If you’re planning on spending thousands of dollars to transform your smile, it’s important and helpful to know how long your results will last. Innovative treatments like home aligners offer significantly shorter treatment times than braces — and at less than half the cost. But, the home aligner industry is still new. So, there is some debate as to whether home aligners can produce lasting results like Invisalign or braces.
SmileDirectClub was the first home aligner brand to hit the market, and they’ve proven to be both effective and convenient. But, the truth is, several factors will ultimately affect how long the results of your SmileDirectClub treatment will last.
Table of Contents
How Long Do SmileDirectClub Results Last?
To be clear, no orthodontic treatment is absolutely permanent. Even with more traditional treatments, like braces, there is always a risk of relapse. So, once your teeth move, they will always have a tendency to shift back.
Moving the teeth from their original position requires a significant amount of force. And, home aligners apply even more force to move the teeth more quickly. As a result, your teeth will be very unstable after your treatment is complete. So, the first few months following orthodontic treatment is the most crucial time to ensure your teeth stay in place, and SmileDirectClub is no exception. Once you’ve finished treatment, it’s up to you to maintain your new smile.
Ultimately, the way you take care of your teeth after treatment will determine how long your results will last.
However, your smile will become more stable and easier to maintain over time. Typically, your teeth will stabilize after about a year. Then, you can switch to a less rigorous aftercare routine.
Overall, SmileDirectClub is a convenient way to straighten your teeth, but it’s still a huge commitment. Although it gained popularity for being a more affordable treatment, SmileDirectClub became a household name because their aligners deliver professional, long-lasting results.
Is SmileDirectClub Treatment as Permanent as Invisalign or Braces?
There is some debate as to whether results from SmileDirectClub have a higher risk of relapse than braces or Invisalign. Home aligner treatment is currently the fastest option available to straighten your teeth. In just 6 months, you can completely transform your smile. So, it’s only natural to be curious about how long your results will last.
Your teeth may be more unstable following home aligner treatment because home aligners apply more force to the teeth.
Fortunately, expedited treatment time doesn’t seem to have a drastic effect on how long your results will last. Instead, patient cooperation after treatment has the most significant impact. So, results from SmileDirectClub can be just as permanent as braces or Invisalign, as long as you wear your retainers and take care of your teeth.
Still, patients with a more severe case of misalignment may have a higher risk of relapse, regardless of the treatment they choose. The best candidates for home aligners have mild-to-moderate misalignments and no bite issues. For reference, SmileDirectClub accepts about 70% of the cases they receive. So, most people are a good fit. However, this criterion makes relapse less likely, and your results will be easier to maintain.
How Can I Ensure My Results Last as Long as Possible?
Like we previously mentioned, no treatment lasts forever without some sort of maintenance. Still, there are things you can do to ensure your SmileDirectClub results will last as long as possible. Aftercare retainers and oral hygiene are especially important:
1. Wear Your Retainers
Any orthodontic treatment will require lifetime maintenance with a retainer. Without aftercare retainers to hold your teeth in place, they will shift back to their original position. SmileDirectClub offers retainers for $99 after treatment, along with the option of a retainer subscription. And while you aren’t required to purchase retainers from SmileDirectClub, they should be considered a necessity.
If you sign up for their subscription service, SmileDirectClub will send you new retainers every 6 months. However, they will still cost $99 per set. Your aftercare retainers will look and feel very similar to your treatment aligners, but their only purpose is to keep your smile in place.
2. Maintain Oral Hygiene
A good dental hygiene routine is key to making sure your teeth and gums stay healthy. Poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease and cavities, which could cause your teeth to shift. Gum infection can also make your teeth less stable or difficult to keep in place. Healthy teeth will always have a lower risk of relapse. Think of your treatment as an investment. You don’t want to ruin it with poor habits and hygiene.
Without proper maintenance, your teeth can quickly become unhealthy. Your retainers will hug your teeth just like your aligners did, and infrequent brushing and flossing can lead to a build-up of plaque underneath them. Because of this, you should also clean your retainers regularly to prevent bacteria from spreading.
In extreme cases, poor oral hygiene can lead to daunting dental procedures and, possibly, another round of orthodontic treatment. Extensive cavities may require a root canal and crown, or even an extraction, which would affect your smile tremendously. Err on the side of caution, and commit to brushing your teeth twice per day and flossing daily after your treatment ends.
Can My Teeth Shift Even If I Wear My Retainers Every Night?
Unfortunately, once you’ve had any orthodontic treatment, there will always be a chance that your teeth will shift. So, it’s important to follow your dentist’s instructions carefully to prevent significant relapse. Immediately after your treatment, you should wear your retainers 22 hours per day.
Nighttime-only wear won’t be sufficient in the beginning to prevent shifting. So, you should only remove your retainers to eat, brush or floss. After 2 weeks, and once your teeth have stabilized, you can switch to wearing your retainers only at night. At that point, wearing your retainers every night is the best way to prevent relapse in the future. However, caring for your retainers is just as important.
Regularly replacing your retainers is key to ensuring they don’t become loose or less effective. So, plan to purchase a new set at least once per year. For easy ordering, sign up for SmileDirectClub’s retainer subscription program and take the hassle out of remembering to replace your retainers.
Is SmileDirectClub My Only Option for At-Home Treatment?
Although SmileDirectClub is the biggest and most popular home aligner brand, there are several others to choose from. Each company has its own unique advantages, so don’t be afraid to keep searching until you find one that meets your needs. Our picks for the top alternatives to SmileDirectClub are byte, Candid, and AlignerCo:
#1: byte ($1,895)
byte has the fastest treatment times in the industry, hands down, clocking in at a blazing 3 months (on average). On top of that, they guarantee that every case is designed and monitored by a licensed orthodontist, not a general dentist. They might not have retail locations yet, but they do have financing plans with no credit checks and a nighttime-only option. The cherry on top is their byte-for-life guarantee, which will send you new aligners if your teeth ever shift down the road. If you want to see your transformed smile ASAP, but don’t want to sacrifice quality in the process, byte is your best bet.
Take a look at our in-depth byte review to learn more.
#2: Candid ($2,400)
Candid takes perhaps the most care out of every home aligner company to ensure safety and effectiveness. They’re the only company that has implemented Remote Monitoring, a service that provides virtual check-ins with your orthodontist throughout treatment. Like byte, they work exclusively with orthodontists and like SmileDirectClub, they maintain convenient retail locations. They’re more expensive than other brands, and their treatment time is just average, but Candid is still a trustworthy and effective choice.
You can find more details on Candid in our full review.
#3: AlignerCo ($1,145)
If sticking to a tight budget is your top priority, AlignerCo’s industry-low prices are likely a big draw. Not only do they beat every other company’s prices by several hundred dollars, but they offer flexible financing plans too. And they still deliver quality products thanks to their partnership with Raintree Essix, as well as personalized customer service. They’re a fairly young company, but they’ve already established themselves among the competition. If you’re looking for the most affordable service out there, go with AlignerCo.
Read through our full AlignerCo review for more info.
How long your SmileDirectClub treatment will last is ultimately up to you. No orthodontic treatment will last forever without proper maintenance. So, you should make sure you’re prepared for the upkeep before investing thousands of dollars in your smile.
Deciding to straighten your teeth is a big commitment, and it doesn’t stop once your treatment is over. If you want to preserve your new smile, it’s imperative to practice good oral hygiene and wear your aftercare retainers as instructed. With consistent care and maintenance, your SmileDirectClub results could last a lifetime.