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SmileDirectClub

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SmileDirectClub

Overall Rating

3.2

608 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 608 Reviews
5 Star:48% 4 Star:4% 3 Star:1% 2 Star:7% 1 Star:38%
53% Recommend This Company
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Posted on Mar 3, 2021

Best customer service ever

By Mohmin L., Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Verified Reviewer

It was an awesome experience. Shoutout to Godwin, he was very engaged in his job, he wanted to help us out, he played some games to interact with the customer, it was amazing. He helped me out, explained everything down to the bone, was not only informative but wanted to interact with me as much as he could to better improve my results. He was absolutely amazing. Thank you, Godwin and SmileDirectClub, for the amazing experience.

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

Pros and Cons

The compassion shown towards their work

Kindness

The prices for the kit and the shown results of their work

No “cons” were specified in this review

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Mar 3, 2021

Hi, it's always our top priority to leave our customers excited and informed. Thank you.

Posted on Mar 1, 2021

Excellent customer service.

By Cedric G., Stockton, CA, Verified Reviewer

This morning I arrived and was promptly seen. The consultation was fast, easy, and direct. Thank you guys for making the process easy.

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

Pros and Cons

Staff

Comprehensive

Fast

No “cons” were specified in this review

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Mar 1, 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.

Posted on Feb 16, 2021

Update 2/10/21

By Jackie B., Vermont, Verified Reviewer

Still dealing with poor quality and aligners that still don't work. Takes days for someone to get back to me.

Length of Use: 1–2 years

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

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Feb 17, 2021

Jackie we are very sorry to hear about your inconvenience, we'd like to know more about your experience and most importantly assist you with any concern you may have, please send us an email to reviews@smiledirectclub.com with your question so we can properly assist you.

Helpful Review? 4 People Have Voted

Posted on Feb 15, 2021

Wonderful in-person experience at Leawood/Overland Park!

By Nicholas T., Leawood, KS, Verified Reviewer

Besides being competitively priced and substantially cheaper than braces, I chose SmileDirectClub because they offer an in-person consultation. This consultation also uses a 3D Smile Scanner instead of an impression kit. I only need minor adjustments, as I had braces when I was younger. My in-person experience was terrific, Dominique was super helpful and friendly, all my questions were thoroughly answered, and the whole process was quick and painless. I would highly recommend the Leawood/Overland Park, KS location, and I'm excited to start my Smile Journey with SmileDirectClub!

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Friendly staff

Quick and painless scan process

Upfront pricing/payment options

No “cons” were specified in this review

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Feb 15, 2021

Hi there! It is always a pleasure to assist you. Thank you so much for all the love and support.

Posted on Feb 11, 2021

Great customer service!

By Darren S., Mission Viejo, CA, Verified Reviewer

Shante was very friendly and funny but professional. She took her time explaining everything to my daughter and made her very comfortable with the process. We are looking forward to seeing the results!

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

Pros and Cons

Customer service oriented

No “cons” were specified in this review

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Feb 12, 2021

Hi there. It is always a pleasure to assist you. Thank you so much for all the love and support!

Posted on Feb 9, 2021

Great! Very friendly staff.

By Nancy G., Texas, Verified Reviewer

Just went in for my scan, and about to get started on my treatment. Megan was really nice, and friendly, explained everything really well.

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

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Feb 9, 2021

We are so happy to see you are taking the first step on your new smile. Please feel free to reach out to us at reviews@smiledirectclub.com for any assistance.

Posted on Feb 9, 2021

Amazing experience (ask for Bianca)

By Ahovi B., Takoma Park, MD, Verified Reviewer

My experience from start to finish was so warm and welcoming. Bianca who assisted me the whole way through was caring, attentive, and fun at the same time. She’s very knowledgeable and will more than likely be able to answer everyone's questions and or concerns.

Thanks for making this new experience even more exciting.

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

Pros and Cons

Attention to detail

Prompt

Honest

Wish I could take the kit NOW and start lol

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Feb 9, 2021

Let's get this party started. This is totally the experience we want you to have. If you ever need our assistance don't hesitate to let us know. We are here to help as much as we can.

Posted on Feb 5, 2021

Such a great experience!

By Kianna R., King of Prussia, PA, Verified Reviewer

I went in with my mom and Sasha was just the sweetest person ever. We spent most of the time talking and laughing while making me comfortable enough to take the scans. She was so clear and answered all my questions. My mom and I had a great experience with her. Thank you Sasha!

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

Pros and Cons

Staff

Clean

Fast

No “cons” were specified in this review

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Feb 7, 2021

Super happy to hear about your experience Klanna, we are happy to hear about Sasha as well, thanks for your awesome review.

Posted on Jan 20, 2021

Amazing experience

By Omar O., San Diego, CA, Verified Reviewer

All the staff was amazing, very welcoming, overall an amazing experience. Norman was awesome, he explained everything with details and made me feel comfortable and covered everything he needed to.

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

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Jan 21, 2021

Omar, thank you for your kind review. We are happy to pass along your comments to the team here at SmileDirectClub!

Posted on Jan 13, 2021

3D scanning

By Rahi P., Newark, NJ, Verified Reviewer

I went to the club, was treated right away by Anam and everything was explained to me in detail. I also got to see my 3D images which helped me understand how my teeth were going to get fixed!

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

Pros and Cons

Customer service

Outgoing

Respect

No “cons” were specified in this review

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Jan 14, 2021

Hi Rahl, thank you so much for the positive feedback and for taking the time to post this review. Our customers help us to constantly learn and improve what we do. I'm so glad the SmileShop visit was a great one and will pass on the feedback to our shop managers!

Posted on Jan 7, 2021

Awesome experience!

By Doreen S., Boca Raton, FL, Verified Reviewer

Latoya was amazing...very professional, friendly, and informative. She was thorough and made me feel very comfortable from start to finish!

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

Pros and Cons

Professional

Educational

Affordable

No “cons” were specified in this review

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Jan 8, 2021

This is exactly what we're here for you Doreen! Thank you so much.

Showing 1-11 of 608

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