Smile Direct Club Aligners: An Honest Review
Do you dream of perfectly straight teeth without multiple trips to the orthodontist and without unsightly braces? The Smile Direct Club offers an alternative to the traditional methods of correcting dental alignment issues. Besides saving you time, SDC can save you money, too, allowing you to live your life without all the hassle.
However, Smile Direct Club does have a few downsides, which we will go over in detail. Let’s start with all aspects of correcting your teeth through this company, and then we will give you our final verdict. Get all your questions answered so you can make an informed decision.
Understanding Smile Direct
With Smile Direct Club, you get an entire tele-dentistry experience for a much lower price than at a traditional orthodontist. An affiliated doctor manages the entire treatment from a distance. From there, you receive aligners made in America using the newest technology, 3D printing, from the company’s state-of-the-art facility. The company guides treatments with online check-ins and provides access every day of the year from their professional dental care team.
How It Works
The steps are simple and all start with a simple click on the “Am I A Candidate?” button. Enter your reasons for straightening your teeth (seems obvious, doesn’t it), whether you have worn braces in the past, and your biggest concerns. Now a couple of quick references of location and your email address, and you are ready for the next step.
The aligners work by making slight adjustments to the position of your teeth. Each aligner changes that position until your teeth are straight. All the aligners are made of BPA-free plastic that will not irritate your gums or cheeks, making them a great alternative to metal braces.
After you submit your information, you have two choices. Either go for a free scan at a SmileShop and get a free whitening treatment, too or spend a small amount of money for an impression kit you can do at home. We highly recommend choosing to visit a SmileShop as they can do a full 3D scan of your teeth for more accurate and targeted results. Moreover, the chance of incorrectly using the impression does not happen in the doctor’s office.
Yes, we know the whole point is to avoid going to a dentist or orthodontist; however, the 3D scan allows you to get the most for your money with minimal invasiveness. Also, the scan allows you the opportunity to see what your smile will look like after your plan is complete!
Keep in mind that these prices for the 3D scan and the impression kit can change monthly.
Now you wait for your plan and aligners to arrive. Each plan differs according to individual needs. However, most people have the option for either aligners or nighttime aligners. With the aligners, you need to wear them for 22 hours a day and only take them out when you are eating. The nighttime aligners need to be worn for 10 hours each evening.
Most people do not sleep for 10 hours, so you will need to wear them for a few waking hours too. Plan to wear them for a couple of hours before bed and until breakfast, depending on your sleep schedule. Both options cost the same price and which is right depends on your needs. However, the more you wear the aligners, the faster they will work.
You will need to clean the aligners every day and keep them in their case when they are not in your mouth. Customers with mild to moderate crowding or spacing issues can use nighttime aligners. In contrast, the daytime aligners are perfect for everyone who qualifies for Smile Direct Club.
Finally, everyone will get a different amount of aligners ready to progress through treatment. The clear aligners are molded for your mouth and will fit tightly as they work to shift your teeth. You will switch aligners every few weeks, and the next step will mail straight out to you.
After you finish with all of your aligners, it’s time to get a retainer to ensure your teeth stay in their new beautiful alignment. Even with braces, you will need a retainer after to keep your pearly whites straight. The retainers are clear too and made out of a specific plastic made to last for six months. Keep in mind, you will need to replace your retainer every six months for the rest of your life, and that price is going to add up, which is why the company offers a retainer subscription plan for ease and affordability.
With the daytime aligners, your plan will take between four and six months. If you choose the nighttime aligners, you will double the finish line. Instead of four to six months, you are looking at eight to ten months. While longer, this timeline is still so much shorter than traditional braces!
If you find you are not happy with your treatment after your final plan, you have thirty days to request a re-evaluation. A dentist or orthodontist will re-evaluate your results and may choose to add aligners to your plan at no additional cost to continue your teeth straightening plan. Basically, refinements are touch-ups to ensure you are satisfied with your new smile.
Besides the aligners, the kit will include an emery board, lip balm, a whitening pen, smile stretchers, a case, and guides for correct use. The emery board allows you to filed down any parts that irritate your mouth. While the aligners will be smooth, many find some irritation, so the company offers an option to correct the situation.
Also, the lip balm helps to soothe stretched-out lips. The smile stretchers allow you to pull your lips out of the way to take pictures for your next visit with your doctor. When needed, you will receive aligner tools too to help you remove the aligners called. Also, you get Movemints that get you munching to (like gum) to help assist in moving your teeth.
The pricing is always subject to change, so check for the most current prices. First, you will pay for either the impression or 3D scan. Second, choose to pay a single payment of $1950 or $250 down and $89 a month for two years. You do not need to do a credit check. Once you pay, the company will begin to make your plan and aligners. Also, you will pay $99 for a set of retainers after your treatment to preserve your smile.
If you pay all at once, you will save money as it’s a total of $2386 if you pay monthly. However, insurance can help to cover the costs. Shipping is always free.
If you have dental or orthodontic insurance, you may be eligible for coverage through insurance. Most insurance will pay a percentage but not the entire bill. Some companies expect you to pay the bill upfront, and then they will reimburse you for their portion. Smile Direct Club will provide the forms you need to file a claim.
SDC accepts United Health Care, Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross or Blue Shield, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Delta Dental, Humana, Met Life, and many other insurances. Also, you can use HSA/FSA debit cards.
Like most companies, Smile Direct Club provides an assortment of other products you can purchase. Their selection includes an electric toothbrush, electric flosser, whitening toothpaste, sensitivity toothpaste, whitening kit, alignment cases, lip balm, and a smile spa (to clean your items).
Smile Direct Club commits themselves to 24/7 care for their customers. Even on Better Business Bureau, SDC connects with each complainant. A few customers complained of issues with customer service, but overall, the company works hard to maintain a strong relationship with customers.
Smile Direct Club is committed to you loving your smile, which is why they offer a 30-day money-back promise. Of course, the treatments last longer than 30 days, and yet the guarantee is for within the first month. You can return aligners after the first month for a prorated refund. Make sure you register your aligners before starting treatment online or on the app to ensure the chance of a refund.
Furthermore, the company offers aligner touch-ups during treatments, and you get lifetime touch-ups after treatment. Complete regular check-in to ensure your treatments are going as planned and to bring up any concerns. For touch-ups after your treatment plan, you must maintain a retainer subscription and wear the retainer; then, you can get a touch-up approval from one of the companies dental care team members.
Peruse the Smile Direct website, and you will quickly see many before and after pictures proving the effectiveness of the aligner system. Even a quick search on Google will also show you just how happy customers are with the system. Not everyone sees impressive results, though, which is why the company offers touch-ups after the fact.
How Smile Direct Club Compares to Traditional Braces
Traditional braces take much longer and hurt more than SDC. Moreover, braces are very visible, while the Smile Direct Club aligners are clear and practically invisible. The price is one of the main factors for many customers as braces and even Invisalign cost over $5,000 while SDC only costs about $2,000 (before retainers). Insurance will cover a larger portion of Smile Direct Club aligners too.
Furthermore, you cannot remove traditional braces, but you can take the aligners out to eat or get a short break from discomfort. Braces do not include free teeth whitening either and can stain your teeth around the brackets. Overall, Smile Direct Club seems like a smart choice.
As with all things, you will find customer complaints, but overall, Smile Direct Club gets 4 out of 5 stars, according to BBB. Some people did not respond well to the treatment and did not see much change in their mouths. Others had issues with shipments or aligners not arriving. Moreover, others had issues with the aligners hurting their mouth or cutting their mouth. The vast majority of customers were able to mediate with the company for a solution.
Problems with Smile Direct Club
The main problem with Smile Direct Club is the same problem with traditional braces – they straighten your teeth without correcting the issues causing the crooked teeth. Retainers are necessary for both systems because the results will not stay without the additional equipment. Dentists and orthodontists have started researching what causes crooked teeth so they can address the root of the problem instead of masking the symptoms.
Mind you, the practice has not reached the vast majority of dental clinics yet, but you can find these orthodontists willing to find out the cause of the problem. One place to start looking is at dentist and orthodontists who work with Myobrace’s and attempt to correct the problems. The younger you are, the more successful the treatments, and you can bring your children in before they turn ten to start making improvements while they are still growing and likely to see changes easily and quickly.
Another option you can check into is a speech or mouth therapist. They are trained to find out what works incorrectly in the mouth. Sometimes the problem is an incorrect tongue thrust or a tongue tie. Many other problems could cause crooked teeth that require a professional as well. A speech therapist can find where the tongue pressure pushes in the mouth to ensure it’s working correctly while also ensuring the proper placement of your tongue when resting. Your tongue has a huge effect on your teeth, but dentists and orthodontists usually ignore the tongue completely.
This leads to the main problem with Smile Direct Club, you do not have a dentist or orthodontist in person who can discuss issues. Also, Smile Direct Club cannot create space in the mouth for teenagers who need room for teeth. If your teenager still has teeth coming in, do not use Smile Direct Club at least until their teeth are completely in their mouth.
Orthodontists thoughts on Smile Direct Club
It’s no surprise that orthodontists do not recommend such an impersonal form of treatment. They have legitimate concerns, to be sure, but at the same time, you must consider the possibility that they do not want to reduce their customer base. Mostly, orthodontists worry about the legitimacy of a diagnosis done online. Only you can decide which is right for you as some people do not want a personal experience and would rather focus on speed.
FAQs About Smile Direct Club
Get some answers to your questions to help you make a more informed decision.
Who does not qualify for Smile Direct Club aligners?
Individuals with more severe dental problems may have to stick to braces instead. These problems include an overbite, underbite, cross-bite, or jaw disorder. If you have mild to moderate teeth issues such as gaps or crowding, or mild straightening, then the aligners may work for you.
Will I need to wear the aligners all day?
Yes, if you choose to get the daytime aligners, you will need to wear them for 22 hours a day or when you are not actively eating. You can also choose the nighttime aligners that only need to be worn for 10 hours in the evening and while you sleep.
Can I get Smile Direct Club if I have my wisdom teeth?
You can still use the system with wisdom teeth, but only after the company assesses the situation. If a dentist has already told you to get them removed, then you should. You can still use the system with implants and missing teeth too.
Will Smile Direct Club work for teenagers?
Yes, teenagers can use the system so long as their teeth meet the requirements. If you have multiple teenagers, you can save a lot of money using this system over braces. However, the company does not give a discount for families with multiple people using the system.
Am I going to have a lisp while wearing the aligners?
Yes, you will have a lisp, at least for the first week or two. Before long, your tongue will get used to the aligners and correct the lisp naturally.
How do I clean the aligners?
You can clean the aligners with the Smile Spa that uses ultrasonic vibrations and UV lights to clean 99% of bacteria. Also, you clean them with soap, vinegar, baking soda, and peroxide, all with water too.
Are the aligners painful?
The aligners will be uncomfortable at first as your mouth is not accustomed to the feeling. Your teeth may feel tight, too, for the entire time. Use the emery board to shave down any sharp spots. Over time you will get used to the feeling and find the aligners to be less uncomfortable.
Final Thoughts About Smile Direct Club
Smile Direct Club offers a valuable and affordable method of straightening your teeth with invisible aligners. The differences from traditional braces are astounding and beneficial to many people who do not mind an impersonal treatment plan. However, Smile Direct Club will not fix the problems that cause crooked teeth. It’s definitely an option for those who want a quick method of getting a beautiful smile.