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Hello, I am Christina, and I am a 32 year old woman with braces. Well, not really braces braces, not these days anyway. Right now, as I type my little heart out to share my story, I am wearing clear aligners. (Okay, okay, truth be told my aligners are sitting in their case next to me as I am eating a bowl of ice cream. You caught me.)

Back in my awkward, pubescent middle school days, I had braces — the old-fashioned, typical-for-the-time metal braces with painful wires. That first round of braces, they were only on my “front eight” teeth, the top front four and bottom front four. My incisors, if you want to be technical. (Take a look at the image above to see little Christina dressed and ready for my first ice skating performance, braces and all.)

I even had headgear, but thank goodness I only had to wear it at night. And thank goodness I lacked a mature quality called self-consciousness, so I even took that dang headgear around to slumber parties. I also had a thing called a lip-bumper, which I did have to wear during the day, and I accidentally threw out in many school lunch trash cans, only to have to dig out later — pretty universal with removable dental appliances given to irresponsible children.

After a couple years of straightening, the braces came off temporarily while the orthodontist waited until I had all my permanent teeth. Then he put them right back on, strapping up my entire mouth this time.

I rocked a full mouth of metal for several more years. All said and done, I had braces for five years. Sheesh.

Then I was given my fancy retainers to be worn at night. And wear them I did! I wore them religiously, for approximately 8 years. And then, I became less and less vigilant about making sure I had them in while I slept. I figured it had been long enough that surely my teeth would be obedient and stay put.

My teeth have been relocating themselves now for a handful of years.

It is only in the past two or so years that I have been unhappy with them. Of course there is the aesthetic complaint, as well as the principle of the matter that I feel I “shouldn’t” have crooked teeth seeing as I had them straightened in the first place.

But more importantly, the way my lower teeth crowded led to one incisor being pushed back, and one protruding forward, which affected my bite. And with my giant teeth, a misaligned bite is a big deal. I actually ended up chipping one of my top front teeth with that lower level projectile.

I have been wanting my teeth to be straightened again since I chipped my tooth. But gosh knows that as a busy mom, I do NOT have time to get myself to an orthodontist on the reg, especially if I wanted any hope of going to appointments kid-free. I also do not want to be shelling out the dough on a redo of my mouth reno. Regular braces can start at around $4000! To get straight to the point (you see what I did there?), braces were not the answer for me.

And then I started seeing ads for at-home teeth straightening with clear aligner trays. There are several brands out there, so I did my research.

Candid had the most straightforward information, and when comparing plans and pricing, they were not only reasonable but they also accept FSA and HSA plans, so nothing came out of my pocket. In just six months, I will have gorgeous straight teeth, having paid less than half the price of traditional braces.

If you would like a straighter (and whiter) grin, and you are a busy mom (or really any adult human with very little extra time or money to spare), go get your starter kit and see what Candid is all about!

Get your starter kit here

So, how does the whole process work?

I applied online for an impressions kit, which arrived to my doorstep within a couple days. I followed the instructions to a T (or so I thought), sent the kit back in, and awaited to hear if I was a good candidate. I received word that I had botched my impressions (blow to the ego), and without hesitation they sent me out another kit. This time they scheduled me with a video chat with one of their specialists who walked me through making better impressions. We realized that I have two extra bones in my lower jaw that were skewing the bottom mold (if you’re curious, google “mandibular tori”), and that I’d need to use upper trays on my bottom teeth to get the best impression. He sent out an extra set of upper trays right away, I had another video call to get those done, and sent the completed kit in. This time I passed with flying colors!

With the impressions approved I had to submit photos of my mouth from particular angles. Candid is able to utilize digital imaging technology to cross-compare your teeth molds with your images to make sure that the treatment plan they design is accurate to your teeth, mouth, and bite. Once the treatment plan is designed by a contracted orthodontist, they email you an interactive 3-D model of how your teeth will shift as they straighten.

What blew me away was that I knew my bottom teeth needed work, but I thought my top teeth had remained straight through the years. In the interactive 3-D treatment plan preview online I was able to see how my upper teeth actually were a little jacked up too! So bonus for me that my already pretty straight uppers will be even straighter in the end. Score!

I approved my treatment plan online, made my HSA payment, and sat impatiently as I waited for my dental future. In just a couple weeks I received my gleaming white box filled with goodies. I received all 12 sets (the number of sets is specific to my straightening plan…yours will have more or less) of trays that I will wear for two weeks each. I also received a whitening foam to be used in the trays daily (both to whiten teeth and to keep the trays extra minty fresh), a little tool to help take the trays out, and “chewies” which are little tubes that you chew on to help set the trays in place.

Click below to see the video of my Candid unboxing and trying on my first set of aligners. (Spoiler alert: I had a hard time getting the trays in on the first go, but with a little finagling I figured it out. Now I can get my trays in correctly the first time, each time!)

My results

I am just about two months into my six month treatment now, and it’s amazing how much my teeth have already changed! Looking ahead through my future trays I can see that by tray number 8, my teeth will already look straight. No more bottom tooth challenging my upper teeth to a dual! Those final four aligners will be the icing on the cake to ensure my bite is correct. With the treatment with Candid being so fast, I will be completely done just in time for a good friend’s wedding in October where I am a Matron of Honor!

If you are looking for another reason to pick Candid over the other at-home teeth straightening programs, it is this: Candid gives back! They are partnered with Smile Train, which provides 100% free medical care for cleft lip and palate repair and treatment. You can learn more about that here:

Summary of why you should choose Candid for your clear aligners:

  • Affordable
  • All-inclusive price for aligners, whitening foam, first set of retainers, and access to “white-glove care team” support
  • BPA- and phthalate-free aligners
  • Accepts FSA/HSA plans
  • Great and friendly customer service (you always get a live person!)
  • Quick turnaround time from ordering to receiving your aligners
  • Short timeline for treatment, often just 6 months
  • Charitable organization

When you’re ready to make your move and experience yourself with a whiter, straighter smile, click the link below to see if you are a good candidate for Candid!

Are you a good candidate for Candid?

Christina Furnival

Christina is a mom to two wild and wonderful kiddos, a licensed psychotherapist (LPCC), the founder of her website and therapeutic motherhood blog Real Life Mama, and a children's book author of a social/emotional wellbeing series, Capable Kiddos! She and her Scottish husband are raising their family in San Diego, where they love to hike, play soccer, cook, walk around the lake, and go to the beach.

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