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SmileDirectClub

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SmileDirectClub

Overall Rating

3.2

638 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 638 Reviews
5 Star:50% 4 Star:4% 3 Star:2% 2 Star:7% 1 Star:36%
55% Recommend This Company
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Posted on Sep 11, 2021

Ripoff

By Audrei G., Michigan, Verified Reviewer

SmileDirect is a complete ripoff!

When I received my aligners they did not fit (well, the bottom ones did but that’s it). I contacted them, kind of got the runaround, then finally they stated oh, well, we can set up a video chat with one of our dentists, specialists, or whoever was in charge of possibly making corrections so they could see what was needed. No one called.

I reached back out and they stated ok, we see the problem (I seen in photos as they requested.) It took forever to get the new ones and they were worse than the first pair. Did not fit whatsoever. It was like they were for baby teeth.

I contacted them again angry. Days later someone calls and states that she has seen my photos and that the top one is supposed to fit that way! Mind you the top ones didn’t “snap” in place, had a huge space between the bottom of my tooth and the aligners, and since the aligners didn’t fit on my teeth properly, it caused the top part to cut the inside of my lip. So how can that possibly be how they are supposed to fit?

She told me to get dental wax to prevent them from cutting. Are you serious? That’s your answer to the whole situation?

I kept reaching out and reaching out and reaching out - pure silence. This was over 4-5 months ago. They have no problem with taking your money. It’s crazy that I’m still expected to pay when you guys did not provide the service. Out of the whole ordeal, I was only able to wear week 1 bottom aligners. Really?

Great job SmileDirect! Not to mention the quality of the aligners are also trash. I’m convinced 90% of the good views are paid for.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Posted on Sep 9, 2021

Aligners

By Casanova C., Vacaville, CA, Verified Reviewer

My name is C.C. and I am giving this feedback. My appointment went fantastic. Roberto was a perfect representative for the company, I give him 10 out of 10. I would recommend this to family and friends. The pricing is great, you have two options - paying the full amount or monthly payments. SmileDirect is a company that I enjoy establishing with and once again I would recommend it to family and friends. I also enjoy the convenience of the pop-up locations.

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

Pros and Cons

How easy it is to X-ray our teeth

How fast the appointment went

Great representatives

No “cons” were specified in this review

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Sep 9, 2021

Wow! This means a lot to us, Casanova. We sure are proud of both our team and the technology we use in order to give our customers a cost-effective and convenient option. Thank you so much for your kind words of support.

Posted on Aug 27, 2021

New smile

By Sharon U., Merritt Island, FL, Verified Reviewer

They are always there to help you and answer questions. You will enjoy your new smile, all it takes is some work on your part. Wear the aligners as scheduled. You will be glad you did. I wear my retainers at night only now. Thank you SmileDirectClub.

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

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Sep 8, 2021

Thank you again for taking the time to share a review! We truly appreciate the support.

Posted on Aug 27, 2021

So very easy and fast!

By Melissa W., Brighton, CO, Verified Reviewer

I love how easy getting my smile is going to be! Love the reminders for changing out the aligners! Really don’t like this review process.

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

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Sep 8, 2021

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

Posted on Aug 27, 2021

Amazing

By Beth S., Cincinnati, OH, Verified Reviewer

Started out with fangs on top and a crocked mess on the bottom and ended up with a beautiful smile. I couldn’t be any more thrilled with the results! Thanks SmileDirectClub for giving me a confident and beautiful smile!

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

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Sep 8, 2021

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

Posted on Jul 28, 2021

Convenient and hassle free

By Katrise P., New Orleans, LA, Verified Reviewer

Scheduled a Saturday appointment in NOLA. The staff was friendly and professional. Tatyiana was really friendly and comprehensive. I would recommend SDC to everyone.

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

Pros and Cons

Short treatment

Good price

No office visits

No “cons” were specified in this review

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Jul 28, 2021

Katrise, we're delighted to read your review!

Posted on Jul 10, 2021

Smile Shop visit in Lancaster, PA

By Krzysztof G., Lancaster, PA, Verified Reviewer

I had a great experience at the Lancaster, Pennsylvania location. The process was streamlined from start to finish. Karen answered all my questions, concerns, and was very knowledgeable.

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

Pros and Cons

Streamlined

Friendly staff

Convenient

No “cons” were specified in this review

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Jul 10, 2021

Thanks so much for the review! We work hard to make sure every customer has the best experience in the best environment, and we are happy to see that reflected in this review.

Posted on Jul 10, 2021

They were very nice and welcoming

By Damaris G., Chandler, AZ, Verified Reviewer

I loved how gentle they were and helpful, and the place was very clean. They attended to me right away. They asked me simple questions, they were fast and quick, didn’t take too long for a scan.

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Pros and Cons

Gentle

Clean

Welcoming

No “cons” were specified in this review

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Jul 11, 2021

We appreciate your positive words, Damaris! We're honored.

Posted on Jul 9, 2021

Amazing experience

By Sholanda M., Houston, TX, Verified Reviewer

Amazing experience. Kandiace was great. I felt welcomed. She has an amazing personality that puts her clients at ease. I highly recommend her when in the Houston, Texas area.

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

Pros and Cons

Affordable

Welcoming

Knowledgeable

No “cons” were specified in this review

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Jul 11, 2021

Sholanda, thank you for your kind words and this wonderful review!

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
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