I am not sure how familiar you are with Smile Direct Club. It is a mail-order invisible braces service that compares itself to Invisalign, but less expensive. Does it work? Sometimes. When it doesn’t, though, it is a disaster.
We came across this video on YouTube from a Smile Direct Club user. For the sake of time, we have a shortened version of it. The full version, which is about 20 minutes, can be seen on YouTube.
Here is some background. This patient is entering her 6th month with Smile Direct Club. She is striving, without success, to place her new aligners in. After about twenty minutes, she gives up. The original video was posted in December of 2018.
In a follow-up video, we learn what happened. SmileDirectClub mistakenly shipped her month 5 aligners in month 4 and then shipped the month 4 aligners in month 5. This meant that in month 6, when she should have been finishing her month 5 treatment, she had actually gone backward to month 4’s position. This made it extraordinarily difficult to place her new aligners in.
While you make think what is the big deal? It is a huge deal. Imagine a doctor getting two different patient’s x-rays mixed up. As a result, they gave the treatment to the wrong patient and the patient who actually needed the treatment is left without the necessary health care. This is malpractice and could lead to serious consequences.
For this patient, starting the month five treatment early put a great deal of stress on her teeth, risking root absorption. Then, going backward this means additional stress was put on her teeth. I would love to see some before and after x-rays of her tooth roots from his mix-up on the part of Smile Direct. I’m fairly confident there will have been some root resorption which will put her at risk of tooth loss.
Another huge problem is that the patient is left to figure this out for herself. Fortunately, she made this video which alerted the company they were getting some bad press. There really isn’t follow-up with this company so most patients are left completely on their own.
If you are going to get invisible braces, like Invisalign, my suggestion is you do it through a dentist where you will get constant follow up care to make sure your treatment is going according to plan. And, who is there to make safe adjustments if it is not.
Invisalign has a hidden benefit as well. The aligners can double as teeth whitening trays. So, if you ask your dentist for some professional strength whitening gel, you can straighten and whiten your teeth at the same time, giving yourself a mini smile makeover.
This blog is brought to you by East Cobb Dentist Dr. Cristi Cheek.