Smile Direct Club Review – Is that Beautiful Smile Finally Within Your Reach?

3/5 (4 votes)

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:

  1. Pay for the full treatment in one go, which costs $1,850 regardless of what your treatment looks like.

  2. 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.

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Jim

This experience started of great, but took a turn for the worst very quickly.
My first issue was when I was changing to a new set of liners and they were both for my bottom teeth. I contacted customer service and they apologized and told me they would send the correct liners for that week. They never did, and still haven’t. After a few weeks the liners that I was wearing until I received my replacement liners got very nasty, and weren’t invisible any longer, so I skipped the missing week and went to the next week.
When I opened the packet for month 4 week one it contained two liners for my upper teeth and no lower aligner. Again, I contacted customer service and they told me the initial replacement liners were never set, and they would send the replacement liners on the 21st of June. On the 22nd of June they called to tell me that those liners weren’t shipped and they didn’t know when they would be sent.
I advised the customer rep not to send anything that I was going to consult with an attorney to see what my options are. So of the 12-14 liners I received at least two of them were wrong, there is no quality control in place. I never did any check in with a dentist because I was waiting on replacement liners (that were never set). The liners did a great job of spacing out my teeth, so now I need to floss every time I eat anything.
So long story short…… just go to your dentist and have this process done correctly. Smile Directs customer service folks will respond pretty quickly, but its normally someone different that’s just reading from the note already in the system and really doesn’t have a good measure of just how frustrated the customer is. I am not a fan of paying for something and having the supplier tell me if and when I can have it.
Not only aren’t my teeth fixed, I’m stuck somewhere half way through the process and will have to pay my dentist to finish this process correctly.

susan wise

This sounds like a SmileDirect ad, not a review. Many negative comments are removed or not posted, based on my own investigations.

Christian

I tried the product and they sent the wrong aligners. I asked for the correct ones to be sent and they made a big deal about receiving pictures. Every single picture I sent them they said was wrong and they kept asking for more. I ended up giving up and just accepted that my teeth would not be aligned.

JULEETTE STUCKEY

SCAM- spent the time and money- they DIDN’T fix my canines and then ARE ASKING FOR ANOTHER 100$ A MONTH

Diane

I am returning mine. They are 20 years behind the times. They are poorly made, stick your mouth with all the rough edges. I am returning mine!

Cautious One

I went to a smile shop in town because I was interested in saving money on straightening my teeth. They said that they could do a scan that day, little did I know that I would be signing up for a horrible experience. Thankfully I never put the aligners in because they would have messed my teeth up pretty bad. But how they work is: you go in talk to the sales person (not a dentist) tell them everything you want to accomplish from the treatment, they fill you with empty promises, rush you through important information you sign and agree to, get your credit card number, say dont worry you wont be charged if the provider does not accept your case, then you get an email saying they approved your plan, you don’t get any option to accept or decline the proposed results, at that point they charge your card, and start printing the aligners and you have no final say cause it done. If you have any concerns and want to cancel, they ignore you until you receive the package in the mail and then expect you to pay to ship it back. If you dispute the charge, they will lie to your bank outright, just as they lied to you the customer. When I went in, the lady said they could do all sorts of things I was asking about. Then I get the 3D view online and realize that they would only move the front six teeth, which is a joke. It is not worth the potential heath risks, ruined bite, or money to have an actual orthodontist fix what they will do to your mouth. The communication with customer service is inconsistent, not honest and a waste of time. __________________________________________________________________ Read CAREFULLY the Consent and History page on their site: //smiledirectclub.com/consent/ – “It is your responsibility to see a dentist within 6 months prior to starting SmileDirectClub aligners, to verify that your teeth and gums healthy prior to using SmileDirectClub aligners. It is also your responsibility to maintain and have follow-up dental care during and after SmileDirectClub aligner therapy.” – “By signing this Informed Consent, I understand that I am certifying that: My dentist cleaned my teeth. My dentist took x-rays of my teeth. My dentist checked for and repaired cavities, loose or defective fillings, crowns or bridges. My dentist checked my x-rays and I have no shortened or resorbed roots. My dentist checked my x-rays and I have no impacted teeth. My dentist has probed or measured my gum pockets and says I do not have periodontal or gum disease. My dentist preformed a full oral-cancer screening in the last 6 months and I do not have oral cancer. I have no pain in any of my teeth. I have no pain in my jaws. I have no loose teeth. I have no “baby teeth” and all of my permanent teeth are present.” __________________________________________________________________ SmileDirect does not ask about or verify any of the… Read more »

Diane

I agree! Flimsy poorly made liners and I have heard from my new ortho that they have had quite a few people come in after Smile Direct with loose teeth and agree – waste of money!

Marsha Jenson

Smile Direct preys on gullibility (and anyone’s idea they can get true orthodontic pro care and results for pennies, paired with the laziness of getting your aligners in the mail).
THE TRUTH: I, myself, have actually attempted treatment with Smile Direct and it was an epic fail from a disastrously disorganized company, set up for quick, cheaply acquired profit from gullible consumers, who neither knew better nor could afford better. I’m still fighting for my money back from this nightmare of an experience from smart mouth, callous customer service reps (adding insult to the injury of an already botched treatment plan). I’ll have to write a voluminous series of literature to tell of the entire fiasco I survived dealing with the horror story named Smile Direct Club.

TRUE poor performance and poor ways of doing business with consumers.

Smile Direct Club needs to either seriously do an overhaul, IMPROVE, their handling of patient treatment to be of true quality and dental professionalism, get organized, cut out making promises they can’t deliver, I.e overall DO BETTER – OR -just wrap it up and go out of business and spare anymore disgrace to the dental (orthodontic) industry! Spare consumers their time, money, and hopes. More people need to know that this company as it poorly operates today is to be AVOIDED. GO TO A REAL ORTHODONTIC OFFICE AND SPEND THE EXTRA BUCK, ATTENDING SCHEDULED VISITS AND GET YOUR TEETH STRAIGHTENED CORRECTLY PERIOD.

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