SmileDirectClub: Reviews and Results
- 70% of Americans report being self-conscious about their teeth.
- Traditional braces cost $5,000 to $6,000 and must be worn for one to three years.
- Invisible aligners from SmileDirectClub cost as little as $1,950.
- SmileDirectClub offers monthly payment options as low as $89/month.
- With SmileDirectClub, you can correct your smile in as little as four months.
- The company offers a Lifetime Smile Guarantee if you order two sets of retainers per year to maintain the guarantee.
If you're insecure about your teeth, you're not alone. A 2019 survey from market research firm OnePoll found that approximately 70% of Americans are self-conscious about their teeth, particularly when it comes to crookedness or spacing between teeth.
In the past, you had to visit an orthodontist and get fitted for braces if you wanted to correct your smile. On average, traditional comprehensive orthodontic treatment costs $5,000 to $6,000. You also have to make monthly trips to the orthodontist. Smile Direct Club is also a much less expensive alternative compared to Invisalign.
With SmileDirectClub, you can get straighter teeth from the comfort of your own home for a fraction of the cost. In SmileDirectClub reviews, customers report being highly satisfied with their new smiles.
Our team of experts have reviewed these invisible aligners in order to give you an unbiased opinion on SmileDirectClub's pros and cons. Here's what you should know about the company we ranked as "Best for Convenience."
What is SmileDirectClub?
SmileDirectClub was founded in 2014 to make orthodontic care more accessible. Using clear, invisible aligners, customers can gradually shift their teeth into a more cosmetically appealing position in four to six months.
While straightening teeth with traditional braces usually requires regular visits to an orthodontist, SmileDirectClub eliminates that requirement. You can straighten your teeth at home instead, without any office visits.
How does it work?
When you sign up with SmileDirectClub, you follow these steps to start the process:
1. Visit a SmileShop, dentist, or request a home impression kit.
To begin your aligner treatment, you first need your current teeth evaluated. There are two ways to do this:
- Go to a SmileShop: SmileShops, SmileDirectClub's in-person locations, are located all over the country, including in some pharmacies like CVS or Walgreens. When you come in for your appointment, you'll undergo a 3-D scan.
- Visit a dentist: SmileDirectClub's partner network now includes more than 1,000 dentists.
- Use a home impression kit: For the price of $18, you can get a kit to make home impressions of your teeth. With this option, you use the kit to take impressions of your teeth, then mail them back to SmileDirectClub. Before requesting an impression kit SmileDirectClub gives you the option to complete a free 30-second "Smile Assessment" to determine if an aligner treatment is right for you.
2. Get a customized treatment plan.
Whether you opt to visit a SmileShop, dentist, or use a home impression kit, SmileDirectClub will use that information to make a 3-D image of your teeth and evaluate your smile. A certified dentist or orthodontist (one of SmileDirectClub's partner dental professionals) will review your 3-D image and approve your customized treatment plan.
3. Receive your set of aligners.
SmileDirectClub will share a preview of your corrected smile and ship all of the invisible aligners to you at once. This way, you don't have to wait for the next set of aligners to arrive. Depending on your teeth and preferences, there are two aligner options:
- Traditional clear aligner treatment plan: With this approach, you wear your aligners 22 hours a day, taking them out only while eating and drinking.
- Nighttime Clear Aligner Therapy: If you decide to use the Nighttime Clear Aligner Therapy option, you wear your aligners for just 10 hours a day when you go to bed. This option may be preferable if school or work makes wearing aligners all day difficult for you.
SmileDirectClub vs. Invisalign
While these two market leaders both offer the same benefit, there are still a few key differences. The biggest difference between the two is that Invisalign is sold and monitored by dentists and orthodontists, meaning those with more complex needs might benefit from this hands-on care. SmileDirectClub treatment time can be as short as four months, however, its service is more suitable for those with mild teeth-straightening needs. Depending on which factors are most important to you, Invisalign and SmileDirectClub are both suitable options for aligners.
SmileDirectClub vs. Invisalign pros and cons
SmileDirectClub costs vary but on average can be as low as $89 per month and a Lifetime Smile Guarantee if you order two sets of retainers per year. Invisalign is more expensive than SmileDirectClub, with prices ranging from $99-$125 per month. Although this can seem like a downside, the price increase is mainly due to the level of follow-up care you receive from Invisalign.
Unlike SmileDirectClub treatment, Invisalign requires in-office checkups. This means that treatment is more hands-on, and the technical errors that could occur if you were solely treating yourself at home are less likely to occur. So, if you're apprehensive about getting your teeth straightened without any in-person supervision from a dentist, you might be more suited for Invisalign. In this case, Invisalign could more effectively address the concerns for those with more complex teeth-straightening needs.
However, if you're concerned with aesthetics, and having the most "invisible" braces possible, you might be better suited for SmileDirectClub. That's because during Invisalign treatment, the doctor attaches a tooth-colored composite bonding that looks like differently shaped bumps on your teeth, and is more noticeable than the clear aligners from SmileDirectClub. These tooth-colored composite bondings might not be required for every tooth; it depends on your custom need. When investigating which option is right for you, you will have to balance several factors including convenience, price and effectiveness - overall, if you prefer in-office checkups with a licensed dental professional, Invisalign may be the right choice. But if you prefer a more discreet clear aligner, you may want to go with SmileDirectClub.
SmileDirectClub vs. traditional braces
If you're trying to decide between a treatment plan from SmileDirectClub and traditional braces, here are some benefits and drawbacks to consider:
- Cost: SmileDirectClub is significantly cheaper than traditional braces, and you can take advantage of a monthly payment plan to make it more manageable.
- Length of time: The average amount of time someone wears traditional braces is one to three years. Using SmileDirectClub, you can get the smile you want in just four to six months.
- Lifetime Smile Guarantee: If you order two sets of retainers per year, every year, SmileDirect guarantees your smile for life.
- Office visits not required: With traditional braces, you typically have to visit an orthodontist on a monthly basis. That means taking time off school or work, which can be both tricky and costly. With SmileDirectClub, there are no required office visits. Those who opt for the home impressions kit can even do everything from their own home.
- Regular check-ins: Frequent check-ins with your dental provider and 24/7 access to your dental care team.
- Safety concerns: While services like SmileDirectClub make teeth straightening more affordable, some professional groups have expressed safety concerns. For example, the American Dental Association strongly discourages the use of do-it-yourself orthodontics, noting that they may cause harm to some users.
- Designed for minor to moderate issues only: SmileDirectClub's aligners are only designed for people with minor or moderate alignment problems. If your teeth have more severe issues, such as severe overbites or underbites, you may not be a candidate for the SmileDirectClub.
How much does SmileDirectClub cost?
An aligner treatment from SmileDirectClub costs substantially less than traditional braces. According to the company, you can get invisible aligners for up to 60% less than braces.
SmileDirectClub offers two payment options:
- Single pay: If you opt for a one-time upfront payment, the cost is $1,950. That price includes customer clear aligners shipped to you, premium teeth whitening, an aligner case, lip balm, and the "outie" tool for easy aligner removal.
- SmilePay: You can also choose monthly payments and pay $89 per month. This option also requires a $250 down payment. It includes the same services as the single pay option, but you'll pay more over time ($2,386 in total).
If you have a health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA), you can use the money you've saved to pay for your SmileDirectClub aligners. SmileDirectClub also accepts CareCredit as a financing option.
While SmileDirectClub is a less expensive option than Invisalign and traditional metal braces, financing options add interest that can make the overall price more expensive over time.
Does SmileDirectClub take insurance?
Dental plans with orthodontic benefits may provide coverage for SmileDirectClub products. If your plan allows for aligners, SmileDirectClub will work with your insurance company to coordinate payment. Some insurance companies require payment upfront to the provider. You then need to submit a claim to the insurance company for reimbursement.
SmileDirectClub is in-network with the following insurance providers:
- Anthem Blue Cross
- Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
- Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield
If you have insurance through another provider, such as Cigna, Delta Dental, Humana, or MetLife, SmileDirectClub will help you contact your provider directly to check your eligibility.
While certain insurance plans can reduce the cost by nearly half, the cost of SmileDirectClub can vary pending on your insurance provider and your specific insurance plan.
SmileDirectClub before and after images
Real SmileDirectClub customer reviews
What customer service options are available?
When it comes to customer service, SmileDirectClub reviews are generally positive. According to Best Company, SmileDirectClub has received over 1,600 reviews as of November 2020, rating the company with 4.2 stars out of five on average. The majority of reviews highlight the product's value and quality as their best features. One reviewer wrote:
"I absolutely love the progress I've made in such a short time. This affordable option has given me the opportunity to smile and not be ashamed," said Kelsey.
Customer care representatives are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can reach customer support via live chat or by calling 800-848-7566.
Correcting your smile
If you've always been self-conscious about your smile, teeth straightening treatments can make a significant improvement in your self-esteem. When deciding between traditional orthodontia and at-home services like SmileDirectClub, think about your budget, current teeth issues, and how quickly you want results. If you're not sure if this treatment route is right for you, talk to your dentist for further advice and guidance.
Still looking for other options? Check out the best invisible braces on the market in 2021.
Frequently asked questions
How do I know if SmileDirectClub is right for me?
In general, clear aligners from SmileDirectClub are appropriate for people with mild to moderate orthodontic issues. Slightly overcrowded teeth, small gaps, teeth that have shifted after having braces, and straightening needs that are not too complicated are all reasons to consider clear aligners. However, if you have complex dental needs, serious bite issues, or severely crooked teeth, you may not be a good candidate for SmileDirectClub. If you have questions or concerns, it's always a good idea to start with your dentist.
Can I use SmileDirectClub if I still have wisdom teeth?
The company is not clear about whether or not you should use SmileDirectClub if you still have wisdom teeth. In general, you need to wait at least six weeks after having your wisdom teeth removed before using aligners. If you still have your wisdom teeth, SmileDirectClub recommends starting the process by purchasing the impression kit. Once this is complete, one of the licensed dentists or orthodontists will determine whether or not aligners are right for you. If you're not a good fit for aligner treatment, SmileDirectClub will refund the cost of the impression kit.
Can I use SmileDirectClub if I am missing teeth?
If you have missing teeth, you might be wondering if SmileDirectClub aligners will work. The good news is, yes, some people who have missing teeth are able to use the aligners. The best way to determine if you're a good fit for SmileDirectClub aligners is to work with one of the company's licensed dentists or orthodontists. They will assess your situation and decide if the missing teeth pose a problem. If they determine that SmileDirectClub aligners are not the right choice, the cost of your impression kit or scan is fully refundable.
What is SmileDirectClub's return policy?
SmileDirectClub offers a risk-free, 30-day guarantee. If you're not satisfied with your aligners within the first 30 days from when they arrived at your home, you can reach out to the customer service department for a full refund. The company's return policy also includes a partial refund for aligners used after the original 30 days.
Can you eat with SmileDirectClub?
Unlike traditional braces that are fixed, SmileDirectClub aligners are removable, so you don't have to give up your favorite foods. For best results, remove your aligners before eating and drinking anything. You can leave them in if you're just drinking cool water. Before you put your aligners back in, make sure to brush and floss your teeth.
Kat Tretina is a journalist and copywriter with expertise in personal health and personal finance. Her content has been featured on sites such as Everyday Health, HuffPost, Forbes, Investopedia, and Credit Karma. Kat calls Orlando, Florida home.