One of the biggest advantages of home aligner companies like SmileDirectClub is expedited treatment time. Home aligners are very similar to products like Invisalign, but you complete treatment entirely from home — and it’s much faster. SmileDirectClub is the largest and most experienced home aligner brand, and they’ve treated more patients than all of the other home aligner companies combined.
Like most home aligner providers, SmileDirectClub claims that their treatment takes about 6 months. Although you can find average treatment times online, everyone is different, so treatment times vary depending on your condition’s severity. There are several factors to consider, and no two people will have the same experience.
In this guide, we’ll discuss some of the major factors that can affect your SmileDirectClub treatment time, and give you an idea of how long you’ll need to wait before flashing your new smile.
Table of Contents
How Long Does it Take To Get Started with SmileDirectClub?
The first step to getting started with SmileDirectClub is finding out whether you’re eligible for treatment. Home aligners are best for people with mild-to-moderate misalignments and no bite issues. So, not everyone will be a good fit. You have two options to determine your candidacy for treatment. The first option is to order an impression kit from SmileDirectClub’s website.
Impression kits cost $49, and this price is refundable if SmileDirectClub determines that you aren’t a good fit for treatment. Your kit will typically arrive within a few days, and it will include two sets of putty, trays, and instructions to create accurate molds of your teeth.
Once you’ve created satisfactory impressions, send them back to SmileDirectClub for evaluation. If their team of dental professionals approves your case, they’ll send you a digital preview that shows your teeth at every step of the treatment process. If you’re happy with this preview, you can purchase your custom aligners through SmileDirectClub’s website.
Unfortunately, people quickly learned that creating an accurate impression of your teeth can be challenging. So, SmileDirectClub introduced a second option to make starting treatment more convenient. They opened retail locations called SmileShops in 2016 and currently have more than 300 shops nationwide. Instead of ordering an impression kit, you can schedule a SmileShop appointment and get a free 3D scan of your teeth. This option is completely free and often more accurate than taking impressions on your own.
Once you’ve completed the 3D scan, the process is the same. You’ll need to wait to be approved for treatment and then order your aligners through SmileDirectClub’s website. It typically takes them 4-6 weeks to manufacture and ship your custom aligners. So, keep in mind that you won’t be able to start treatment immediately.
How Long Will It Take To See Results?
The average treatment time for SmileDirectClub is 6 months or 10 months for their nighttime-only plan. Nighttime aligners are the same aligners you’d receive for regular treatment, but you’ll only wear them for 10 hours per day, usually overnight.
The standard SmileDirectClub treatment requires you to wear your aligners for at least 22 hours per day. So, it won’t take as long for you to see results or complete treatment. The nighttime-only plan is more convenient for most people, but less wear time a longer overall treatment timeline.
Most people see changes to their smile within the first couple of months of SmileDirectClub treatment. However, there are a few key factors that can affect your treatment time. The most important factor is the severity of your condition. More complex cases simply require more aligners and more time to correct. So, it will take longer to see noticeable results.
Although it may seem like your treatment time is completely out of your hands, that’s not entirely true. There are things you can do to ensure that your treatment isn’t delayed or unsafe (more on that in a second). Still, you’ll have to wait at least a month or two before you start seeing results.
The most important thing to remember is to be patient and never stop wearing your aligners before your treatment is complete. Although you may think your smile has completely transformed, it’s essential to complete your entire course of aligners to prevent any issues down the road.
How Can I Ensure My Treatment Is As Short As Possible?
As we previously mentioned, the severity of your condition is the primary determining factor for how long your SmileDirectClub treatment will take. However, your cooperation during treatment is also critical.
SmileDirectClub recommends that you wear your aligners for 22 hours per day, only removing them to eat, drink, or brush your teeth. If you don’t wear your aligners for the full 22 hours, your treatment will take longer and likely lose effectiveness. You complete SmileDirectClub treatment entirely from home, so following the company’s instructions is key to ensuring safety and efficiency.
Your oral hygiene will affect your treatment time as well. Teeth move most effectively in a healthy environment. So, if you have poor hygiene or develop cavities or gum infection during treatment, it will delay the process. In extreme cases, you may need to stop treatment to have your hygiene issues and cavities/decay addressed before proceeding.
Avoiding damage to your aligners is also important to ensure a speedy treatment. If you damage or break your aligners, it will stall your treatment while you wait for new ones to arrive in the mail. Plus, you’ll need to pay an additional $50 for the replacements.
To start seeing results as fast as possible, follow SmileDirectClub’s instructions carefully and make sure to brush and floss your teeth regularly. Like any other dental treatment, you should take the process seriously and do everything you can to prevent complications.
Does SmileDirectClub Work Faster Than Invisalign?
Yes and no. In-office treatments like Invisalign are best for moderate-to-severe misalignments and can treat almost any issue that braces can. Because these cases are usually more complex, in-office aligners typically take longer than home aligners, including SmileDirectClub. Invisalign also offers more attention to detail and precision than home aligners. So, it usually takes longer to achieve more precise movements and changes to a patient’s smile.
The average treatment time for Invisalign is 12-15 months; more than double the average treatment time for SmileDirectClub. This is partly because SmileDirectClub is meant for mild-to-moderate cases of misalignment, which take less time to treat. However, another part of the reason why home aligners can offer faster treatment times is their aligner cut.
Invisalign’s aligners are cut in a scalloped-fashion to match the patient’s gumline. They’re customized to fit more comfortably and are hardly noticeable. In contrast, SmileDirectClub’s aligners are cut straight across. The straight-cut applies about 4x the amount of force to the teeth, allowing them to move more quickly. So, if you have an important event coming up this year, SmileDirectClub is probably better suited to your timeline. Just keep in mind that Invisalign may be a better choice if your case is more severe.
Is There a Faster Option?
Home aligners are currently the fastest teeth straightening treatment available. On average, your treatment will last 6 months; about half that of Invisalign and a fraction of the time required for braces. Still, if you’re looking for an even quicker option, there is another home aligner company that offers the fastest treatment time on the market.
byte is a competing home aligner brand that currently boasts the shortest treatment time available – just 3 months. They’ve utilized innovative technology to cut the industry’s average timeline in half without sacrificing quality or effectiveness.
HyperByte, byte’s original vibration-based therapy device, attaches to patients’ aligners and uses gentle, high-frequency vibrations to help the aligners fit better on the teeth. This process helps induce more accurate teeth movement and a much quicker treatment time.
Best of all, you only need to use HyperByte for five minutes per day to reap its benefits. So, it won’t interfere with your daily life. The device is also FDA approved and included in the cost of every byte treatment plan.
byte claims that providing an excellent customer experience is a huge part of their brand, and so far, they’re living up to the hype. For a more in-depth look at byte, check out our detailed review.
Treatment time is important to consider when you’re deciding on a teeth straightening treatment. Overall, the biggest factor that will affect your treatment time is the severity of your condition. So, everyone will have a different experience. However, it’s crucial to choose a treatment that will fit within your ideal timeline.
If you’ve been considering getting SmileDirectClub, schedule an appointment with your dentist to evaluate your teeth and discuss your options. They’ll likely be able to give you an estimated treatment time for several different treatment options and help you decide whether SmileDirectClub is the right choice for you.