About Smile Direct Club
Smile Direct Club is a teledentistry company that produces custom clear dental aligners, offering consultation with licensed orthodontists and dentists who review patient files before moving forward with treatment plans. They boast affordability, ease of use, and of course, invisibility—all benefits that are not offered by braces.
Smile Direct Club has an impressive fan base of 437K followers on Instagram with straight, pearly whites abound. The online dentistry brand is featured in big media outlets including Retail Times, Yahoo Finance, and CNBC. But is this brand the real deal?
This Smile Direct Club invisible aligner review provides an unbiased rundown of the company and their products, customer feedback and promotions, as well as investigating what they do differently from other popular alternatives to braces.
Overview of Smile Direct Club
Smile Direct Club was founded in 2014 by Alex Fenkell and Jordan Katzman, childhood friends who thought there had to be a better and more affordable way for people to get straighter, whiter teeth. I wish there had been people in my corner working on that when I went through the awkward teen years in braces. Sigh.
Fenkell and Katzman worked with a private investment firm, Camelot Venture Group, to bring their ideas to life, and the brand took off from there. Smile Direct Club is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee and their aligners are 3D-printed in Antioch, Tennessee.
Wondering if you’re a suitable candidate? Smile Direct Club has a Smile Assessment Quiz on their site so you can check for yourself before signing up. The quiz is straightforward, and before you even begin there’s a disclaimer that the clear aligner system is designed for minor to moderate teeth correction.
The Smile Direct Club quiz asks why you’re thinking about straightening your teeth, with 4 responses plus an “Other” option. The next couple of questions ask if you’ve had braces or an aligner in the past, and what your dental concerns are, like yellow teeth and grinding them in your sleep.
The next section features images of teeth at varying levels of crowding, so you can compare the crowding and spacing of your own teeth. Once you answer these questions, you’ll need to provide your zip/postal code to make sure you’re in their service area, and your email address so they can let you know if you’re a suitable Smile Direct Club candidate.
From what I can tell from my research for this Smile Direct Club invisible aligner review, suitable candidates have mild to moderately crooked teeth or spacing issues, so if that sounds like you, take the quiz and see what they say.
If you just want a basic rundown of this Smile Direct Club invisible aligner review, here are the pros and cons:
- Significantly lower cost compared to braces
- No dentist visits
- Your file is still reviewed by a licensed dentist or orthodontist
- Aligners are 3D-printed, BPA-free plastic
- Treatment includes whitening and free whitening is offered thereafter
- A short 4-6 month wait for results
- Designed primarily for minor corrections
- Controversy about the efficacy and safety of aligners
- Some negative reviews
How Does Smile Direct Club Work?
Getting started with Smile Direct Club is a simple process, with three major steps:
- The dental team starts by making a 3D image of your teeth, either through an at-home kit, or a visit to one of their SmileShops. There are hundreds of Smile Direct Club locations across the US and Canada. All addresses can be found on their website. After the images of your teeth are created, a licensed dentist or orthodontist then designs your treatment plan.
- The dental team creates your aligners. They’ll share a preview of the expected results, then create your custom aligners, which will be shipped to you. Your assigned dentist or orthodontist will have virtual check-ins regularly to guide you along the treatment. As a bonus, you’ll get teeth whitening as part of the process.
- After completing your treatment, you can purchase a Smile Direct Club retainer to wear at night, and order free Smile Direct Club whitening treatments any time.
Now that you know how it works, we’ll talk about the company’s main products in this Smile Direct Club invisible aligner review.
Smile Direct Club Impression Kit
The Smile Direct Club Impression Kit is the first part of the Smile Direct Club journey. It consists of 2 sets of trays, putty, and instructions on how to create impressions for aligners. It also includes a Smile Spreader, a device that helps you take photos of your teeth.
The Smile Direct Club Impression Kit is shipped overnight at no extra cost so you can make your impressions right away, and the total cost is $59.
Smile Direct Club Clear Aligners
The Smile Direct Club Clear Aligners are their main product, and includes several sets of tight-fitting, custom-made, BPA-free clear plastic trays that gradually shift teeth into their desired position. Patients wear them 22 hours per day, and each aligner makes slight adjustments to the position of your teeth.
The licenced dentist or orthodontist reviews your case regularly. The cost of the Smile Direct Club Clear Aligners and professional treatment comes to $1950 total, or a payment plan of $89/month for 24 months with a $250 deposit ($2386 total).
Smile Direct Club Nighttime Clear Aligners
The Smile Direct Club Nighttime Clear Aligners are just like the original ones, but the plans and aligners are adjusted for nighttime wear only. For those who don’t mind waiting a little longer, these aligners are supposed to be worn for 10 hours per night.
This Smile Direct Club Nighttime Clear Aligners are flexible and more convenient for anyone whose lifestyle prevents them from wearing aligners during the day. If that isn’t enough, the cost is the same as regular aligners, $1950 total or $89/month. Both aligner treatments can be followed up with a Smile Direct Club Retainer, which costs $99.
Smile Direct Club Competitors
You may be wondering, is there a treatment better than Smile Direct Club? This Smile Direct Club invisible aligner review covers two key online dentistry competitors: Candid Teeth and Invisalign.
First up is Smile Direct Club vs Candid Teeth. There are actually quite a few similarities, but Candid Teeth uses the power of AI to align teeth up to 30% faster than braces. They’re priced at $2400, but have a similar payment plan option, $99/month for 24 months, with a $399 down payment.
The Candid Teeth impression kit comes with the same tools as Smile Direct Club, but is more expensive at $95. They also offer a retainer, which costs $99. Candid has customers smiling within 6 months on average, so from what I can tell, there aren’t many differences between the two companies.
Candid does specify that they only work with orthodontists, not dentists, whereas Smile Direct Club uses both. A quick look at the reviews shows that on their site, Candid has around 1400 reviews compared with the 10,000 on Smile Direct Club.
Oh, Invisalign, the most famous alternative to braces! For Smile Direct Club vs Invisalign, who wins out? Invisalign prices vary depending on patient needs, but can range from $3500 to $8000. There are multiple payment plan options, including insurance, monthly payments, or a Health Savings Account.
Much like the other aligners, the process starts with a scan of your teeth. However, unlike Smile Direct Club, this is done by a medical doctor. Invisalign uses special scanners and software to get an accurate image of your teeth, and create a treatment plan based on your teeth, needs, and lifestyle. From here onwards, you’ll have regularly scheduled appointments with your doctor to check in on your progress.
The bottom line here is that the Invisalign costs around the same as braces, and is marketed as an FDA-approved alternative method of treating misaligned teeth. It seems that they can treat a wider range of issues, and extras like retainers for after treatment are included in the initial price.
For the battle of Invisalign vs Smile Direct Club it’s clear that there are several differences, mainly the cost and the fact that with Invisalign all checkups are in person.
Smile Direct Club Reviews: What Do Customers Think?
The reviews on the Smile Direct Club website are positively glowing. There are over 10,000, the majority of which give 5/5 stars. Customers are clearly satisfied with their results! I dug up some customer responses for this Smile Direct Club invisible aligner review:
“From my initial in person consultation to my last aligner it was an easy process and uneventful. Time went by fast and am on my last aligner. Wish I had done this years ago!!”
“Excellent job. Not as painful as I was expecting and happy with my new smile”
“I love the way I’m able to smile with no hesitation! My teeth were spaced out before and I was self conscious about smiling but now I’m finally happy about smiling!”
Pretty good, to hear in this Smile Direct Club invisible aligner review, right? Some reviews even included photos of their results as further proof. As expected however, there are also some negative reviews, most of which claimed that the aligners didn’t work, or didn’t fit. The company responds to each review requesting that the customer get in contact with them to look into a re-evaluation, which is good to see.
I did some more digging elsewhere on the internet for this Smile Direct Club invisible aligner review, and the company doesn’t appear to have a great reputation, with a 1.6/5 star rating on Consumer Affairs. Some negative reviews were similar to those on the site, talking about poor fits, but there were also several complaints about the customer service and refund process. It’s important to note, though, that this rating was calculated based on only 100 reviews, compared to the thousands on the Smile Direct Club website.
If you look up Smile Direct Club Reddit, or Smile Direct club reviews Reddit you’ll find quite a range of both positives and negatives. It seems that customers have had trouble getting in touch with customer service after experiencing issues such as bleeding gums or poorly fitting aligners. However, Smile Direct Club does have an A+ on the Better Business Bureau and a 4/5 star rating on the site. Overall, it seems that reviews are pretty mixed, so I recommend doing a lot more research before proceeding with a treatment plan.
Is Smile Direct Club Effective?
So… after spending all this time reading Smile Direct Club invisible aligner review, I’m sure it boils down to one question: is Smile Direct Club reliable? Honestly, I had braces in middle school and didn’t mind them too much. Although they could definitely be painful, inconvenient, and annoying at times! I’m glad I had them back when I was a kid though, and thankful my family could afford them.
I completely understand the appeal of clear aligners, especially for adults. Considering the low cost and convenience, Smile Direct Club is a good option for people who want to improve minor misalignments in their teeth. Straight teeth are an excellent confidence booster, but dental health is much more important, so I say it’s wise to be cautious when it comes to teledentistry companies.
In looking up Smile Direct Club careers, you’ll find that there are actually postings for dentists to work in the shops, so they’re definitely hiring real, licensed professionals for their stores. That said, I think it’s important to visit an orthodontist in person to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy before moving forward with any treatment plan.
All in all, this Smile Direct Club invisible aligner review concludes, if your teeth are right for Smile Direct Club clear aligners, then seem like a good option to consider.
Smile Direct Club Promotions & Discounts
Looking for promo codes or discounts? This Smile Direct Club invisible aligner review found one promotion on the Smile Direct Club website:
For a limited time you can get a $29 kit with a rebate option. Just use the Smile Direct Club promo code SEPTGRINS. You’ll even get $100 credit towards your aligners! It seems they often have some kind of promotion going on, so don’t worry if you miss one.
Sign up for Smile Direct Club
The registration process on SmileDirectClub.com is very straightforward:
- After checking your eligibility, click Get Started
- Enter your zip code to see if they serve your area
- Book a free visit at a SmileShop, or order an at-home impression kit
- We’ll go with the at-home kit, so use the promo code and place your order!
- Enter your contact information and your payment information
After ordering the kit, you’ll receive an email with instructions on how to set up your Smile Direct Club login, and from there you’ll be able to access your treatment plan and contact your assigned doctor.
How Long Does Smile Direct Club Take to Work?
On average, it takes 4-6 months for Smile Direct Club to work. If you use the Nighttime aligners, it takes on average about 10 months. Every person’s teeth are different, and a unique plan will be created for you after your teeth are assessed.
Can Smile Direct Club Damage Teeth?
Like with all dental procedures, there’s a risk associated. There are some reports of the Smile Direct Club aligners damaging customer’s teeth; a common complaint is that although their teeth were straightened, their bite was negatively impacted.
Since no X-rays or further scans are taken, and an orthodontist doesn’t always physically examine your mouth before prescribing the treatment, you won’t know if you have any underlying dental issues which can be worsened by aligners.
How long does shipping take for Smile Direct Club?
SmileDirectClub clear aligners are available in the US, Canada, Australia, UK and New Zealand. Typically orders arrive within 4-5 weeks for US and Canadian customers, and international orders take about 5-6 weeks.
As mentioned previously in this Smile Direct Club invisible aligner review, you’ll receive tracking information via email after your order is confirmed.
Can I return my Smile Direct Club aligners?
The brand has a Smile Guarantee Policy, which covers returns for impression kits and aligners. If you purchase an impression kit, and it turns out that you’re not eligible, you can get a refund. If you’re not happy with your Smile Direct Club invisible aligners, you can return your aligners for a refund within the first 30 days.
Past the 30 day window, you can still return your unused and unopened aligners for a partial refund. You’re responsible for the return shipping in either scenario.
How to Contact Smile Direct Club
If you have any questions or concerns that weren’t addressed in this Smile Direct Club invisible aligner review, you can contact the Smile Direct Club customer care team 24/7 via:
- Phone: (800) 848-7566
- Live Chat on the website
- Email: [email protected]