In this post, I’m going to explain why I chose Byte clear aligners over Candid, but first I have to get something off my chest that directly influenced my decision. I hate to start off being a Dental Debbie Downer, dear reader, but I believe transparency is paramount in matters of the heart (and teeth): I was REJECTED by Candid right off the bat because I have….dare I say it…a permanent retainer.
You see, I have been out of the braces game for nearly 20 years now, so I never could have foreseen that I would be penalized for something I have always lovingly considered the gift that keeps on giving: a lifetime of straight teeth (even after I long-ago lost my plastic retainers), all for the price of a few thousand of my mom’s hard-earned dollars and my teenage dignity.
I was automatically disqualified as a CANDIDate (let me have this one) via the website’s intro questionnaire because of my aforementioned permanent retainer, which lives happily on my top teeth; however, I do not have a permanent retainer on my bottom teeth, which are the very teeth I am looking to correct with clear aligners, as they have shifted over the years (probably because, you know, no permanent retainer). This important distinction mattered not to Candid, even after I explained my situation to one of their customer service operators. They basically gave me the teledentistry equivalent of “no soup for you!” and that was that. Over before it ever began.
But, I would like to clarify that my preference for Byte was not merely a default because I was not approved by Candid. My deciding factor for choosing an aligner company has always boiled down to one key question for me: do they have a nighttime option? Byte does, Candid does not. So, in the end, I would have eliminated Candid as an option anyway, before they could have rejected me. Take that, Candid!
With all that in mind, I now bring you a deep-dive into my reasons for choosing Byte over Candid, in order of importance:
#1: Byte At-Night
Going to keep beating this dead horse: a nighttime aligner option was my dealbreaker. Byte has one (and a pretty great one at that, based on customer reviews), Candid does not. It’s that simple. I will gladly pay a bit more money and extend my wear time a couple of months longer if it means I don’t have to feel uncomfortable or inhibited during those crucial waking hours.
The thought of wearing aligners for the requisite 22+ hours each day for several months fills me with a peculiar mix of despair, fear, and blind rage. The only consolation, if you can even call it that, to currently living through a global pandemic where most everything is being done remotely (i.e., Zoom work meetings, family gatherings, happy hours, holidays, even dates), is that now would be an ideal time to experiment with clear aligners, when you really don’t have to be up-close-and-personal with anyone if you don’t want to.
But the brat in me still doesn’t want to be bothered with aligners interfering with my day-to-day life–all the fidgeting, the lisping through phone calls, pulling them out every time I deign to eat or drink anything that isn’t water. Knowing that Byte At-Night is working its magic while I sleep the treatment away is a dream come true.
Byte At-Night uses BPA-free medical-grade, grind resistant polymer material to give the convenience of less wear-time (only 10+ hours minimum per night for 5-6 months, switching aligners every two weeks instead of weekly, as opposed to their regular 3-4 month treatment plan for All-Day wear). The laser trimmed material is slightly thicker, and when used with the HyperByte® accelerates treatment time and helps reduce any aches and pains. Byte had me at, “Hello….you can sleep through this whole uncomfortable experience.”
#2: The HyperByte
The next biggest selling point for me, behind the nighttime aligner option, and what sets Byte apart from the competition, is their patented, FDA-cleared HyperByte® technology. Exclusive to Byte, this nifty little contraption is worn for 5 minutes a day (10 minutes for At-Night plan) in tandem with your clear plastic aligners to speed up the treatment process and make for a generally more comfortable experience.
HyperByte is the reason Byte can confidently tout the shortest treatment lengths, up to half the industry standard: 3-4 months for All-Day, 5-6 months for At-Night. Since I will be going with the At-Night option, 5-6 months is nominal for the flexibility it offers me, and is still shorter than some other daytime aligner treatment plans.
Here’s how Byte explains HyperByte on their website:
Hyperbyte uses High Frequency Vibrations (HFV), a vibration-based therapy that uses soft micropulses that transmit through the roots of the teeth to the surrounding bone. Studies have shown, this gentle vibration can reduce discomfort, and help seat your aligners around your teeth better. This causes better aligner traction, more accurate teeth movement, and much faster treatment times. HyperByte® is our very own HFV device that we include free in every treatment plan.
#3: All in all, more bang for your buck
In a side-by-side cost comparison between Candid and Byte, Byte is simply a better value. Both companies offer financing with comparable down and monthly payments, 100% refund on impression kits if you don’t qualify as a candidate, free whitening kits, free post-treatment retainers, and neither takes payments directly from insurance companies, so you’ll have to get reimbursed if you go that route. Even with all those similarities, I still think you get more with Byte, it all just depends on your priorities.
- $1,895 All-Day treatment ($349 down, $83/mo for 29 months)
- $2,295 At-Night Treatment ($449 down, $99/mo for 29 months)
- $95 for at-home impression kit, though they are offering a huge discount at only $29.95
With Byte Pay, Byte’s affordable payment plan, you are automatically approved for financing without a credit check, and it includes BPP (Byte Protection Plan) that gets you new retainers every 6 months for 5 years + replacement of lost or stolen aligners and retainers). Byte also offers military and student discounts.
Here’s everything you get with Byte:
- HyperByte® (retails for $699+)
- BrightByte 3-in-1 whitening foam
- Medical grade retainers
- Byte-for-Life Lifetime Guarantee (more on this below)
Candid, on the other hand…
- $2,400 ($339 down, $99/mo for 24 months)
- $95 for at-home impression kit or FREE one-time Candid Studio visit to get started
- Price includes scanning equipment for Remote Monitoring with your assigned orthodontist
With Candid, you are paying a premium for access to a network of dental professionals that is comprised solely of orthodontists (more on that later).
#4: The Byte-for-Life Guarantee
As far as my research shows, Byte is the only company offering a lifetime guarantee. That means, if your teeth shift in any way after completing treatment, even years down the line, Byte will give you new aligners to fix your smile at no cost to you. This lifetime warranty shows they believe in their product enough to make sure they get it right for you no matter what.
#5: Smile Science
This is a cutesy name for yet another innovation of Byte’s that is actually quite impressive. Byte is helmed by Dr. Jon Marashi, cosmetic dentist to the Hollywood stars (aka “The Tom Ford of Cosmetic Dentistry,” according to THE one-and-only, Cher). Along with his celebrity clientele and years of expertise, Dr. Marashi has brought with him his “Smile Science,” which uses a 5-point analysis of aesthetic precision to determine the best tooth placement for your individual face.
Once Byte receives your impressions, you will be matched with a licensed orthodontist in your state who will design a treatment profile tailored to you and only you. They’ll even send you 3-D visualizations of what you will look like “post-Byte.” I’ve always been more of a History/English gal myself, but this is the kind of science that definitely puts a smile on my face.
#6: Better Customer Support
In the initial, pre-impression kit phase, Byte and Candid measure up about the same with regard to customer service. In my experience, both companies had friendly, helpful staff, but both could stand to expand their phone hours. They are quick to reply to emails, but I am that annoying person who wants to speak with a living, breathing person. Candid at least has weekend hours, but Byte is basically operating on a standard office schedule (Monday-Friday, 9:00am-5:30pm), which is less than ideal.
However, once you are accepted into your respective Byte or Candid family, a whole new world of communication is at your fingertips through their remote monitoring services, and you gain access to personnel 7 days a week via phone, text, email, video chat, and even social media.
To Sum it Up…
Despite my fraught beginnings with Candid (you remember from earlier, how they kicked me to the curb before they ever had a chance to get to know me?), the company does have its advantages. And, conversely, Byte is not without its flaws either, even though it is ultimately my choice.
Honestly, the most impressive thing about Candid is their commitment to working exclusively with orthodontists. They are the only aligner company out there that can claim this. Moving teeth and realigning jaws are medical procedures that require years of specific training in this arena that goes beyond general dentistry, which is why Candid’s scope of expertise is superior. That doesn’t mean I’m not confident in Byte’s network of 200+ orthodontists, dentists, and dental surgeons.
With Byte, an orthodontist creates your treatment plan and is a part of the care team that shepherds you through the process. With Candid, the very orthodontist that maps out your plan is connected to you every step of the way through their advanced Remote Monitoring service and equipment , which allows for bi-weekly virtual check-ins with him/her, almost mimicking the traditional orthodontist/patient relationship (but which also drives up the price).
Additionally, while the main draw of clear aligners (over conventional braces) is arguably the convenience aspect–at-home impression kits, digital monitoring, not having to put on pants to make awkward small talk with your doctor–I might be in the old-fashioned minority that actually prefers to go inside of a brick-and-mortar place and interact with real-life human beings, especially for something as important as the complete overhaul of my mouth and face.
If we weren’t living in COVID times, I would actually take advantage of Candid’s free in-store dental scan, as opposed to doing the at-home impression kit that Byte utilizes, because it seems like much less of a hassle to me. While I have faith in Candid’s COVID safety protocols, as outlined on their website, I am personally too neurotic to go into one of their stores (or really anywhere that isn’t a necessity for me at present). Luckily Candid also offers an at-home option if you don’t live near one of their 20+ locations around the U.S.
There is something to be said for getting to stay in the comfort of your own home, and it is certainly safer right now, however, I am always worried that I am going to mess things up and thus the whole process will be a wreck from the beginning. Thankfully, both companies make their at-home impression kits super user-friendly and both offer remote assistance if anything goes awry. In the end, Byte won me over with its value, HyperByte technology, speed of treatment, attentive customer support, and, lest we forget, that amazing At-Night option that is clearly near and dear to my heart.