So, you're interested in at-home teeth straightening? Lots of companies have started offering remote orthodontics in the UK in a relatively short space of time, so it's understandable you're unsure whether this treatment is right for you. Checking some Smile Direct Club reviews will hopefully help you understand more about this brand and what the treatment involves.
To save you having to spend ages trawling the internet for Smile Direct Club reviews from the UK (because they can be hard to find among all the American ones), we have compiled this collection for you. We hope this helps you get better informed about what to expect from at-home aligners and whether Smile Direct Club is the right choice.
Smile Direct Club aligners cost £1,499, a lot less than in-office aligners, but there's an even cheaper option for people on a tight budget. Straight My Teeth aligners cost just £999 without compromising on quality or service.
Table of contents
Smile Direct Club overview
In case you're not too familiar with how Smile Direct Club (SDC) works, we'll quickly explain before we jump into the reviews. They provide clear aligners to straighten your teeth, a bit like Invisalign. The big difference is that at-home aligners don't require visits to a dentist's office; a dentist or orthodontist monitors your treatment remotely and your aligners are posted to you.
You have two options to get started with your SDC treatment. One is to order your impression kit online. You'll get your kit delivered to you at home, so you can take the impressions of your teeth on your own and send them back, making treatment 100% remote.
Your other option is to go to a physical Smile Direct location, known as a SmileShop, where a trained representative will take 3D scans of your teeth. There are currently 21 SmileShop locations in the UK.
Whichever option you choose, a dentist or orthodontist will then analyse your teeth and come up with a treatment plan. All your aligners are posted to you at once, and you can begin your treatment, switching to a new set of aligners every week or two as instructed. Your dentist or orthodontist will monitor your treatment remotely and check in periodically to make sure your teeth are moving as planned.
The end result, in theory, is straighter teeth that have cost you a lot less than if you visited the dentist for braces.
We have a separate article which explains more about how SDC works and how it compares to other brands in the UK offering a similar product.
Smile Direct Club UK reviews
Now let's look at some Smile Direct Club reviews from the UK. It's easy to find reviews from American users because the brand has been operating there for so much longer, although there have been reports of SDC in the US getting dissatisfied customers to sign a non-disclosure agreement, preventing them from speaking out about their experience, before they can get a refund.
In the UK, where the brand is still quite new, there is a smaller pool of reviews to choose from since not so many people have undergone treatment yet.
TrustPilot is one place you can look, where SDC have 4.5 stars from over 2,000 reviews. That sounds pretty good, but when you examine them more closely you'll see that the majority of these are from people who are basing their rating purely on their experience at a SmileShop. They praise the friendliness of their staff and say they can't wait to receive their kits, but this is not a good indication of the performance of the product itself. It's also interesting to note how the number of five-star reviews dropped dramatically during the UK's lockdown period – when SmileShops were forced to close.
One reviewer named Angela actually confirms the company's strategy, saying:
“They ask you to leave a review after you get a scan – don’t be fooled! The aligners arrived after 7 weeks – they don’t fit! Had an absolute nightmare trying to get replacements which was me constantly calling them to ask for an update however after 1 month of them arriving and still no response I have sent them back. It’s worth the extra £1000 to go via your dentist – don’t be fooled by this company’s tactics.”
In fact, customer service problems seem to be a recurring theme, with others complaining the services is US-based so it's hard to coordinate a time to call. Even when it comes to email communication, there are cases when SDC has taken days or weeks to respond.
So putting aside the 5-star SmileShop experience, here are some comments from people who have at least started their treatment:
“The aligners themselves are good and aren’t noticeable so they work. But the service is horrendous. Better off paying abit more to have it done properly through an actual dentist.”
“The initial process was smooth, the 3D scan was easy enough and I received my aligners as expected. When it come to the aligners they're a real bunch surprises. Some come and are well filed, smooth on the edges and then others come that are rough around the edges and cut into your gums. Although I've felt some changes when it hit the 90 day mark, I wasn't particularly happy. I took photos as requested and sent them off but haven't had a response whatsoever, just some generic email saying well done.”
“Currently a month into my treatment and very impressed with the results so far. Amy was very helpful and professional.”
“Absolutely shocking service. My time has been wasted on several occasions. Did the treatment, teeth weren’t as they should be after 6 months, they agreed 2 months more was required, sent everything to the wrong address after making me wait 6 weeks. All teeth moving back to the original location, now they are asking me to wait another 6 weeks. Shocking. Will be requesting a full refund.”
“I received my box in 3 weeks so that was great and within the time period they gave me. Initially my teeth felt weird when I put the aligners in but by day 3 they were fine. I am now on Week 2 and can feel a slight pressure on the teeth so they must be working. I wear mine all day apart from when I eat which is approx 3 times a day, breakfast lunch and dinner. I can't snack when the aligners are in so its great to stop me from snacking.”
All in all, there are a few positive experiences there but they are hidden among the complaints and the hundreds of people who have been asked to leave a review before even receiving their aligners.
SmileShop experience and unboxing
“It's really not like a dentist”
Ok, so now on to some Smile Direct Club review videos. This first one is quite short. The reviewer describes her experience visiting a SmileShop and then goes on to open her box of aligners which arrived about a month later.
This reviewer also says that she originally tried another brand of clear aligner called Franksmile. But after three attempts at doing her impressions at home she wasn't getting anywhere, so she decided to switch to SDC and visit a SmileShop.
This video is hot off the press at the time of writing but she says she will continue to post more updates as her treatment goes on.
Shayne's Smile Direct Club unboxing video
“They're not as bad as I thought they were gonna be”
In the more detailed video below you can watch Shayne unboxing his SDC aligners, which have just arrived. He talks about his reasons for choosing SDC, and then attempts to try in his aligners for the first time, on camera. He has a few difficulties but explains in the caption that it was much easier second time around.
This might not help you decide whether to get SDC yourself, but it might prepare you for the first time you try your aligners in (whichever brand you go with)!
Fraser's Smile Direct Club review at week 2
“It took a while to get used to them”
Fraser records this video review as he is about to switch to his second set of aligners as part of a four-month treatment. Here's a summary of his experience so far:
- The aligners felt tight at the beginning and looser as the week went on.
- It gets a lot easier to take them in and out.
- The pain hasn't been too bad – just a dull ache for a couple of days.
- For the first three days the aligners cut into his teeth, tongue and gums. It took him a couple of days to file the edges down enough to rectify this.
- He noticed that the aligners started to smell after a couple of days, even though he cleaned them with soap and water as advised. So he started putting them in mouthwash while he was cleaning his teeth, which has helped with the smell (you can also use a denture cleaner for this).
- Wearing aligners has helped him kick his bad habit of biting his nails!
Again, this is quite a new video but Fraser says he will continue to post updates to his channel as his Smile Direct treatment continues.
Luke's Smile Direct Club review
“At the moment, I am really really happy with how my teeth are looking”
Half way into his treatment, Luke shares this Smile Direct Club video review to show what his teeth are looking like after 3 months of aligners. Overall, he says, he is really happy with the progress and is excited to see his end results. He's already feeling more confident about his smile.
Luke mentions that the one area he feels SDC could improve is with their one-to-one support. At the end of month 3 you have to send them some photos of your teeth to check your progress, but Luke says he would have appreciated having the option to return to a local SmileShop for a checkup. The same goes for the end of his treatment – he would like to be able to see someone in person rather than relying on photos to confirm the results are acceptable.
Smile Direct Club review and tips
Finally we have this two-month update from an American reviewer – we've included her video because it has some interesting ‘before and after' images of her treatment so far, and she also compares her teeth to the simulation provided by SDC to see if they are moving according to plan. She then offers some useful tips based on her Smile Direct Club experience so far.
This reviewer is using Smile Direct Club's nighttime aligners, which just need to be worn for 10 hours a day. This is really convenient, but does make the treatment longer.
Here are some of the tips she mentions in her video review of Smile Direct Club after two months of using the aligners:
- The ‘chewies' provided are really helpful for getting the aligners into place correctly, especially for the first couple of days wearing a new set.
- Similarly, the ‘Outie' tool comes in handy for removing aligners when they are very tight. One end is shaped to pull the top aligners down and the other end is for pushing the bottom aligners up.
- Denture cleaning tablets are a more convenient way to clean aligners than brushing with soap and water.
- When wearing aligners just at night, your teeth can be sore for the first hour after taking them out, so have plenty of soft foods on hand for breakfast.
We hope this collection of Smile Direct Club reviews from the UK (and one from the US!) has been helpful. If you're still wondering whether to go with this particular brand of at-home aligner, we recommend you check out one of their competitors, Straight My Teeth, as well. Straight My Teeth are also quite new to the UK market but have already earned a good reputation, and they cost just £999 – a big saving compared to SDC.