When it comes to straightening your teeth for a happier smile and a more confident life, the technological advances over standard braces have come to age. Now it is possible to gently and systematically with precision straighten out one’s teeth within a year to improve your poise and possess the teeth you should have.

One such company that can take care of this for you is Candid. We will explore their origins, their procedure along with cost, and what we appreciated and did not love about this company.

Who Is Candid And Are They Legitimate?

The idea of starting a company like Candid was initially conceived in the mind of Nick Greenfield in 2012. A young person in his early 20’s who had an idea to bring orthodontic teeth alignment to the public at an affordable cost. Even with his newfound dental insurance, it was going to cost him more than he could afford.

After being introduced to Lilla Cosgrove, together they launched Candid in the fall of 2017. There is everything about this company that follows its name which is to be forthright honest and upright in their product and service. They only work with orthodontists, not dentists as they required more training in their dental professionals.

They have a substantial investment in their company from investors to the tune of up to $90 Million and is not showing a profit yet. [i] Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all their offices are temporarily closed, and everything is being accomplished online via their starter kits, technology, and their team of employees and orthodontists working from the shelter-in-place protocols.

They can boast of thousands of customers now, at least 275 employees, over 50 orthodontists and I counted 24 locations across the United States. Also, they are working with Smile Train to help cleft children around the world with corrective surgery and palate treatment.

Their website states that for every aligner kit sold, they donate $25 to Smile Train. They are truly a candid company in helping people around the world obtain new confidence and joy in life. Under their social impact link, you will be brought to Smile Train[ii] where you can learn about the partnership and outstanding work that Smile Train is accomplishing in the lives of less fortunate people.

What Is The Procedure?

Under normal conditions (before Covid-19) the first step would be to set up an appointment in one of their offices across the country. This initial visit will determine if you are a candidate for their process of having your teeth straightened. Due to government-mandated shut-downs due to this coronavirus as of this writing, their offices are closed.

On the website, they are offering a 50% discount on their starter kit sent directly to your home. The kit normally costs $95 but is available for $47, fully refundable if determined not a candidate for their teeth straightening procedure. You can take a 30-minute survey to see if you might qualify for being a candidate.

The starter kit comes with all the items necessary to obtain an actual impression of your teeth, along with a prepaid shipping return box. Upon receiving the returned box, a staff orthodontist will access the case and if a qualified candidate will set up the treatment.

Step two will be receiving your treatment kit. It comes fully designed individually for the patient complete with 24 steps and aligners, along with a handy device to use your phone to take pictures of your mouth from different angles and send them back to the company.

You can check-in anytime you want, but your assigned orthodontist will track your progress from the phone scans you send in when asked to during treatment. They will let you know when to go to the next step.

During each step, you wear the aligners for each step as you progress toward straighter teeth. This is truly a home tooth straightening methodology. If you read one of their articles on the site by Dr. C Lynn Hurst entitled: Why Candid Doesn’t Offer Night Wear Only Clear Aligners, you will understand their methodology from a scientific perspective. These are not just night-time aligners. You will start by wearing your aligners 22 hours a day, for the first two weeks minimal.

The average time frame for the complete alignment to take place in about 6 months. The reason that trained orthodontists can treat a patient remotely is advanced in technology, digital photography from your smartphone and their device, 3D printing, and the current state of the art in teeth realignment.

The orthodontist assigned to your case is with you during the entire process to guide you and work with you, so office visits are minimal. They made it clear that their will be mild to moderate pain due to teeth movement, which is also why a qualified orthodontist is with you during the entire treatment.

In addition to the alignment process, there is the tandem benefit that your teeth will be whitened with their foam whitener and whitening pen. You simply spray the foam into the aligners during the cleaning process and can also stay in your aligner while you wear them even while sleeping.

Realigned teeth that are whitened at the same time. Not a bad deal!

What Are The Aligners Made Out From?

Candid Company’s clear aligners are made by one of the three major aligners manufacturers called Clear Connect. These aligners are molded at high temperatures using plastic polymers. These are called thermoplastics. They can be made from:

  • polyethylene terephthalate glycol-modified (PET-G)
  • polypropylene, polycarbonate (PC)
  • thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU)
  • Ethylene-vinyl acetate, among others.

Any compound or substance that may have been known to be harmful has been removed from the manufacturing process. Although the system of delivery to patients has changed over the years in companies like Candid, plastic molded aligners have been in use for well over twenty years.

The science behind progressively moving the teeth with gentle pressure creating a bone restructuring has been well documented and is explained even on one of Candid Companies’ article.[iii]

What Does It Cost?

Simply stated the entire teeth straightening process currently costs $2,400 all in. With that being stated it appears to cost much less than braces and Invisalign. They have a cost comparison on their website.

The ways to pay are cash upfront, $399 down, and $99 per month for 24 months. I assume that this is a financing arrangement with a third party if you qualify.

Potentially you can also use your HAS/FSA from your insurance plan, and they will send you a reimbursement receipt. The last option would be to see if your insurance covers remote treatments billed with code D8040.

Their refund policy is very limited to the starter kit in the initial step. The link to their refund policy is the refund policy.[iv] Do not assume that you can start the full service with your specially molded set for your entire treatment and then request a refund. This will not happen and understandably it should not happen.

This is because Candid Company makes sure you are a candidate for their service on the front end with their starter kits. If you choose to move forward with their service, you should follow through. This places the patient as accountable for their own health decisions as well.

Does The Process Work?

In the spirit of full disclosure, the writer of this article was not a patient at the time of the review. So, the question of knowing does the process work from a company that was only started in 2017 is still under review in our opinion. After all, we are talking about your teeth, your smile, and well an important part of your life.

If you go to their results page you will see picture after picture of before and after treating patients. Also, you will have the option of reading many positive statements from happy clients. This seems to be a good thing, especially for a start-up company with less than 5 years of track record.

If you take the time to look them up in the National Better Business Bureau[v] (BBB) you will see about 67 complaints reported. So, this is a good place to see the other side of the reviews section. Of the 67 complaints, 59 of them were closed and this company still has a rating of A+ with the BBB. Each person’s complaint is to be taken seriously as each person represents a life to live and a mouth that needed their teeth straightened.

Keeping things in perspective is that just about any company making an impact positively will have complaints against it from time to time. This can be demonstrably shown even as Microsoft is a case in point, that was sued by 38 USA states at one time, yet we all continue to use their products.

What We Liked About Candid Company

We liked the fact that even when their physical locations were required to be closed due to a COVID-19 Pandemic, they still managed to allow access to their product and service online. We liked the fact that the company will use only orthodontists instead of dentists as these medical professionals have at least three more years of training.

The fact that a person can order a starter kit, receive it, follow instructions, and send it back all in the comfort of their home was a big plus. We like the fact that the cost is reasonable at $2,400 and they offer a potential financing plan along with working with insurance to help cover costs.

Also, once treatment is approved, the patient receives their entire process kit and starts immediately. The technology of the device used in conjunction with their smartphone to take progress pictures of their mouth was novel.

A person simply wears the aligners in progression, and they will be notified via email and even phone conversation if needed to move to the next step. It seems to be a seamless process.

What We Did Not Like About Candid Company

The first thing we did not like was their customer reviews from the following perspective. Having a large pool of satisfied customers is paramount for one’s business growth, however, it is not the full story. We had to go to outside reviews like the BBB to get any complaints.

Now if they want to follow their story of being candid, they should post even the negative complaints up as well. It will give a bigger picture of this company. Why is this? Because having a complaining customer is an opportunity to serve and help the customer who is simply begging the business for a reason to continue the relationship.

Besides, what is worse about a complaining customer is simply a customer who quietly goes away and lets 10 or more of their friends know about not dealing with this company.

The second thing we did not like was more of a technology issue that Candid Company faces along with their competitors. It is the fact that they can only help mild to moderate teeth realignment. This tells me that their system has limitations and that old fashion braces may not be in vogue, but still are needed in today’s world.

Maybe the technology cannot help the more than moderately misaligned teeth out in the world, but maybe this can be a solution for future research and technology. We would trust and hope that contributing dollars are going into this research to help these also needed people.

Conclusion

Candid Company is a company that is at the forefront of the teeth realignment industry and is a company that may very well be on a sustainable track with its business model and products.  The real test of the quality of their product and perpetuity of their company will show up during this time that their offices are closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Candid Company is a solid company doing great things for the dental health of people around the world.

References:

[i]https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexandrasternlicht/2019/04/16/something-to-smile-about-candid-raises-63-million-to-be-the-warby-parker-of-braces/#15acde6cb256

[ii]https://www.smiletrain.org/get-involved/corporate/partners/candid

[iii]https://www.candidco.com/theimpression/article/questions-about-clear-aligners

[iv]https://www.candidco.com/legal/refund-policy

[v]https://www.bbb.org/us/ny/new-york/profile/orthodontist/candid-0121-174671/complaints