Unbiased SmileDirectClub Reviews – Is it Safe? Legit? Here’s Everything You Need to Know Before Using SmileDirectClub
In this AdvisoryHQ Smile Direct Club review, we’ll provide a complete overview of SmileDirectClub, answering common consumer questions like:
- How much is Smile Direct Club?
- Is Smile Direct Club safe?
- Is Smile Direct Club legit?
- Should you be worried about a Smile Direct Club scam?
- How can you get the best Smile Direct Club results?
- Does Smile Direct Club work?
We’ll also show you Smile Direct Club reviews from actual users to help you determine whether these clear aligners are worth the investment. If you’re thinking about ordering aligners from SDC but aren’t quite sure what you are getting into, keep reading—this Smile Direct Club review was created specifically with you in mind.
While SDC might be much more convenient and affordable, how do you know that these aligners will actually work? Can you really straighten your teeth on your own without being seen by an actual orthodontist?
AdvisoryHQ SmileDirectClub Review
Your smile is one of the first things that others will notice, making straight, white teeth desirable for many people.
Unfortunately, orthodontic care is often cost prohibitive. According to Colgate, the average cost of braces per person is between $5,000-$6,000. While prices will vary from one person to the next, the high price tag of orthodontia can make straight teeth inaccessible for many.
Rather than suffer from feeling self-conscious and trying to hide your smile, what if there was an affordable option that was just as effective at straightening and whitening teeth?
Here enters SmileDirectClub (formerly SmileCareClub), which allows customers to receive custom-tailored aligners and whitening at a fraction of the cost. With SDC, customers with mild to moderate straightening needs can create a mold of their teeth, view their projected progress, and get updated aligners and retainers without even stepping foot in an orthodontist’s office.
Smile Direct Club Review | How Does SmileDirectClub Work?
SmileDirectClub offers the opportunity to use teledentistry, an innovative take on healthcare that provides diagnosis and treatment through digital communication instead of an in-office visit.
According to the ADA, teledentistry “makes use of telecommunication technologies to convey health information and facilitate the delivery of dental services without the physical constraints of a brick and mortar dental office.”
So, how does teledentistry work? SmileDirectClub uses a simple three-step process to create customized treatment plans:
- Make a Good Impression—Clients can either have an impression kit mailed to their home or visit a physical location to create a 3D image of their teeth. This image is reviewed by a licensed dentist or orthodontist, who creates a treatment plan.
- Get Aligned—Clients receive a preview of how their smile will progress throughout treatment and receive aligners and premium teeth whitening to begin the straightening process.
- Smiles Are Forever—Once treatment is completed and fully evaluated, clients can purchase retainers and whitening treatment on an ongoing basis to maintain their smile.
This AdvisoryHQ Smile Direct Club review found that the company offers two direct communication resources throughout treatment: you can speak with a licensed dentist or orthodontist on an occasional basis or with patient care specialists for immediate needs.
A licensed professional in your state will check in with you every 90 days to evaluate progress; patient care specialists are available by phone, email, and live chat. According to SmileDirectClub, the company utilizes a network of over 225 orthodontists across the country.
For those that prefer to visit an office, SDC does have physical locations in 32 states, with a strong presence in California, New York, and Texas.
Smile Direct Club Review | How Much Does Smile Direct Club Cost?
According to their website, straightening your teeth with SDC costs 60 percent less than when visiting the orthodontist. So, how much is Smile Direct Club exactly?
How much Smile Direct Club costs will depend on which payment structure you choose. SmileDirectClub offers two different payment options:
- Single Pay ($1,850)—A one-time payment of $1,850
- SmilePay™ ($2,170)—Down payment of $250 and 24 monthly payments of $80
Both payment options include custom invisible aligners shipped straight to your house, as well as premium teeth whitening. The overall costs of Smile Direct Club may also be cheaper depending on your healthcare coverage, as they accept HSA, FSA, and CareCredit.
What about aftercare? How much is Smile Direct Club going to cost once your treatment is complete? To ensure that teeth remain in position, SDC encourages purchasing retainers to wear at night (overall duration of retainer wear is not specified).
Retainers cost $99 for an upper and lower set and should be replaced every six months, meaning that patients can expect to pay roughly $200 each following year to maintain their new smile.
Smile Direct Club Review | Smile Direct Club Reviews on the BBB
If you’re on the fence on whether you should order invisible aligners online, Smile Direct Club Reviews can be a great way to see what the typical customer experience is like. Below, please find an overview of Smile Direct Club reviews from actual users to help you determine whether at-home alignment is right for you.
Positive Smile Direct Club Reviews
There are approximately 100 Smile Direct Club Reviews on the Better Business Bureau, giving the company an overall ‘A+’ rating. Of these, 48 percent of Smile Direct Club reviewers rated their experience as positive.
Smile Direct Club reviews applaud the company for helping straighten their teeth in an effective, convenient, and affordable way, a fact which makes adult braces (and a straight smile) much more accessible.
Many reviewers report feelings of relief and increased self-esteem as a result of their SmileDirectClub aligners. For example, in their Smile Direct Club review, user Malikah J. says:
Before SDC I was covering my mouth when I laughed. I never showed teeth in my pictures. I talked while barely opening my mouth and was asked why I was mumbling. This has been going on since 5th grade. I’m 36 years old and now I smile, laugh, and speak freely with confidence. SDC has literally changed my life!
Although may praise the SDC customer service department for being responsive and helpful, some reviewers point out that they “kept up with customer service in order to make sure nothing was left to chance.” This suggests that clients will get the best Smile Direct Club results by actively getting involved in communication throughout their treatment.
Positive comments from Smile Direct Club reviewers often point out the following benefits:
- Customer service is friendly and helpful
- Straightforward, simple set-up process
- Clear aligners are effective and produce noticeable results
- Self-esteem and confidence increase as their teeth straighten
- SDC produces the same results as an orthodontist at a fraction of the cost
Smile Direct Club Before and After Pictures
Negative Smile Direct Club Reviews
The majority of Smile Direct reviews on the BBB are negative. Customers detail lost shipments, long waiting times for their retainers, and difficulty reaching customer service. For some Smile Direct Club reviewers, this lack of communication applies to certified professionals as well.
In his Smile Direct Club review, Frank C. details his own frustration with having to wait weeks for his retainers and a lack of follow-up from staff, saying:
I received no less than 15 calls or emails from SDC trying to sell me retainers or asking for me to give them a “glowing” review. I got exactly ZERO calls from a dentist, orthodontist, or even a certified dental assistant. Not one call from a concerned employee trying to see how “treatment” was going.
Other negative SmileDirectClub reviews on the BBB describe treatment plans that extend much longer than expected, which may correspond with an unresponsive customer service department. For example, in her Smile Club Direct review, Ashley L. says:
I send emails that don’t get answered and chat with people who don’t know anything. I had to do a re-evaluation and no one let me know that they weren’t accepted until I called 6 weeks later. You have to stay on top of them or else they will just take your money and not care that you’re not satisfied.
Critical comments from Smile Direct Club reviewers often point out the following drawbacks:
- Monthly shipments of aligners and retainers are consistently late
- Aligners do not fit well or are painful to wear
- Questions and complaints to customer service go unanswered
This AdvisoryHQ Smile Direct Club review also found a significant number of customers who were frustrated and confused about the overall process, particularly when it comes to reevaluating and adjusting their plans.
According to reviews on the BBB, communication between SDC and their customers is often inconsistent, resulting in a miscommunication on both sides once changes are implemented.
While the customer service team does respond to every critical review and shows a good faith attempt in resolving issues, many of these conversations are halted due to HIPAA privacy regulations. Instead of discussing specific details through the BBB review system, the customer service team can only speak to customers directly, which leads to frustration and confusion for many.
An example of this type of response includes: “That said, we aren’t able to speak directly regarding any case on a public forum due to HIPAA laws, so we sure hope you’ll reach out directly to discuss your review further.”
SmileDirectClub Reviews on the BBB
Smile Direct Club Complaints
There are over 360 complaints registered with the BBB about Smile Direct Club. Of these, over 60 percent address issues with the product or service. More often than not, complaints dealing with the SDC service are closely tied to billing issues.
For example, one critical Smile Direct Club reviewer issued a complaint for receiving credit card charges before they had spoken with a dental professional, calling the entire process “not forthcoming whatsoever.”
Another concerning pattern among Smile Direct reviews and complaints is that shipments of aligners seem to be consistently late. Many reviewers state waiting three months (or more) for their package to arrive, ending in frustration for making monthly payments for a service they can’t even use.
Closely related is the lack of follow-up from customer service regarding production and delivery. In some cases, this can seriously impact treatment. For example, one reviewer states that they waited seven weeks for their shipment to arrive, during which time “I’ve been wearing my last aligner for 5 weeks and it is cracked and loose and my teeth are moving.”
Smile Direct Club Review | Is Smile Direct Club Legit or a Scam?
Getting custom-made aligners sent directly to you—while saving thousands of dollars in the process—almost sounds too good to be true. Is Smile Direct Club legit, or is Smile Direct a scam? See the sections below for an in-depth overview of whether SDC is safe, legit, or a scam
Is Smile Direct Club Safe?
Is Smile Direct Club safe? While some critical Smile Direct Club reviews state that the aligners can be uncomfortable and even painful, we were unable to find any evidence that they are unsafe.
Smile Direct Club aligners are made from a “smooth, comfortable, BPA-free plastic” to reduce irritation to the teeth and gums. In fact, SDC aligners are made by Align Technology, the same company that makes Invisalign.
Additionally, all treatment plans are reviewed, modified (if necessary), and approved by a licensed dental professional, ensuring that each patient receives a tailored—and, by association, safe—solution.
Smile Direct Club Before and After Pictures
Is Smile Direct Club Legit or a Scam?
SmileDirectClub is funded by Camelot Venture Group, a private investment firm that also backs Quicken Loans, 1-800-Contacts, and Sharper Image. SDC is headquartered in Nashville, TN, with a verifiable address and phone number.
The company’s founders have been interviewed and profiled in a wide range of online publications, including CBS News, BuzzFeed, TechCrunch, and more. Additionally, there are hundreds of satisfied customers that have successfully used SDC to straighten their teeth, meaning that yes, SmileDirectClub is a legit company.
Is Smile Direct Club a scam? While there are plenty of positive SmileDirectClub reviews, there is a growing number of dissatisfied reviewers who claim that the business model is a scam. This is largely based on lack of communication between customers and the company, as well as extended wait periods to receive aligners.
This AdvisoryHQ Smile Direct Club review found that SDC is actively responding to and addressing negative reviews and complaints, which speaks to a commitment to customer satisfaction. While it’s clear that many customers are frustrated, it is also clear that SDC is not actively trying to scam people.
Rather than point to a scam, complaints and negative reviews demonstrate that Smile Direct Club needs to improve their communication and clearly outline the process for customers before they sign up for automatic charges and shipments.
Smile Direct Club Review | Is Smile Direct Club Safe for Your Teeth?
There’s no doubt that teledentistry is revolutionizing the way that people approach their oral health—but is Smile Direct Club safe? Could you potentially harm your teeth through at-home alignment?
Journalists and medical publications have been asking the same question—and for many, Smile Direct Club is not safe and should not be recommended. According to BuzzFeed, The American Association of Orthodontists alleges that while the company does provide cheap orthodontics, “it is also illegal and creates medical risks.”
For the AAO, one of the biggest points of contention comes from whether it is safe to use aligners without the supervision and routine inspection of an orthodontist. For SDC customers, the process of uploading photos and creating an at-home imprint excludes crucial parts of the orthodontic care process, like X-rays, regular assessment of teeth movement, one-on-one guidance, and precise adjustments to aligners.
This lack of conversation and physical examination is significantly concerning to dental professionals and organizations alike.
Although SDC states that customers can schedule conversations with their assigned orthodontist at any time, negative Smile Direct Club reviews suggest that this is easier said than done—communication was the most common element of all complaints.
Is Smile Direct Club Legit & Safe?
Smile Direct Club Lawsuits
With suspicions over legality and safety spreading, SDC has not been shy about taking legal action through various Smile Direct Club lawsuits. As reported in BuzzFeed, the company has sent cease-and-desist letters to dentists and orthodontists that post critical YouTube videos on the aligners and has filed suit against the Michigan Dental Association over four paragraphs in a monthly journal.
From one angle, the [ongoing legal] fight looks like any other fight over “disruption” of a previously entrenched industry: Airbnb vs hotels, Uber vs. cabs, Amazon vs. Borders. Orthodontic care, which often isn’t covered by health insurance, can feel like another product worth saving money on. But it’s not another product; it’s medical care. And if the largest associations of orthodontists and dentists consistently say this medical care can’t be done over the internet, I’m not ready to ignore them to save two thousand bucks.
So—is Smile Direct Club safe? The answer will largely depend on who you ask. With a growing number of dental professionals warning against using long-term orthodontic equipment unsupervised, it’s worth considering that using any at-home aligner may not be safe over the long term.
AdvisoryHQ Conclusion: Does Smile Direct Club Work? Is it Worth it?
Does Smile Direct Club work? According to hundreds of satisfied customers and Smile Direct Club before and after photos, these invisible aligners certainly can—and often do—work.
Is Smile Direct Club worth it? Well, that depends. There are some potential downfalls to SDC that any potential customer should consider before ordering at-home aligners. First, Smile Direct Club results are highly dependent on the individual. This means following exact directions, determining whether alignments fit properly, and keeping close track of progress.
Second, many SmileDirectClub reviews state difficulty getting a hold of customer service and their assigned orthodontist. In these cases, an unresponsive customer service department causes customers to find themselves stuck in a frustrating loop of unanswered messages and desperate complaints to online consumer feedback forums.
Finally, consider the importance of getting x-rays prior to beginning any orthodontic treatment. If you are ordering aligners from home without getting an x-ray first, you could potentially be setting yourself up for health issues later on (like shortened roots and teeth overcrowding).
Still, many customers have left great testimonials about their experience with Smile Direct Club, so it may be something that you would like to consider. For those that find traditional orthodontia cost-prohibitive, prefer the convenience of at-home treatment, and don’t necessarily need to speak with their orthodontist every month, SDC is certainly a competitive option.
However, based on critical reviews, mounting Smile Direct Club lawsuits, warnings from dental professionals, and the high margin for error with at-home aligners, you may be better off saving up for a visit to the orthodontist.
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