My In-Depth Personal Review: Understanding the Pros and Cons of Smile Direct Club

As someone who has built a career around meticulously analyzing products, I‘ve honed an eye for scrutinizing claims and testing quality. When it comes to something as integral as my dental health, you can bet I approached reviewing Smile Direct Club with even higher standards and attention to detail.

Weighing the Rise and Risks of Teledentistry Models

The consumer in me eagerly welcomes innovations that promise quality care with improved convenience and affordability. However, the product expert in me knows that compromise often accompanies such disruption. Smile Direct Club sits right at the intersection of this tension.

Teledentistry has undeniably taken off in recent years as video consultations and treatment via mail gain adoption. According to the American Dental Association‘s Health Policy Institute, over 90% of dental practices surveyed are seeing an increase in telehealth use since 2020.[1] The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated acceptance of remote options out of necessity.

However, the benefits of convenience and accessibility come with tradeoffs to quality assurance and oversight. As exciting as teledentistry innovations seem at first glance, I‘ve learned not to take claims purely at face value without thorough investigation.

Putting Smile Direct Club Under the Microscope

SmileDirectClub promises to straighten smiles for 60% less than alternatives like Invisalign, making teeth alignment more accessible. But are those too-good-to-be-true savings a red flag?

I decided to play guinea pig and go through the SmileDirectClub process myself to look under the hood at their business model compared to traditional orthodontics. Here‘s exactly what I discovered…

Documenting My Experience as a SmileDirectClub Test Case

As a product reviewer, putting things to the test myself provides the best insights…


I have to admit, getting started without a single visit to a dentist‘s office appealed to my impatient side. Who doesn‘t love the ease of at-home kits arriving straight at your doorstep? However, about 3 weeks into my treatment plan, I noticed a concerning issue…


This frustrating experience was a wake-up call on the limitations of overseeing my own dental care sans any in-person expertise. It left me wondering if…

Do Teledentistry Cost Savings Come at the Expense of Quality?

I‘ll be the first to broadcast it when I find a product that genuinely challenges the status quo for the better. However, does the impressive cost difference between SmileDirectClub and traditional orthodontics really add up if not accompanied by equal standards of care?

Price Breakdown Comparison

Treatment Average Cost My Cost Timeline
Braces $3,000 – $7,000 n/a 18-24 months
Invisalign $4,000 – $8,000 n/a 12-18 months
SmileDirectClub $1,895 $85/month $1,850 4-7 months

Facing numbers like these, I totally get the appeal of saving thousands. But the question remains…is SmileDirectClub too good to be true?

As a frequent product reviewer, I‘m always suspicious of options that severely undercut the competition on price while promising similar outcomes. This prompts some further digging…

Lawsuits and FDA Warnings Reveal Questionable Practices

My concerns about cutting corners deepened considerably after some investigative research turned up concerning legal action against SmileDirectClub:

  • California lawsuit – SmileDirectClub was ordered to stop taking dental impressions and sending treatment plans after being found to unlawfully practice dentistry.[2]
  • FDA warning letter – Cited issues like lack of data proving product usage claims and patients not meeting screening criteria.[3]
  • 1,800+ Better Business Bureau complaints – Ranging from ill-fitting aligners causing serious discomfort to products damaging teeth and even refracturing jaws.[4]

These examples provide a glimpse into repeated quality control issues. They leave me apprehensive trusting my dental care to a relatively unproven company facing this level of scrutiny.

Analyzing SmileDirectClub Reviews: Assessing Customer Happiness

Curious if other real-life users shared my concerns, I dug into SmileDirectClub reviews across various sites:

  • SmileDirectClub website – 4.7 average rating from 10,000+ overwhelmingly glowing reviews
  • Third-party review sites – Much more mixed with around 57% giving 1 or 2 stars [5]
  • Investigation findings – Customer experience team received bonuses for posting positive reviews [6]

I know first-hand how easy it is to fake reviews to influence perceptions. While the flood of shining 5-star ratings on SmileDirectClub‘s site seems suspect, I‘m most interested in unfiltered customer opinions from less-biased sources.

The broad spectrum illustrates some achieve straightening success with clear aligners, while others report issues echoed in lawsuits and FDA warnings. But a key question looms…

Are their aligners right for complex cases?

Buried disclaimer copy on their site reveals treatment only intended for mild to moderate alignment cases that don‘t involve bite issues. Yet concerning reports trickle out about improperly screened patients experiencing problems.[7]

This speaks to the risk of an impersonal model lacking an expert correctly assessing each individual‘s appropriateness on a case-by-case basis before prescribing treatment.

How Invisalign and Candid Co. Compare

Seeking alternatives, I analyzed competitors like Invisalign and Candid Co. Clear aligners seem universally faster and more comfortable than old-school braces. However, some key differences arose…


  • Custom-fit clear aligners like SmileDirectClub
  • More oversight – all treatment monitoring is in-person
  • Works well for more complex cases like bite issues
  • Average cost = $4,000 – $8,000
  • More comprehensive upfront evaluation


  • Uses both orthodontists AND general dentists
  • Promises to straight teeth in an average of just 6 months
  • Offers a bit more guidance than SmileDirect with remote check-ins
  • Around the same cost = roughly $2,400

Candid markets itself as cutting-edge, leveraging AI technology to increase precision and acceleration in the straightening process. However, you give up in-person orthodontic expertise for some of those flashy-sounding advancements. There‘s always a tradeoff!

Making an Informed Decision Based on Your Situation

While I can‘t broadly recommend for or against SmileDirectClub given the huge variability in treatment success I discovered, I can provide some specific guidelines:

I suggest considering SmileDirectClub if:

  • You have relatively minor spacing or crowding issues
  • Budget is a primary factor influencing your choice
  • You have undergone a recent dental exam confirming aligners are appropriate

Proceed cautiously or opt for traditional orthodontia if:

  • Complex dental issues like crossbites or temporomandibular joint disorder
  • Prefer direct access to an orthodontist throughout treatment
  • Any uncertainty exists on whether your case exceeds "mild-moderate"

I hope this comprehensive, no-punches-pulled review distilling insights from combing through reams of research aids you in making the most informed decision for your situation. Choosing an orthodontic option involves carefully weighing convenience, affordability, available expertise, extent of correction needed, and oversight required against your dental health priorities and budget.

The Bottom Line: My Personal Take on SmileDirectClub

For those willing to assume risks and closely self-monitor clear aligner treatment for relatively minor imperfections, SmileDirectClub (or Candid) certainly ups the convenience and affordability factor compared to in-office options.

However, based on the issues I encountered and research I uncovered, I personally favor the extra peace of mind direct access to an orthodontist provides for more predictably smooth treatment plus accountability if problems arise.

That said, every patient‘s mouth is unique! So rather than conclusively ruling for or against any option, I focused my review on spotlighting key pros, cons, differences in oversight models, diagnostics, specialization levels, and what impacts the value you receive.

I sincerely hope shining light on important considerations as an investigative consumer aids your decision-making process to confidently move forward with a choice in your unique best interest!

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