I had been planning on trying that Smile Direct Club that I kept seeing advertised. Originally, I was going to do Invisalign, but then learned that Smile Direct was much less expensive because you didn’t have to use a dentist. Now they’re no longer in business when I’m finally ready to move forward. Do you know why they stopped and if there is anything else like it?
I understand why SmileDirectClub was so appealing to so many patients. It promised Invisalign results at a fraction of the cost. The problem they ran into was two-fold. First, they could not live up to the promises they made. Second, a court case killed their ability to hide that.
The reason Invisalign has you work through a dentist is because the human body is unpredictable. While it is true that an advanced software system designs the treatment, teeth tend to not always go to plan and humans can be forgetful, even with the best of intentions. This can throw off treatments and require adjustments.
Often, things would not go well with a SmileDirect treatment plan. Patients were already at a disadvantage by not having the same software system. Then, without a dentist they were often left floundering. They could complain to the company but there was no one really willing to help them. If they tried to complain publicly, they were told they could only get a refund by withdrawing all complaints and filing a nondisclosure agreement, which of course they did in order to recoup their funds.
Back in June of 2023 a court case forbade them from doing that and ordered they release everyone from their non-disclosure agreements. By September of the same year, SmileDirectClub ended up filing bankruptcy. Even worse that that, they’ve left their customers in the lurch telling them that they will not complete their treatments. If they want their money back they’ll need to get in line. Worse, if they owe SmileDirect payments, they expect the patient to keep paying!
While there are a few similar companies still around, such as Byte, NewSmile, and AlignerCo, they run on the same principles. You will not be seen by a dentist and that puts your treatment, as well as your teeth at risk. You are safer under the care of a dentist. One hidden benefit of Invisalign is the aligners can double as teeth whitening trays. Your dentist will provide you with the whitening gel and then you can wear it in the aligners to whiten your teeth at the same time you are straightening them.
This blog is brought to you by East Cobb Dentist Dr. Cristi Cheek.