How I Fixed My Teeth at Home
Last Updated September 2023
As someone who had metal braces as a kid, my teeth are in pretty good shape. But because I constantly lost my retainers and ultimately just stopped wearing them, my teeth have shifted through adulthood and there are some gaps in my smile that I wish I didn’t have.
I’ve wanted to fix those gaps for years but was pretty sure I’d never wear braces again, especially as a grown man.
Clear aligners present a much more palatable alternative to traditional metal braces. They generally fix your smile faster and are sold as being unobtrusive, even “invisible,” compared to the metal braces from the orthodontist.
There’s no way I’d endure those metal braces again, especially as a professional adult, but the marketing of invisible aligners from companies such as Invisalign, Byte and SmileDirectClub caught my attention. So, I dove deep into the plethora of information online about each company to try and decide if clear aligners were right for me and, if so, which company to go with.
If you want to skip to the end of the story, here it is: I ultimately decided to try Byte’s Clear aligners, and I ended up with the smile I had been wanting for years. Below, I’ll explain how I got there from evaluating the different brands to following through with the treatment process—so you can decide if clear aligners (and specifically, Byte), are right for you.
1. I cut out the dentist.
I live in a rural mountain town and don’t have a ton of options when it comes to dentists. The one dentist I liked retired and I loathe the process of trying out different offices, making and going to appointments, sitting in the chair, and then having to pay for the pleasure of it all!
One of the biggest differences with Byte is the process. Invisalign and others are administered from start to finish by a dentist or orthodontist and so for everything from the initial evaluation to check-ups to getting new aligners, you have to go to a dentist’s office. Even if you have a dentist or orthodontist in your area that you like, they have to offer Invisalign, so you may have to use a different provider than you’re used to.
With Byte, you can do an initial 30-second quiz online to see if you’re a good candidate. Then, you order an impression kit ,which costs about $100 (on-sale now for $29.95) and the cost is fully refunded if their in-state orthodontists determine Byte isn’t a good fit for you. If you proceed with treatment, they mail you 15 weeks worth of progressive aligners, and you’re off and running. Progress is monitored via their app, and monthly check-ins are also virtual.
If you have a dentist you like and trust and don’t mind the inconvenience of the appointments, other brands might work for you. But for me, the fact that Byte can be completed start-to-finish without having to deal with regular appointments was one of the biggest reasons I chose them.
2. Need for speed.
I’ll admit that I was not looking forward to wearing any kind of braces or aligners. I wore them for three years as a teenager and I don’t have great memories of the process. Even though I’d be cutting out the dreaded orthodontist trips this time around, I was worried I’d get so sick of wearing the aligners that I’d take hours and days off here and there, screw up the process (again!) and waste my money.
So the fact that Byte promised faster times for the adjustment of my teeth was another major consideration when shopping for a clear aligners provider. Byte doesn’t work overnight, but they advertise treatment times as fast as four months and with my reasonably straight teeth, I was optimistic that I could free my mouth after six months or less (you have to wear retainers after you’re done with the aligners, but it’s not all day).
Conversely, the treatment times for many other popular brands are closer to traditional braces, with at least a year of wearing the aligners for 22 hours a day—basically around the clock. My guess is that anyone trying to make drastic changes to their smile is going to require longer treatment times no matter which brand they go with, but I was optimistic Byte would be faster and they ultimately recommended a treatment time of about six months. Phew.
3. You can just work nights if you want.
While I didn’t end up going this route because I wanted to end treatment sooner, Byte does offer a 10-hour-a-day option that lets you essentially just wear the aligners while you sleep. This is a great option for people that can’t or don’t want to wear their aligners out in public.
The trade-off is that treatment time is going to be longer. The advantage here is that you can complete treatment for the most part in the privacy of your own home and no one besides your family/roommates/significant other needs to know you’re trying to fix your smile.
The aligners are far less noticeable than traditional braces, of course, and I never felt like anyone gawked at me, but you’ve probably noticed other people wearing them before and you will be aware of them, even if others aren’t. It’s a trade-off either way, but if you’re concerned about wearing aligners to work, on dates or just in public in general, the night-only option could be a good reason to go with Byte over other brands.
4. I kept the cost reasonable.
Even though I could afford any of the options I considered for straightening my teeth, I got hung up on the cost. Some of the options such as Invisalign can cost as much as $6,000 and I just wasn’t sure I wanted to fix my teeth that badly. When I found the pricing information on Byte’s website and saw they have a fixed fee of $1,999, I realized that was a cost I was willing to pay.
While I didn’t use it myself, they have a BytePay plan that lets you put $249 down and pay in installments. I was also able to get a credit for $300 through my dental insurance, which really sweetened the deal even though it wasn’t a ton of money.
I might not have even bothered to deal with my insurance provider, but thankfully Byte has insurance specialists that will deal with your provider for free. Just upload a copy of your insurance card via the Byte website and one of their insurance specialists will get to work looking at your options for subsidizing the cost of invisible braces through your insurance. Byte will then send you an email summarizing their findings so you can evaluate their price plans knowing how much, if any, insurance will cover—before you spend a dime.
5. I saw results.
If I learned anything from my experience with metal braces, it’s that you need to follow instructions and see the process through to the finish. If I had stuck with my retainers, I might not have needed aligners in the first place.
Smartphones didn’t even exist when I wore braces, but they do now and Byte uses their My Byte app to help you track your progress. There were times I just didn’t feel like wearing my aligners, but I was surprised at how motivating the regular progress photos were for me.
The app also reminds you when it’s time to switch to the next aligner in the series, which is a relief for busy people who already have too many to-dos to remember.
At the start of the process, you also get a 3D rendering of how your teeth ought to look after treatment which helps with motivation to stick with it as well. When I was a teen wearing traditional braces, the only solace I had was a promise from the orthodontist that my teeth would look better at the end. Having that image of the smile you are aiming for helps you stick to the plan.
In the end, I was happy with how my teeth turned out and would recommend Byte to anyone who, like I did, wants to fix their smile but wants to do it fairly quickly, effectively and without dealing with dental appointments.
That said, every set of teeth is different so I’d recommend starting by taking Byte’s free online quiz to see if you’re a fit for their clear aligners.