About SmileDirectClub

By HighYa Staff
Updated on: Oct 17, 2017

Interested in straightening your teeth, but don’t have the time for regular orthodontist visits? Or, do you have the time, but cringe at the thought of traditional braces?

In either instance, SmileDirectClub promises to deliver an “innovative remote treatment process” that can help you straighten your teeth using custom invisible aligners.

We’re told this process allows SmileDirectClub’s network of over 225 licensed dental professionals to evaluate a patient’s teeth from anywhere, which, when combined with their 3D treatment modeling and direct-to-patient convenience, means they can work around your schedule at a fraction of the price. You’ll even get to know what your new smile will look like before beginning the process.

Despite this, SmileDirectClub promises to do this without sacrificing quality. In fact, they claim to “use the same labs as our competition.”

Regardless of what you’re shopping for, it’s difficult to resist 60% off. But will you have the same teeth-straightening experience with SmileDirectClub as a traditional orthodontist? In other words, even if it is less, does SmileDirectClub represent a solid deal? That’s exactly what we’ll explore here.

How Does SmileDirectClub Work?

Overall, we can break the SmileDirectClub process down into two steps:

Step 1: Initial Consultation & Setup

First, you’ll make an appointment through SmileDirectClub’s website to visit a SmileShop location. There, you’ll be able to have a 3D image of your smile taken by a certified SmileGuide, which they claim takes about 30 minutes. After you’re finished, you’ll be able to immediately see the results.

Then, your scan is digitally sent to a licensed dentist, who will “create a personalized plan showing you exactly how your new smile will look.”

Not near a SmileShop location? If so, you can complete an at-home impression kit, which will then be sent to a “state-licensed dental professional” who will create your new smile plan.

Once all of this occurs, SmileDirectClub’s dental professionals will determine your exact treatment option based on the information available. If you have any questions, you can reach out to a SmileDirectClub customer care specialist via phone, email, or live chat.

From initial consultation through the end of your treatment plan, SmileDirectClub’s proprietary SmileCheck software provides a connection between your dental professional and helps manage your case records. There, your doctor will be able to view uploaded images and dental impressions, as well as prescribe your treatment.

Step 2: Work the System

SmileDirectClub claims that in many cases, you’ll receive your treatment plan in days. You’ll be sent all aligners in your smile plan at one time, each of which will need to be worn in the proper order, all day and night, removing them only for meals and drinking beverages other than cool water.

SmileDirectClub’s treatment plans generally take anywhere between 4 and 10 months, depending on your plan. The average customer completes treatment in 6 months.

Once you’re finished, you’ll need to wear a custom fit retainer while you sleep in order to avoid dental relapse (i.e. your teeth attempting to shift back into their original position).

Exactly how do these invisible aligners do their job?

How Do Invisible Aligners Straighten Teeth?

Unlike braces, which use interconnected brackets and wires, invisible aligners “are a series of tight-fitting custom-made retainers that slip over the teeth.” Each tray will slowly move your teeth into the desired position, leaving you with straighter teeth and a brighter smile over the course of several months. Regarding SmileDirectClub specifically, their aligners are made of BPA-free plastic, which is fairly common amongst the competition (more about this soon).

The Pros & Cons of Invisible Aligners

On the positive side, compared to traditional braces, invisible aligners:

  • Can be removed and generally aren’t as noticeable
  • Often need to be worn for shorter periods of time
  • Remove having to worry about difficulty eating or food getting stuck
  • Cause less discomfort. However, you’ll still feel some discomfort, especially after the first few days of changing to a new tray
  • Offer little chance of tooth discoloration

However, invisible aligners aren’t perfect. Here are some potential drawbacks:

  • You’ll have to brush after each meal, or your aligners could become stained.
  • You’ll also need discipline in order to stick to your treatment plan and keep the trays in place all day and night.
  • Invisible aligners can’t be used for those with bridgework, or those with complicated issues requiring moving teeth vertically, rotating canines or premolars, or those with anything more than mild-to-moderate crowding, rotation, and/or bite correction.

If invisible aligners sound like an ideal solution, how much will you pay through SmileDirectClub?

How Much Does SmileDirectClub Cost?

Your online SmileDirectClub online Smile Assessment is completely free. To determine if invisible aligners are a good fit for you, you’ll need to complete either a 3D scan at a SmileShop or an at-home impression kit for $95. If it’s determined that you’re not a suitable candidate, the $95 fee will be refunded.

When the time comes. SmileDirectClub provides three payment options for their clients:

  • Single Payment: A one-time payment of $1850. This is the most cost-effective payment option.
  • SmilePay™ Monthly Payments: Pay a $250 down payment, then $80 a month for 24 months. In total, you’ll pay $2170.

All SmileDirectClub invisible aligner plans include complimentary whitening gel.

Once your treatment plan is complete, don’t forget that you can pay $99 for a retainer set to preserve your new smile.

Other miscellaneous SmileDirectClub fees include a $50 fee for each replacement tray if lost or damaged, as well as a $49 fee for additional impression kits. Regarding this last one, the fee “can be deducted from your treatment plan cost when you purchase your aligners.”

Finally, SmileDirectClub provides a Confident Smile Guarantee, which stipulates that if you’re dissatisfied for any reason, simply return your unused aligners and they’ll refund the prorated amount. In order to request one (or to ask any questions), customer service can be reached at 800-848-7566.

Does SmileDirectClub Accept Insurance?

Here’s what the company has to say:

“If your dental plan provides orthodontic benefits you may be reimbursed directly from your insurance company after purchasing your aligners. SmileDirectClub doesn't accept direct payment from insurance companies.”

SmileDirectClub also accepts payments through HSA and FSA plans, as well as CareCredit.

What Kinds of Reviews Will You Find for SmileDirectClub?

Considering that SmileDirectClub (formerly Smile Care Club) has been around since 2014, there wasn’t a whole lot of online customer feedback at the time of our research. And what feedback there was seemed to be largely through video.

For example, YouTube user Ashley S posted four reviews for SmileDirectClub spanning the course of a month. Overall, she claims she experienced a very long delay at the beginning, without hearing so much as a peep from the company. She spoke with customer service on several occasions, which only served to further frustrate her—and even after finally receiving her aligners, she found the top one didn’t fit well at all.

On the other hand, misselissalk seems to have had a much better experience with SmileDirectClub, finding them less expensive the competition, while receiving everything right on time. She also enjoyed the 3D digital model that shows you what your teeth will look like with each tray.

Interestingly, she was able to correct her top teeth only. Per their FAQ, the company generally recommends against straightening just the top or bottom, since this can significantly change your bite.

She noted that SmileDirectClub’s aligners didn’t hurt at all, but they did give her a slight lisp. She didn’t like brushing her teeth after eating or drinking something other than water, and felt that the email communication between her and the company was “kinda poor.” Specifically, she noted long response times with several follow ups required.

In her follow up video, misselissalk provides some great product tips to accompany your aligners, so be sure to give it a view as well.

As a company, SmileDirectClub had an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (as of 7/16/16), based on 19 closed complaints. Most of these seemed to reference poor customer service, problems receiving aligners on time, or difficulties obtaining refunds. The company responded to each of the complaints.

Who, exactly, is behind the company?

Who Founded SmileDirectClub?

Based out of Nashville, TN, SmileDirectClub was co-founded by Jordan Katzman and Alex Fenkell who recognized that 3D printing and telehealth “could bring about disruptive change to the invisible aligner market” by delivering “dramatically lower” prices.

From a financial perspective, SmileDirectClub is backed by Camelot Venture Group, the same private investment group behind 1-800-CONTACTS, Quicken Loans, and many other successful direct-to-consumer companies.

Is SmileDirectClub Better Than Other Teeth Straightening Methods? Should You Join?

According to some sources, the average cost of an Invisalign treatment plan is $5,000, compared to SmileDirectClub’s flat single-pay price of $1850. That’s well over a 60% savings, which is huge.

On top of this, there don’t appear to be any clear (no pun intended) differences between the BPA-free plastics used between Invisalign and SmileDirectClub’s trays, or the results you might achieve with them.

In fact, SmileDirectClub claims their trays come from many of the same labs used by the mainstream competition, and you won’t have to glue any clips to your teeth. You will, however, probably have to wear a retainer for the rest of your life.

Even compared to traditional braces—which can also cost up to five grand and might look unsightly—SmileDirectClub’s aligners seem to have a sharp advantage.

Taking all of this together, does this mean a SmileDirectClub treatment plan will deliver straighter teeth and a brighter smile? As long as you only require mild to moderate straightening, it certainly seems like it might fit the bill. And if your personal preferences dictate, you might be able to save a whole lot of moolah compared to the competition.

How well did SmileDirectClub work for you? Give us the inside scoop by writing your very own review below!

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36 Consumer Reviews for SmileDirectClub

Average Consumer Rating: 2.3
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 10 4 star: 2 3 star: 0 2 star: 1 1 star:  23
Bottom Line: 33% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 36
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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Horrible

    I am almost done with my set, and my teeth look worse than when I started. Now I'm stuck paying for something I don't even like. Just get braces. Also, I needed to wear them for six months and it wasn't explained that you have to continue to pay even if your time of use is less than the two-year contract. I have horrible spaces between my teeth, simply horrible.

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

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  • The WORST customer service experience

    I am extremely disappointed with my experience! I went in a few months before my wedding hoping I could get a jump on straightening my teeth. The person that did my scan said that the aligners start helping right away, but didn't inform me that I wouldn't get the product for 1-2 months after they were ordered until the end of the appointment. I also went during a 3-day promotion that advertised a free whitening light with the scan, which I didn't receive, so I contacted the location that I got the scan, who were clueless, then reached out to the online support team. I was told that they had no record of the promo, so I screenshot the email that came from their company, and emailed it to them. They apologized and said that the light would be sent.

    Weeks later, it hadn't arrived, so I sent another email. I was then informed that they never sent it because they didn't have a history of that promotion. I re-sent all of the exact same screenshots and was then told they would send it again. I received the light and then whitener after it was too late to whiten my teeth for my wedding.

    When I received my aligners, there wasn’t a case for them, which took a month to get (so I kept mine in a Tupperware). When I finished my aligners, I expected my retainers, because that’s what I signed up for, but they came three weeks after my last set of aligners, were again missing products that I needed (“chewy’s”), and the retainers didn’t even come close to fitting (and I kept using my last set of aligners to make sure my teeth didn’t move before my retainers got in).

    My teeth are mostly straight (though they didn’t fix my middle teeth as much as I was hoping), but the customer service has been absolutely horrendous. I am so disappointed in the service, and wouldn’t recommend the service to others.

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

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    • Apr 12, 2018

      Hannah Roberts, Reputation Coordinator

      Hi, Sarah. We're sorry to hear that you've gotten this impression, as it's important to us to provide transparent information and efficient execution of our timelines. Our aligners can take a few weeks to manufacture and ship, as we hand cut them and send them through rigorous quality assurance before they're sent out. That being said, delays are always possible but that is something that we work to combat each day. If you'd like to speak specifically, please feel free to reach out directly.

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Do NOT go with this method

    First of all, they will tell you that you are a candidate to lure you in. I do not have as hard of a case as some of the people, but because of the premolar, my front teeth will never be straight.

    "Teeth are constantly wanting to shift, so yes, when you have the aligners out, your teeth will move back to where they previously were because they have not settled," - per their email.

    I will have to wear a retainer for tthe rest of my life at night. SO for the rest of my life I will pay $99.00 to renew that retainer. Not bad?! Right!

    "Once you are done with treatment, you will be able to order retainers. The retainers will settle your teeth so they will not move. You will only wear the retainers at night, however, you will have to wear them for the rest of your life if you do not want your teeth to shift back. This is vital in any treatment that moves teeth, including the traditional orthodontic appliances." NO ONE told me this before the treatment! Which I believe is a scam!

    They work only with your front teeth; from K9 to K9. They call it "desired "U" shape," which will cost me $99.00 every time when I will decide to renew my retainer. And again, no one told me about it.

    It is a trap. Do NOT go with this method! It does not help, you will be stuck with it, and in the end, you will pay even more than those regular braces. It will NOT give you a desired result, because the smile it is NOT only about the look, it is also about your health.

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

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    • Apr 9, 2018

      Hannah Roberts, Reputation Coordinator

      Hi there, Tataiana. It's clearly described in the consent and history form that our customers sign, our aligners are made to correct mild to moderate spacing and crowding. For some customers, to resolve additional concerns, they will need to pair their treatment with traditional orthodontic tactics. In addition, this document states that customers will need to wear a retainer for the rest of the time that they'd like to retain results. This is the case with ALL aligner treatment from metal braces to our aligners. If you have additional questions on this, please reach out directly via grinners@smiledirectclub.com.

    • Apr 11, 2018

      Tataiana Stahmann

      "For some customers, to resolve additional concerns, they will need to pair their treatment with traditional orthodontic tactics." Are you serious? So, I will need to pay your company $2,000.00 and then in addition to that, go to a PROFESSIONAL orthodontist and pay another $3,000.00? Where do I save money then? Your company evaluated me as a candidate. They thought they can fit an elephant into a matchbox, but it will not work in my case. My front teeth DO NOT HAVE space to move or shift. I was in your treatment program for an almost a year now, and NOTHING. It's a waste of money. You do not communicate this with your new clients. You PROMISE them an amazing money and inexpensive approach. Is it right?

      So, if someone is reading it and thinking to go or not to go with the SmileDirectClub, please, DO NOT WASTE your time and MONEY. Go to a professional orthodontist. These guys know nothing. They just want to make money.

    • Apr 12, 2018

      Hannah Roberts, Reputation Coordinator

      We're incredibly transparent about the limitations of our aligners. They're made to correct mild to moderate spacing and crowding, so if a customer has concerns outside of that protocol, they might seek additional orthodontic to achieve their optimal outcome. This is all outlined in the consent and history form signed by all of our customers before they begin treatment.

    • Apr 16, 2018

      Tataiana Stahmann

      You are NOT transparent. The first time I have heard about your "method" was a year later, it was at your office when I was going through my second "correction". It should be on your website in big letters. Otherwise, it is all a scam. You are hiding from your customers how it really works. I am also not too sure about your dental professionals. Their evaluation of my case was poor.

    • Apr 18, 2018

      Hannah Roberts, Reputation Coordinator

      Please refer to your Consent and History form to find the information outlined above. If you'd like to speak with us further, we can be reached at grinners@smiledirectclub.com.

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  • 2 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Not for me.

    • Salt Lake City, UT,
    • Mar 31, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    After 3 months, they say they cannot make my aligners and they are not refunding my money!

    Don't let them steal your money too. I'm considering suing this company.

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

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    • Apr 2, 2018

      Hannah Roberts, Reputation Coordinator

      We're sorry to hear about your frustration Alireza. We would like to confirm that if a customer is deemed unqualified for treatment, we will refund for the impression kit. This refund policy is provided to customers before they begin treatment with us. It can also be found here: www.smiledirectclub.com/returns

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  • 0 out 2 people found this review helpful

    SmileDirect with a smile

    The location was a bit of a challenge to find at first, however, the staff went out of their way to help me find it and to find parking. My visit was quick fast and easy the employees were all kind knowledgeable and friendly. Fun and interesting way to obtain a new smile.

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

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    • Apr 2, 2018

      Hannah Roberts, Reputation Coordinator

      Thank you so much for your feedback Angela! We appreciate the shout out, we're very proud of our team.

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  • 0 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Happy so far

    I signed up for SmileDirectClub today at their Las Vegas location. Nikki explained how everything worked and patiently answered all my questions. Then she scanned my teeth with her camera wand. She gave me the free whitening kit, and I was on my way. It’s going to take four weeks to get my aligners, that’s the only downside. I highly recommend it!

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

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    • Apr 2, 2018

      Hannah Roberts, Reputation Coordinator

      This means so much to us Annette! Thank you for taking the time to share your review. We appreciate your support.

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  • 0 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Very nice place and people

    I had a great experience and can’t wait to get my smile back! I need to save for the down payment of $250, but after that, I can’t wait! The girl Dayani that helped us was very nice and very knowledgeable! Thank you, SmileDirectClub, for making my smile come alive again.

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

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    • Mar 23, 2018

      Hannah Roberts, Reputation Coordinator

      This is fantastic to hear Lindsay! We're truly proud of our team, and we appreciate the shout out. Thank you for your support.

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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Quick and easy

    Quick, easy, and affordable. I am really happy with the results. I was able to complete the treatment while my husband was deployed, so it was an exciting reveal when he came home. I have recommended to friends and family who asked about my new and improved smile.

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

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    • Mar 19, 2018

      Hannah Roberts, Reputation Coordinator

      Wow, this means so much to us Jennifer! Thank you so much for sharing your support and recommendation. You truly made us smile.

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  • 8 out 8 people found this review helpful

    Bait and switch

    • Minneapolis, MN,
    • Mar 16, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I wish I had never gone through with this. I had braces years ago, and one tooth that was left turned funny that is crowded and uncomfortable. When my orthodontist for years quoted me $490 to replace my old retainer, it seemed really steep, but then I started seeing ads for SmileDirectClub. I wish I had stayed away.

    All the ads that I saw, AND from conversations/messages with their sales staff on Facebook, portrayed it as $80-some a month. That this would be a much less expensive option because I had such a “minor” problem, so my treatment would only be a couple months and not cost much. Total bait and switch. Problems with every single set of retainers. Extremely painful to put in (again, I had metal braces back in the day, so fully knew what to expect, but this was something else). The edges literally CUT INTO my tongue, cheek, and gums each time. They give you one Emory board with the kit that doesn’t remotely fly to help fix this.

    I wore my retainers diligently just the same and voiced my complaints but my teeth are exactly the same as before, and MORE CROWDED, and now I’m going to be out literally over $2000, over something their sales staff portrayed as being a few months at most.

    Now my tooth crowding issue is even worse (yes I’m still wearing the retainer), they never did address all the pain I had through “treatment,” I have cavities I didn’t have before starting, and my crowded tooth pain has morphed into awful and frequent migraines.

    This is one of the biggest regrets I’ve had in my life, and you CANNOT CANCEL. I tried during my treatment. Repeatedly. They do not let you cancel. Period.

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

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    • Mar 16, 2018

      Hannah Roberts, Reputation Coordinator

      Hi there, J.P. We'd like to clarify a couple points that were made in your review. As stated in the consent and history form, all customers sign before beginning treatment, there are always risks to the aligner therapy, whether in invisible aligners like ours or traditional orthodontics. Cavities are one, which is one of the reasons we ask customers to brush and floss each time they put their aligners on. In addition, having a foreign object on your teeth can certainly take some getting used to, as with metal braces, so dental wax is a commonly used tool among our customer base.

      In addition, our representatives do not guarantee a time frame, nor do our dental professionals. Teeth have a mind of their own, and they don't always move in line with the projections offered. In this case, we do offer mid-course corrections or reevaluations to further treatment as is common in any aligner treatment therapy across the board. Lastly, we would like to clarify that customers are certainly able to cancel at any point in time, but we do request that they go through our formal cancellation process with an account manager. If you have any further questions on this, please feel free to reach out directly at grinners@smiledirectclub.com.

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Wow

    I had no idea what to expect, but the experience was incredible. Erin was thorough, knowledgeable, and friendly. The Nashville location was beautiful and energetic. The entire appointment took fifteen minutes and I left very excited and eager to receive my "box." I have been contemplating Invisalign for four years, and then SmileDirectClub came along.

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

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    • Mar 14, 2018

      Hannah Roberts, Reputation Coordinator

      This is fantastic to hear Donna! Thank you so much for your kind words about our team, your support truly means the world.

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    My SmileDirectClub experience

    • Dallas, TX,
    • Mar 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    The SmileDirectClub gave me the ability to correct my teeth on my own schedule. I travel a lot for business, so conventional aligners that require ortho visits would be difficult, so having my teeth straightened was not an option until the SmileDirectClub was available. The experience was just as they explained to me, the straitening schedule progressed as planned, and the results at the end are exactly what I expected. I did not have any issues with coffee or drinks like other folks had, and the aligners fit perfect without any modifications.

    I have referred several of my colleagues, and they are going to take advantage of the flexibility of the process.

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

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    • Mar 14, 2018

      Hannah Roberts, Reputation Coordinator

      We appreciate your recommendation Ray. We love being able to provide a convenient option for our customers to get the smile of their dreams. We appreciate your support very much!

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