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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.


  • More cost-effective than braces
  • Many positive customer success stories
  • Simple pricing plan, often covered by insurance
  • Faster results than traditional braces


  • 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

3.1 Stars out of 600 Reviews
5 Star:47% 4 Star:4% 3 Star:2% 2 Star:7% 1 Star:38%
53% Recommend This Company
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Posted on May 13, 2017

Unresponsive to insurance questions

By Chenbo Fang, Boston, MA, Verified Reviewer

My biggest problem with SmileDirectClub is that they do not respond to any insurance questions. I have a premium dental insurance with Cigna so it should cover everything, but SmileDirectClub is not willing to spend any time to work with me to get the reimbursement.

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

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Mar 8, 2018

Hi there. We would like to clarify that although our company was started by entrepreneurs, all of the actual treatment and assessment is performed by licensed dental professionals. Of course, with teledentistry, this is done remotely. However, we do have a dental team available to speak directly with customers regarding any questions or concerns they may have. The dental professional assigned to each customer is licensed in their state as well.

Here's a Q+A with our lead dentist:


Helpful Review? 19 People Have Voted

Posted on Jun 12, 2017

Avoid this joke of a company!

By Donna, Nashville, TN, Verified Reviewer

Stay far, far away from this joke of a company. It has now been six months since I started my process and have yet to even receive a correct set of aligners.

When I first ordered and sent my impressions, I was sent a message saying they weren't good enough, and I would have to pay for another set and send them in. Ok. The second set looked exactly like the first ones I sent, but they were fine. Great.

Then four weeks later I get an email saying due to higher than expected volume, my aligners would be delayed two weeks. Ok.

I get the first set. I can't even wear them. They are so sharp and flared out along the edges that they are literally cutting my cheeks and tongue. I called and am told to just file them. On the bottom, the aligner is so much wider than my teeth that I can actually stick the tip of my tongue in between the aligner and my tooth. I call back, and they tell me I have to take pictures and send them. So I do.

A couple of weeks goes by, and nothing. I call and they say they need more pictures. What the? I send more pictures. A couple of weeks, and no more contact. I call back and am told they will review with the lab and get back to me. In the meantime, I've been sent a second round of aligners and receive an email wanting to know how my plan is progressing. You've got to be kidding me!

I call and ask them what the heck they are doing. I'm told I am being sent a new impression kit so we can start all over. My aligners and plan will be expedited since I have had so much trouble. Funny, they have had no trouble or delay taking the payment each month for the last four months.

I received the new impression kit and sent it back the next day. Three weeks later I get an email telling me my new plan is ready but I need to order and make another down payment. Needless to say, my blood boiled. I get on the phone and am told to hold. So I do. For 20 minutes. Only to be told the email was sent in error, that my new aligners will be shipped in 3-4 weeks. Excuse me? Three to four WEEKS?

Needless to say, I have washed my hands of this joke of a company and am filing a charge-back for all payments.

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

Helpful Review? 40 People Have Voted

Posted on Jul 8, 2017

OK product; terrible customer service/fulfillment

By J Cole, Brooklyn, NY, Verified Reviewer

This is a typical tech company who went to market without having fundamental customer service and fulfillment in place. I went through the initial consultation and received my aligners with a few issues, and my teeth started to align, but when I needed a replacement set of aligners, it took months, and my teeth reverted back. Customer service repeatedly lied and said they were overnighting them or they would be there in a week (etc., etc.), but it took months. I had to go back in trays to fix, which was a painful process.

I finally finished and now it's been months since they were supposed to send my retainers and my teeth are reverting back again. I won't go through the process again and am trying to get my money back.

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

Helpful Review? 23 People Have Voted

Posted on Jul 25, 2017


By Monika Haskell, Kansas, Verified Reviewer

I had a horrible time working with this company. Every step of the way was difficult. They do not follow through with what they say they will do. My aligners broke OFTEN, so I had to call them about once a month to get a new set of aligners, and every time the customer service representative said they would get a new set shipped out, but they NEVER shipped out a new set of aligners.

I ALWAYS had to call a second and sometimes a third or fourth time to ask again if I could get a new set of aligners. One of my aligner sets was even missing a tooth! The customer service representatives do not communicate well with each other because I would tell one representative I had a badly made set of aligners and that representative said they'd fix it. After a few days with no word from SmileDirect, I would call back and ask them about it, and they would tell me they had no record of my previous issue.

I always had to call multiple times asking for a new set of aligners before they would ever send a new set out. Most of the time, I was wearing broken aligners for weeks at a time because they couldn't get their stuff figured out. During the last week of my month three, I realized that I never received my month four package and that I would need to be changing into in a few days.

So I called SmileDirect, and they told me that they were backlogged and that I would not be receiving my next month of aligners. They did not give me an estimate of when I would get them; they simply said I wouldn't get them. Plus, they were NOT going to inform me that I would not be receiving my next set of aligners because they were backlogged. If I hadn't reached out and asked them about it, they would have never told me. Last, but most definitely not least, after making four impressions of my top and bottom row of teeth, SmileDirect told me I needed to wear aligners for four months in order to have straight teeth.

At the end of those four months, guess what? My teeth were NOT straight. I called and told them, and they did say I would need to take new impressions and they would make me a new treatment plan. I am guessing I will need one or two more months of aligners than they originally prescribed in order to get straight teeth. Hopefully, they will not charge me for this as they were the ones who told me it would only take four months to get straight teeth when in reality it would take longer than that.

Honestly, I think the invisible aligners you would get through your dentist/orthodontist would be higher quality than the ones SmileDirect give out. The SmileDirect invisible aligners are flimsy, not well fitting and very easily broken and quite frankly they don't even fit that well! You would DEFINITELY get better customer service and treatment plans through your dentist/orthodontist. I truly think you are getting what you are paying for with SmileDirect. You pay a cheap amount of money for cheap invisible aligners, cheap customer service and cheap results. The aligners have been working, but it has been a slow and painful process working with them and their crappy aligners. And honestly, my teeth were not bad to begin with. I only had cosmetic issues with my teeth. I did not have serious structural problems or anything like that. My teeth were an easy fix yet SmileDirect did a crap job fixing them. If you can afford to go elsewhere, I would seriously consider it.

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

Helpful Review? 27 People Have Voted

Posted on Aug 26, 2017

The most disorganized company you can imagine

By Tracy M., Schaumburg, IL, Verified Reviewer

This is the most unorganized poorly run company I've ever come across. I should have known in the beginning when they didn't contact me that they received my impressions or even my photos. I ordered on June 21st, I've been waiting for two months now, and I've talked to numerous customer service representatives, live chatted, used Facebook messenger, and texted several supervisors only to be lied to without explanation every time and told that I'll have my aligners within a week. Once that week goes by, I still have nothing.

After more conversations I'm told the same thing, "You'll have them in a week." My case has been handled by three separate customer service supervisors and still no answers, only false promises and lack of follow through. Is my money not as green as someone else's? I have screen shots of people saying they ordered their aligners in mid-July and have already received them while I sit here and wait with no information as to why.

Here's the thing, it's not rocket science, it's basic business practice. It's about ethics. 1) Don't miss lead customers by false advertising and not being able to deliver the timeline that is promised. 2) Don't lie and pacify customers just to get them off the phone. Be honest, tell the truth, offer explanations and "the whys." 3) FOLLOW UP with customer complaints. I really don't think any of those core ethics are very difficult to adhere to.

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

Helpful Review? 21 People Have Voted

Posted on Nov 18, 2017

Stay away!

By Rob J, Pennsylvania, Verified Reviewer

I called SmileDirectClub early in 2017, and they were very nice at first. I paid for the first impression kit, and when I was done with it, I sent it back. They contacted me and said that they needed another impression kit and that I would have to pay for it. I sent the second impression kit back and waited, and waited, and waited, and nothing.

I called back and they said that they are still doing research on the best way to make my trays and that they would contact me when they are ready. Well, 6 months (yes 6 months) went by and absolutely nothing from them. I called in and asked for a refund, and they had zero explanation on why or what happened. They said that they would refund, but I highly doubt that I will receive it as they have done nothing but take from me.

Please avoid this fraudulent company and spend a bit more money and go to a more reputable company. This is honestly the worst customer service that I have ever seen in my life. Good luck all.

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

Helpful Review? 14 People Have Voted

Posted on Nov 20, 2017

Do not use!

By Michael B, Chicago, IL, Verified Reviewer

Do not use SmileDirectClub. They are a total scam. They have the worst customer service. They always give you the runaround. I emailed to have mine canceled and was told it was canceled and I would not be charged again. And they charged me and claim the agent who called in response to my email was not authorized to cancel orders. Still, I don’t understand how an agent they hired and trained called me to cancel my order if they weren’t authorized to cancel my order.

I thankfully disputed with my bank and they sided with me. But I still lost $500! Please be warned, do NOT use this service.

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

Helpful Review? 16 People Have Voted

Posted on Dec 2, 2017

Not upfront with clients, don't live up to expectations. Decent product.

By David Restrepo, Texas, Verified Reviewer

Very unsatisfied with the end result and time it takes to receive aligners.

First, I'm told it's going to take 7 and a half months, but they lost one of the shipments and delayed the process by two weeks. Then I see my Smile on the last aligner and my Smile still needs work, so I called customer service, got an email and followed directions on what to do and got a response after 10 saying I was "approved for refinement." What if I don't know any better and don't say anything at all believing that my treatment is over and that's the best that can be done to my smile?

I went the next day to get the scans done at an office and checked today that my case has been approved but got no notification from the company. I called customer service and they say it’s going to take 3 to 4 more weeks to get new aligners, so all in all, 2 months wasted.

I see real potential for complaints and lawsuits opportunity as the company relies on client expertise or sense of knowledge in Orthodontics to yield the results we are paying for but not delivered. I do not see anywhere on brochures or website disclosing that company may not deliver expected results and client should consult with third-party specialist or SmileDirectClub for final results. This is the closest to fraud and advertising as it can get.

Nevertheless, I will escalate this to American Board of Orthodontics to see how they can make companies like this be more accountable with products and expected results.

Oh, and I will post this everywhere I can to promote awareness.

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

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Mar 7, 2018

Hi there. As with any medical procedure, we cannot guarantee results. This information is clearly outlined in the consent and history form that all customers sign before beginning treatment. That being said, we offer midcourse corrections and reevaluation to account for teeth not tracking as projected. This is a normal aspect of all aligner treatment from our aligners to traditional orthodontics. If you have any other questions, please reach out via grinners@smiledirectclub.com.

Helpful Review? 18 People Have Voted

Posted on Dec 5, 2017

Do not get scammed!

By Carolyn Severance, Bowie, MD, Verified Reviewer

Do not get scammed into the hype of this dishonest and bogus company. They are frauds.

I had a 4-month plan. The entire 4 months my bottom aligner never fit properly. After several calls, I kept getting "it will take time." Well, 4 months passed and my bottom teeth never shifted. What a waste of money, time, pain, etc.

After taking additional impressions, I was approved once again to receive an aligner correction, which would only take an additional 4 weeks. Well, I’m writing this at 7 weeks and no aligners.

After several calls and having to call BBB, I received a bogus email that my aligners was shipped with an unknown tracking number. So once again I called and was hung up on with several representatives, with one telling me "oh, the tracking number is incorrect so I'll have to look into getting a correct one." I’m still waiting.

At this point, if BBB cannot do anything I will sue the company for all money, as well as for pain and suffering. Please be advised, sometimes it's worth paying more to get the quality and service you desire.

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

Company Response from Smile Direct Club

Mar 7, 2018

Hi Carolyn. We would like to clarify that it's a normal aspect of aligner treatment for additional treatment time to be added on. This is due to the fact that it's not possible to predict exactly how fast a person's teeth will move. We will always prescribe reevaluation free of charge when it is necessary to achieve optimal alignment in line with the SmilePlan provided.

Helpful Review? 17 People Have Voted

Posted on Dec 14, 2017


By James Hobbs, Rock Hill, SC, Verified Reviewer

Stay away from this company; they promise things they cannot produce.

We paid for it, then it took four months longer to get the first set of retainers, but they kept charging me. Now I finally got them on August 17 and they are telling me I'm done (November 17, 4 months) and want me to by the end of process retainers.

Buyer beware. Stay away from this company.

They rather you pay the total up front because they know it won't work. Warning, stay away from giving these scam artist your money or you will regret it. Four months of retainers and not one tooth was moved. I have talked and emailed no less than 22 people and each claims to be serious about helping me, but no one knows who the other is or what their email is.

Warning, warning, warning. Stay away from giving these scam artists your hard earned money.

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

Helpful Review? 22 People Have Voted

Posted on Dec 19, 2017

Have not received aligners, paid $1800.00.

By Pamela Zappa, Hudson, WI, Verified Reviewer

They were happy to send an impression kit, but once I sent them money on November 6, 2017, I have not gotten my aligners. I called last week and was told they would get back to me within 24 hours; crickets! Is this a scam? And to top it off, they said my dental insurance would cover some of the costs, but MetLife denied my claim! I paid $1800.00 for nothing!

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

Helpful Review? 18 People Have Voted
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