SmileDirectClub helped start an orthodontic revolution as one of the first companies to deliver clear aligners to customers’ homes. Historically, the only way to align your smile was to get braces or Invisalign from a dentist or orthodontist, but companies like SmileDirectClub were developed to make the process of getting your ideal smile more affordable and more convenient.
SmileDirectClub was the pioneer of at-home clear aligner treatment, but they’re not the only option out there. So, how do you know if SmileDirectClub is right for you? In this review, we’ll dive into all the details you should know before making a final decision.
Table of Contents
What is SmileDirectClub?
SmileDirectClub is an online company that offers convenient and affordable clear teeth aligners that look and feel similar to Invisalign — they fit the contours of your teeth and have a much lower profile than traditional braces. However, unlike Invisalign, treatment doesn’t require a single trip to the dentist’s office. Instead, SmileDirectClub’s licensed dentists will develop your treatment plan remotely and ship your aligners to administer at home.
When SmileDirectClub first hit the market in 2014, the concept was groundbreaking — they were the first company to offer home-based clear aligner treatment on a wide scale. Before that, a handful of dentists across the US sold custom clear aligners via mail order, but few customers knew about it. Today, SmileDirectClub has treated over two million patients, making them one of the most widely used clear aligner producers on the market.
The cost of SmileDirectClub is $2,250, much less than traditional in-office orthodontics. This price difference is because your dentist’s time and services cost money, and you’ll typically need to attend office visits throughout your treatment. By taking office visits out of the equation, SmileDirectClub can only take on more basic cases, but they also save you time and money.
The Only Home Aligner Company With A Retail Network
SmileDirectClub has expanded their market share by opening 100+ of retail locations across the United States and establishing an extensive Partner Network. Now, potential patients can visit a local SmileShop to have their teeth scanned and treatment plan prepared free of charge. Or, they can get started in a dental office by scheduling an appointment with one of SmileDirectClub’s more than 1,000 partnering dentists.
They’ve also introduced the CarePlus model — a hybrid treatment that blends in-person care from a local dentist with remote monitoring. It gives you the option for more robust oversight, but also costs $3,900.
Before you decide, visit your dentist.
SmileDirectClub is primarily a cosmetic treatment. Their aligners can only treat mild-to-moderate cases of spacing and crowding, along with minor bite issues. If your case is severe, or if you have a bite misalignment (like overbite or underbite), it certainly won’t preclude you from getting treatment; however, the results you want might require the intensive in-office care of braces or Invisalign.
Unless you are planning to opt for SmileDirectClub’s CarePlus model, we recommend visiting your dentist for an in-person exam and X-rays before beginning treatment. They can give you advice on orthodontic treatment and let you know if you have any cavities, gingivitis, or under-the-surface issues to address beforehand.
And that’s not the only thing you should do. Read over our seven-step checklist on preparing for at-home teeth straightening.
How Does SmileDirectClub Work?
Before starting, you’ll want to know exactly what to expect. Here’s how SmileDirectClub treatment typically goes.
- Purchase and complete an impression kit from SmileDirectClub’s website. Or, visit one of their 100+ SmileShop locations or one of the 1,000+ dentists in their partner network for intraoral scans.
- Once SmileDirectClub’s team receives these molds or images, they’ll determine whether their aligners can correct your misalignment. If so, they’ll create your treatment plan.
- You’ll receive a treatment preview that shows how your teeth will move throughout the process, plus digital renderings of your brand-new smile.
- After getting your approval, they will design, manufacture, and mail out your aligners.
- You will wear your aligners for 22+ hours per day and SmileDirectClub claims they’re able to shift your teeth into the desired position over 4–6 months. If you choose their Nighttime Aligners, you’ll wear them ten hours per night for 8–10 months instead.
SmileDirectClub also has a tool on their mobile app called SmileMaker, which uses several photos of your teeth to generate a free sample treatment preview in minutes, without any scans or impressions.
This is just a draft, not an official, dentist-approved plan. It doesn’t take the place of SmileDirectClub’s impression kit or dental scans. However, they give you the option to purchase the full treatment right away based just on this preview. We’d recommend waiting until you complete your impression kit or SmileShop visit and receive an official dentist-approved preview from SmileDirectClub before deciding.
Our Review of SmileDirectClub
|SmileDirectClub||4 / 5||4 / 5||5 / 5||4.75 / 5||4 / 5|
|Average Score||4.5 / 5||3.7 / 5||3.9 / 5||4.6 / 5||4.3 / 5|
Average Overall Score: 4.18 / 5
For mild-to-moderate misalignments, SDC can deliver impressive transformations for much less than both braces and Invisalign. Though if your condition is severe, or you simply prefer face-time with a dentist, you’d likely be better off with one of those traditional in-office treatments.
Overall, we scored SmileDirectClub 4.28/5 based on our five review criteria—scope of treatment, affordability, convenience, appearance, and customer experience—which is the third highest score in our ranking of the top five home-based clear aligner products. Further down this page, we’ve provided a lot more detail on how SmileDirectClub stacks up category by category, but here’s a quick summary of the biggest pros and cons:
- Established Brand: While they haven’t been around as long as Invisalign, SmileDirectClub has been in business for longer — and treated more people — than any other at-home aligner company.
- More Ways to Get Started: SmileDirectClub has 100+ SmileShops located across the US You can visit one of these shops today for a free teeth scan and immediate treatment approval. Other at-home services require you to mail in an impression of your teeth — a slower and more cumbersome process. They also have a network of more than 1,000 dentist partners, if you’d rather get started in a dentist’s office.
- Guaranteed Financing: SmileDirectClub offers guaranteed financing over 24 months. Byte, AlignerCo, and NewSmile also offer financing options that don’t involve a credit check.
- Nighttime-Only Option: Instead of 22 hours per day, this plan only requires users to wear their aligners for ten hours per night. In-office treatment options like Invisalign don’t offer this option.
- Photo Check-Ins: SmileDirectClub allows patients to monitor their progress through a mobile app and schedule “virtual check-ins” during treatment.
- Mixed Customer Reviews: SmileDirectClub has a mixed track record of customer service quality. Some online reviews warn of long shipping delays and inconsistent communication when issues arise during treatment.
- Less Robust Monitoring: SmileDirectClub’s remote monitoring isn’t as frequent as other at-home aligner services, and not nearly as intensive as the in-person oversight you’d receive with a traditional option like Invisalign.
- Doesn't Include Retainers: SmileDirectClub charges an additional $125 fee for retainers after treatment. In contrast, competitors like Byte offer one set of aftercare retainers for free.
Our Review Methdology
Smile Prep’s review analysis is prepared and presented from the perspective of a well informed consumer. Our starting point for all of our reviews is a careful survey of a company’s marketing claims and available third party customer reviews. While we generally rely on the accuracy of company claims, we make our best effort to qualify and contextualize key marketing claims where we feel it would benefit our readers to do so.
Our review of SmileDirectClub is additionally informed by the following sources of data:
- Over 100 reviews that we have directly collected from verified SDC customers
- Feedback gathered from participants in our Honest Smiles Program, who are asked to share their honest experience undergoing treatment with SDC in a series of videos
- First-hand insight gained by testing SDC’s impression kit, visiting a Smile Shop, and having a treatment plans prepared
- Input gathered directly from SDC, including comment provided by SDC employees, and information gathered anonymously by interacting with SDC’s online support representatives
SmileDirectClub is one of 12 aligner brands for which our team has prepared an in-depth review. We assessed and rated each of those aligner brands according to five distinct factors: scope of treatment, affordability, convenience, appearance, and customer experience. While our assessment of each factor is necessarily subjective, we do our best to explain the considerations that informed our assessment.
Scope of Treatment
At-home clear aligners like SmileDirectClub are designed to offer affordable orthodontic treatment that fits into the schedules of busy adults. But like all orthodontic treatments, they’re limited in what they can treat. Remote aligner therapy lacks direct, in-person supervision and can’t incorporate attachments, which results in a more limited scope of treatment than in-office aligners.
SmileDirectClub says their aligners are best for making milder changes to tooth alignment.
Their website says, “SmileDirectClub aligners are designed for minor to moderate crowding, spacing, and general alignment concerns.” They claim their aligners can treat the following conditions:
- Mild-to-Moderate Crowding: These are cases where the teeth are too close together, or in some cases, even overlap each other.
- Mild-to-Moderate Spacing: Often called gapping, this is when the teeth are too far apart, sometimes causing crowding in other teeth. While SmileDirectClub does not clarify their limit here, mild-to-moderate gaps are typically 3mm wide or less.
- Mild-to-Moderate Overbite or Overjet: This happens when the upper teeth sit too far forward or protrude outward. SmileDirectClub claims they can “treat mild to moderate overbite or overjet.”
- Limited Underbite: SmileDirectClub says on this page that, “our clear aligners can address an underbite involving single pairs of upper and lower teeth.”
- Localized Crossbite: This is when some upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth, creating a mixed bite. A localized crossbite only affects a few teeth.
Many remote aligner companies say they aren’t designed to move the molars, or that their treatments apply primarily to the front 6–8 teeth. SmileDirectClub claims this doesn’t apply to their aligners — at least, not anymore. They state that if they accept a case, their aligners will move any teeth necessary.
Just keep in mind that we couldn’t find info on how often they approve cases that require — or would benefit from — molar movement. We also don’t have data on how SmileDirectClub’s range of molar movement compares to in-office options.
Compared to other at-home aligner companies, this scope of treatment is pretty standard. If they can move molars, that may give them a slight advantage, but we would like to see more data on how they do this and how many cases they accept that require it.
- “Because it was a “simple” fix, I felt comfortable using SDC and my local dentist was supportive of my choice. Due to the hands-off nature of this type of orthodontic process, I don’t know if I’d recommend it for more complicated treatments, but it was the perfect choice for me. It has been 5+ years since I did it and I am still thrilled with the results!”
Many SmileDirectClub customers have shared their experiences with us. Overall, their results align with the company’s claims.
Most SmileDirectClub customer feedback we’ve received is from people who corrected crowding, spacing, and overbite. These SmileDirectClub users are, on the whole, satisfied with their results, typically awarding 3–5 stars to their treatment and results.
Underbite and crossbite cases are less common, and customers who used SmileDirectClub to address these issues tend to rate their treatment and results slightly lower. The same is true of those who addressed midline shifts and snaggletooth — two issues SmileDirectClub doesn’t highlight as ones they can treat.
The fact that few customers report having certain bite issues suggests the company only occasionally accepts these types of cases. Additionally, reviewers almost never note molar movement. However, this seems to be a newer claim for SmileDirectClub, so it may take time for customer reviews to highlight it.
In any case, the only way to know if you are a candidate for SmileDirectClub treatment is to get a scan or submit an impression.
You can spend days researching SmileDirectClub cases and results, but the only way you’ll know if they can help you is to get your smile assessed. You can opt for in-person scans at a SmileShop or order an impression kit. In either case, a licensed dental professional will review your case and approve your plan if you’re a candidate.
Keep in mind that the 30-Second Smile Assessment on their website is not a substitute for a scan or impression kit. No matter what you answer, it will direct you to schedule a scan or order an impression kit. Nearly all at-home aligner companies offer these quizzes — and they’re fallible since they rely on our own, non-expert assessments of our smiles.
As noted above, dental professionals design and monitor all SmileDirectClub treatments.
Some companies strictly work with orthodontists, while others employ dental technicians, dentists, and orthodontists. SmileDirectClub relies on a mixed team, and they say every plan is doctor-direct and doctor-managed.
During your treatment, you’ll submit photos of your teeth every 90 days so that SmileDirectClub’s team can monitor your progress and make adjustments to your wear schedule if necessary. It’s reassuring to have these regular check-ins, but considering the average treatment plan length (4–6 months), you might only have one check-in total.
For example, Candid — whose treatment involves in-person care from a local dentist — has remote check-ins every two weeks. And if you go with a more comprehensive option like Invisalign or ClearCorrect, you’ll typically have office visits every 4–10 weeks on average, which is still more frequent than SmileDirectClub.
For anyone who wants in-person care, SmileDirectClub offers their CarePlus option.
This is a hybrid treatment that involves in-person appointments with a partner dentist. You’ll begin your treatment with an office visit, then check in virtually with the CarePlus dental team every six weeks. And if you’d like additional in-person visits, you can schedule them.
Of course, a higher level of care comes with a higher price, so if you go with CarePlus, you’ll pay $3,900 — or you can finance your treatment for $500 down, then $115/month for 36 months.
Align Technology (makers of Invisalign) once manufactured SmileDirectClub aligners, but now SmileDirectClub produces them in-house.
For a long time, SmileDirectClub worked with Align Technology to produce its clear aligners. Align created Invisalign and is one of the most trusted clear aligner manufacturers out there. It’s our understanding that they also provided SmileDirectClub with the software they use to model teeth movements.
This partnership meant that SmileDirectClub customers would benefit from the same industry-leading aligners and supporting technology as Invisalign users. But Align ended the partnership, and SmileDirectClub now manufactures their aligners in-house. They’ve implemented a design called Comfort Sense — a soft, medium, and firm aligner plastic progression that they claim provides more comfortable, predictable dental shifts.
- “My teeth look a million times better and the pain levels weren’t excruciating. Teeth that I didn’t even think were crooked ended up straight and my main problems were fixed.”
SmileDirectClub’s aligners overlap your gums, which may help with tooth movement.
As part of their Comfort Sense design, SmileDirectClub trims the tops of their aligners, but they still overlap your gums. We think this makes them slightly more visible, but according to certain studies, this overlap can also improve force distribution and tooth control.
SmileDirectClub advertises scalloped aligners for their CarePlus customers, but not for their standard treatment.
Historically, the high price tag for braces and Invisalign has caused adults to shy away from in-office treatment.
A major benefit of home aligner companies like SmileDirectClub is the affordable price point compared to traditional treatment options. The innovation of home alignment technology has made orthodontic treatment much more accessible. Home aligner products typically cost around $2,000, significantly less than Invisalign or braces, which can set you back $3,000–$8,000.
|SmileDirectClub Single Pay||SmileDirectClub SmilePay|
|Payments||Pay full price upfront.||Pay $250 upfront, then $89/mo. for 28 months.|
|Impression Kit||$59. SmileShop scans are free.||$59. SmileShop scans are free.|
|Retainers||$125 per set||$125 per set|
SmileDirectClub’s total cost is $2,250, which is slightly higher than some other home aligner companies, but much less than in-office treatments.
When purchased with a single payment, the cost of SmileDirectClub is $2,250. That’s a lot less than braces and Invisalign, which often cost $3,000–$8,000. But among at-home aligner services, it’s about average. You’ll also pay $59 for an impression kit, but you can avoid this cost by getting a free scan at a SmileShop location (if you live near one).
As a bonus, SmileDirectClub includes their Bright On teeth whitening kit with your purchase. Just five minutes a day, they say, will get your teeth to their “brightest bright” in one week.
Although retainers are a required part of the treatment process, SmileDirectClub does not include them in the sticker price. So, you can expect to pay an extra $125 at the end of your aligner treatment for retainers, which must be replaced every six months.
If you go with their CarePlus model, you’ll pay $3,900 instead. Or, you can enroll in their financing plan and pay $500 down, then $115 per month for 28 months. This plan also includes two years worth of retainers.
- “For the price that I paid in comparison to what my dentist quoted me, I can say that my teeth are straighter and whiter (free whitening kit) [...] If you are patient, have tempered expectations, and are ready for the process mentally, you will be all good.”
SmileDirectClub makes financing available to all of its customers through SmilePay — no credit check required.
While SmileDirectClub is much cheaper than in-office treatments, $2,250 isn’t pocket change, so many patients opt to finance their treatment. To take advantage of SmilePay, you just need to put down $250, then you’ll pay $89 per month for 28 months. This means you’ll be paying an effective interest rate of just over 20%.
SmilePay does not require a credit check or any additional paperwork. All customers are eligible, so everyone can have access to a transformed smile. SmileDirectClub, Byte, NewSmile, and AlignerCo are currently the only at-home aligner companies that guarantee all customers will qualify for financing. Other companies require a credit check, and you may be declined if your credit is not strong enough.
If you go with an in-office treatment, you can often still jump on a financing plan — but you’ll get it from either your dentist’s office or a third-party company. Both routes can require credit checks and include interest, but you’ll need to ask your dentist for details.
If your insurance plan has orthodontic benefits, it may contribute to SmileDirectClub treatment.
Developments in teledentistry have changed the way that some insurance companies think about remote care. However, there’s still a division in how these companies cover at-home clear aligners like SmileDirectClub.
Some consider them purely cosmetic treatments and, therefore, ineligible for coverage, while others are open to covering part of the total cost. It all depends on the company and the specific plan.
If your plan includes orthodontic benefits, there’s a chance you can get insurance coverage for SmileDirectClub. In fact, the company has partnerships with several insurance providers, including:
- United Healthcare
- Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Dominion National
- Capital Blue Cross
If you have insurance from one of these companies, it doesn’t mean you’ll automatically receive coverage, but you might. Check with your insurance provider or a SmileDirectClub representative to find out.
- “I ended up paying $680 with insurance and received a $50 gift card as well. I have now completed my 4 month journey and I have really enjoyed my results for the cost I paid, I can’t complain about that. I do feel like my teeth could be even more straightened out.”
We all have busy lives, and repeated visits to the dentist’s office don’t exactly count as leisure. In-office methods might be able to treat even the most severe conditions, but for adults with milder misalignments, at-home aligners can be a more convenient option.
SmileDirectClub and their at-home aligner peers ship everything directly to your home, cutting out the office visits. Many home aligners say they can achieve results in 4–6 months, compared to the typical 12–24 months for Invisalign — largely because they only accept milder cases. At-home teeth straightening is typically more convenient, but in our opinion, SmileDirectClub goes above and beyond to make teeth straightening as accessible and user-friendly as possible.
SmileDirectClub has multiple options to get your treatment started.
The first step for most home aligner companies is to evaluate your smile by examining impressions or scans of your teeth. SmileDirectClub gives you a few different ways to do this.
You can access this program within the SmileDirectClub app. It prompts you to submit photos of your teeth from different angles, then uses them to create a potential treatment preview in just a few minutes. It’s fun to look at, but it’s not an official plan. However, SmileDirectClub will still ask you to purchase the full treatment. We’d recommend waiting until after you’ve completed an official impression kit or SmileShop visit.
You can order this kit — which typically costs $59 — and use it to make molds of your top and bottom dental arches, then mail them back to SmileDirectClub Some customers report that making good impressions on their own can be difficult, sometimes requiring multiple attempts, which can delay the start of treatment by a few weeks.
SmileDirectClub also has 100+ retail locations called SmileShops, where a sales associate will scan your teeth for free. This helps give you accurate images in one try. Research has shown that patients consider intraoral scans more time-efficient and comfortable than conventional impressions.
We’ll note that — based on the qualifications listed in their job postings — SmileDirectClub no longer requires its SmileShop employees to have prior dental training. As such, it’s unclear to us whether these employees have the same level of skill and experience using this technology as clinically licensed dental specialists in a traditional dental office setting.
Dental Network Partner
SmileDirectClub has more than 1,000 dentist partners nationwide, who can get you started with an assessment and teeth scan in their offices. So, if you’d rather have a dentist handling your scan, that’s yet another option. Though this dentist will only be involved for your initial scan, not your entire treatment.
Once SmileDirectClub receives your impression or scan, within 72 hours, they will send you a Smile Plan — a preview of how your teeth will look post-treatment. If you like what you see, you can approve the plan and get the ball rolling. But if the plan doesn’t match your expectations and goals, there’s no obligation to move forward.
- “The initial molds were difficult to use so I went to a smile shop and it was very smooth process. I definitely recommend going to the smile shop if there’s one in your area.”
- “I chose to have the scan done instead of doing impressions, I highly recommend going to the smile shop and having scans because they are so quick, easy and accurate.”
Nighttime-only aligners only require ten hours of daily wear.
Some people can’t (or don’t want to) wear their aligners for 22+ hours per day. SmileDirectClub introduced a nighttime-only aligner series designed to make treatment more flexible and accessible for these customers. Selecting this plan means that you’ll only need to wear your clear aligners for ten hours per day, presumably while you sleep. If you’re a regular snacker or have an on-the-go lifestyle, this could be a huge convenience.
Regular aligners require a bit more work — you need to take them out before eating and/or drinking, then brush and floss before putting them back in. Nighttime-only aligners let you skip the hassle, popping them in after dinner and taking them out in the morning. In-office clear aligner treatments typically don’t have a comparable overnight wear schedule, but most other at-home aligner services do, including Byte, AlignerCo, and NewSmile.
If you’re considering nighttime-only treatment, check out our article covering the pros and cons of SmileDirectClub’s Nighttime Clear Aligners and our guide to the best nighttime aligners.
SmileDirectClub says they’ll manufacture and ship your aligners within 2–3 weeks.
After you confirm your treatment and order your aligners, SmileDirectClub will produce your aligner trays and ship them out. You will probably be excited to start transforming your smile, but you’ll need to exercise some patience, as the aligners take 2–3 weeks to manufacture and arrive at your door. This timeframe is fairly comparable to other home aligner companies. However, some SmileDirectClub customers report delays, which increases the wait time.
If you get started at a SmileShop, the employees may ask you to sign up for a “Fast Track” service, which will deliver your aligners as fast as possible. However, it also means you need to pay the full treatment cost upfront, so it’s not an option for everyone. And according to some customer reviews, after agreeing to fast-track their aligner production, they weren’t able to see their full treatment plan before receiving their aligners. Just know that you don’t have to commit right away, and we’d recommend waiting to see your treatment plan.
SmileDirectClub claims that their aligner plans take 4–6 months on average, or 8–10 months for the nighttime-only option.
That’s much faster than the 12–24 months typically required by Invisalign and braces, but compared to other at-home aligner systems, it’s just average. Of course, your specific treatment timeline depends largely on the severity of your condition, since more complex misalignments take longer to correct.
Check your calendar before starting treatment to see if SmileDirectClub’s timelines align with yours. If you want to smile confidently for your graduation photos in six months, for example, nighttime aligners might not be your best bet.
SmileDirectClub includes whitening in your treatment plan, so you can whiten your smile while you transform your teeth!
One final thing to consider is teeth whitening. Most of the top home aligner systems (including SmileDirectClub) offer a whitening product as a free add-on. Simply apply the whitening gel inside your aligners and your teeth will get visibly brighter while they shift.
Adults seeking straighter teeth might be self-conscious about sporting metal brackets to an interview, date, or special occasion, making less-noticeable options like clear aligner products much more attractive. Consequently, all clear aligners score well in the aesthetics category, and SmileDirectClub is no exception.
That said, not all clear aligners look the same. They are all made from transparent, BPA-free plastic, but each brand looks slightly different due to variations in materials and manufacturing processes.
SmileDirectClub aligners are matte, reasonably resistant to staining, and slightly overlap the gums.
SmileDirectClub makes their aligners from plastic that appears frosted. Teeth are naturally porous — which is why that cup of coffee or red wine can stain them — and these pores make them look matte. We think less-shiny aligners can present a more natural look, although some customers like the gleam of smooth, fully transparent ones.
In addition, SmileDirectClub’s standard aligners overlap your gums by a few millimeters, which can make them more noticeable. They advertise scalloped aligners, however, for their CarePlus patients. A scalloped cut that matches your gum line would be more discreet, but — on the other hand — some research suggests that overlapping the gums can improve the aligners’ force transfer.
All clear aligners are susceptible to stains from food and beverages, so it’s important to remove them before eating or drinking anything other than plain water.
SmileDirectClub aligners don’t incorporate attachments, preserving their low profile.
When administering Invisalign, a dentist can affix elastics and special attachments to the teeth that help their scalloped aligners make more intricate teeth movements. Attachments might make the aligners more versatile, but they can also increase their visibility.
Since home aligners like SmileDirectClub don’t involve in-person office visits, these attachments are not possible. But that also means there are no extra bumps or hardware on your teeth.
If you feel uneasy about wearing aligners during the day, you might want SmileDirectClub’s nighttime-only treatment plan instead.
While invisible aligners are very discreet, they still aren’t 100% invisible. From up close, others may notice that you have your clear trays in. Moreover, it’s common for aligners to cause a slight lisp, especially for the first few days after changing to new trays. If you have a job where this may be an issue, SmileDirectClub’s Nighttime Aligners may be a better fit for you.
SmileDirectClub’s Nighttime Aligners require just ten hours of daily wear, so you only need to have them in after dinner and while you sleep. This could be a perfect option for anyone who feels uncomfortable wearing aligners during the day or who doesn’t like removing and replacing them to eat and drink.
Dental treatment is expensive, and you only have one set of teeth. It’s important to feel completely confident that your treatment provider will treat you right and have your back if anything goes wrong. As a fully remote treatment, we don’t think they can provide the personalization and reliability that comes with in-office care, but they do maintain strong return and refund policies.
Customer support is typically responsive but has a history of mixed reviews.
No at-home aligner service can provide the same personalized and intensive support you’ll receive from hands-on treatment at a dentist’s office. But some have implemented highly responsive remote customer service teams and multiple communication channels.
SmileDirectClub is a large company with a longer track record than other providers in this space. They have put a lot of time into creating helpful online support resources for customers, which is great. On the other hand, some could argue that the company grew too quickly and that their customer support has trouble keeping up. Customers have reported communication delays and that they sometimes have to go back and forth with support multiple times.
By implementing remote oversight and 24/7 support availability, we think SmileDirectClub has taken strides toward more reliable, responsive customer support. Plus, their website contains extensive resources, so you might find answers to your questions without needing to contact the support team at all.
- “Anytime I had a question I emailed customer service and they were sure to get back to me very promptly and ridiculously nicely.”
- “Customer service has been okay’ish but reflects the price. I didn’t care for phone service but chatting through Facebook chat service has been best.”
You’ll send photos of your teeth for regular check-ins, and a member of their team will review them.
SmileDirectClub’s mobile app lets you track your treatment progress and contact their customer service team via text, video, chat, email, and phone (they say this team is available 24/7).
Additionally, they’ve implemented virtual Smile Check-ins every 90 days, where you’ll submit photos of your teeth so that their dental team can monitor your progress and address any concerns you have. These check-ins aren’t one-on-one chats with your assigned dentist, though. The dental team members who will review your photos are typically assistants and hygienists, and if they see anything concerning, it’s our understanding that they will pass your photos along to a dentist.
Choose the CarePlus treatment and SmileDirectClub says you’ll have video check-ins with a hygienist or dental assistant every six weeks. Plus, you’ll have the option of scheduling extra in-person appointments with your partner dentist.
The company has solid refinement and refund policies.
Despite the complaints about customer service delays, most customers are satisfied with SmileDirectClub’s refund policy. If, after completing an impression kit or getting your teeth scanned, the company determines you aren’t a suitable candidate for home aligner treatment, they will refund you in full (including your kit).
Let’s say you are approved for treatment and get started on a treatment plan, but change your mind right away. Cancel your treatment in the first 30 days for any reason and they say you’ll receive a full refund (excluding your kit), and they’ll issue prorated refunds for unused and unopened aligners after that. Additionally, assuming you follow all the steps they prescribe (checking in online every 90 days, for example), but aren’t happy with the results, SmileDirectClub dentists will generally work with you to extend your treatment with more aligner trays for free.
- “I had a 4 month plan and I completed it with good results, however I felt like the improvement was 75%, not 100% like I had hoped so I went back to the studio for a new scan and got another 3 months of refinements.”
- “The process of ordering them was very easy and customer support was always quick to answer any questions I had. I finished my aligners in September and since my teeth aren’t exactly as I had hoped (still a gap in the front), I contacted smile direct club and they are sending me some refinements.”
Their Lifetime Smile Guarantee will maintain your new smile forever, as long as you continue buying their retainers.
SmileDirectClub will provide touch-ups — a couple of new aligners — if your teeth happen to shift at all down the road, whether it’s six months or ten years after your treatment.
- Purchase new SDC retainers every six months.
- Wear your retainers as prescribed.
- Receive a touch-up approval from a SmileDirectClub state-licensed dentist or orthodontist.
- Be current on your payments.
While SmileDirectClub’s customer support may not be the most responsive, we think their Smile Check-ins, extensive policies to refund or extend treatment plans, and Lifetime Smile Guarantee deliver a satisfying customer experience.
What are SmileDirectClub Customers Saying?
Note: In June 2023, SmileDirectClub settled an action brought by the Attorney General of Washington DC alleging that the company had engaged in unfair and deceptive practices by requiring customers, as a condition for receiving refunds, to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). According to a press release accompanying the lawsuit, the NDAs prohibited customers “from making any negative comments about SmileDirectClub or its products” and required them to “delete any negative reviews, social media posts, or comments they [had] already made.” By this practice, the AG alleged, SmileDirectClub had misled consumers by concealing the fact that the “thousands of positive reviews” touted “in its marketing . . . [had] been filtered.” Under the settlement, SDC agreed to pay $500,000 and release 17,000 customers nationwide from those NDAs. SDC issued a brief statement following the settlement.
When we review a company like SmileDirectClub, we start by digging through customer reviews to understand common issues and concerns.
Given SmileDirectClub’s multi-year history, there are many genuine online reviews detailing customer experiences with the product.
SmileDirectClub customers often feel positive about their experiences, despite some hiccups along the way. Customer support might be hit-or-miss, but many people still end up satisfied with their results. It might just take some extra effort on the customer’s end.
Each set of aligners seems well-made, and the treatment process is reportedly only mildly uncomfortable. Some customers were disappointed that their results didn’t match their treatment preview, and in these cases, SmileDirectClub often issued free refinements — it just extended their timeline.
For a realistic look at the SmileDirectClub customer experience, check out the unbiased SmileDirectClub reviews we’ve gathered from users at various stages of the treatment process.
Below are two of the most helpful user reviews we found. We hope you find them helpful too!
Best Alternatives to SmileDirectClub
While some customers have said SmileDirectClub is a great clear aligner company, there are other at-home and in-office options to consider. Invisalign is the primary in-office option, and while it is more expensive than home aligners, dentists can achieve more advanced teeth movements with additional attachments. If you’re set on completing treatment from home, there are also several other home aligner options that are worth looking into.
Invisalign vs. SmileDirectClub
For more intensive cases of teeth and jaw misalignment, you can’t beat in-person care, and Invisalign is one of the most versatile and comprehensive in-office clear aligners available. Regular office visits allow the dentist to apply supplemental attachments, elastics, and other appliances that induce more nuanced tooth and jaw movements. If you have a bite misalignment or a severe case of crowding or spacing, SmileDirectClub’s home aligners might simply be too limited for the results you’re after.
Invisalign costs $3,000 to $8,000, on average, which is a lot more expensive. But if in-person oversight and a wide scope of treatment are your top priorities, it may be a better option for you. You’ll have plenty of one-on-one time with your dentist (typically at least once per month) to discuss any concerns.
Candid vs. SmileDirectClub
Candid offers a unique blend of in-office and at-home care. You’ll start your treatment in a local dentist’s office (there are 800+ in Candid’s network). After that, you’ll complete most of your aligner plan at home, submitting photo check-ins every 14 days, so your dentist can collaborate with Candid to keep you on track. We think this CandidMonitoring model is more robust than at-home aligners, yet more streamlined than Invisalign.
At $3,500+, Candid is pricier than SmileDirectClub’s standard treatment, but you’re paying for hands-on care and a dentist who can bring you in for additional office visits if anything goes wrong. Additionally, if you go with CarePlus — SmileDirectClub’s hybrid model — you’ll pay $3,900, right on par with Candid. Their hybrid model could be a great fit for anyone who likes the convenience of teledentistry but also wants some face-time with their dentist.
Byte vs SmileDirectClub
Byte is newer to the home aligner market than SmileDirectClub. Even so, we think they out in their innovation. They advertise an average treatment plan length of just 4–5 months, and in your aligner package, they’ll include a HyperByte device, which uses gentle micropulses that are intended to give you a more comfortable aligner fit.
Like SmileDirectClub, they offer nighttime-only treatment and 100% approval on financing. It seems like Byte has combined some of the best perks other companies offer, and that’s why they’re our top choice for home aligner treatment.
Is SmileDirectClub Right for You?
If you are looking for a super convenient treatment option, we think SmileDirectClub is definitely worth considering. That said, there are several other high-quality clear aligner brands on the market, and we encourage you to consider all your options before making a final decision!
Frequently Asked Questions
Does SmileDirectClub offer discounts?
Absolutely! You just need to know where to look. SmileDirectClub runs occasional promotions for $100–$200 off aligners and discounted impression kits. For instructions on how to take advantage and where to find additional deals, check out our SmileDirectClub discount guide.
Can SmileDirectClub correct my condition?
It depends. SmileDirectClub can treat mild and moderate cases of crowding and spacing, but it might not be able to correct jaw misalignments like overbite, underbite, crossbite, etc. The only way to know for sure is to complete an impression kit or visit a SmileShop.
What about Invisalign?
The clear aligner originator has its own set of unique benefits, most notably in-person care. During regular face-to-face checkups, your dentist or orthodontist can make adjustments to your treatment and add attachments that allow Invisalign to treat a wider scope of cases. SmileDirectClub is faster and less expensive, but Invisalign is a great option if your condition is severe or you’d prefer to meet with your dentist in person. Our Invisalign review has a ton more information if you’re interested.
How much will I end up paying?
Even though SmileDirectClub’s sticker price is $2,250, there are numerous factors that can influence cost, including discounts, financing, insurance, refinements, and more. In most cases, you won’t end up paying exactly $2,250, but it will likely be close. Read through our guide on the true cost of SmileDirectClub for a more complete look at price influencers.
How do I get started?
Before anything else, SmileDirectClub’s dental team needs to take a look at your teeth. You can either submit an impression kit, visit a SmileShop, or schedule an appointment with one of SmileDirectClub’s partnering dentists for a teeth scan. They’ll use these molds or images to determine if you’re a good candidate and craft your entire treatment plan.
How long will it take?
SmileDirectClub says their average treatment plan length is 4–6 months (or 8–10 months for Nighttime Aligners). But don’t mark it on your calendar just yet. Your treatment could take shorter or longer depending on your condition’s severity.
Does insurance cover SmileDirectClub treatment?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Certain providers label at-home aligners a “cosmetic” treatment and refuse to cover it. But if your plan includes orthodontic benefits, you might receive partial coverage. Check with your insurance provider to see if you can get partial reimbursement for your treatment.
What is the cheapest home aligner service?
Home aligner companies have drastically reduced the cost of teeth-straightening treatment, but that doesn’t mean they fit perfectly into every budget. If you’re a cost-conscious shopper, check out AlignerCo. Their $995 sticker price is far below the industry average, making them easily the most affordable option. Our full AlignerCo review has more info and you can find other budget-friendly options in our guide on the three most affordable home aligner companies.
Do clear aligners hurt?
When you switch to a new aligner set every two weeks, you might experience some discomfort for the first day or two, but after that, you’ll hardly notice them.
Is home aligner treatment safe?
At-home clear aligner treatment plans are always designed and/or approved by a licensed dentist or orthodontist — as long as you’re buying from a legitimate clear aligner service.
The main concern regarding the safety of fully-remote clear aligner treatment is the lack of face-to-face care. Since you won’t be seeing a dentist in-person during treatment, you won’t receive the same level of support that you’d get with traditional in-office aligners like Invisalign or ClearCorrect. That said, a recent NIH-funded survey found the majority of at-home aligner customers were satisfied with their results, and only 6.6% experienced side effects necessitating a visit to their local dentist.
Read our guide to safe home teeth straightening treatment for more information.