Byte vs Smile Direct Club

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Do you find yourself wishing you had straight teeth? These days, the best way to deal with crooked teeth is to get invisible braces. They can be done without personal monitoring from a dental professional and they look so discreet that people won’t be able to tell that you are wearing one.

When it comes to getting invisible braces, Byte vs Smile Direct Club often comes out as the top two high-quality yet affordable options that you can get from the market.

Byte and Smile Direct Club are alike in many ways. Byte and Smile Direct Club offer remote monitoring for teeth straightening, customized treatment plans, and they are both more affordable than Invisalign and traditional braces.

So, how do you determine which one is better among the two?

Here, we help you see the differences through the most important features one should consider when getting clear aligners. This way, you will be able to make an informed decision and end up with the best invisible braces for your particular needs.

Company background

Byte

Byte was founded in 2018 and has its headquarters in Los Angeles, California.

Although fairly new in the game, they have made quite a reputation for being able to deliver high-quality results at half the time.

Smile Direct Club

Smile Direct Club started in 2014 and is now known as one of the largest home aligner brands in the market today.

They have gained a reputation for their wide reach and their accessibility, with hundreds of Smile Shops all over the country.

How to start

Byte

To start your Byte treatment, you have to order an impression kit online. Then, you will use the kit to make a model of your teeth. You have to make sure you follow the instructions so that your aligners will fit perfectly.

Then, you send back the impression kit with the mold impression you made back to Byte for assessment. If you are not qualified to have clear aligners, Byte will give you a full refund.

If you do qualify, Byte will then start making your aligner trays based on the impression that you made. A state-licensed orthodontist or dentist will be assigned to create your treatment plan and monitor your case.

Byte currently has no physical location so the only way to start with them is by ordering at home impression kits from their website.

Smile Direct Club

To start your Smile Direct Club treatment, you will have to take a short assessment test on their website. This test will only take a few seconds and it will be vital to determining if you qualify for invisible aligners or not.

If you pass, you will then be directed to a page where you can order Smile Direct Club impression kits. Then, all you have to do is wait at home, where the impression kit will be delivered to you.

Once you received the kit, all you have to do is follow the detailed instructions on making impressions. Then, you will send back your impressions to Smile Direct Club to be assessed by an orthodontist or dentist.

If they find that your current dental situation could not be handled by the product, you will receive a full refund.

If you do qualify, the orthodontist or dentist assigned to your case will start creating a custom treatment plan for you and your aligner trays will be created in the lab.

Another option for you to start is to see if there is a SmileShop near you. There are about 300+ SmileShops all over the country – one is bound to be near you. You can make an appointment for a free consultation and 3D scan. This way, you do not have to spend money on impression kits or struggle with making your own impressions anymore.

The 3D scans made in the SmileShop will be sent to Smile Direct Club where they will be assessed by the dental team. If you qualify, they will start creating your personalized treatment plan and aligners. All you have to do is wait at home, where it will be sent.

Treatment method

Byte

Byte’s treatment plans are focused on remote monitoring. You get to stay home for the entire treatment process.

All the aligner trays you will need to complete your treatment plan will be sent to you in one package along with your first post treatment retainers.

The HyperByte device is included in the package. This is a device that uses high-frequency vibrations on your teeth to speed up your progress and to relieve any discomfort that you may be feeling from wearing the aligners. You are supposed to use the HyperByte for 5 minutes each day.

When you get a Byte treatment plan, you also get the Byte for Life Guarantee. This means they will move back your teeth in case it goes back to its original position. This is done for free any time after your treatment!

Byte also has the Byte Protection Plan, which is a post-treatment plan that covers 5 years’ worth of retainers. This is actually useful since you will have to wear retainers for the rest of your life after treatment. The retainers should be replaced from time to time for hygienic purposes.

Smile Direct Club

SmileDirect Club has a remote monitoring treatment method – no need to go back to the SmileShop or do dental office visits. Everything can be done in the confines of your home from start to finish.

You will be receiving all the aligners you need throughout the treatment in one package. The orthodontist or dentist assigned to your case will tell you when to move on to the next aligner tray during your virtual check-ins.

Once your treatment plan is done and your teeth have shifted to their corrected position, you will end the treatment by wearing a retainer 24 hours for a few months. This is a requirement for all aligner treatments to ensure that your teeth will not shift back to their original position.

For aftercare, Smile Direct Club has the Lifetime Smile Guarantee. This means you get your money back in full if you are not satisfied within the first 30 days of your treatment plan, you can get aligner touch-ups for free during your treatment plan, and you can also get lifetime touch-ups after your treatment is over.

Treatment options

Byte

You have two treatment options from Byte: daytime and nighttime only treatment.

Smile Direct Club

You have two treatment options from Smile Direct Club: standard (daytime) and nighttime only treatment.

Treatment time

Byte

For the daytime treatment, you have to wear your clear aligners for at least 22 hours each day. The average treatment time is 3 to 4 months, depending on the severity of your case.

For the nighttime treatment, you have to wear your clear aligners for at least 10 hours each night. Byte treatment takes an average of 5 to 6 months for at night aligners.

Smile Direct Club

For the standard treatment, you have to wear your invisible braces for at least 22 hours each day. The standard treatment has an average treatment time of 4 to 6 months, depending on the severity of your case.

For the nighttime treatment, you have to wear your invisible braces for at least 10 hours each day. The nighttime treatment has an average treatment time of 10 months.

Aligner appearance

Byte

Byte aligners have a smooth, glassy, and shiny plastic look. This may make it look a little obvious because of the unrealistic shine on your teeth because plastic can be reflective.

Byte’s aligners are also straight cut, meaning they will overlap your gums. You may think this sounds uncomfortable at first. But actually, it is more effective since this way, the aligners are using the gums as leverage to push your teeth into their corrected position.

The material is stain-resistant but you still have to remove it every time you eat or drink something.

Smile Direct Club

Smile Direct Club aligners are made out of frosted and textured plastic material. This makes them more discreet and real-like since it follows the matte surface of natural teeth.

Smile Direct Club’s aligners are trimmed to match your gumline. This helps it look more invisible than most brands but this will also affect its leverage power.

The material is also stain-resistant but you still have to take your aligners off every time you eat or drink.

What’s in the package

Byte

Aside from the complete set of aligner trays, Byte offers a free BrightByte bottle. BrightByte is a 3-in-1 solution that can be used as a teeth whitening treatment, breath freshener, and cleaning solution for your invisible braces.

Your Byte aligner package will also include the HyperByte device. Byte offers this HyperByte technology helps speed up your progress through vibrations on the bone and root of the teeth.

Byte offers the first set of retainers for your post-treatment care in the package for free.

Smile Direct Club

Aside from your complete set of aligner trays, you will also be receiving a free whitening kit for your teeth from Smile Direct Club. The teeth whitening kit is included no matter what type of treatment you choose.

Provider network

Byte

Byte is known for its exclusive dental network. They only partner with orthodontists and dentists who are well-trained and highly reputed when it comes to teledentistry.

Smile Direct Club

The Smile Direct Club Partner Network has thousands of licensed dentists and orthodontists under its wing, nationwide. Aside from that, they have hundreds of Smile Shops all over the country so you will be able to find one located near you.

Pricing

Byte

The Byte impression kit costs $95. A full refund will be given if you are not qualified for clear aligners.

The daytime upfront cost is $1895. The monthly installment will cost you a down payment of $349 then you have to pay $83 per month for the next 29 months.

The nighttime upfront cost is $2295. The monthly installment will cost you a down payment of $499 then you have to pay $99 per month for the next 29 months.

If you want to avail of the Byte Protection Plan after treatment, this is automatically included in the package if you choose to pay through the monthly installment plan. If you paid Byte upfront, the Byte Protection Plan will cost an additional $649.

Byte will also take payments from your HSA, FSA, and insurance accounts.

Smile Direct Club

The Smile Direct Club impression kit will cost $59. If you are not accepted as a candidate, you will get a full refund.

The upfront price for Smile Direct Club treatments is $1950 for both treatment options. This is a good deal considering that most brands usually have a higher price for their at night aligners.

If you are unable to do the one-time payment, you can also avail yourself of SmilePay, Smile Direct Club’s installment plan. You will make a deposit of $250 and then you have to pay $89 per month for the next 24 months.

Smile Direct Club will also take payments from CareCredit and your FSA or HSA accounts. For insurance, you have to check with your insurance provider first to see if you have coverage.

Customer service

Byte

The Byte team can be contacted through standard communication platforms such as email, webchat, phone and text messaging and they also respond on their social media accounts.

Each Byte customer actually has a Byte advisor assigned to them to answer their queries and concerns.

If you check reviews on Byte, they consistently have high ratings.

Smile Direct Club

Smile Direct Club can also be reached through email, phone, webchat, and text during business hours. The Smile Direct Club’s dental team is available through text or chat for your queries 24/7 through their mobile app.

They also have a great refund policy. If you reach out to them within 30 days of your treatment plan, they can give you a full refund.

If it has been over 30 days and you are not satisfied, you can ask for a partial refund. You will have to return your remaining aligners to Smile Direct Club. They will give you instructions on how to return them when you reach out to them for a refund.

Byte vs Smile Direct Club FAQs

Byte vs Smile Direct Club – which is cheaper?

Between the two, Smile Direct Club is more affordable. For one, the daytime and nighttime home aligners have the same one-time payment treatment cost. Even the installment plan has a lower interest compared to Byte’s installment plan.

Byte is still affordable compared to Invisalign treatment and traditional braces. So, it can also fit your budget too.

Byte vs. Smile Direct Club – which is faster?

Between the two, Byte has a shorter treatment period. In fact, they have the shortest treatment period in the industry today. Their HyperByte technology can take 2 to 3 months off your expected treatment period as long as you follow all the rules and adhere to your treatment plan strictly.

Byte vs. Smile Direct Club – which looks clearer?

Between the two, Smile Direct Club has a more realistic look that makes their aligners blend in well with your natural teeth. The aligners have a matte finish – similar to the natural surface of your teeth so they are less visible even if someone is talking to you up close.

Byte has more leverage because of its straight cut but the plastic aligners are glossy. The material can reflect light and will give a unnatural shine to your teeth that may call unwanted attention. Although some Byte users claim that they like the extra shine.

Why do I have to go through an assessment?

Not everyone can have clear aligner service. Invisible braces have their limitations. For one, most brands can only handle mild to moderate cases of misalignment. If you need more work than that, dental professionals would recommend you to go for traditional braces as they can do the job of correcting it better.

Another factor is your dental health. You need to have good oral health before you get clear aligners. If you have any dental issues such as cavities or gum sensitivity, you have to deal with them first.

Since home aligners like Byte and Smile Direct Club are done with remote monitoring, they can’t treat severe conditions. You will need close monitoring by a dental professional for that.

How do you use an at home impression kit?

When you receive your at home impression kit, it is important that you read and understand the instructions first so that you will do it correctly. The instructions may differ from one brand to another.

It is important that you make your impressions as precise as possible since they will be the basis on how your aligner trays will be created. Making a bad impression might have you ending up with aligner trays that do not fit.

The right fit is important so that the clear aligners can shift teeth with the right force. Which is why it is vital to make invisible braces work.

So, make sure that you are able to follow the instructions precisely to ensure that you will get a good fit. If you have difficulty, it is best to contact customer service and see if they can guide you via video chat to do it.

Daytime vs nighttime treatment plan

Byte and Smile Direct Club offers both daytime and nighttime aligners. You may be wondering which one is the better treatment option. Well, this will depend on the level of discipline and the kind of lifestyle you have.

Daytime aligners are meant to be worn for most of the day. Because of this, it requires a higher level of discipline.

Because wearing aligners fall during meal times, you will have to take the clear aligners off every time you eat or drink. While you take them off, you need to be responsible enough to clean them, place them in an appropriate container so you do not lose them, and then brush your teeth and clean the retainers again before you put them back on.

But because you will be wearing them for a longer time, they have the advantage of having a faster treatment period. So, if you want to have quicker results, you should go for the daytime treatment option.

Nighttime aligners are meant to be worn after dinner time, so you wear them while you sleep. You have fewer responsibilities involved since you do not wear them while you’re out during the day.

However, since you are wearing them for a lesser period, the treatment period will be longer. Also, you have to consider the fact that nighttime aligners are usually more expensive compared to daytime aligners.

If you like fewer responsibilities involved, then nighttime aligners may be the best choice for you. It is also a better choice if you do a lot of speaking engagements in your job.

No matter what treatment option you choose, the most important thing is that you follow the hours to wear your aligners strictly. Wearing them less than the recommended time will only delay your progress.

Is aligner treatment covered by insurance?

It depends on your insurance provider. Chances are low if you have general health insurance compared to dedicated dental insurance. Most insurance providers consider clear aligners as cosmetic treatments.

Insurance cover home aligners if you have particular orthodontic benefits. But most of the time they will only cover part of the cost. To be sure, contact your insurance provider before you start your treatment.

Conclusion

Byte and Smile Direct Club are actually good choices among the available home aligner brands in the market today. When it comes to Byte vs Smile Direct Club, it is quite clear that you get more with Byte compared to Smile Direct Club.

Although Smile Direct Club has been in the industry for a longer time and is generally more affordable, the innovative technologies and freebies you get with Byte make their higher price tag worth it.

Byte also has the fastest treatment time in the industry today, thanks to their HyperByte technology, which is included for free in your aligner kit.

And once your treatment plan is over, you have the Byte for Life Guarantee where they will realign your smile for free!

Don’t get us wrong – Smile Direct Club is a good brand too and they do deliver quality results when it comes to straightening teeth. But you can just tell that Byte has the upper hand with its products and services.

But if you are more comfortable working with one of the pioneers in the industry and you know that there is a Smile Shop in your area, you are free to choose Smile Direct Club! It is not a bad option at all!

Dr Febin Mary George - Editor

With more than 10 years as a dental surgeon, Dr Febin Mary George is passionate about educating consumers around the world to help look after their teeth.

She completed her Bachelor of Surgery at the Century Institute of Dental Science and Research Centre in 2010.

Alongside editing the International Journal of Dental Clinics she has also written for major publications including Thrive Global.

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