When I was 11 or 12 I started my orthodontic journey with some pretty extensive hardware (years worth of braces, that thing that you turn a key and it widens your mouth, and then countless retainers that were always breaking — ha!). At 15 I got my braces off and all that metal was taken out and I really never thought about my teeth again. I just knew they were straight and I needed to brush them consistently. But thanks to my parents, I never really struggled with my smile or thought twice about my teeth. That is, until my late 20s / early 30s, when I noticed in photos that my front teeth were starting to shift. It’s a small change, but it’s bothered me for years. This is a pretty normal process with your teeth, they move and shift with time, but I find myself noticing it more and more.
I’ve seen a few of the at-home orthodontic systems, but I never went further than looking up the price and immediately closing my browser tab. I knew I probably would never want to pay for a full realignment of my teeth. But recently I was made aware of a process by a company called Candid. Have you heard of them? They were new to me, so let me introduce you! Candid helps you straighten and brighten your teeth for 65% less with orthodontist-designed custom clear aligners from the comfort of your home (or with a one-time 30-minute studio visit). They had me at 65% less. (See the pricing breakdown here!)
With Candid, I was invited to try out the custom clear aligners process. Since there is a studio located in Dallas, it was a quick drive for me. I was excited to go into a studio vs. doing the at-home kit because I truly can’t be trusted with important things like this, even though their process seems pretty foolproof. The photos are all in the studio, by the way. Isn’t is so pretty? It looks like a modern coffee shop, not a dentist office! Except instead of coffee, they give you a bamboo toothbrush and lead you to the sink.
The in-studio session starts with answering a few questions about your dental history and health. Once those answers are submitted via tablet, an assistant asks you to brush your teeth then takes you to one of their rooms and starts the really quick process of scanning my mouth. First, she took photos of your current smile from all angles. Then it’s a super simple scan that creates a 3D model of your teeth. Your whole mouth shows up on this screen next to you — it’s pretty amazing! (I have a photo of her doing the scan but I have like 50 chins in it and so I’m going to spare you that photo.)
From here, the care specialist looks over your 3D scans and asks you what your goals are for your Candid treatment. I explained that I just needed to realign my top teeth so that my front teeth are fully straight again. I honestly felt kind of sheepish because my teeth are not in any way crooked or in bad shape. This is just something that I want to change cosmetically, not medically. But the care specialist assuaged my fear of sounding vain, letting me know that cosmetic fixes were some of the main reasons people choose clear aligners. The care specialist agreed with my goals and said they were easily attainable (!!) and explained the process. (They have different sets of time for how severe the treatment plan is. Mine would be about 12 weeks but it can be more or less based on your suggested treatment plan.)
This is what the Candid aligner kit looks like — my aligners were sent to my home after I approved my personalized treatment plan. This box shows what my treatment will include. Each colorful slot will include my retainers that I will wear all day and night for two weeks each. (You take them out if you are eating or drinking anything other than water!) There is a case to keep your aligners in and a complimentary premium whitening kit as well!
And that was it! If you’ve had Orthodontic work before, you know what those office visits take from your life and how long the treatment took etc. (Still triggered from all those years spent in a stuffy orthodontist’s office!) This was one 30-minute office visit (and I was taking photos, so that extends the time) and I walked out knowing all of my aligners in my treatment plan will be sent to my house in the next few weeks! I didn’t have to do the putty impressions (if you had braces, you know what I’m talking about), it was quick, easy and best of all it’s less than any other aligner treatment plan!
Just a quick note: if you have any permanent retainers in your mouth from previous orthodontic work, you’ll need to have them removed before you move forward with your new plan. I had a permanent one in the bottom of my front teeth and to move forward with my plan I had to get it removed because as your teeth shift with the retainers, the permanent retainer can cause issues with your bite, etc. Just FYI because I didn’t know this before I went!
If you’re looking for a less expensive way to straighten or align your teeth, I super recommend Candid. It’s so easy to go into the studio or you can order an at-home kit, they are so professional and kind and genuinely want to help your smile. Finally, they donate $25 to Smile Train fir every kit purchased, which helps children born with cleft palates receive the life changing surgery for a forever smile. I also love that after you get started, there are ZERO office visits. This is literally the easiest way you can straighten your teeth! You can learn more about Candid here and take the survey to see if you’re a candidate.
*This post is in collaboration with Candid! All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog!