Smile Direct Club Reviews: Are Their Aligners Legit?

Smile Direct Club provides invisible aligners to help straighten your smile. Read on to learn if this alternative to the ortho is crooked or legit. 

 

USA Rx does not endorse any products. Our goal is to provide our visitors with transparent, accurate, and trusted information to health and medical products available to them. When visitors buy products through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Read more about our Ad Policy Here.

By: Chris Riley

Medically reviewed by: Camille Freking

Last Updated: January 3rd, 2022

 

Smile Direct Club Intro | Overview | Treatment Process | Results | Cost | Customer Service

The simple act of showing off your pearly whites with a smile has a number of health benefits, and smiling and laughing can just make you feel really good overall. But if your teeth are out of alignment, discolored, or broken, you may be a little wary.

Invisible aligners are a welcome alternative to braces that have become one of the most common ways to straighten crooked teeth. Smile Direct Club is a company that seeks to make convenient and effective oral care accessible to everyone.

But does Smile Direct Club actually work to make your smile even better than before? Or does this service make you want to do nothing except frown? In this review, we’ll discuss everything you need to know before you move forward with a potentially life-changing Invisalign procedure.

What Is Smile Direct Club?

Smile Direct Club is an oral care provider that specializes in providing clear aligners. However, the company offers all sorts of dental care products from teeth whitening solutions, toothbrushes and toothpastes, retainers, and more.

So how does the whole thing work?

First, you’ll get a physical scan of your teeth at a Smile Direct Club location, or you can do a mold of your teeth right from home. Then, state-licensed dentists will review your scans and create a custom aligner treatment that suits you.

You’ll receive a shipment that contains every single one of your aligners. While everyone’s treatment may look different, most people will wear the same set for about a week before switching to the next one. You’ll wear your aligners all day, every day except for when you eat, drink, or sleep, for about four to six months.

Invisible aligners work by shifting your teeth ever so slightly. Over time, you’ll have a straighter smile. It’s the same concept as braces, except you can remove aligners and they are not noticeable.

Smile Direct Club also offers new nighttime aligners that only need to be worn 10 hours a day while you sleep. The trade-off is that treatment lasts about ten months, rather than the typical four to six.

For the purposes of this review, we tried their original Daytime aligners, which are meant to be worn 22 hours a day.

Smile Direct Club: An Overview

Pros

Smile Direct Club gives its members a lot to smile about. Here are some of our favorite things  that we noticed about their services:

  • Prices are low compared to most other clear aligner treatments.
  • The customer service team is friendly and helpful.
  • The results are usually positive. With that said, it’s a long road to the finish line.
  • The company has a fun vibe and energy, and they include some cool freebies when you receive your kit.
  • The option for nighttime aligners is highly convenient.

Cons

With all of that said, there are some drawbacks that are important to know before you consider yourself to be a candidate.

  • The company is not forthcoming about just how much effort and discomfort is truly involved throughout the process.
  • Some users have reported discomfort even after treatment has been completed.
  • The at-home kits are not a very reliable method for receiving clear aligner treatments.

That’s a lot to chew on, but let’s look at each of these facets in a little more detail so you can get a clear picture about the ins and outs of Smile Direct Club.

The Treatment Process

When we decided to get some all-day aligners through Smile Direct Club, we went to an in-person facility to have a professional conduct a scan of our teeth. Teeth alignment is serious business, so we didn’t trust doing it at home ourselves.

Our experience in the “SmileShop” store was very pleasant. The staff was extremely friendly, offering us beverages and snacks upon arrival. They did everything they could to make us feel comfortable before the scanning procedure was initiated.

The scan itself was completely painless. They use a 3D imaging device to essentially take thousands of pictures of the inside of your mouth. You get to watch the scan of your mouth come to life on the screen in real-time, and it was honestly really cool to experience.

The scan itself is free, meaning you don’t necessarily need to go through with the procedure if you have second thoughts. With that said, be prepared for the staff to really convince you to go through with it after your scan is complete. They assured us that the process is easy, saying things like “you can’t even feel them” and “you get used to them fast.”

In just about a week, our customized scans arrived in the mail. The box was filled with not only our aligners, but also some lip balm, a carrying tray, and a trial of their whitening products. These were definitely not necessary, but they were a nice touch.

After wearing the aligners for our entire five-month treatment plan, here is one thing that we wish we knew ahead of time: they are uncomfortable, and you do not really get used to them.

While this is a byproduct of pretty much any teeth straightening treatment, the employees at Smile Direct were not open and honest about just how much work and discipline it really takes.

You are supposed to take out the aligners every time you eat or drink, which is very inconvenient. You also can feel tension and tightness in your mouth throughout the process, and the aligners will give you a little bit of a lisp for the first few weeks until you really get used to them.

Our editor’s husband also tried Smile Direct — he got his scan in August, and he’s still on his “Week 3” aligners now in January because the pain prevents him from being able to enjoy most foods, so he’s skipped out on wearing them at all over the holiday season.

Again, maybe this was something that we (and he) should have expected. But the company makes it seem like the process is much more painless and effortless than it really is.

If we had to do it over again, we probably would go with the nighttime aligners. While you need to wear them for a longer period of time, it would have been much more convenient to be able to go to work or school without needing to worry about putting our aligners in and out all day long.

Results

The good news is that the results are worth a few months of discomfort. We’ve had traditional braces in the past, and Smile Direct Club’s invisible aligners worked more quickly and more effectively compared to traditional braces at straightening out our smile.

After our final set of aligners, we had a bit of sensitivity in our teeth that subsided after a few days. Now, our teeth are more comfortable in our mouth, and we are more comfortable with our smile overall.

You need to wear a retainer every night to make sure your teeth don’t shift back into their original position, but this is standard and expected.

We should note that many users have reported continuing discomfort and sensitivity even after their treatment has subsided. It’s difficult to tell whether or not this is due to Smile Direct Club specifically, or if it might be due to another factor, but it’s still worth knowing before you go.

Cost

Another benefit of Smile Direct Club, when compared to other clear alignment providers, is that they offer up a low price point. Without insurance, you can get your full treatment for a one-time payment of $1,950. You can also pay monthly, though this comes with a $250 deposit at $89 or less for 24 months. It raises the price to $2,386 total.

With insurance, you’re able to get up to half off your out-of-pocket payments. Either way, it’s a more accessible alternative compared to most other services.

Not to mention, Smile Direct offers a 60-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not loving it within the first two months, you can return your aligners for a full refund. Just be prepared for the customer service representative to do everything in their power to make you stay.

Customer Service

The customer service team at Smile Direct Club will give you a reason to smile. They were very friendly during our in-person visit, and they were continually friendly throughout the process whenever we reached out for questions.

While they were not upfront about how exactly the treatment works, we also understand that they are in the business of selling as many products as they can. The individuals we’ve interacted with were very pleasant, and we never experienced much of an issue getting help for any problems that had arisen.

Who Is Smile Direct Club For?

Clear aligners from Smile Direct Club are a great alternative to braces for people with an overbite, underbite, crooked teeth, gaps in their teeth, or an open bite. Upon your consultation, a professional can determine if you are truly a good candidate.

Smile Direct Club may also be preferred over alternatives for people without insurance, as their low price point is more accessible compared to many other invisible aligner procedures. If you have insurance, you may save more money by just going through your dental provider.

You may also want to use Smile Direct Club if you don’t want to have to wear your aligners all day long. Their nighttime aligners are something that is not offered by other providers, so this is something you may be able to take advantage of if you’d prefer.

Smile Direct Club: In Review

Smile Direct Club is an oral care provider that specializes in clear aligners. You can choose between daytime and nighttime aligners, which are worn for a set period of time. The goal is to move your teeth ever so slightly until they become perfectly straight.

The results are overall positive, and the customer service team definitely makes things easier to swallow. But the treatment process can be inconvenient and uncomfortable at times, especially if you have a busy schedule that makes it hard to remove your aligners when eating or drinking.

In short, Smile Direct Club’s invisible aligners are an effective and inexpensive alternative to braces for straightening out your smile. However, the treatment process is more uncomfortable and challenging than the friendly customer service team likes to admit.

References and Sources:

The Real Health Benefits of Smiling and Laughing | SCL Health

Orthodontic Treatment with Clear Aligners | American Association of Orthodontists

The Reality of Retainers (for Kids) | Nemours KidsHealth