WHAT IS BYTE?
Byte is an online company that offers clear aligner services. You’ll get at-home teeth straightening at a fraction of the cost compared to traditional braces or Invisalign. Invisible aligners are clear plastic devices custom-made to fit your teeth. They’ll gradually shift your teeth so that your teeth become straighter.
Based on the impressions you take at home, the Byte orthodontic team will create a specific treatment plan for you. You’ll get a set of custom invisible aligners that’ll serve to move your teeth little by little. After you wear a set of aligners for one week, you progress to the next set, until you complete the program and achieve the perfect smile.
HOW MUCH DOES BYTE COST?
Treatment with Byte costs $1,850 for the all-day aligner treatment. If you want at-night-only treatment, this will cost you $2,295. Byte almost always has a promotion running, so be sure to keep an eye out before pulling the trigger.
HOW BYTE STANDS OUT FROM OTHER DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER ALIGNER COMPANIES?
On the surface, Byte and other direct-to-consumer aligner companies seem similar. They all offer clear aligners you can use to straighten teeth and improve your smile. While they all technically can work to effectively straighten your teeth, there are differences that you should consider before choosing who to start treatment with. My money’s on Byte.
The cost of aligners will vary widely. Compared to Invisalign, direct-to-consumer aligners are much cheaper. Insurance will sometimes cover a portion of the fees for aligner treatment, depending on a number of factors. But if your insurance doesn’t cover aligners, it’s not the end of the world, because there are a lot of options that are much more affordable than Invisalign.
Without assistance from insurance, Invisalign can cost between $3,400 and $7,100. Treatment with Candid costs $2400. Smile Direct Club costs $1,950. Treatment with Byte costs $1,850 (or $2,295), depending on whether you opt for the all-day or at-night-only treatment. Byte almost always has a promotion running, so be sure to keep an eye out for them.
DEAL ALERT: Sign up with this link to get 75% off the impression kit + an additional $100 off your treatment. (No code needed with the link)
These companies accept HSA, FSA, and CareCredit, but Byte also accepts SplitIt.
Most recently, Invisalign averages about 12 to 18 months to complete treatment. Smile Direct Club’s average treatment time is 8 to 18 months.
Byte treatment typically lasts about 3-4 months. How? Well, Byte offers an accessory that can help make treatment quicker and more comfortable. More on that in the next section.
As a Byte patient, you’ll get a free High Frequency Vibrations or (HFV) device to elevate your treatment. HyperByte® uses HFV, a vibration-based therapy that is even used by orthodontists. HFV uses soft micropulses that transmit through the roots of the teeth to the surrounding bone. Studies have apparently shown that this 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. During treatment, you’ll use this daily whenever you have five minutes to spare. A lot of people do it as part of their morning or nightly routine.
With Byte, because there are no brick and mortar shops where you can get your impressions done for you, you will need to start off with an impression kit. The process typically only takes 20 minutes. You’ll get free shipping both ways. Byte will refund you in full if you’re not a candidate, and there is no obligation or commitment if you are.
Byte offers $95 impression kits. For comparison, Smile Direct Club offers $59 impression kits (or a free 30-minute consultation at a SmileShop) and Candid offers $95 impression kits. All of these companies offer coupons on impression kits pretty regularly.
An impression kit with Byte is 75% less expensive than Candid’s impression kit when you use this link to order one (saving you 75% off the impression kit and $100 off your treatment plan).
Aligner Production Time
Unlike Smile Direct Club where you’ll have to wait 5-6 weeks to get your aligners, you’ll get them much more quickly with Byte. Most people receive the aligners within two weeks of submitting the impression kit, so you can actually get started on straightening your teeth right away.
Byte-For-Life Smile Guarantee
Byte’s warranty is also amazing, to say the least. While Smile Direct Club offers a warranty that you can only apply for within 30 days of treatment, Byte has a Byte-for-Life Guarantee. Your warranty lasts your entire lifetime. If your teeth move after you finish treatment, just contact byte for additional aligners at no cost to you.
Free Aftercare Retainers (First Set)
You’ll need to keep wear retainers after finishing your treatment so that your new, beautiful smile stays with you forever. After your treatment, your first set of retainers are on the house with Byte. That’s right, your first top and bottom aftercare retainers are free. While other companies will charge you for retainers, you won’t have to worry about paying any extra fees with Byte. This alone saves you $99.
Smile Direct Club works with both dentists and orthodontists to help direct your care. However, Byte works exclusively with orthodontists to ensure that you receive the proper treatment plan (straightening teeth and bites are orthodontic specialties).
WHY CHOOSE BYTE?
I think all of the reasons listed above make Byte a wonderful option. If you can’t afford Invisalign (or don’t want to opt for that sort of treatment) Byte is an excellent choice above the rest for clear aligners. The Hyperbyte technology that’s included with every treatment plan really does help Byte stand out. You’ll likely have straighter teeth in 3-4 months, which is bounds faster than what other options out there offer. Byte’s warranty is another huge benefit. Should your teeth ever shift out of place after treatment, just contact Byte and they’ll provide additional treatment at no additional cost to you, for the rest of your life.
Of note, there is a small fee for the impression kit, but they often have coupons of 75% off like this one (I personally only paid $25 after my coupon was applied). All in all, even after the ups and downs of my treatment with them, I believe Byte is the winner in terms of direct-to-consumer aligner companies.
MY BYTE JOURNEY: AN HONEST REVIEW OF MY BYTE EXPERIENCE
Before we get into my Byte experience, a little bit of background on my dental situation. I had gotten braces in the 7th grade, so really my teeth were not all too crooked. Since I had stopped wearing my retainers early on after completing my braces treatment, my bite ended up opening up and my teeth lost its straightness over the years.
Pro Tip: Learn from my mistakes, wear your retainers religiously FOR LIFE.
What I had now was an anterior bite, or an open bite, where the back teeth touch, but the front teeth do not. People who have an anterior open bite have front upper and lower teeth that slant outward so they don’t touch when the mouth is shut. This is what I’m talking about:
Note: Apologies for the unsightly photo of my teeth, there will be a lot more where that came from within this post.
I was really hoping that some aligner company out there would help to not only straighten my teeth but make it so my top teeth and bottom teeth were closer to one another. Yes, my ultimate dream was to be able to bite and rip through sandwiches with my front teeth, which I was not able to do pre-treatment.
And so there I began my journey to attempt to straighten my teeth (without having to do braces all over again).
MY BYTE EXPERIENCE: IMPRESSION KIT
I was initially going to go with Smile Direct Club. They offered me a free consultation where they would take my impressions for me, give me a $25 Amazon gift card, and a 3-month supply of their teeth whitener. Like any other deal lover out there, I took the bait. Their marketing skills were surely impressive.
After my initial free consultation, I went home and hopped onto the internet to learn more, as I always do. I had done a lot of “research” (mostly on Reddit) on Smile Direct Club and Byte. What an eye-opening activity. As a result, I ultimately opted for Byte on the basis that many Byte patients seemed happier with their provider choice.
There were just way too many complaints about Smile Direct Club and their lack of customer support. On top of that, I had read horror stories where people’s teeth fell out, where their gums receded, or where they had to completely get their teeth redone by orthodontists after completing treatment with SDC. So yeah, that wasn’t going to be the path I choose for myself.
With Byte, I learned that I had to make my own impressions at home. At first, I was hesitant about doing my own impressions, but after I got over that hump and forced myself to step up and just get them over with, it was actually fine (though obviously, it would have been less of a hassle if there was someone there to do them for me).
The impression kit packaging was so adorable and the instructions were very clear. The kit requires you to take 2 impressions each of the upper and lower teeth. It was messy, and I’ll admit there was saliva everywhere. After 30 minutes of wishing I was doing something else other than sitting there uncontrollably drooling with impression putty in my mouth, I was done! I immediately shipped my impressions back to Byte the next day.
After a week or so, my treatment plan came back. It was quite fun scrolling through week by week, comparing the difference in anatomy of the before and after. Since I was happy with where Byte would get my teeth, AND I was happy with the length of treatment time (7 weeks for the lower teeth, 12 weeks for the upper teeth, IF the Hyperbyte is used on a daily basis), I pulled the trigger.
I thought about the length of treatment, and 3 months of treatment was really not bad, considering that I had braces in the past for 1.5 years.
NOTE: Your length of treatment will vary depending on your dental situation. I had braces in the past, which is one contributing factor of why I had a relatively short treatment time (especially for my bottom teeth).
After paying for my treatment plan, I was told it would be 2-3 weeks until my full set of aligner trays would arrive.
MY BYTE EXPERIENCE: WEEK 1
Indeed, 2-3 weeks later, they had arrived! I threw those babies on as soon as I could. I was so ready for straighter teeth.
The first 3-4 days of the first week were painful. I woke up a few times throughout the nights with soreness around my mouth/jaw area but was able to drift back into sleep. Taking them off in the mornings? Ouch. Luckily, since I’ve had retainers in the past, I knew how to take them off to minimize the pain (crank them off your back teeth first, then work your way up to the front teeth).
After the first few jarringly painful days, the pain started to fade. My teeth were getting used to the aligner and had moved to fit in place better. I was using the HyperByte daily, and I did find that it was helping me with the pain, especially during those first few days.
I also began to notice some discomfort and abrasion to my inner lip from my lower aligners. Whenever I would talk, my inner lip would rub against the plastic (which seemed to be jutting out too much for all my lower aligners). For this, I had to buy dental wax. Let me tell you, the dental wax saved my life here.
Pro Tip: If you’ve ever had aligners or braces in your life, then you know GUM dental wax will be your best friend through these trying times.
When it was time to move onto the second tray, I couldn’t wait to open the new pack of aligners (mostly because I just wanted to be at the finish line already). It was super exciting comparing the differences between the two aligners and actually seeing the progression from crookedness to straightness. I was stoked to continue.
MY BYTE EXPERIENCE: WEEK 4 PROGRESS
I was getting used to the process more and more. No eating or drinking with the aligners on, brush every time you eat, and wear them for at least 22 hours a day.
To be honest here, the aligners were really helping with my diet! Not only was my dental hygiene better with all this midday tooth brushing and flossing, but I was snacking way less, simply because I did not want to brush my teeth yet again for a mere snack.
Everything was all fine and dandy, but then I began to notice that one tooth on the right was not “tracking”. Meaning it didn’t fit quite right into the pocket of the aligner. Since as early as week 3, I began noticing a small gap between the retainer and the tooth.
I thought this was minor at the time, thinking “oh it’ll fill in once it moves later in the week”. I was using the Hyperbyte on a daily basis, so I assumed eventually it would correct itself. More on this later.
Week 4 Progress Photos
MY BYTE EXPERIENCE: WEEK 7 PROGRESS
This was the last tray for my lower teeth! I was so excited, because the lower aligners were the ones causing me a lot of discomfort throughout my treatment.
Treatment of my bottom teeth was scheduled to end at the end of week 7. With that in mind, I had gone onto the website to order my final lower retainer as directed. I searched the site far and wide and could not for the life of me find where I could order retainers (not the best user experience). So upon reaching out to customer service, the agent asked me for a few photos of my teeth, which they needed before sending out my retainer.
Upon reviewing them, she noted that my bottom teeth looked great. Good news, because I was happy with my results, they were able to send bottom retainers out.
However, she noted that my upper teeth were not tracking accurately (meaning there was extra air gaps between my teeth and the aligners). At that point, she had to send my photos to their clinical team so they could review how my aligners were fitting. Recall, I had noticed this gap back in week 3.
The agent noted that they typically take 5-7 business days to review, evaluate, and respond. 10 days later, I finally got a response back:
“After review of the photos, my clinical advice to keep that smile on track and get those teeth caught up would be to have you slow down and backtrack just a little bit and help those teeth catch up. I recommend you backtrack to your Week #4 aligner as that seems to be your most flush-fitting aligner and please remain in that upper aligner for 10 more consecutive days – using your Hyperbyte 25-30 minutes per day.
I know that is not as originally planned, however, sometimes teeth are a little stubborn in the process and it seems like that is the case for you. This is what we refer to as a “tracking” issue which just means the teeth are not fully moving into the projected places in the aligner- this happens when teeth are a bit more stubborn than others.
We want to make sure the aligners are seated all the way on your teeth before you switch out to the next week’s tray. This means we don’t want to see any visible gaps between the aligner and your teeth. The aligners should be flush with your teeth and if they are not, then it is not yet time to move to the next week.”
Well, it sucked to hear that they wanted me to go back to Week 4. Especially because by the time I had received this note, I was already on Week 9!
I didn’t fully comprehend their thought process here. It’s known that you shouldn’t switch trays out too early, because teeth really shouldn’t move that quickly and you’d be jeopardizing their health if you did. So with that in mind… shouldn’t there be a concern of moving too quickly backwards as there is for moving too quickly forwards?
I replied back with my concerns on this and asked if it would be possible to just keep moving forward. To be honest, I really didn’t want to go from Week 9 aligners to Week 4 aligners in one fell swoop. First of all, that sounded like too jarring of a shift for my teeth, and that would prolong my treatment by another 6 weeks, at least. Second of all, I was happy with where all my other teeth had shifted thus far, and so from an opportunity/cost perspective, I was good with just that one tooth being off (because the rest had progressed greatly).
To this note, a customer support agent replied back that they’d forward this concern to the clinical team. I had to provide updated photos since I’d progressed to the next set of aligners since I last chatted with them. During this time I should just stay in my best fitting aligner to ensure that my teeth don’t shift.
Finally, 13 days later (after some back and forth about the photos not being attached to the original email), I got a response from a clinician, who noted that I could end my treatment early, but noting that…
“Failing to complete the treatment plan as prescribed will void your Satisfaction Guarantee. We confidently stand by your projected end result. That said, stopping treatment prior to reaching this end result compromises our ability to guarantee your results for life. Ultimately, we are here to help you achieve a safe and healthy final smile! If this is something you still would like to do, we will need to get you an impression kit in order to get you proper fitting aligners.”
I appreciated their note and their professional opinion. However, I wish they would have offered to reprint a new set of final aligner trays based on where my teeth were in that moment, rather than have me jump back 5 weeks in trays.
I think SDC does this–and they call it an ‘aligner touch-up’ or refinement, usually prescribed at the end of treatment. This means that the original plan may need to be updated during your treatment or additional aligners may be provided after. Byte doesn’t seem to have this. I suppose this is how Byte saves on costs.
Week 7 Progress Photos
MY BYTE EXPERIENCE: WEEK 12 PROGRESS
After all that hullabaloo, I decided to just be done with treatment. Sorry, Mr. Stubborn Tooth, I’m leaving you behind.
Overall, I am quite happy with my teeth. My teeth are a million times straighter than when I had first started and ultimately the “snaggletooth” problem that had got me started on this whole journey was no longer a snaggletooth! My upper teeth are straight (with the exception of the stubborn one on the right) and my bottom teeth are as perfect as ever.
Despite the fact that I still have an anterior bite (this is something that can really only be handled through comprehensive ortho care/treatment), my treatment through Byte actually did help me close it up a bit.
I went to see my dentist (and after being lightly lectured about how direct to consumer treatments are looked down upon in the dentist community), she did agree that Byte helped close up my anterior bite slightly. Ultimately, despite the prolonged back and forth, I am happy with the changes these Byte aligners were able to make to my smile.
Week 12 Progress Photos
BYTE TREATMENT: BEFORE AND AFTER
Alright, here are my before and after photos. I think these show the progress the best:
PROS: WHAT MADE BYTE GREAT
Byte was way cheaper than Invisalign, which is why I decided to do it in the first place. My insurance also covered half of the treatment cost, so I was happy to have saved $950 in the end! Out of pocket, I paid about $950. I also used money from my FSA account, which meant I actually saved more than $950 (by using my pre-tax dollars to pay for treatment).
Treatment Time: 10/10
Treatment with Byte was at least half the time of other companies out there like Invisalign, Smile Direct Club, or Candid. I needed to go with someone that could straighten my teeth relatively quickly, yet safely. I run a lot of meetings and do a lot of talking at my job so talking with a lisp for a prolonged amount of time was the least ideal situation. Byte’s Hyperbyte device definitely helped me do just that.
Sales / Customer Service Support: 10/10
The Byte Sales and Customer Service teams are great! Let’s start with my pre-treatment experience (being sent the impression kit, sending it back, waiting for my treatment plan). I hate scheduling time to talk on the phone, so I was absolutely delighted when I realized that I was being walked through the entire process by someone on the Sales/Customer Service team, almost entirely through SMS.
And this wasn’t just one day of texting this person–it was over multiple days. They texted me to remind me that my impression kit had shipped and that I had 1-2 days to get them done, they texted me to make sure I had received my kit, and even offered to answer any questions that I had on various occasions. It was such an easygoing experience where I could respond on my own time and I really felt taken care of through that entire process.
Now onto the actual treatment experience. Also great! Whenever I contacted them with questions or concerns through email, someone would get back to me either with an answer or an update within a day or two. They’re all friendly and do a great job making you feel heard.
However, when your request requires the customer service team to consult with the clinical team, that’s a different story. More on that later.
CONS: WHERE BYTE FALLS SHORT
Impression Kit Process: 6/10
Since I had done the impression process with both Byte and SDC, I can speak a little to this. I didn’t love the fact that I had to make my own impressions at home with Byte. Byte didn’t have in-person offices like Smile Direct Club where you can go in to get your impression done. I certainly hesitated to sign up for Byte for a few weeks simply due to the fact that I had to pay for my impressions out of pocket and do them myself.
Compared to Smile Direct Club who often offers discounts for the initial impression and also throws in freebies (like teeth whitener, tote bags, and gift cards), this was where Byte lost a point.
Having said that, this could also be interpreted as Byte being the more genuine brand. Whereas SDC was marketing like crazy and trying to get anyone and everyone to lock in consultations by offering gifts and freebies, Byte was just trying to do their thing–serve people who were actually serious, without the distraction of all the free gifts.
Clinical Team Support: 5/10
First off, I’d like to start by reiterating that Byte’s customer service support team is great. They get back to you promptly and will do what they can to answer your questions or address your concerns. But if your request requires the customer service team to consult with the clinical team, be prepared for a long wait before hearing back.
In my experience, my photos were sent to the clinical team on two occasions. In both instances, it took well over 7 days for the clinical team to respond (they say it usually takes 5-7 days for a clinician to get back to you). In my opinion, that’s a bit too long. What if I was experiencing pain or my aligner really didn’t fit and I needed prompt support? That’s why I’m giving this category a 5/10.
Doctor-Directed Care: 5/10
Byte touts themselves as providing “Comprehensive doctor-directed care and FDA cleared technology for faster results and a lifetime guarantee.” Hmmm, well I wouldn’t completely describe my care as “comprehensive” or “doctor-directed”.
Not once did any clinician reach out to schedule a Zoom call or a teledentistry meeting. With one set of teeth to last us our whole lives and a ton more ways where things could go wrong, I would think the dentist signing off on your care plan would care a bit more to at least check in once–even if just through email.
If I could recommend one thing that could have potentially helped avoid the issues that arose during my treatment? If Byte required a mandatory 15-30 minute meeting with their orthodontists as part of every treatment plan. The orthodontist should meet with each and every Byte patient through a teledentistry session in the beginning and shed some knowledge, answer questions, and lay out all the red flags or potentially concerning things patients should be looking out for during their treatment.
I mean, I work for an internet company, what do I know about teeth tracking correctly? No one once told me to watch out for air gaps during my treatment. It would have been great to have gotten that knowledge upfront because I would have done a better job raising my hand about my tooth tracking problem earlier in my treatment.
BYTE OVERALL RATING: THE BOTTOM LINE
MY BYTE OVERALL RATING
Despite the relatively minor challenges I faced in my Byte treatment, I’d still recommend them. 90% of my treatment went as planned, and 10% of it didn’t (yes, I’m talking to you Mr. Stubborn Tooth). Overall, I am happy with my results with Byte.
I would have appreciated more professional support, if just to help with the reassurance that there was really someone monitoring my treatment. With that in mind, Byte’s customer service team did a great job providing me with timely responses to my questions whenever I did reach out with questions and concerns.
I would have also appreciated Byte a bit more towards the end of treatment had they offered to take new impressions of my teeth in the current moment and print additional aligners to correct the existing positioning (rather than have me jump back 6 weeks so suddenly and move ALL my teeth backward in progress).
All in all, based on my personal experience, I think Byte is great for people looking for minor teeth straightening. Byte is great for people who don’t have bite issues or major underlying dental issues. For people who have more complicated dental histories, the recommended route is to see a real professional and opt for more comprehensive direct care and be treated with Invisalign or traditional braces.
Even based on the extensive research I did (which includes hours of reading tons of Reddit reviews/complaints), Byte provides a better overall experience than others like Smile Direct Club.
Think you’re ready to sign up for Byte? Click the button below or use this link here to get 75% off the impression kit to get started + an additional $100 off your treatment. You can thank me later.
BYTE VS. SMILE DIRECT CLUB: WHICH IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
I would certainly recommend Byte over Smile Direct Club, but ultimately this is something that you’re going to have to decide for yourself. After doing extensive research on my own (reading about sentiments of the dentist community, diving into Reddit user reviews, and scouring various comparison sites), I decided to go with Byte.
I’ve read really terrible horror stories about other people’s experiences with Smile Direct Club, and it was enough to make me stay away. Many Redditors who have gone with Smile Direct Club have also complained about their lack of customer service. There’s also a general sentiment on Reddit around how SDC will accept almost anyone who completes a consultation, simply just to monetize off of them. I don’t know how true that is, so I can’t speak on that myself.
Here’s a sample of what I’ve come across on Reddit:
And there you have it! I hope my honest Byte review and experience has helped clarify any questions you had in your mind about which aligner company to go with and whether or not Byte aligners are worth the money.