Everybody wants to have a million dollar smile, but most of us don’t look forward to obtaining that smile because it means regular trips to the orthodontist and a significant financial investment. Not just that, but traditional braces are nothing short of ugly and, while the end result may be worth it, wearing those braces isn’t something to enjoy.
In comes the Smile Direct Club, which claim that they can offer a truly innovative treatment, using invisible aligners, without the need to visit the orthodontist all the time. This sounds almost too good to be true, particularly because they claim that the overall price of having that beautiful smile is around 60% less than that of other methods. Let’s take a look.
The Smile Direct Club Promise
The Smile Direct Club is made up of some 225 licensed dental professionals who are able to evaluate your teeth, wherever you are in the country. They use 3D treatment modeling and, because they work remotely, the process is much more convenient for you. Before you begin to wear your aligners, you will already know what your end result will look like as well. They also promise that the price will be around 60% less of traditional braces because these dentists do not have to maintain an office. Nevertheless, quality is not sacrificed in the entire process. According to the company, the laboratories they use are the same ones used by regular dentists across the country. Put together, this makes it something worth considering.
About the Smile Direct Club
The company is headquartered in Nashville, TN, and was founded by Alex Fenkell and Jordan Katzman. Together, they understand that “telehealth” and 3D printing are the best way to radically change the market of invisible teeth aligners, and that it could help them drastically reduce the costs. They received financial backing from the Camelot Venture Club, which also backs Quicken Loans, 1-800-CONTACTS, and a range of other companies that offer a direct-to-customer service.
The company is also rated with the Better Business Bureau. At the time of this writing, they were rated A+, having received only 19 complaints that have all been closed. The complaints were mainly in relation to problems with receiving the product on time, poor customer service, and problems with receiving a refund. Each complaint has been responded to and resolved.
How the Smile Direct Club Works
There are two key steps to take. First of all, you need to have an initial consultation, which will get you set up on the program. There are SmileShop locations that you can go to for an appointment, or you can set it up online. You will have to attend your nearest SmileShop, where a certified SmileGuide will take a 3D image of your teeth. This process takes around 30 minutes to complete, and the results are instantly available.
The scan taken at the SmileShop will then be sent to a licensed dentist in digital format. They will then come up with a personalized plan and they will create an image of what your smile will look like once the treatment has been completed. If there is no SmileShop near you, the company will send you an impression kit that you can use at home, and you then need to send this to a dental professional licensed in your state, and they will develop your smile plan.
When all of that have been completed, the professionals at the Smile Direct Club will determine what the best treatment solution is for your needs, based on all the information you have provided them. You can reach a customer care specialist at any time through live chat, email, or telephone should you have any questions.
From start to finish, the SmileCheck software package that the Smile Direct Club has developed will create a connection between you and the dental professional assigned to you. All your case records will be managed through this as well. Your dentist will be able to see your dental impressions and other uploaded images through there, which enables him to prescribe the most appropriate system.
The second element is that you will need to learn how to work the system. According to the company, you can receive your full plan in a matter of days. You will receive all your aligners in one go, with instructions of which ones to wear and when. Generally, you will have to wear your aligners around the clock, taking them out only when you eat or drink anything other than water. Generally, it takes between four and 10 months to complete the whole process, with an average of six months. You will also be provided with a custom fit retainer that you wear once you have completed the program during the night, which will stop your teeth from returning to their previous positions.
How Do the Retainers Work?
Retainers are very different from braces. The latter uses wires and brackets, whereas aligners use pressure, tightly fitting over the teeth, slowing moving them into the desired position. After a few months of doing this, your teeth will look straighter and your smile will shine. Aligners like those used by the Smile Direct Club are plastic, but they are BPA-free.
Prices and What You Get
Completing a Smile Assessment online costs nothing, so there is no harm in finding out what could be possible for you. You do have to go to the SmileShop for your 3D scan, or use the impression kit, which costs $95. The company will then determine if you are a candidate on whom this treatment could work. If not, your $95 will be refunded to you. Should you decide to go for the treatment, you will have two payment options to choose from:
Pay for the full treatment in one go, which costs $1,850 regardless of what your treatment looks like.
Opt for the trademarked SmilePay plan, which means a down payment of $250 followed by 24 monthly payments of $80. This means that your total cost will be $2,170.
For that price, you will receive the full treatment package, as well as a complimentary whitening gel.
You do also have to purchase your retainer once your treatment is completed, which costs $99.
There are some other associated costs, but they are optional. They include:
$50 for a replacement retainer should you lose or break yours.
$49 for a new impression kit, although this can be deducted from the cost of the treatment plan when you buy aligners.
You also get a “Confident Smile Guarantee”, which means that if you aren’t happy with the system, regardless of why, you can return any aligners you haven’t used, and the money for those, pro-rata, will be refunded to you.
What About Insurance?
According to the company, if you have a dental plan with orthodontic benefits, you may be able to receive a reimbursement from them. However, you will have to request this after you make your purchase. The company itself does not work with insurance companies. They do, however, accept FSA and HSA plan payments, and they accept CareCredit. At the time of this writing, they also helped people who have received a tax rebate to put that towards their plan.
What I Liked About the Smile Direct Club
The aligners are transparent and therefore not noticeable, and they can be taken out.
You don’t have to wear aligners as long as braces.
You can take them out when you eat, so they stay clean.
Aligners are much more comfortable than braces.
You don’t have to worry about tooth discoloration.
The process is simple and affordable.
What I Didn’t Like About the Smile Dental Club
You must brush every time you eat to stop your aligners from discoloring.
You have to be very disciplined and wear the trays all the time.
Aligners cannot be used for complicated tooth movements or people who have bridges.
Opting for the pay monthly plan costs more.
The company has received a number of complaints, but they have all been resolved and none were in relation to the effectiveness of the product.
The Final Verdict on the Smile Dental Club
Consider Invisalign, which is, in terms of how it works, very similar to the Smile Dental Club. This costs an average of $5,000, depending on how long the treatment lasts and which dentist you go to. In contrast, Smile Direct Club costs $1,850, which means you can actually save a lot more than the 60% they promise. Yet, according to the company, the trays are made in the exact same labs and are therefore of the exact same quality as well. Of course, the big question is whether or not the program works. The company has been around for a few years and it has received numerous positive reviews from people who have tried and have had excellent results. If your intention was to have aligners to develop that million dollar smile, therefore, you really can’t go wrong with the Smile Dental Club. Everything is provided in an easy, convenient manner and it is affordable. This is 100% recommended.