Author Topic: Experience with Smile Direct Club?  (Read 1404 times)

better late

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Experience with Smile Direct Club?
« on: May 22, 2021, 02:35:13 PM »
Has anyone here tried the Smile Direct Club for braces/aligners? I had braces as a teenager but my teeth have shifted in the last 10-20 years. Iím very tempted to use this company - itís much less expensive than my experience getting braces for my kids with local orthodontist (although I wonít have a quote from my dentist on their aligners until my appt in June) and itís all done remote/no office visits....good experience? Bad experiences? Any orthodontist out there who would advise not to go this route?

Malcat

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Re: Experience with Smile Direct Club?
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2021, 03:34:24 PM »
IMO it's extremely overpriced for what it offers.
If it was well under $1000, then I would consider it decent value, but it's about half the price of Invisalign for much less than half the value.

Invisalign works with some pretty impressively engineered software and attachments, Smile Direct has no attachments, so very little capacity to actually move teeth because they're anchored onto nothing.

Also, there's a very, very advanced skill to a clinician knowing what tooth movements will work, and which won't in the actual mouth. So just because a computer models a movement doesn't mean it's realistic. When you get Invisalign, your dentist goes over each step of the plan in detail and can chat back and forth with the Invisalign dentist in Costa Rica where the modeling is done. Often the plan gets revised multiple times before it's approved. Most experienced Invisalign dentists will have an ongoing relationship with their prefered counterpart down south, that's how much tweaking goes into it when it's done properly.

You get none of that with smile direct. No dentist looks at your case or reviews anything to do with your particular mouth.

Basically, you're paying a premium for a pretty shit product that only has the capacity to do minor movements, and with no benefit of expertise from anyone. It would be fine for very, very minor cases, but most patients have no idea how to evaluate if their own case is minor. Orthodontist friends of mine often tell me how the patients who think they're teeth are really bad are often simple, and the ones who think it's just one tooth that's crooked actually are complex.

So yeah, my assessment is that it's way, obscenely over priced for how little value it provides. You're much better off paying twice the price for several orders of magnitude better product, expertise, and technology.

ETA: a lot of dentists hate it largely because it's creeping in on their territory, but I don't give a fuck about that. I don't like it because it's criminally over priced. If it was closer to $500, I would think it's a fantastic product for people with truly simple, safe enough cases for it to work. Oh yeah...the safety part is a big concern...trying to move teeth in certain conditions can make you lose teeth. Definitely consult your dentist before doing it.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2021, 03:37:38 PM by Malcat »

socaso

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Re: Experience with Smile Direct Club?
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2021, 10:35:37 AM »
I talked to my dental hygienist about this and she told me these are a bad bet. They say they can straighten people's teeth in 6 months and to accomplish this they move too quickly. People have ended up with loose or lost teeth because of these aligners. Losing my teeth is an actual nightmare of mine so I don't care to chance it.

draco44

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Re: Experience with Smile Direct Club?
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2021, 10:43:00 AM »
I will diy many things but dental procedures are not one of them.

Malcat

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Re: Experience with Smile Direct Club?
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2021, 11:14:10 AM »
I talked to my dental hygienist about this and she told me these are a bad bet. They say they can straighten people's teeth in 6 months and to accomplish this they move too quickly. People have ended up with loose or lost teeth because of these aligners. Losing my teeth is an actual nightmare of mine so I don't care to chance it.

This isn't quite accurate. Teeth can only move as quickly as they move. You can push on them harder, but they will actually move slower. Teeth move by the bone around them dissolving and reforming, that takes as long as it takes. Smile Direct is actually much less effective than Invisalign or regular braces since it can't exert as much force since it has nothing to latch onto.

When braces are done in 6 months, it just means that they're only doing what they can do in 6 months and that's it.

But yeah, you can lose teeth with any braces if done on a weak foundational structure.

zygote

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Re: Experience with Smile Direct Club?
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2021, 03:38:58 PM »
Smile Direct Club and other mail-order aligners are a bit of a gamble. They work fine for some people, but I've heard horror stories from others. Teeth dying because too much pressure is applied in the hopes of moving the teeth faster. Focusing only on cosmetic changes to the front teeth, resulting in a messed-up bite. General dentistry issues made worse by doing treatment on people with cavities or short roots since there are no X-rays or in-person exams. The SmileDirectClub reddit is full of stories like these.

You only get one set of teeth. I personally don't think it's worth the risk. I agree that this isn't the place to DIY. I'm currently undergoing Invisalign with an orthodontist due to:
-having someone who will design my specific case and will follow it throughout
-in-person monitoring to make sure everything is moving as it should
-X-rays to make sure the roots remain healthy throughout treatment
-the attachments that allow for more complicated movement
-a comprehensive plan that allows for unlimited refinements until my final bite is just right

I won't lie, I'm paying a lot for my treatment because I like and trust this particular orthodontist, but there are ways to keep the price reasonable:
-Shop around. Invisalign's lab fee is constant, but the amount individual practitioners charge on top of that varies a lot, even in the same area.
-Check to see if there are discounts/groupons for Invisalign in your area.
-Most places will give you 5% or more off if you pay up front. Combine that with a good credit card reward and you can save a bit extra.
-Look into your dental insurance options and crunch the numbers to see if it makes sense. This didn't work for me because my work's dental plan doesn't cover adult orthodontia at all. Other plans will cover it, but may have high premiums or long waiting periods.

If you do decide to go forward with Smile Direct Club or one of the other mail-order companies, definitely check in with your dentist first to make sure that you don't have any cavities and that your roots and gums look good, at least.

boarder42

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Re: Experience with Smile Direct Club?
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2021, 03:44:09 PM »
My teeth had gotten a it out of whack from nit wearing my retainers. Same with my wife. I've enjoyed the experience so far and after all my dental discounts, promotions and hsa savings it was about 400 each.  I had some mild crowding on the bottom and it seems to be fixing it. My wife's top teeth had moved a bit and she's happy. We are done in about 2 months.

joe189man

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Re: Experience with Smile Direct Club?
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2021, 09:09:00 PM »
i am a few months away from finishing invisalign, i have several attachments and have used binders or rubber bands the whole time, i dont think i could have gotten the same results with out the attachments and binders. i will say, it was quite expensive though, almost $6k, but i had a cross bite that was causing teeth to break and crowns are not cheap either, this should/has fixed that.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2021, 09:51:23 AM by joe189man »

better late

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Re: Experience with Smile Direct Club?
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2021, 07:18:44 PM »
Thanks to everyone who responded to my topic- apologies it took so long to respond, although I did read each post as it came in. I took the comment that you only have one set of teeth to heart and have started the Invisalign process with my dentist. My teeth are no longer young and with all the dental work I have had done it seemed right to go with him. The initial consult was much more complicated than I anticipated. Two types of molds, photos of the teeth in several views and several standing photos. Quite an event. Iíll go back in a week or two to hear the determined treatment plan and cost.

Malcat

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Re: Experience with Smile Direct Club?
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2021, 06:55:46 AM »
Thanks to everyone who responded to my topic- apologies it took so long to respond, although I did read each post as it came in. I took the comment that you only have one set of teeth to heart and have started the Invisalign process with my dentist. My teeth are no longer young and with all the dental work I have had done it seemed right to go with him. The initial consult was much more complicated than I anticipated. Two types of molds, photos of the teeth in several views and several standing photos. Quite an event. Iíll go back in a week or two to hear the determined treatment plan and cost.

Good call, orthodontics is way more complicated that most people realize.

joe189man

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Re: Experience with Smile Direct Club?
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2021, 08:47:21 AM »
Thanks to everyone who responded to my topic- apologies it took so long to respond, although I did read each post as it came in. I took the comment that you only have one set of teeth to heart and have started the Invisalign process with my dentist. My teeth are no longer young and with all the dental work I have had done it seemed right to go with him. The initial consult was much more complicated than I anticipated. Two types of molds, photos of the teeth in several views and several standing photos. Quite an event. Iíll go back in a week or two to hear the determined treatment plan and cost.

Good call, orthodontics is way more complicated that most people realize.

agree - i have a few crowns and felt good about the orthodontists plan for me with invisalign - only about 1.5 months left!

zygote

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Re: Experience with Smile Direct Club?
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2021, 12:40:01 PM »
Thanks for coming back with an update! It sounds like you've made a good choice, and that your dentist is taking care to do it right. I hope everything with your treatment goes smoothly.

oneday

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Re: Experience with Smile Direct Club?
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2021, 12:26:52 AM »
Adding my experience, not so much for OP, as you seem to have made your decision. But for anyone else reading this thread in the future.

Turns out I still have a "baby" tooth. I am 45. Dentist informed me that moving that tooth, with it's shallow root, could cause it to fall out. I am doing Invisalign, and we are indeed moving all teeth except for the baby tooth.

From what I've heard of Smile Direct, I would probably have lost that tooth with their system. To Malcat's point, who knows what lurks in your dentition that could be a problem? Certainly not some mail order retainer company.

better late

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Re: Experience with Smile Direct Club?
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2021, 07:14:26 AM »
The dentist came back with the quote:
20 weeks treatment
10 trays
$5,000

Had a little sticker shock at that number. No discount for paying upfront.
Is this a fair price?  I paid $300 for the initial consultation and molds.

Malcat

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Re: Experience with Smile Direct Club?
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2021, 07:21:35 AM »
The dentist came back with the quote:
20 weeks treatment
10 trays
$5,000

Had a little sticker shock at that number. No discount for paying upfront.
Is this a fair price?  I paid $300 for the initial consultation and molds.

10 trays is very few trays.

Ask them if they are limiting it to 10 trays or if Invisalign is projecting 10 trays for the full treatment. Also ask if refinements are included in that.

Yes, to me that sounds high, and my suspicion is that the dentist picked the option of only 10 trays because the fee from Invisalign is lower than for the full treatment. But $5000 is what I would expect to pay for full treatment.

Does your dentist have a lot of experience with Invisalign? How many cases do they do per month? Per year?

$5000 is what I would expect to pay for a straightforward orthodontic case, but I would expect to pay that for full service treatment and from someone with significant, demonstrable expertise.

Just FIY, your Invisalign records are transferable in the event you decide to go with another provider. You don't have to get models and photos taken again.

A second opinion with an experienced Invisalign provider would be wise. You can even contact Invisalign and find out who is a high volume provider in your area.

FTR, I have had Invisalign twice and full braces. Experience and knowledge matter.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2021, 07:24:29 AM by Malcat »

joe189man

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Re: Experience with Smile Direct Club?
« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2021, 09:53:05 AM »
The dentist came back with the quote:
20 weeks treatment
10 trays
$5,000

Had a little sticker shock at that number. No discount for paying upfront.
Is this a fair price?  I paid $300 for the initial consultation and molds.

Yea this is crazy and a terrible deal, see above for my costs and treatment timeline

try someone else

oneday

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Re: Experience with Smile Direct Club?
« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2021, 10:10:58 AM »
The dentist came back with the quote:
20 weeks treatment
10 trays
$5,000

Had a little sticker shock at that number. No discount for paying upfront.
Is this a fair price?  I paid $300 for the initial consultation and molds.

In HCOL area where I live, the cost was $6000 for 30 trays. But I'm going to need more like 40. No extra charge. I was able to negotiate a few hundred off the cost as a long time client of my dentist (20 years).

MudPuppy

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Re: Experience with Smile Direct Club?
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2021, 04:44:59 PM »
5000 was about what I paid for mine, and that was a complex case due to an improperly healed broken jaw and I had a tmj replacement in the middle of it. Mine was with a high volume ortho who does a ton of invisalign and manually adjusts the treatment plan (doesnít just go with the computer simulation without reviewing it). I had up to 5 years of treatment included in that, so in theory I could ask for darn near as many refinements as I wanted) and I got three of the fancy clear retainers included as well. My treatment was 50-55 trays total, if I recall correctly.


Edit: 5000 was total cost, my insurance paid for most of it
« Last Edit: July 21, 2021, 05:28:22 PM by MudPuppy »

Malcat

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Re: Experience with Smile Direct Club?
« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2021, 04:59:32 PM »
5000 was about what I paid for mine, and that was a complex case due to an improperly healed broken jaw and I had a tmj replacement in the middle of it. Mine was with a high volume ortho who does a ton of invisalign and manually adjusts the treatment plan (doesnít just go with the computer simulation without reviewing it). I had up to 5 years of treatment included in that, so in theory I could ask for darn near as many refinements as I wanted) and I got three of the fancy clear retainers included as well. My treatment was 50-55 trays total, if I recall correctly.

Ugh. No one should do that. Drives me crazy.

"Oh look, I took a weekend course and now I think I can do braces because Invisalign does all the work for me, this is so easy! *Clicks Approve*"

SMH

zygote

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Re: Experience with Smile Direct Club?
« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2021, 05:31:14 PM »
Agreed that that's not a good deal. That amount sounds fair for a comprehensive plan, which includes an unlimited number of trays in the first round and an unlimited number of refinements if/when you need more rounds.

10 trays sounds like he's going for the lite plan, which is up to 14 trays for the first round, and only one set of refinements (also 14 trays or less). That may be appropriate for you since you've already had braces and may only need minor changes, but if so, you should be paying less than that. The lite plan is less in invisalign fees and also less time for your dentist (fewer checkups, fewer rounds of refinements) than a longer plan.

For context, I paid $6300 in a VHCOL for the unlimited plan and will end up with over 70 trays plus retainers by the time I'm done. I change weekly so it's not as long as it sounds, and I've never had braces before so there was a lot to fix. Definitely shop around and see how the price compares to other orthodontists or dentists in your area.

joe189man

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Re: Experience with Smile Direct Club?
« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2021, 10:12:32 AM »
Agreed that that's not a good deal. That amount sounds fair for a comprehensive plan, which includes an unlimited number of trays in the first round and an unlimited number of refinements if/when you need more rounds.

This was my experience, i have had probably 120+ trays over 2.5 ish years, covid slowed treatment progress