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SmileDirectClub

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SmileDirectClub

Overall Rating

3.2

629 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

3.2 Stars out of 629 Reviews
5 Star:49% 4 Star:4% 3 Star:2% 2 Star:7% 1 Star:37%
55% Recommend This Company
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Posted on May 26, 2021

Awesome experience

By Jeri A., Oklahoma City, OK, Verified Reviewer

My experience was great, the SmileDirectClub member Megan helped me with any questions I had, she explained everything thoroughly, she was really nice to me, and very helpful. Highly recommend the Oklahoma City location.

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

Pros and Cons

Convenient

Affordable

Friendly

No “cons” were specified in this review

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

May 26, 2021

Thanks for the high star rating! We are so happy to see you are taking the first step on your new smile. If you ever need our assistance don't hesitate to reach out at reviews@smiledirectclub.com.

Posted on May 15, 2021

Great experience at the Pittsburgh location and helpful personnel

By Chris G., Pittsburgh, PA, Verified Reviewer

I went to the Pittsburgh location and had a great experience. Autumn was my smile guide. She was lovely and helpful, and really made the visit great. I was in and out much more quickly than I was planning. Autumn took images of my teeth and made a 3D image to send to the 3D printing facility. Everything was put together easily and it was seamless. Thanks Autumn!

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Helpful people (Autumn)

Reasonable competitive pricing

No “cons” were specified in this review

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

May 15, 2021

Amazing, we are super happy to hear about your visit Chris! We'll continue working hard to provide the best journey ever!

Helpful Review? 1 Person Has Voted

Posted on May 14, 2021

Bragging on my advocate, Ashley!

By Yolanda J., Oklahoma City, OK, Verified Reviewer

So it's always an awkward situation when you have to have someone in your mouth, but Ashley in Oklahoma City made my awkwardness not awkward at all. She was the best! Thanks Ashley!

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

Pros and Cons

Environment

Professional

Politeness

Wish it was little cheaper

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

May 14, 2021

Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback Yolanda! We are happy to hear you had a pleasant visit.

Posted on May 11, 2021

Quick and easy

By Lauren A., La Puente, CA, Verified Reviewer

The 3D process was so easy and took only a matter of minutes. The girls who helped me were amazing and went above and beyond. I’m looking forward to the ease and convenience of my SmileDirect Invisaligns.

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

Pros and Cons

Convenient

Quick results

No monthly appointments

No “cons” were specified in this review

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

May 11, 2021

Hi Lauren, we strive for 100% satisfaction, and it's always our goal to give customers an informative and exciting experience. Thank you so much.

Helpful Review? 1 Person Has Voted

Posted on May 5, 2021

Great consult

By Andrew N., Lancaster, PA, Verified Reviewer

I've been looking for a quicker and cheaper way to fix the gap in my teeth, and this looked like a good opportunity. Had my first consult and had 3D images of my teeth taken and photos. I worked with Amy and she could not have been more helpful. In fact, everyone in the office that I interacted with was super helpful and very nice.

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

Pros and Cons

Free consult

Friendly helpful staff

No “cons” were specified in this review

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

May 5, 2021

Happy to hear about your experience, thank you very much!

Posted on May 5, 2021

Great start to a new smile!

By Liz D., California, Verified Reviewer

My daughter had her 1st appointment today to get her 3D scan. Brittany from Bus #2 was absolutely amazing! Friendly, professional, and very knowledgeable! She made my daughter and I feel very comfortable and the process was quick. We are very excited to receive the aligners and get started! Thank you Brittany for being so nice and personable!

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

Pros and Cons

Customer service

Affordability

Convenience

No “cons” were specified in this review

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

May 5, 2021

We are excited too! Thanks for your support! We are always here for you.

Helpful Review? 1 Person Has Voted

Posted on May 4, 2021

Great experience

By Lew D., Las Vegas, NV, Verified Reviewer

Props to Crystal and SmileDirect Team in Las Vegas. Very helpful, very knowledgeable. Made the decision to move forward and overall experience was efficient!

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Convenient

Affordable

Efficient

Not being able to start process immediately!

Wish there were more locations!

Wish there was a way to enter facility as customer, has to wait outside for small time period!

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

May 4, 2021

Thanks for your kind review Lew! we can hardly wait to get you started, you can count on us getting you the smile you deserve.

Posted on Apr 26, 2021

Better than an orthodontist during Covid times

By S T. , White Plains, NY

Great service - explained the process thoroughly, addressed the needs and questions from the initial scan through the end. The online and text support is great when we have issues on weekends or late nights.

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Pros and Cons

Convenience - don’t have to deal with hassle of appointments for regular office visits as in the case of getting braces tightened

Track plan and progress online

Not much interaction with the dentist or orthodontist

If you are wearing the aligners daily rather than nightly, it’s a major upkeep when eating - must brush before inserting back

Frequent cleaning of aligners adds to additional cost since you can’t use paste and brush on the plastic - need to be soaked like dentures

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Apr 26, 2021

We are grinning from ear to ear. Thank you for the support. We are always here for you!

Posted on Apr 25, 2021

Best way to go

By Priscilla B. ,

So excited to get started, so simple, and in the end beautiful teeth so you want to smile. Also, everyone is so nice and friendly.

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

Pros and Cons

Easy to do

Long drive

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Apr 25, 2021

Hi there, Priscilla. Thank you so much for this awesome review. We love it!

Helpful Review? 1 Person Has Voted

Posted on Apr 22, 2021

Employee staff Adrianna

By Sahara S., San Diego, CA, Verified Reviewer

I had gone to SmileDirectClub back in February. I met with the sweetest person ever, her name is Adrianna. We connected on a deep level. She was super generous, very accommodating, and understanding. I met with other staff, but Adrianna blew me away with her generosity and character. She made me feel like I was making the right choice, especially when I'm very insecure about my smile. Adrianna gets 5 stars, but the company gets 3 for these reasons.

Whether you choose SmileDirectClub, I do say you should check that out with your primary dentist first and have your own personal X-rays because SmileDirectClub doesn't actually do a deep X-ray, they only get a good visual of your smile and not your jaw and beyond that which can be dangerous if your smile needs a major fix. If it's a minor fix like myself, however, still get it checked out with your primary dentist, check for cavities and see if SmileDirectClub is for you.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Adrianna was very accommodating, made me feel very welcomed compared to other staff

Cheaper

Less time to wear it, great for people who have mild things they want to change about their smile

It was too fast, felt like it was too simple and that can be dangerous for someone who does not have mild tooth errors

X-ray was not really an x-ray, just a visual of your smile and not your jaw bone like other orthodontics do, can be dangerous for mild or even major changes to teeth

Won't check for cavities or tooth infections, YOU need to that yourself before hand to save your self the trouble and pain

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Apr 22, 2021

Hi Sahara,

We are glad that you had a nice time with Adrianna, thank you for taking the time for the shout-out!

We completely understand your concerns, and we'd love to share more information about what we do. We provide SmileDirectClub aligners through our network of state-licensed registered dentists and orthodontists that closely review each case, prescribe treatment and oversee every US Club member's smile journey through regular remote check-ins. We're also available 24/7 for our club members who run into any issues throughout their journey. The health and safety of our grinners is always our #1 priority. Feel free to learn more about us over on our website, and we will be more than happy help you via email, you send us a message at reviews@smiledirectclub.com.

Posted on Apr 11, 2021

I had the best experience going here.

By Osman H., Phoenix, AZ, Verified Reviewer

I had the best experience going here. The staff is wonderful and very knowledgeable and informative. Roxy and Toni were outstanding. Roxy especially was very patient with me. Thank you guys so much. I can’t wait to tell my family and friends about SDC.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Clean facility

Knowledgeable

Patient

Wait time was a little longer than expected, but it was worth it

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Apr 11, 2021

We are so happy to see you are taking the first step on your new smile. If you ever need our assistance don't hesitate to reach out at reviews@smiledirectclub.com.

Helpful Review? 2 People Have Voted
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