentist will design your clear aligner treatment to avoid stressing or damaging your bridge.

Porcelain veneers - What happens if you already have porcelain veneers on your teeth and still want to straighten your smile with clear aligners? There's a good chance that you will have to replace your porcelain veneers once you finish your clear aligner program. It's always best to straighten your teeth with clear aligners before placing porcelain veneers. Talk to your dentist before starting any clear aligner program to decide what the best course of action is.

You should always talk to your dentist before starting any type of clear aligner therapy. This is especially important if you already have extensive dental work in your mouth. At-home clear aligner therapy without proper dentist supervision could damage your existing dental restorations. For those of you with plenty of existing dental restorations,  we usually recommend going with Invisalign®. This way, your dentist can keep a close eye on your progress to make sure that you don't run into any unexpected problems. Otherwise, you might have to redo your crowns, bridges, dental implants, etc. once you're done with your clear aligner program!

Questions 5 & 6 - Dentist clearance

You need a thorough exam and a good cleaning before starting any type of orthodontic treatment (clear aligners included). You must address any existing dental cavities or gum disease before straightening your smile. It's risky and dangerous to wear clear aligners if you have any cavities or if you suffer from gum disease. This could lead to pain, infection, or even tooth loss! We recommended that you get a comprehensive dental cleaning before starting your clear aligner program. If you’ve seen a dentist within the past few months and everything checked out okay, then you're all set to start your program. Otherwise, visit your dentist first and get a clearance to make sure that your teeth and gums are healthy enough to support clear aligners.

Question 7 - Wisdom teeth

You should be aware if there are wisdom teeth in your mouth before starting any type of orthodontic treatment. We recommended that you remove your wisdom teeth if they're expected to cause problems in the near future. Of course, this doesn't mean that you can’t start clear aligner treatment if you still have your wisdom teeth. If you choose to keep your wisdom teeth for the time being, then there are a few extra steps that you should take to make sure your wisdom teeth don't cause any problems. For example, be sure to wear your clear retainers every day if you choose to keep your wisdom teeth. Otherwise, your wisdom teeth push on your remaining teeth and cause them to shift. Alternatively, consider placing a fixed retainer on your teeth instead. Fixed retainers are better at preventing your teeth from shifting as a result of wisdom tooth pressure. Talk to your dentist to see if it's okay to keep your wisdom teeth prior to starting your clear aligner program.


Are you a candidate for at-home clear aligner therapy?


Purchase our Clear Aligner Assessment Kit to see if you qualify for at-home clear aligners. Use our kit to take your teeth impressions by following the instructions provided. One of our experienced dentists will analyze your impressions and we'll let you know what your options are for straightening your smile (without ever stepping into a dentist office!). Here are the 3 possible outcomes:

  1. At-home clear aligners (SmileDirectClub™ or Even28 at-home™)
  2. Dentist-supervised clear aligners (Invisalign®)
  3. Braces

We'll even tell you approximately how long your treatment is going to take. By the way, there are no further obligations to purchase any additional treatment. The only purpose of the kit is to help you figure out what the best course of action is for straightening your smile.