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5 Things You Need to Know About Smile Direct Club

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SmileDirectClub (formerly SmileCareClub) is an at-home, tooth-straightening system that uses a series of clear trays. After you are approved through an assessment, a dental impression kit is sent to you with instructions to wear the trays from four to eight months to straighten and correct issues with your teeth. As a bonus, aligners double as whitening trays, and gel is provided with your treatment plan. Clear tooth-aligning systems are often associated with Invisalign, and figuring out your options can be a little overwhelming. To help with your research, we’ve broken down the most relevant information about what makes Smile Direct Club unique.

Top 5 Things You Need to Know About Smile Direct Club

1. Insurance may cover part of it. According to SmileDirectClub, insurance may pay over half your treatment cost. Have a flexible spending account? You can use that to pay the balance, as SmileDirectClub aligners are considered a medical device that corrects crooked teeth. Health saving accounts and major credit cards are also accepted, and 12-month financing is available for those who qualify.

2. You don’t have to regularly visit the dentist or orthodontist for new aligners. The treatment process is fulfilled through the mail, although you may need some visits to a Smile Direct Club provider depending on your situation.

How it works: You are sent a dental impression kit to create molds of your teeth at home and then return them to SmileDirectClub for your customized plan. Once your impressions have been assessed, your treatment plan will include the cost and time estimate, along with 3D imaging that shows how the aligners will move your teeth. If you have moderate to severe crowding you may need to visit a nearby office before you can start wearing aligners. At this appointment the enamel of your crowded teeth will be lightly filed to ensure there is enough room for these teeth to be straightened.

Most aligners have either a scalloped edge or a straight-line trim. Brands like Invisalign are scalloped and require attachment points that are glued to the teeth. SmileDirectClub aligners use a straight-line trim, which sit slightly above the gum line, which makes them more secure and less noticeable. "It is more aesthetic because it sits about 2-3 mm above the gum line and is completely hidden by the lip," says Dr. Kathryn Wilson, a Danville, Calif. orthodontist, in a RealSelf Q&A.

3. SmileDirectClub is registered with the FDA as a repackager/relabeler. These are the same aligners sold under various brand names, without the added costs of regular dentist office visits.

4. They are not suitable for people with dental implants, but other dental work may be OK. Dental implants are screwed into the bone, which impedes the tooth’s ability to move, so aligners are not appropriate. People with implants should consult a medical professional for other straightening options. "Implants do not move when subjected to orthodontic forces, clear aligners or otherwise, so one has to make a treatment plan around the implant," says Dr. Mark Weiser, a Katy, Texas, orthodontist, in a RealSelf Q&A.

Other common dental treatments, including veneers and bonding, will need to be assessed by your dental provider to see if they are strong enough to withstand an aligner treatment. In fact, it's safe to check with your dentist and discuss how your history could impact your results.

5. There's no cost to you if you don't qualify. After analyzing your impressions, if SmileDirectClub determines that you are not a good candidate, they will refund your impression kit fee. See their refund policy for more information.

How Do Invisible Aligners Straighten Teeth?

Unlike braces, which use interconnected brackets and wires, invisible aligners “are a series of tight-fitting custom-made retainers that slip over the teeth.” Each tray will slowly move your teeth into the desired position, leaving you with straighter teeth and a brighter smile over the course of several months. Regarding SmileDirectClub specifically, their aligners are made of BPA-free plastic, which is fairly common amongst the competition (more about this soon).

The Pros & Cons of Invisible Aligners

  • On the positive side, compared to traditional braces, invisible aligners:
  • Can be removed and generally aren’t as noticeable 
  • Often need to be worn for shorter periods of time 
  • Remove having to worry about difficulty eating or food getting stuck 
  • Cause less discomfort. However, you’ll still feel some discomfort, especially after the first few days of changing to a new tray 
  • Offer little chance of tooth discoloration 

However, invisible aligners aren’t perfect. Here are some potential drawbacks:

  • Price (invisible aligners can be twice as expensive as metal braces, or more). 
  • You’ll have to brush after each meal, or your aligners could become stained. 
  • You’ll also need discipline in order to stick to your treatment plan and keep the trays in place 22 hours per day. 
  • Invisible aligners can’t be used for those with bridgework, or those with complicated issues requiring moving teeth vertically, rotating canines or premolars, or those with anything more than mild-to-moderate crowding, rotation, and/or bite correction. 
If invisible aligners sound like an ideal solution, how much will you pay through SmileDirectClub?

How Much Does SmileDirectClub Cost?

Your online Smile Direct Club assessment is completely free, which will help you find a nearby location. Please you can save 50% on at-home impression kit when you use our Smile Direct Club promo code. When visiting a SmileShop, you’ll need to pay a $95 evaluation fee. If it’s determined that you’re not a suitable candidate, this fee will be refunded.

When the time comes. SmileDirectClub provides two payment options for their clients:
Single Payment: $1,500. If you choose this option, the company will send you a complimentary tube of whitening gel.
SmilePay Monthly Payments: Pay $250 at the time of purchase, plus $99 per month for 15 months, which includes lab setup costs. In total, you’ll pay $1,735.

Once your treatment plan is complete, don’t forget that you’ll have to pay another $99 for a retainer set. Other miscellaneous SmileDirectClub fees include a $95 missed appointment fee, a $50 fee for each replacement tray if lost or damaged, as well as a $49 fee for additional impression kits. Regarding this last one, the fee “can be deducted from your treatment plan cost when you purchase your aligners.”

Finally, Smile Direct Club provides a Confident Smile Guarantee, which stipulates that if you’re dissatisfied for any reason, simply return your unused aligners and they’ll refund the prorated amount.

Is SmileDirectClub Better Than Invisalign? Should You Join?

According to some sources, the average cost of an Invisalign treatment plan treatment plan is $5,000, compared to SmileDirectClub’s flat full-pay price of $1,500. That’s well over a 60% savings, which is huge.

On top of this, there don’t appear to be any clear (no pun intended) differences between the BPA-free plastics used between Invisalign and SmileDirectClub’s trays, or the results you might achieve with them.

In fact, SmileDirectClub claims their trays come from many of the same labs used by the mainstream competition, and you won’t have to glue any clips to your teeth. You will, however, probably have to wear a retainer for the rest of your life.

Even compared to traditional braces—which can also cost up to five grand and might look unsightly—SmileDirectClub’s aligners seem to have a sharp advantage.

Taking all of this together, does this mean a SmileDirectClub treatment plan will deliver straighter teeth and a brighter smile? As long as you only require mild to moderate straightening, it certainly seems like it might fit the bill. And if your personal preferences dictate, you might be able to save a whole lot of hassle compared to the competition.

50% Off Your At-home Impression Kit at SmileDirectClub.com! Or, if you are in select scanning markets you can also choose a FREE scan and whitening session. 

* Click "Am I a Candidate?" to take our free assessment and use our Smile Direct Club discount code to receive your discount. The SmileDirectClub Coupon is exclusive to SparingMoney.com