At-home teeth straightening is changing the way people transform their smiles. Historically, the only way to adjust your teeth was to see a dentist or orthodontist for braces or Invisalign®. At-home clear aligner products like Smilelove make getting the smile you want affordable and convenient.
Smilelove is relatively new to the clear aligner industry, but they’re focused on becoming the most affordable option available while providing high-quality treatment. And customers are taking notice. Read on to find out if Smilelove is the right fit for your smile goals!
Smilelove is not currently accepting new orders due to the impact of COVID-19 on their business. Click here to checkout other top rated home aligner providers.
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What is Smilelove?
Smilelove is an online company that ships customized clear aligners to your door, offering a convenient and affordable way to straighten your teeth and build confidence in your smile. These aligners are similar to Invisalign’s — they comfortably fit the contours of your teeth and are much less visible than traditional braces. Unlike Invisalign, Smilelove’s treatment program doesn’t require a single trip to the dentist. One of their professionally licensed dental providers will instead develop and oversee your treatment remotely.
Somewhat new to the clear aligner game, Smilelove started transforming smiles in 2017. However, it joined an already-crowded field that includes competitors like byte, Candid, SmileDirectClub and Snapcorrect, who all offer similar services. Because it’s so new, Smilelove has a relatively small customer base, but thanks to their affordability and commitment to quality, that’s started to change. Out of the five companies we ranked and reviewed, it’s the smallest, which comes with its own unique advantages and disadvantages.
Smilelove aims to stand out by offering the most affordable home-based clear aligner option. And so far, they’ve succeeded. Smilelove is often priced 5% to 10% below other providers.
Like other home-based clear aligner products, Smilelove is primarily a cosmetic treatment. It’s limited, by design, to mild-to-moderate cases of teeth crowding and spacing, along with some minor bite issues. Having a bite issue like overbite or underbite doesn’t preclude you from treatment, but for complex tooth and jaw movements, an in-office treatment option like Invisalign or traditional braces might deliver better results.
How Does Smilelove Work?
At-home aligner treatments have achieved impressive results for a lot of people, but not everyone is a candidate. To ensure that Smilelove can help you reach your unique smile goals, your first step is to determine whether you and Smilelove are an ideal match. Request an impression kit from their website, which you’ll use to create a 3D mold of your teeth. Smilelove’s licensed orthodontists use this impression to evaluate your candidacy and, if all looks good, prepare your custom treatment plan.
Before producing your aligners, Smilelove will send you a preview of your post-treatment smile (a digital “after” shot) so you can approve it. Once you give your confirmation, Smilelove produces your clear aligners and ships them to you by mail.
Turning that digital preview into reality requires some diligence on your end too. You’ll need to wear your aligners for at least 22 hours each day, taking them out every time you eat or drink (except water). But stick with it and you should see amazing results as the aligners gradually shift your teeth over the course of 6-8 months.
Is Smilelove a Good Option? Our Perspective.
Smilelove has already delivered impressive results to plenty of patients for one of the lowest price-points out there. Our extensive research revealed that Smilelove users generally report positive results and satisfaction with the overall experience.
Out of the top five home-based clear aligner products we reviewed, Smilelove came in at #3 overall. We based our rankings on a comprehensive five-point comparison of each company’s effectiveness, affordability, convenience, appearance and customer support. This guide contains a lot more detail on how Smilelove stacks up category by category, but here’s a quick summary of the biggest pros and cons:
- Smilelove aims to be the most affordable provider in the industry. While their official price-point is right in line with competitors, they run consistent promotions to make their aligners significantly more affordable (the lowest we’ve seen is $1,495).
- Smilelove is the only at-home clear aligner company to offer a prorated refund if you aren’t happy with your treatment plan’s progress.
- Following in Candid and byte’s footsteps, Smilelove recently announced that all of their treatment plans are now designed by licensed orthodontists.
- 100% of Smilelove’s customers are approved for financing, no credit check required. Plus, their plans have 0% APR.
- Smilelove is still quite small and doesn’t have a well-established track record yet. At this stage, their user reviews are limited and difficult to verify.
- Smilelove doesn’t have physical locations like Candid or SmileDirectClub, so getting started can be slightly more difficult.
- Despite their unrivaled refund policy, customer reviews indicate that their customer support isn’t quite as responsive as the competition.
Who is Smilelove Right For?
If you’re looking for a straighter smile at an affordable price and don’t mind working with a newer, less-established service provider, Smilelove could be a great option for you.
Special Offer: Get $400 off off the cost of your treatment
Orthodontic treatment is an investment of your money and time, so you don’t want to dive in headfirst with confirming that it can deliver the results you want. Smilelove has proven effective for many patients already, but the important question is whether or not it’s a good fit for your unique smile goals.
Smilelove, just like other home-based clear aligner treatment products, is designed to address simple misalignment issues. But let’s say you have a more severe case, perhaps one that’s compounded by a bite issue. Don’t let this dissuade you from pursuing home aligner treatment. But the company will still need to evaluate whether their treatment has enough reconstructive power to deliver the results you’re after.
Smilelove wants to ensure your satisfaction with their treatment. They’re upfront about their product’s effectiveness and will send you a digital model of your transformed smile, so you can decide if you want to proceed. Even after you’ve submitted an impression, you’re under no obligation to continue with treatment if you’re dissatisfied with the proposed results.
A number of positive video reviewers with stunning transformed smiles attest to Smilelove’s effectiveness treating mild teeth crowding and spacing. Still, we’re up in the air about Smilelove’s product quality and effectiveness.
Smilelove recently announced that their dental network consists only of orthodontists. This is a new development, so we don’t have details on its implementation or permanence.
Smilelove employs a team of licensed orthodontists who craft and oversee treatment plans. Other home aligner companies employ general dentists, who are still licensed and qualified, but not as specialized as orthodontists.
The distinction here is significant. Orthodontists are highly-trained experts in crafting smiles. They receive six years of post-graduate training to master the specific science, techniques, and practices that go into tooth and jaw movements. General dental professionals are certainly knowledgeable and well-trained, but an orthodontist provides another level of expertise.
The person developing and monitoring your treatment plan can make all the difference, for better or worse. In a worst-case scenario, treatment at the hands of an inexperienced professional could even leave you with an annoying bite issue that requires more work down the road.
Once again, this orthodontist-only network is a relatively new development, so we don’t know the details of how it will function or how permanent it is. byte and Candid (our #1 and #2 choices, respectively) also use this kind of orthodontist-only model.
Smilelove’s aligners use plastics from Essix, an experienced and trusted dental product supplier.
Using quality materials is the first step toward producing durable and reliable aligners. For this reason, certain companies partner with reputable manufacturers to create their products. Candid, for example, works with ClearCorrect, the nation’s second-largest clear aligner manufacturer. Smilelove’s website indicates that their aligners use Essix-brand plastics. Essix has been producing dental products since 2005 and is well-respected in the industry. However, they’re not quite as experienced or specialized in clear aligner materials/production as Align Technology or ClearCorrect.
Historically, the high price tag for braces and Invisalign has made getting straighter teeth a substantial financial burden. Making matters worse, health insurers seldom cover this type of treatment, and dental insurance will typically reimburse just a small fraction of the cost.
A major benefit of home teeth aligner companies like Smilelove is the price point, which is much more affordable than alternative treatment options. At-home teeth straightening services have made orthodontic treatment much more accessible by bringing effective clear aligners right to your doorstep with a much more tolerable impact on your wallet. Their average cost of $1,500 to $2,000 is significantly more affordable than Invisalign’s $4,500 price tag.
Smilelove’s frequent sales make it the industry’s most affordable home aligner treatment.
The total cost to purchase an aligner kit from Smilelove is $1,895. This sticker price is pretty average for the industry, nothing to write home about. SnapCorrect’s $1,749 starting cost has it beat. However, what makes Smilelove especially affordable isn’t the initial price but their frequent discounts and sales. They always seem to be running promotions that can drop the price as much as $400. When you consider these deals, Smilelove is easily the most affordable home aligner company out there.
Smilelove also includes your first set of retainers and impression kit with the purchase price, which will save some money at the beginning and end of your treatment. Other services like SmileDirectClub do not include retainers in the initial price, and instead upsell the retainer at the end of treatment for around $100.
Smilelove offers financing with 0% APR for all customers, no credit check required.
While Smilelove is much cheaper than braces or Invisalign, not everyone has $1,500+ saved in a cookie jar or under their mattress. But in an effort to widen access to their aligners, Smilelove offers treatment financing with 0% APR to all customers. Recently, they announced that their financing options would no longer require a credit check, so everyone qualifies, regardless of credit score. To take advantage of this option, you will need to make a $250 down payment.
This hasn’t always been the case. Before, Smilelove referred their customers to a third-party company called Affirm, which provided financing for anyone who first passed a credit check. We’re unsure if this financing change is permanent or not, but for now, anyone who purchases Smilelove treatment can jump on a payment plan.
Overall, Smilelove is about as affordable you can get for a clear aligner product. A financing plan that doesn’t require a credit check makes their treatment even more accessible.
Aside from the cost, one of the biggest barriers to pursuing a more comfortable smile is traditional orthodontics’ heavy time commitment. Between work, family, friends, and hopefully some time for fun, we all lead busy lives. Your schedule might be packed full and monthly office visits aren’t likely how you would choose to spend your precious free time. Nevermind taking time off work every month for these trips to the dentist. On top of that, you might not have an important event this year (not two or three years down the road) and want to finish treatment ASAP.
By shipping the aligners directly to your home, companies like Smilelove do away with the monthly office visits. This means you can use that time you would have spent in the patient chair to see a friend, wrap up a big work project, go on a date, take a nap, or anything else. Most home aligner companies (Smilelove included) guarantee treatment completion in half a year or less, compared to the typical 18 months for braces and 12 months for Invisalign.
This streamlined treatment time means that Smilelove is unquestionably more convenient than Invisalign or traditional braces. When compared to other top-rated home aligner products, however, Smilelove is just average.
Smilelove offers fewer “startup” options than other leading brands.
Taking that first step can be the most difficult part of the process for Smilelove customers. We mentioned the impression kit earlier, but how does it work? Smilelove will send you a special putty in the mail and it’s your job to mix it, bite down, and create a mold of that great smile. Sounds simple enough.
But, as many customers find out, it’s easier said than done. Smilelove anticipated this stumbling block and offers text message support and practice putty to help you work on the technique. Despite the company’s forethought, some people still find that it’s tricky to capture perfect impressions and need to try it multiple times before getting approved for treatment.
SmileDirectClub and Candid have addressed this problem by opening retail locations throughout the U.S. where you can schedule an appointment to get your teeth scanned. This is a quicker, easier option for anyone who lives near one of these brick and mortar locations, and many customers prefer it. As a smaller company, however, Smilelove isn’t able to offer this kind of service.
It takes 6-8 weeks for Smilelove to prep your treatment plan and ship your aligners, similar to the industry average.
Once you’ve successfully submitted your impressions, give yourself a pat on the back. Then sit back and wait, because it will be several weeks before your aligners arrive. Compared to other home aligner companies, this is fairly average – nothing exceptional, but not bad either. A Smilelove dental professional will process your impressions and prepare your treatment plan within three weeks.
This timeframe is respectable, but certainly not the fastest available, as SmileDirectClub guarantees a treatment plan in just 72 hours. Once you approve your plan, practice your patience by waiting an additional three to five more weeks for Smilelove to produce and ship your aligners. From the time you submit your impressions, it will be 6-8 weeks before you’re wearing your first aligner.
Teeth whitening is included, but only after completing treatment.
All of the top home aligner systems, including Smilelove, include a free whitening product so that you can straighten and brighten your smile. In many of the other aligner systems, whitening and straightening are simultaneous processes. You simply apply the whitening gel inside your aligners and watch your teeth get visibly brighter while they are realigned — a two-for-one deal!
Unfortunately, Smilelove’s whitening product can’t be used with their clear aligners because it’s incompatible with the type of plastic in their products. Instead, Smilelove sends you special whitening trays after you complete treatment, delaying the final step of your smile transformation.
If you cringe at the thought of sporting highly visible brackets and wires to a special occasion or just in everyday life, you’re not alone. Most adults opt for more discreet options when choosing a teeth alignment treatment, and this is where home aligners excel. A key selling point of all clear aligner products is that they are much less noticeable than braces. For this reason, all clear aligners products score well on appearance in our rankings, and Smilelove is no exception.
That said, not all clear aligners are created equal in terms of appearance. They are all made from transparent, BPA-free plastic, but each brand looks a bit different due to variations in materials and manufacturing processes.
Smilelove claims their aligners are less noticeable than competitors, but we’re not convinced.
Smilelove advertises their invisible aligners as “virtually invisible” and less noticeable than competing brands. This claim is based on two unique product characteristics:
- Smilelove aligners are made from a shiny, translucent plastic material. By comparison, SmileDirectClub and Candid aligners are frosted in appearance.
- Smilelove aligners are trimmed to fit along the curves of your gum line, while most other home aligner products are trimmed to fit a couple of millimeters over the gumline.
Marketing claims aside, is Smilelove actually less visible than competing brands? Perhaps, but we’re skeptical. Smilelove isn’t lying – their aligners are more transparent, but this also means that they’re reflective and may cause your teeth to look unnaturally shiny. Some customers actually feel that Smilelove’s aligner material is more noticeable than frosted aligners from brands like Candid and SmileDirectClub because the slightly-opaque aligners aren’t as reflective.
Using scalloped aligners does indeed make them less visible, but it could also make them less effective. Invisalign cuts their aligners to each patient’s gumline, but this is because a dentist can place special attachments on the teeth that anchor the aligners in place. Since there are no office visits involved, Smilelove doesn’t use any attachments. Other brands don’t scallop their aligners, but overlapping the gums can help the aligners stay in place and increase their teeth-moving power. This isn’t to say that Smilelove aligners will always be less effective, but sometimes this decreased visibility can come with a cost.
Similar to other clear aligners brands, take out your aligners before eating and drinking to avoid stains.
All clear aligners are susceptible to stains from food and beverages — that’s why it’s important to remove them before eating or drinking anything other than plain water. As clear aligners go, our current understanding is that Smilelove aligners are reasonably resistant to staining, although we certainly wouldn’t recommend drinking coffee or red wine with your aligners in.
Dental treatment is expensive, and you only have one set of teeth. So it’s important to feel confident and secure in your treatment provider. You want to be sure that they will care for you and have your back if anything goes wrong.
When it comes to customer care, here’s what we discovered about Smilelove:
Smilelove’s customer support appears to be somewhat less responsive than its competitors.
Smilelove is a very small company with a shorter track record than other providers in this space. They also appear to have fewer customer support options and less support documentation than most of the alternatives. This is, perhaps, because they’re small, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating if you need to contact them. Although they post a phone number, there are no operating hours listed. We also noticed a trend in customers reporting delays of a week or more to resolve their inquiries and issues. Even so, customers have noted that Smilelove’s support representatives are quite friendly and treated them fairly.
Smilelove offers an unbeatable satisfaction guarantee.
Smilelove’s satisfaction guarantee is more generous than other at-home teeth straightening services. Other companies will only issue a refund before you start treatment or within the first month. With Smilelove, however, if at any point you’re not satisfied with your results, you can get a prorated refund for the aligners you haven’t used. So if you’re three months into treatment and your smile isn’t progressing like you thought it would, you can request a prorated refund and put that money toward another treatment option, or something else altogether.
What are Smilelove Customers Saying?
When we review a company like Smilelove, our first move is to dig through customer reviews to understand common customer issues and desires.
As we mentioned earlier, Smilelove is a fairly new company. They don’t yet have a ton of legitimate customer reviews and testimonials, so it’s tough to develop a fully-formed view. But by diligently searching the net, we were able to find a good chunk of reviews that feel honest and authentic, not sponsored by the company.
Based on these reviews, Smilelove customers generally feel positive about their experience. In particular, reviewers note that customer support was very helpful, though not the fastest to respond. And it appears that Smilelove does a great job explaining the treatment to their customers, showing which teeth will move with each aligner set. Many customers felt reassured by this thorough and thoughtful approach.
Each set of aligners appears to be well-made – most people don’t need to file down any rough edges or irregularities. Reviewers report only minor discomfort for the first day or two of each aligner set, especially when removing them after wearing them for a long period of time. This pain subsides quickly, and, for most customers, is not a major concern. A large majority continue on to complete their treatment and feel satisfied with the results.
Below are two of the most helpful user reviews we came across. Hopefully, they help you in the decision-making process!
Alternatives to Smilelove
While Smilelove is a reputable clear aligner company, there are other in-office and at-home options to consider. Invisalign is the primary in-office option. While it is more expensive than home aligners, dentists can use clear aligner attachments to achieve more advanced and intricate teeth movements. The home aligner field, however, is slightly more crowded, and there are a few options worth considering.
Invisalign vs Smilelove
For more severe cases of crowding, spacing, and bite issues, in-person care can’t be beat. If you’re worried about the severity of your condition, Invisalign could provide more desirable results. Given Smilelove’s limited capacity for drastic teeth and jaw movements and no options for special attachments, it can’t match the robustness and versatility of Invisalign treatment.
SmileDirectClub vs Smilelove
SmileDirectClub stands out as the largest and most popular at-home clear aligner brand. They also offer retail locations, which makes it easier to get the ball rolling, depending on where you live. They’ve also transformed over 700,000 smiles so far, making them the most experienced home aligner company on the market. We think that Smilelove’s superior affordability and orthodontist-only network make them a slightly better option, but if your priority is proven results and a long track record of good reviews, check out SmileDirectClub.
byte vs Smilelove
byte is newer to the home aligner market than Smilelove, but their innovation in that short time is undeniable. Their HyperByte system allows for a three-month treatment time on average, half that of Smilelove and other competitors. And their byte-for-life warranty guarantees your smile forever. These perks are a large part of why we think they’re the best home aligner option. But this faster treatment will cost you slightly more. If fast turnaround time is most important to you, byte may be a good option.
Candid vs Smilelove
Candid also works exclusively with orthodontists to prepare their treatment plans, which helps ensure treatment quality and safety. They’re the only company that provides Remote Monitoring, so you can digitally check in with your orthodontist every step of the way. Additionally, we think Candid offers a more customer-friendly service than Smilelove. Looking for an all-around solid option that’s convenient, affordable, and relatively fast? Take a look at Candid as well.
How Does byte Stack Up to the Competition?
With their slightly lower price point than all other competitors, Smilelove offers unmatched affordability. On the downside, they lag behind some of the more established home aligner brands in convenience and effectiveness. Smilelove is still a relatively new and small company, but they show some great promise – we’ll definitely be watching this one closely as they continue to develop their treatment, technology, and services.