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SmileDirectClub

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SmileDirectClub

Overall Rating

3.3

654 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 654 Reviews
5 Star:50% 4 Star:4% 3 Star:1% 2 Star:7% 1 Star:36%
56% Recommend This Company
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Posted on Jan 13, 2022

Good experience

By Anne S., Seattle, WA, Verified Reviewer

I had a great experience getting my scans done with Jeremiah. I had originally done the at-home impression kit and had to redo them and opted for the in-person scan for the second try. I wish I had just done the in-person scan from the beginning as Jeremiah made the whole process quick and very comfortable. Plus the scan process and 3D images of my teeth were very cool. The information is very thorough and well-communicated.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Great communication

Good instructions

Friendly team

No “cons” were specified in this review

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Jan 14, 2022

Anne, we love seeing this!

Posted on Jan 7, 2022

Great appointment at SmileDirectClub shop in Brooklyn, excited for experience with aligners

By Kelly C., Brooklyn, NY, Verified Reviewer

Amazing experience with SmileDirectClub so far! This program is 60% cheaper than braces and the customer service is consistent and positive. My appointment at the SmileDirectClub shop in Brooklyn on Atlantic Avenue was by far the best and most efficient dental appointment I’ve had. I had my teeth 3D scanned and they sent it to my new doctor to start my treatment plan right away.

Ayesha was the person that helped me and she was friendly, knowledgeable, and helped me through the appointment. From the minute I walked in, Ayesha was attentive and kind, she walked me through what the appointment and process with my aligners will look like, and made my experience better! Genesis also helped me with my 3D scan. The staff at this location are trustworthy, and I am glad I chose to do the initial appointment here. Ayesha made my experience better than expected and I’m excited to start using my aligners after this appointment!

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Excellent customer service

Less expensive than Invisalign

Convenient tele-health visits

No “cons” were specified in this review

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Jan 8, 2022

Hi there, Kelly. Thank you for this awesome review!

Posted on Dec 28, 2021

Terrible service, lied to that an orthodontist was treating me when it was a general dentist and now have an open bite

By Aswin K., Silver Spring, MD, Verified Reviewer

I now have an open bite post-treatment and learned today that the dentist that is "treating" me is in Arizona. I will be contacting the DC Dental Board regarding her license and the Dental Board in Arizona and Maryland also as I am a resident of MD.

I have been given nothing but the runaround and been told that I have to pay for this open bite. I will not. This is bad care, and bad treatment, and absolutely does not fall within the standards for clinically acceptable care. Let me stress again, I DID NOT start with an open bite! I wanted the diastema between my #8 and #9 closed, that's all. Now I'm being asked to pay for bad care, cannot speak with the dentist, have an "Allison" pretending to be Amanda G and I want this fixed and to not be billed for bad work!

I will pursue this to the end and enlist as many lawyers to deal with this. How convenient that SDC put no arbitration in their consent forms; that can be worked around. Mark my words. SmileDirect is a bad company and not worth the money.

Also, why is a general dentist signing off on orthodontic cases? This is illegal. Dentists usually post their licenses in their offices, yet we can't see Amanda G's saying what her credentials really are. Stop calling me to pay for an open bite YOU CAUSED.

Length of Use: 1–2 years

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

Pros and Cons

No “pros” were specified in this review

Their attempts to dupe customers with a dentist that is a general dentist doing Ortho, which she's not licensed to do

Lying to customers about where their dentist was, she's not in MD

Getting billed when my case was not poorly, I will not pay for work that disfigured my face, caused my pain and suffering in my jaws and life

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Dec 28, 2021

Hi Aswin. We are very sorry for all the inconvenience. Please contact us via email at reviews@smiledirectclub.com and we will do everything we can to assist you.

Posted on Dec 5, 2021

Terrible service

By Cheryl H., Columbus, OH, Verified Reviewer

Never received the retainers that I ordered three times within the same year. I even ordered three so that I would not have to go for a long time to even get the retainers. I ordered in July, which reps said would take two weeks has come and gone. I am now on October's order, still have not received the retainer. Now I am again calling on 11/24 and the rep does not know what happened to the order. I so wish I could find someone who could just make my retainers.

Length of Use: 2+ years

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

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Dec 6, 2021

Hi Cheryl, We are very sorry for all the inconvenience. Please contact us via email at reviews@smiledirectclub.com and we will do everything we can to assist you.

Posted on Dec 5, 2021

Buyer beware!

By Jacqueline B., Cincinnati, OH, Verified Reviewer

I used SmileDirectClub aligners to try and correct a crooked tooth on my lower front teeth and to straighten my overall smile.

My first set of aligners came and I was very happy with the ease and limited contact this service provides but just a few sets into my treatment that changed. The aligners are cheaply made and some sets fit well while others are jagged and dug into my gums, making them painful and sore. It got so bad that I went to change into my new set one day and they simply didn’t fit.

I went back and the did a complimentary rescan and in a few weeks I got a new treatment plan with new aligners. I wore every set like I was supposed to and got to my last set and my teeth had not been corrected at all.

I went in for a 3rd scan and they have a new treatment plan for me but here is what they don’t tell you. These can hurt your teeth, I have 2 new chips on my lower teeth because my bite has changed and I think the way my teeth hit has caused this breakage. My gums have receded in several places, I think from wearing these every day for such long hours. I also have a hard callous on my outer gum from where they rubbed every day. And lastly, I think there is a crack in a lower front tooth from the stress they put on my teeth.

I have declined the next treatment plan, which was going to be for 8 months, and am going to my dentist to see what they can do to help me.

Beware – they will not refund your money if your problem is not corrected, no matter what they tell you in the office. My teeth are worse today, 6 months after starting, and I wished I had never used this product. I am 51 and during Covid I wanted the limited contact but that was a huge mistake.

This is an inferior product and very expensive to get no results and no help from customer service. Just be careful when you deal with them: they take your money and leave you damaged.

Length of Use: 6–12 months

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

Pros and Cons

Low contact during Covid

Promise to straighten my teeth

The product did not work and made my teeth worse

They offer no refund

I will need to have more expensive work done to my teeth

Posted on Dec 4, 2021

Loved Tom at King of Prussia branch

By Rachel G., King of Prussia, PA, Verified Reviewer

Tom and the King of Prussia branch really made me feel comfortable and made me smile the whole way through the appointment. I can't wait to get a better smile. Thank you.

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

Pros and Cons

Friendliness

Inexpensive

At-home service

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Nov 25, 2021

Excellent service

By Natalee Jade C., Denver, CO, Verified Reviewer

Hands down an amazing experience. Was able to easily book an appointment and find a store near me. The crew members that I got to consult with (Rainy and Niki) went above and beyond. Very friendly, professional, and made sure I left with all the information, and my cute gift bag.

I can’t wait to see what my smile will look like after my plan, designed specifically for me. Extremely excited to be a part of the club and see my progression pictures.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Friendliness

Professionalism

Convenience

No “cons” were specified in this review

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Nov 26, 2021

Hi there, Natalee. Thank you for this awesome review!

Posted on Nov 24, 2021

Great experience

By Julie L., Sacramento, CA, Verified Reviewer

Would like to give a shout-out to James at the Sacramento office. He was so great and made the experience so much more enjoyable. He was just so pleasant and positive to talk to...a breath of fresh air!

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

Pros and Cons

Professional

Quick

Affordable

No “cons” were specified in this review

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Nov 24, 2021

Hi there, Julie. Thank you for this awesome review!

Posted on Nov 23, 2021

Great service

By Marc W., Scottsdale, AZ, Verified Reviewer

Michele was the person that took care of me and she was AWESOME. She went through the whole procedure and told me all I needed to know about SmileDirectClub. She made my visit very relaxing and she was nice enough to remove her mask so I could lip read and understand her better.

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

Pros and Cons

Awesome service by Michelle

No long wait

Very clean office

No “cons” were specified in this review

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Nov 23, 2021

Hi Marc, thank you so much for your positive comments about SmileDirectClub!

Posted on Oct 23, 2021

Great service!

By Brittany F., Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Verified Reviewer

I made an appointment but when I got to the location they did not have anything in the system. The team went above and beyond to try and help and get me in. They were great and got me in right away! Sadaf was my Smile Guide and was very professional and easy to talk to! Very satisfied.

Thank you!

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

Pros and Cons

People

Service

No “cons” were specified in this review

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Oct 25, 2021

We're so happy to see this review. Thank you so much!

Posted on Oct 22, 2021

I was pleasantly surprised

By Michael C., San Diego, CA, Verified Reviewer

I didn’t expect that SDC was for me, but since the visit was free, I stopped into the office, and Jocelyn showed me how SDC works. I kind of thought that if I used them, I’d be out on my own. She showed me how actual dentists look at the scans of my teeth and oversee the process. And she explained that I could come to the office if I felt like I needed help, and dental assistants and dentists would be able to give me whatever help I need. It made me feel better because if my aligners don’t fit right, or have a rough edge or something, there’s a team that can help me on the phone, online, or in person.

So now, I see that this might be a good match for me, by getting the aligners mailed to me, but having help available when I need it. The visit changed my opinion on getting aligners sent by mail, so I’d recommend to people wondering about it, that if they go into an SDC office, they can get some good answers to their questions and concerns.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

My “smile guide” Jocelyn

Modern equipment

Clean and safe

No “cons” were specified in this review

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Oct 23, 2021

Hi there, Michael. Thank you for this awesome review!

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