Is Smile Direct Club safe? A question worth answering in detail.
Cost savings is one of the primary reasons people choose Smile Direct Club (SDC) over a more traditional alignment method, like Invisalign. And it’s natural to want to save money, but is it worth risking your health?
This blog discusses Smile Direct horror stories and questions like, “Is Smile Direct Club bad for your teeth?” and “Does Smile Direct Club mess up your bite?”
Though we’re sharing some of the dangers behind Smile Direct Club, this blog isn’t meant to scare you. Instead, we want to inform you about the differences between at-home dental alignment and orthodontist-supervised Invisalign treatment before you make a decision that could cause permanent damage.
Ready to learn why you may want to choose Invisalign with an orthodontist over Smile Direct Club?
Let’s jump in and first explain what Smile Direct Club is.
What Is Smile Direct Club?
Smile Direct Club is a competitor of Invisalign. Both SDC and Invisalign offer clear aligners for inconspicuously straightening crooked teeth. These aligners give patients a less obvious, shorter treatment option compared to the metal-wire experience of braces.
However, though they both seemingly offer some of the same benefits (a straighter smile without the fuss of metal braces), they have some significant differences.
What Is The Biggest Difference Between Smile Direct Club and Invisalign?
Aside from the price difference, a primary distinction between Smile Direct Club and Invisalign is the virtual versus physical presence of patients.
Smile Direct Club claims that dentists and orthodontists monitor each patient’s treatment remotely through photos and chats. However, patients interviewed by NBC said that when they reached out for their instructed follow-up at or before the 90-day mark, they couldn’t connect with one of SDC’s 250 orthodontists.
Why is it such a big deal that these patients couldn’t connect with an orthodontist? Because no patient should go unsupervised when it comes to their teeth, especially when movement is involved.
In a traditional orthodontic office, patients must have regular, in-person check-ups. This keeps treatment on schedule and allows for small and significant adjustments as needed under the insight of a designated orthodontist.
Is Smile Direct Club Bad for Your Teeth vs. Is Smile Direct Club Good for Your Teeth?
“Is Smile Direct Club bad for your teeth?” Good question!
Smile Direct Club is, in fact, not good for your teeth because the treatment is entirely virtual. “Moving someone’s teeth without in-person supervision can lead to ‘irreparable’ harm,” says Chung Kau, chairman and professor of orthodontics at the University of Alabama in Birmingham.
Another problem with SDC is that they connect you with both dentists and orthodontists. You may be wondering why that’s a problem. Like any job, dentists and orthodontists have distinct roles.
The main difference between dentists and orthodontists is specialization. Dentists are experts in general dentistry, while orthodontists specialize in corrective treatment. Although orthodontists are technically dentists, they study for an additional 2-3 years learning about orthodontia compared to dentists.
It can be detrimental to have a dentist oversee your Invisalign treatment, so we recommend the supervision of a licensed orthodontist.
So, the simple answer to, “Is Smile Direct Club good for your teeth?” is an emphatic “No!”
Is Smile Direct Club Safe? Smile Direct Club Horror Stories
The Better Business Bureau® reports over 1,800 complaints about Smile Direct Club nationwide. Dozens of these complaints include harmful treatment results such as broken teeth and nerve damage.
NBC News interviewed multiple Smile Direct Club users, most of whom needed to seek professional treatment from an orthodontist afterward. Additionally, none of these patients were told – or encouraged – to consult an orthodontist before starting the program.
Patients need to see an orthodontist regularly to ensure their bite is correct and their mouth is healthy. These Smile Direct Club horror stories are what happens when orthodontists aren’t consulted or in charge of treatment.
Consider Anna Rosemond’s story to answer the FAQ, “Does Smile Direct mess up your bite?”
After a year of using Smile Direct Club, Rosemond was experiencing pain in her mouth and head. She noticed that her bite didn’t feel right, and her head was frequently hurting.
Rosemond attempted to contact her designated SDC dentist multiple times, but could not get connected. Finally, she reached out to a local orthodontist who diagnosed her with a crossbite. The crossbite was causing strain in her neck and jaw muscles, leading to migraines.
Rosemond thought she would save money using Smile Direct Club. Instead, she spent thousands more on traditional braces to fix her teeth after the fact.
Jesse McCraw told NBC that Facebook ads were his gateway into signing up for Smile Direct Club. But after seven months of treatment, he developed a gap in his teeth.
Now, he’s undergoing three additional months of treatment to fix it.
Let’s talk about Smile Direct Club severe cases.
After using Smile Direct Club aligners for three months, Tom Harwood followed up with his dentist. The pace at which the aligners moved his teeth caused some of them to detach from the bone.
Hardwood said he’s expected to lose four to six teeth, some of which will be visible in his smile. As a result of the tooth detachment, Harwood said he experiences an “all-day type of pain.”
Like Rosemond, he couldn’t get in touch with his assigned dentist at Smile Direct Club.
Negative Reviews: Smile Direct Club’s Confidentiality Agreement
If customers like the three mentioned above can prove that their treatment didn’t work, they may request a refund outside the return window. But there’s a catch: Smile Direct Club requires they sign a confidentiality agreement.
After reaching out about the irreparable harm SDC caused, Harwood refused to sign the confidentiality agreement, preventing him from receiving his money back.
In many cases, by the time customers reach out to Smile Direct Club, they’ve already shared Smile Direct Club reviews publicly.
Professional Invisalign Treatment in Richmond, VA
So, “Is Smile Direct Club safe?”
The short answer is that it’s not. Anytime you’re looking into an alignment treatment for crooked teeth, you want to consult with an experienced orthodontist.
Often, those who use SDC to save money or for convenience discover that it’s a bad alternative to connecting with a trained orthodontist. But when you get Invisalign through an experienced orthodontist, you can count on a straight smile without any negative consequences.
Interested in learning more about using Invisalign to get the smile you’ve always wanted?
At Bates Orthodontics, we bring smiles to life (safely!). We’ll never recommend a treatment plan or procedure that isn’t entirely right for you.
Unlike Smile Direct Club, in-person consultations are required throughout your treatment. Plus, you can always contact us between appointments if you have questions or concerns.
If you’d like to straighten your teeth without anyone knowing, we’re a Diamond Invisalign Provider. Here’s our four-step process for Invisalign patients:
- Schedule a free consultation to see if you’re a good candidate for Invisalign.
- Get scanned so we can order your personalized aligners.
- Dr. Bates will then create your treatment plan.
- Wear your aligners regularly.
Are you ready to feel confident in your smile?
Schedule your free consultation with Bates Orthodontics today.