So, you’re wondering about Smile Direct Club (SDC), and if it’s the best option for you.
It makes sense that you’re curious—I mean, let’s face it—braces are quite expensive, ortho visits are a hassle, and who wants to be sporting full-on metal-mouth as an adult?
Good news! You’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll let you know all about Smile Direct Club and we’ll answer the following questions:
- Does Smile Direct Club work?
- What does Smile Direct Club cost?
- Is Smile Direct Club safe?
- What are the differences between Smile Direct Club vs. Invisalign?
- What are the Smile Direct Club before and after results?
- Is Smile Direct Club a scam?
We’ll cover all that and more so get ready to be an informed consumer!
Table of contents
- 1 What is Smile Direct Club?
- 2 How much does Smile Direct Club cost?
- 3 Smile Direct Club vs. Invisalign
- 4 How do invisible braces work
- 5 Does Smile Direct Club work?
- 6 Smile Direct Club Competitors
- 7 Conclusion
- 8 FAQs
What is Smile Direct Club?
SDC is a “teledentistry” company that claims to be a cost-effective alternative to braces and clear aligners like Invisalign. According to their website, there are three main steps involved in the SDC process:
- Use an at-home kit to make an impression of your teeth (or visit one of their SmileShop locations if there is one near you)
- Receive clear aligners in the mail
- Maintain your smile with Smile Direct Club retainers
They are able to keep their prices lower than other clear aligner brands because they cut out the middle man. The only problem is, in this case, the “middle man” is your dentist. With SDC, there are no visits to the office of a licensed professional to supervise the process and make sure everything is safe and working as it should. However, if there is a SmileShop near where you live, you can go in and talk to a representative if you encounter problems along the way.
Smile Direct Club Locations
There are SmileShops in 45 states and in Puerto Rico, so if you want to you can go into a physical shop and have a ‘SmileGuide’ take your impressions. It isn’t mandatory to go into the store; the entire process can be completed online, and there are no physical meetings with a dentist or orthodontist. Some people like the idea of not having to go to the orthodontist, but most dentists and orthodontists would agree that professional supervision and visits are an important part of the teeth-straightening process.
How much does Smile Direct Club cost?
True to their word, Smile Direct does not cost as much as traditional braces or leading brands of clear aligners. Traditional metal braces cost between $2,500 and $7,500 and invisible braces cost between $2,000 and $8,000. Smile Direct Club aligners cost just under $2,000.
Smile Direct Club discount codes
Smile Direct Club coupons can be found on popular discount sites like Groupon, and if you visit their site, you can sometimes find a Smile Direct Club promo code for even more of a discount.
It’s critical to keep in mind that SDC is able to offer lower prices because you aren’t supervised in person by qualified dentists and orthodontists during the treatment process.
Smile Direct Club vs. Invisalign
At first glance, it may seem like SDC is just like Invisalign or other clear aligner brands, but with a lower price.
This, however, is far from the truth.
Most Smile Direct Club competitors, meaning other brands that offer clear aligners, are different because their treatment includes regular visits to your orthodontist to supervise treatment. In fact, it’s different right from the beginning, because with most clear aligners, your orthodontist is the one responsible for taking impressions of your teeth. Whereas with SDC, you are the one responsible for taking an image or making an impression of your mouth, or one of SDC’s SmileGuides is.
Do you really want to be responsible for such an important, nay—perhaps THE most important step in the process?
Check out this video of the admittedly charming Dr. Dave Maricondo comparing Smile Direct Club vs. Invisalign:
You can also have a look at the following table for a quick comparison of the differences between Smile Direct Club prices and methods with other clear aligner brands:
Additionally, if you are thinking about opting for SDC services because you have minimal malocclusion, you should also consider invisible braces options like Invisalign Express. They are meant for more minor issues, but still include professional supervision.
How do invisible braces work
Invisible braces and aligners are a special type of clear retainer. Your dentist or orthodontist begins by taking a mold of your teeth and then coming up with a personalized, step-by-step treatment plan. Treatment consists of receiving a new aligner every one to two weeks, based on what your dentist thinks is best. Your dentist will check the progress of your treatment every four to six weeks during in-office visits. You can check out our article on invisible braces like Invisalign here for more information.
Additionally, if you want to know if you could be a candidate for invisible braces, take our free Smile Test. It takes two minutes, and you’ll find out it if you’re one of the 90% of cases that can be treated with invisible braces.
Does Smile Direct Club work?
Of course, if you visit the SDC website, you’ll find plenty of reviews and information that suggest that it does work. And as Dr. Dave points out in the video above, it can work for very specific cases.
But the truth is, for most people, hands-on orthodontist supervision is necessary for a truly safe and effective teeth-straightening process.
In fact, the American Dental Association has asked for Smile Direct Club to be investigated by the Federal Trade Commission for various reasons. The letter from the ADA mentions false claims about the efficacy of Smile Direct Club overbite and extreme malocclusion correction. They also asked the FTC to investigate the claim that SDC clients receive the same level of dental care as patients who actually go to the dentist.
We have a separate article featuring a selection of independent SDC reviews so you can see for yourself what other patients thought of their experience.
Smile Direct Club before and after
Check out the following comprehensive video from a person who wanted straighter teeth, and didn’t have the money to pay for standard braces or clear aligners. He tried SDC for six months and explains his experience and his Smile Direct Club results. This video is great if you’re wondering about Smile Direct treatment, and want to know about the following:
- Is Smile Direct Club safe?
- Is it a scam?
- Smile Direct Club timeline
- SDC Customer service experience
- Smile Direct Club Before and after pictures
Smile Direct Club Competitors
SDC is not the only company that has seized on the opportunity to attract people who want straighter teeth but for a lower price. Other similar companies include SmileLove and SnapConnect. They follow the same business models and are not recommended by the professional medical and dental community.
Braces are expensive, noticeable and can be time-consuming. But that’s because straightening your teeth safely and effectively usually requires supervision by qualified professionals and quality materials. Cheap options like Smile Direct and their competitors may seem like the best option if you don’t think you can afford traditional braces or clear aligners. But in this case, it’s most likely that the risks far outway the lower cost of SDC services.
If you need help paying for your dental work, instead of choosing a cheaper, riskier option, You should check out the following options:
- Ask your dentist about a payment plan: Sometimes dentists partner up with third parties who will provide you with a loan for dental work. Make sure you check the terms and conditions before signing up for any loan, as interest rates may be very high.
- See if you can get a medical loan: Medical loans and dental credit cards are another option for financing expensive dental work. But be aware and make sure to do your research before applying for a loan or dental credit card. Many companies will have no interest for the first few months, but after the introductory period, interest rates can skyrocket.
- Check to see if it’s covered by your insurance: It may seem obvious, but you should make sure that you don’t receive orthodontic treatment coverage with your insurance. And although it’s not likely, even if you are on Medicaid you should check to see if in your state Medicaid will cover some of the cost.
- Check out our article on dental financing: If you are looking for a way to pay for your dental work, like invisible braces, you’ll learn all about your options by reading our dental financing article.
We understand that your smile is important to you, and it should be! But that’s even more of a reason why you should pursue safe treatment with regular visits to your dentist or orthodontist to maintain your oral health.
What is Smile Direct Club?
Smile Direct Club is a “teledentistry” business that claims to offer a cheaper way to straighten your teeth. Many experts in the medical and dental community, including from the American Dental Association doubt the efficacy and safety of SDC.
What are some Smile Direct Club alternatives?
The best Smile Direct Club alternatives are clear aligner brands like Invisalign that require periodic visits to your dentist. SmileLove and SnapCorrect are other businesses with the same model as SDC, and should be approached with plenty of caution.
What is the cost of Smile Direct Club?
The cost of Smile Direct Club services is just under $2,000 according to their website. But if treatment doesn’t work, you’ll have to pay a lot more, in addition, to get your smile corrected by a professional.
Is Smile Direct legit?
It’s possible that for very specific cases, Smile Direct treatment services can work. But medical and dental professionals, including members of the American Dental Association, are universally questioning the legitimacy of SDC.
Is Smile Direct covered by insurance?
Absolutely not. Most cosmetic dentistry for adults is not covered by insurance.
Does Smile Direct Club really work?
According to some reviews, SDC can work on very specific cases of minimal malocclusion. It also requires you to be proactive about your teeth straightening treatment, and invest in the Smile Direct retainers after treatment.
ADA.org: Letter asking FTC to investigate claims made by SmileDirectClub, LLC to entice consumers to purchase its products and services. Consulted 2 August, 2019.