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SmileDirectClub

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SmileDirectClub

Overall Rating

3.3

666 Customer Reviews

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Summary

SmileDirectClub promises to give you a straighter smile within six months of wearing its customizable aligners. While this procedure can straighten teeth for some people, it has limitations compared to traditional braces.

Pros

  • More cost-effective than braces
  • Many positive customer success stories
  • Simple pricing plan, often covered by insurance
  • Faster results than traditional braces

Cons

  • Only works for mild to moderate tooth issues
  • Didn’t work for everyone
  • Some customer complaints about quality, receiving the wrong aligners
  • You won’t undergo comprehensive medical testing beforehand as you would with traditional dental procedures

SmileDirectClub Review: A Detailed Look

By Lydia Noyes

Updated on: Jun 25, 2020

SmileDirectClub sells the promise of straighter teeth without the inconvenience of years of braces. These clear aligners will purportedly straighten your teeth within 4–6 months of continuous use—no orthodontics appointments necessary.

This straightening solution works best for mild to moderate teeth issues and is marketed towards teens, though you can use the system at any age.

The company claims that you’ll save up to 60% compared to braces and will get results more than twice as fast.

In this review, we take a look at the effectiveness and other important details of this product to help you decide if this is the right option for you.

How It Works

SmileDirectClub’s clear aligner therapy program works to shift your teeth into straighter positioning over about six months. You’ll receive several sets of custom-made retainers designed to build on the progress of each other.

These aligners are designed for mild to moderate teeth correction problems, including teeth spacing, crowding, rotations, and bite correction. You can take the company’s short assessment to learn whether you could be a candidate.

SmileDirectClub is available for anyone 12 and older, but teens under 18 need an adult’s permission before signing up.

You’ll start the ordering process either by visiting a SmileShop retail location for an in-person scan or ordering an Impression Kit online.

All SmileShops let you book 30-minute appointments, during which a SmileGuide will make a 3D image of your smile using an optical camera.

This scan is sent to the SmileDirectClub lab so that a licensed dental professional can assess your mouth.

If you’re found to be a good candidate for the aligners, the company will use those images to build your custom treatment plan, which includes before and after 3D visualizations of how your teeth will move during treatment.

Another option is to order an Impression Kit, which is priced at $29–$49, depending on the promotion.

The kit lets you take impressions of your smile and send them back to the company in the included prepaid packaging.

As with the SmileShop images, a dental professional will review your impression and create a plan for you if you qualify.

Your money will be refunded if the company’s experts determine that its aligners aren’t the right treatment option.

Once your treatment plan is approved, SmileDirectClub will send you a full set of custom-made aligners.

The set will include instructions for how to wear them and when to switch between them. You can register your aligners online for digital alerts when it’s time to upgrade.

Each aligner is designed to make slight adjustments to the position of your teeth so that they gradually shift into better alignment over several months.

You’ll likely feel some soreness for the first few days you wear a new aligner set, but it should go away within a few days.

As the aligners are removable, you won’t have any food restrictions during your treatment time. You also won’t need to complete any further in-office appointments but can reach out to the company for support through its telemedicine platform at any time.

The company will replace aligners for you at any time if necessary, but you might be charged up to a $99 replacement fee.

Treatment Options

Smile Direct Club currently offers two types of aligners—Clear Aligners and Nighttime Clear Aligners.

The Clear Aligners are designed for 22+ hours of wear per day and should give you results within four to six months.

This makes them the brand’s quickest option for straightening teeth, but you need to commit to wearing them at all times besides meals.

Nighttime Clear Aligners, in contrast, must be worn for only ten continuous hours at night. This makes them a more flexible option for anyone who doesn’t want to wear their aligners during the day or who is concerned about accidentally losing them.

Since you wear them for less time, it can take twice as long to achieve the same results.

After you finish your treatment, Smile Direct Club recommends that you purchase a custom-fit clear retainer. Wearing it as you sleep can prevent your teeth from shifting back over time.

Each retainer set costs $99 and will be available to purchase once you are within 4–5 weeks of completing your treatment. The company suggests you replace them every six months to keep them fresh.

The Difference Between SmileDirectClub Clear Aligners and Braces

The company claims to speed things up compared to traditional metal brackets by putting equal force on each tooth so they move simultaneously.

This speeds up the shifting process, but it also allows for less flexibility for correcting nuanced problems.

For example, the aligners won’t work for some people who have crowns or implants, and you might run into problems if you have missing teeth.

Traditional braces can be adjusted to put less pressure on these spots and may lead to fewer complications in the long run.

SmileDirectClub aligners are best for only mild to moderate teeth correction and can’t treat many of the bite and jaw disorders that regular braces address.

Dr. David Frank, the owner of Austin-based Walden Dental, has other concerns about invisible aligner companies. “The biggest concern is that there are no X-rays or any other data to rule out where the tooth roots are in position,” he shared. “It limits any type of accuracy of long term shifting of the teeth.”

This makes it almost impossible to tell if there are underlying root, bone, or jaw issues that are affecting your teeth, and whether using aligners could be ineffective or even harmful for them.

“If you have the presence of bone disease and gum disease, you will dissolve the root surface and you can cause permanently loose teeth that may result in them having to be removed,” he told us.

That’s not to say that aligners can’t be a viable option for some people, especially those who aren’t able to commit to regular braces.

“It may work for those people who have no access to dental care and have limited budgets,” Dr. Frank said, “for someone who is willing to take the risks of not having a well-controlled followed-up success, and has accepted the limitations of it not working.”

Pricing and Return Policy

Smile Direct Club offers two payment strategies. You can make a one-time payment of $1,895 or sign up for the SmilePay plan. This lets you pay $85 per month for 24 months after a $250 initial deposit, for a total cost of $2,290.

All customers over 18 will receive a complimentary one-week supply of Bright On teeth whitening. This includes four pens, each with four applications, that should be used twice per day to brighten your teeth. The results should last for up to 90 days.

The club claims their costs are up to 60% less than competitors. The American Dental Association reports that the average price for braces in the United States ranges from $5,000–$6,000, or about 59% more than making a one-time payment for the Smile Direct Club.

Your costs for Smile Direct Club will also include $49 for your initial 3D imaging and $200 a year for retainers to maintain your results.

Many insurance plans will pay for all or part of the procedure. It’s in-network for health providers such as UnitedHealthcare, Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and Cigna. You can find out if you are covered here.

It’s possible to return any unused custom-made aligners within 30 days of receiving them.

Your treatment plan is also covered under warranty for 30 days past the end date. If at the end of the treatment, you don’t have a straighter smile, you can contact the company and have an expert re-evaluate your results. If approved, you’ll receive additional aligners to continue the straightening process.

Analysis of Customer Reviews

More than 550 customers have left reviews for the SmileDirectClub on our site, which average 3-stars and a 50% recommendation rating. Here’s a closer look at some of the most important points.

Common Compliments:

  • Worked as described to straighten teeth
  • Much cheaper than traditional straightening procedures
  • Improved teeth within six months of use

Common Complaints:

  • Some people were shipped the wrong sizes or were sent two top or two bottom aligners
  • Led to painful, bloody gums for some users
  • Some users had significant delays with their orders
  • Higher charges than some users were expecting

Popular Alternatives to the SmileDirectClub

SmileDirectClub Byte Invisible Aligners Candid
Cost $49 molding kit, $1,895–$2,290 for aligners $29 molding kit, $1,895 for aligners $95 for molding kit, $1,900 for aligners
Is Financing Available? Yes, $85/month for 24 months plus $250 deposit Yes, Bytepay starts at $62/month Yes, Affirm pricing starts at $80 per month
Treatment Timeframe 4–6 months for standard aligners (22+ hours per day) The average time is five months 6–11 months
How It Works Complete a 3D image of your mouth (either at home or at a SmileShop) and receive multiple sets of clear aligners that gradually shift your teeth to straighten them Send the company an impression of your mouth to receive a variety of aligners that straighten your teeth Make five impressions of your teeth to send to Candid (or go to a Candid studio). If approved, you’ll receive custom aligners to shift your teeth into a better position.
Return Policy 30-day returns for unused aligners Lifetime guarantee for a new set of aligners any time your teeth shift (barring the company’s exceptions) Refunds may be possible if your orthodontist approves a different treatment plan

Each of these three companies operates similarly. You’ll pay for an initial consultation/ teeth mold (which is usually refundable if you don’t qualify for treatment) and then pay a set amount for a series of aligners.

All three claim to work within the approximate same time frame, offer a payment plan, and can be potentially covered by insurance. In other words, you’re receiving a similar service with each one.

There are a few notable differences. SmileDirectClub requires you to pay an additional $99 for retainers post-treatment, while they are included free with Candid.

Likewise, Candid claims to have an orthodontist review your results, rather than a regular dentist. The company claims this extra level of education ensures that its aligners are more personalized to each patient.

One advantage of SmileDirectClub is that the company offers nighttime only aligners for the same price as traditional ones.

While this option doubles your treatment time, many people will likely prefer not having to worry about wearing the aligners during the day and potentially misplacing them after eating.

Overall, though, these differences are minor and your choice between the three will likely come down to personal preferences based around cost and your insurance plans.

The Bottom Line

SmileDirectClub claims to help thousands of people straighten their teeth quickly, and customer reviews seem to indicate that it works—at least for some people.

SmileDirectClub will only work for relatively moderate teeth alignment issues. This treatment can’t address or diagnose any underlying issues with your teeth and will do little to adjust your bite. In some cases, it has the potential to make teeth problems worse by loosening your teeth.

However, these aligners offer an excellent alternative to braces for many teens who wouldn’t be able to afford them otherwise. One clear advantage is that you can take them out at any point, which makes it possible to maintain better oral hygiene habits than some people do with braces.

Because of the potential drawbacks, we recommend talking with your dentist before committing to SmileDirectClub. They will help you understand whether you are potentially putting your mouth at risk and if your mouth issues could be better addressed in other ways.

Customer Reviews

3.3 Stars out of 666 Reviews
5 Star:50% 4 Star:4% 3 Star:1% 2 Star:6% 1 Star:36%
56% Recommend This Company
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Posted on Nov 28, 2022

Be vary wary of SmileDirectClub

By Scott S., Greenville, SC, Verified Reviewer

SDC took a $2100 unauthorized withdrawal from my account before I agreed to purchase their product. They did not deliver the agreed-upon smile. And they were grossly incompetent in the making of their products. My plan was scheduled for 6 months, but took 9 and required three subsequent office visits and rescans of my teeth and replacement aligners. The first 3 months were fine but we hit a point where they just couldn't make aligners to match the reality in my mouth. To make matters worse, their customer service, while extremely polite, was incapable of addressing issues.

Length of Use: 6–12 months

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Pros and Cons

Good marketing

Upbeat

Packaging is excellent

Could not deliver product paid for

Could not deliver agreed upon out come

Polite, but incompetent customer service

Posted on Nov 14, 2022

Great team!

By Samantha T., Albany, NY, Verified Reviewer

SmileDirectClub is always very helpful and gets back to me in a timely manner. I have had a handful of wonderful team members assist me throughout my time with the company! I had to get some scans done and went into the office in the Albany, NY location where Carley assisted me! She was great! Very welcoming, friendly, and could answer any questions/concerns that I had regarding my treatment! She made my appointment easy, quick, and enjoyable!

Length of Use: 2+ years

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Pros and Cons

Affordable

Great customer service

Care about their patients

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Jun 12, 2022

Not good

By Tara C., Boynton Beach, FL, Verified Reviewer

I initially had a good experience. Upon completion of my initial treatment plan, I requested a touch-up due to not having the results equally to the requested final teeth alignment. They require you to maintain monthly check-ins and follow up, which I did. They sent me a new impression kit, which I completed and returned.

I never received any correspondence so approximately 3 months later I contacted them. They saw my returned kit in my file and stated there was an outstanding balance, which I had paid in full at the beginning of my treatment. They told me they would look into it and that I should not be charged due to their free touch-up policy. I never received a call back. I followed up approximately 4 months after that with no resolution.

I recently followed up to address the issue and request my file be reviewed. The first thing is, they have no supervisor you can speak with or the “dental team” that they reference being in charge of the account. They are stating that I will have to pay $100 a month for 3 months to receive my touch-up (with is really a continuation of the results not matching my initial evaluation and request for my teeth placement). I am incredibly dissatisfied with this service.

Length of Use: 1–2 years

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Pros and Cons

Initially good

No help with customer service

No contact to dental team

Squeeze you for every dime

Don’t listen to your desired result

Over charge

Don’t honor their touch up policy

Posted on May 14, 2022

Amazing experience

By Tiffani K., Birmingham, AL, Verified Reviewer

Very impressed with the staff at the Birmingham, AL location – super friendly and helpful. Mya was amazing. Very clean office and very professional.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Pros and Cons

Amazing staff

Great product information

Great payment plan

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Apr 22, 2022

SmileDirectClub

By Grace Q., Seattle, WA, Verified Reviewer

Cyaira was very kind and helpful with all of my questions. She explained everything very well and made sure all my concerns were heard and taken care of. A great person to start my smile journey with!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Posted on Apr 9, 2022

Do not do it!

By Dr. Rochelle T., Washington DC, Verified Reviewer

I started out believing that this would be a dream come true but it turned out to be my worst nightmare.

After being ghosted by my account rep after requesting a refund, I found that the dentist that was supposed to be in my state is not even licensed in my state. Omg.

I’m so frustrated because I followed the treatment plan to a tee and was not even close to results, and I never got a check-in from the “dentist”.

This was a terrible experience and they stole my money.

Length of Use: 3–6 months

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Pros and Cons

No “pros” were specified in this review

Used car salesman tactics — very nice in the beginning but leave you

Customer service

Refund issues

No real licensed dentist in my state

Posted on Apr 3, 2022

Fun and amazing experience

By Sekou T., New York, Verified Reviewer

I arrived at 125th Street SmileDirectClub with warm greetings from Jay and Ice. They were friendly and amazing. I had alot fun with Jay. She explained everything I need to know, did the scanning, and offered advice about teeth care. I highly recommend this location for excellent customer service. I definitely prefer in-person than online meetings.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Pros and Cons

Friendliness

Professionalism

Advice

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Mar 18, 2022

Liz, best smile guide

By Jayla J., Orlando, FL, Verified Reviewer

Great experience. Liz, our smile guide, was awesome. Would recommend to others. Can’t wait to start. Wish I had known about this product sooner. Thanks SmileDirectClub!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Pros and Cons

Attention

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Mar 11, 2022

Refund policy is a scam, don't trust this company!

By Daphne M., Arizona, Verified Reviewer

Do NOT believe the SmileDirect refund policy as stated on their website: "If you decide SmileDirectClub aligners aren't for you within the first 30 days of use, we'll refund your cost 100%. Even after the first 30 days, you can return your unused aligners for a prorated refund." I have been put off for my refund continually since I requested one 6 weeks ago!

The 6th aligner was not going to fit; they were way off! A Smile dentist verified that. Also, the aligners made a deep cut into the back of my tongue. I was very worried about that but it did heal in about a week. These aligners are very sharp and you will need to cut and filed them and then you also need a lot of wax to keep them from cutting your lips and tongue!

I have been told three times now that I'd be contacted within 5–10 business days with directions for returning the unused aligners. When I make contact they say the same thing again about how they will contact me soon! Then they never do. They will not give you a phone number to call the refund department so you are stuck waiting for them to contact you! Pretty slick trick, eh?

I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau but still have not received a resolution. Now Smile wants me to send pictures of my teeth! Beware, if these aligners don't work for you, don't expect them to honor their money-back guarantee! They don't seem to care once they have your money.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Pros and Cons

Price

Lied about refund policy

Could not reach the refund department directly

Aligners very sharp and cut my lips and gums

Posted on Feb 22, 2022

Amazing experience with Jumanne NYC

By Christina C. , New York, NY

A little skeptical at first, with bad and good reviews, but, after having an amazing experience with my 3d scan, and Jumanne explaining the process, and putting my mind at ease, I am 100% certain SmileDirect is for me. I can’t wait to get my aligners. Thanks, Jumanne, for making this a great experience for me.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Pros and Cons

The rep's professionalism - Jumanne

Cleanliness

Making it a fast process

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Feb 21, 2022

Great costumer service!

By Steven M., Walnut, PA, Verified Reviewer

I went to 1122 Walnut St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the service was wonderful, especially the specialist who treated me. His name is Gio, his service is the best, he made me feel comfortable and at home. Definitely recommended.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Pros and Cons

The service

The place

No “cons” were specified in this review

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