Meet The Dental Startup That’s Disrupting The Braces Biz With Virtual Appointments


Let’s not kid ourselves: having braces sucked. Aside from getting to pick out the color of the rubber bands (the novelty of which wore off after approximately two selections), the only good thing about braces was how good your teeth looked when they came off. Between the cuts on the inside of your lips, the restricted diet, and the awkward metal-mouthed grin, the entire experience is something I, personally, would like to block out of my mind entirely. Now, imagine going through the process as an adult with a demanding job, social life, and/or family. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, adults are seeking orthodontic treatment in record numbers.

Thankfully, the options for braces are far more expansive than they were back in the day. Instead of decorating our teeth with train tracks, we have the option of invisible aligners (a la Invisalign) which can fix smiles without sacrificing them for a significant period of time in order to make it happen. Still, while there are a number of brands on the market working to help adults like me, who stupidly never wore my retainer once my braces were removed, getting well-aligned teeth after grade school is a real pain — and a costly one. But there’s a new direct-to-consumer company that’s looking to make the process more accessible than ever before by making an expensive in-office procedure more of over-the-counter option.

Enter Candid, the braces biz with a millennial twist that spreads beyond their millennial pink offices and catchy ads. We're talking virtual appointments, visual updates, low costs, and cool customer service. “Candid's mission is to make high quality oral healthcare accessible to all, starting with orthodontics,” says the brand’s co-founder and head of product Lilla Cosgrove, who notes that she had braces twice when she was growing up. “I would have said that I wore my retainers most of the time, but my teeth had started to move out of alignment, and when I looked into my options, I realized they were exorbitantly expensive. With updated telemedicine laws, we realized we had the opportunity to bring access not only to people like me, but people who might live somewhere where there simply wasn't high quality care available.”


Photo: c/o Candid

Here’s how it works: You start by purchasing a $95 modeling kit online to take a mold of your teeth (at home!) and begin the process. The company will then put together a fully interactive digital preview of how your teeth will adjust over time, which has been customized by an orthodontist. When you’re ready to begin treatment, they’ll ship the 3D-printed clear aligners to your house at whatever frequency your orthodontist has suggested, and once you’re finished, they’ll outfit you with a retainer to keep your new smile intact. Throughout the entire process you never have to step foot in an orthodontist’s office, and compared to most other conventional braces options, which can cost between $5,000 and $6,000, a full Candid process only costs $1,995.

Opening up access to orthodontic care will not only help give people straighter teeth (which, obviously, is a given), but it also has the potential to seriously boost confidence. According to research, people developed higher self-satisfaction and more positive attitudes after they’d straightened their teeth. And in a recent survey conducted by Invisalign, 60 percent of respondents said that with straighter teeth, they were perceived as being happier, and 92 percent of respondents reported that they were much more confident after having straightened their teeth than they were before.

“Straightening your teeth has huge oral health benefits, but it's also something that can remove a layer of self-consciousness and make you smile more and share that light,” agrees Cosgrove.

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