SmileDirectClub offers an easy at-home teeth straightening solution. They are one of the most well-known invisible aligners. byte, on the other hand, provide better customer service and faster treatment. That is why we are recommending the second brand.
If you want to compare SDC and see what they offer, you can read this detailed review. We will walk you step-by-step through the treatment process. Let’s get started!Creative Commons
Take the free Smile Assessment
There is a free 30-seconds smile assessment that helps make certain you are a good candidate. Here are some things SmileDirectClub check:
- Mild spacing or crowding issues
- All permanent teeth
- Overall healthy teeth
Not so good
- Baby teeth
- Teeth sticking out above the arch
- Implants, bridges, veneers, or crowns
- Missing teeth
- Big bite issues
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Impacted or troublesome wisdom teeth
Some of these issues can be easily fixed, though. Simply treat your cavities or periodontitis with your regular dentist before starting with SmileDirectClub. The company insists on patients on a professional consultation either way, despite media sources stating otherwise. This ensures safe and efficient treatment.
I've had a number of patients who have tried SDC, and the best results are always with the patients who consulted with me first and see me regularly for check-ups.
If you have impacted wisdom teeth wait about six weeks after having them extracted. In some cases SDC may even find a way to work around missing teeth or dental implants.
Order your impression kit or visit a SmileShop
Once you complete the online assessment, and if you are a candidate, you have a decision to make. You can either visit a SmileShop and have a free 3D scan or take impressions of your teeth at home.
Visiting a SmileShop
Having a scan at the SmileShop is the most popular and hassle-free way of getting your teeth checked out by SmileDirectClub. There is no risk of taking the impressions wrong.
The scan itself involves a handheld device that a SmileGuide (a trained dental professional) moves around in your mouth. It takes thousands of pictures to produce a 3D image of your mouth. There is a screen nearby that immediately shows you the results.
You have to wear a stretching device that helps make sure everything is clearly visible. Some patients quote this experience as funny or awkward, but it’s in no way painful.
This time is also a great opportunity to ask any questions you may have, especially if your case involves missing teeth or implants. The whole appointment shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes.
Taking impressions at home
If there isn’t a SmileShop in your area or if you simply can’t make the time to schedule an appointment, the alternative is an impression kit.
The price for the kit is $49 and it is shipped overnight at no additional cost. Expect it within 48 hours of ordering. The kit will also include a pre-paid shipping label, so sending your impressions in won’t be a setback.
The SmileDirectClub impression kit contains:
- two sets of trays,
- deactivated putty in separate containers,
- a Smile Stretcher,
- an impression guide, and
- a pre-paid shipping label.
The whole process of taking your impressions shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. Watch the instructional video below to understand how this works.
In case your impressions are taken incorrectly (you might even find out after you send them in) you will receive a retake kit at no cost.
Receive your treatment plan
Once your scan or impressions are over with, your case is assigned to a specific licensed dentist or orthodontist. He or she designs your whole treatment plan.
A text message lets you know when it is ready. You can log in online to view an interactive preview of your future smile. You will also find information about the length of treatment and how many aligners your package will include.
The plan is customized to your particular situation. Don’t be surprised if your friend or someone, whose review you’ve read, had a different amount of aligners or had to wear them for different periods of time. Some people might even opt to just do the top arch if they are happy with the bottom.
In a nutshell, though, an average plan spans out over six months and a single aligner lasts for about two weeks.
Get your Smile Direct Club kit
In about a month (sometimes less), your package will arrive.
The contents of the SmileDirectClub kit include:
- your customized invisible aligners,
- chewies (to help aligners slide on),
- an outie tool (to help slide aligners off),
- an aligner case (for storing your aligner while you dine out),
- premium bright on teeth whitening, and
- a lip balm.
The aligners are labeled in the following manner: month 1, week 1. This allows for you to start the treatment at a time convenient for you. There is a tracking area on your dashboard in your user profile. You can always go there to check when you should be opening a new set.
The list of components is updated every now and then so you can expect some surprising freebies as well. The lip balm, for example, is a new addition to the kit and was recently introduced after patients’ pleas.
Wear your aligners
At this point you will have everything you need to get started with the treatment per se. Make sure you adhere to instructions provided by SmileDirectClub.
The two options
This step depends on which option you choose: SmileDirectClub Clear Aligners or Nighttime Clear Aligners. Wear the regular trays for at least 22 hours a day and the nighttime ones for 10 continuous hours every night.
Obviously, the full-time option works faster, giving an average of six months per treatment. SDC claims that the nighttime course usually takes about ten months. The SDC app helps you keep track of when to move on to the next set of aligners. There is also a check-in every 90 days with your designated dentist or orthodontist.
Dispelling your concerns
Reviews sometimes talk about gum irritation and having to take the aligners out to eat. The former is easily solved with a nail file: simply smooth out the edges. It might take around ten minutes per aligner.
When it comes to dining out your best solution is to carry your aligner case and toothbrush with you. The extra hygiene surely won’t hurt your smile, in fact, this is a great way to pick up the habit of brushing after every meal. Just remember to find a private place to take your invisible aligners out, you are sure to dribble a little.
What about pain? With SDC, patients don’t usually experience any. Reviews sometimes mention discomfort and the aligners being a little tight. This is true only during the first few days of each new set. As mentioned above, gums might be slightly irritated too.
In terms of care and maintenance, it is important to clean the aligners regularly. You can use soap and water, but SDC also recommend vinegar, baking soda, peroxide, and retainer cleaner.
What if I feel like something has gone wrong?
If you notice anything that worries you, you can always snap a photo and send it in. The SmileDirectClub team will make sure your bite is where it needs to be by the end of the treatment.
The bite is something you should be monitoring closely throughout the process. Many SDC reviewers point out that their bite was just fine all along, but you should still visit your regular dentist for check-ups and cleanings.
You can contact the SmileDirectClub customer service if you run into trouble. There are options to reach out via phone, email, or chat. SDC will help in cases where there are bite issues or when aligners are lost. Note though, that many online reviews quote issues with the help they received or that aid was denied.
Keep your new smile
Near the end of your treatment you receive an email about retainers. Wearing them is a necessary step in maintaining effect you’ve been working on. This is also the case with conventional braces.
The good news is that you only have to wear retainers at night, except for the first two weeks when they act as another set of aligners. This period might be a challenge.
The retainers are meant to last longer than aligners, so they are made of thicker, tougher material. Wearing them at night won’t be too bad, but you may have a slight lisp. Some patients like to use vaseline on the gums as well to reduce irritation.
A single set of retainers will cost you $99. It is recommended that you get new ones every six months. Your dentist can inspect them from time to time to make sure they still fit properly and are clean.
Smile Direct Club reviews
Tori Patton, August 7, 2019
It was a simple process, I ordered an impression kit online and it arrived within 2 weeks.
Doing the impressions was easy. After accepting the treatment plan I received my aligners box also within 2 weeks.
The only con I can think of is that I would have to file down some of my trays because they irritated my gums. Other than that, I had no issues.
Aligners feel tight at first, which I like because I know they’re working. After the first week I got used to it even after changing into a new tray. The results are amazing! I have not noticed any bite issues.
Lexi H., January 25, 2020
I initially went to an in-person scan, which I feel like may have made the most difference in my experience as opposed to the at home impression kit.
The pain during the treatment was very very mild, literally a 1/10.
Everything arrived very quickly and correct. The 90-day check-in included photos of the teeth and an update on how you’re feeling. I googled the dentist listed on my trays and he’s a real dentist in my area.
I think the results speak for themselves and I have had zero issues with trays fitting, hurting, or not arriving in a timely manner.
Demi, January 27, 2020
I’m currently two months away from finishing my treatment and it has been phenomenal! My teeth are moving the way the plan said they would and I haven’t had any issues.
After the first week of use the discomfort was practically non-existent.
It was mostly easy to get in contact with SDC and when I did have trouble, they offered me a set of free retainers. The 90-day check-in was a breeze!
I would definitely recommend the SmileDirectClub treatment to anyone that wants to fix their teeth. I also recommend asking your dentist for approval before starting treatment.
Zachary A. Cunningham, January 23, 2020
I went with SDC because of the price, great customer service, and less torture from traditional braces.
I’ve had amazing contact with customer support when I’ve had to call. They provide a full lifetime warranty, so if anything goes wrong they cover the costs and materials 100%.
For all the naysayers out there that have had nothing but bad things to say about this way of ortho-care are wrong. Trying new things is worth it.
Kylie, January 24, 2020
My smile has improved immensely. The treatment brought me the confidence and comfort I was seeking.
Mild pain only lasted one day after each set was switched. Eating and cleaning my teeth are a breeze, and I don’t feel insecure whenever I smile or laugh!
I think it was worth it!
Beth J., January 23, 2020
My overall experience has been great. Their customer service was fantastic! I even took both my daughters in for scans to get their aligners instead of traditional braces.
For the first time, I am constantly smiling! I no longer cover my mouth when I talk! My new-found confidence is amazing and I am very thankful to SDC for helping me find it.
I did the scan at a Smile Shop. The staff was phenomenal and my experience was great! Everyone was professional, courteous, and well-informed of the process.
Towards the end of my treatment, it turned out that my top aligners weren’t fitting correctly anymore. I was approved for new aligners at no cost to me and I came in for another scan.
The cost of SmileDirectClub treatment
The prices for the SmileDirectClub treatment are fixed. It doesn’t matter what issues you specifically are dealing with. Here is a quick run-down of costs you have to consider:
|What you’re paying for||Amount|
|Straightening kit: Single Pay||$1,950|
|Straightening kit: SmilePay||$89 per month for two years and $250 deposit|
|Retainers||$99 per two arches (top and bottom)|
Right now you can get started from home with 50% off the impression kits and get an additional $100 off clear aligners with the promo code “AFF100”.
If you are set on saving as much money as possible you can have a free scan instead of paying for impressions. A cost you can’t escape, though, is for a new set of retainers every six months. You will have to wear them for as long as you want to keep your smile.
Zachary Cunningham, Smile Direct Club customer
I went with SDC because of the price, great customer service, and less torture from traditional braces
There are two ways to go when paying for your SDC straightening kit: all at once (Single Pay) or in payments (SmilePay). To make things even more convenient, SmileDirectClub accepts HSA, FSA, and CareCredit. See if insurance can cover the cost of your new smile.
SmileDirectClub vs. byte
SmileDirectClub have been around longer than byte. What do they gain from additional experience? Let’s compare the two brands.
SDC get tens of thousands of 5-star reviews. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that this year NYT released an article about the SmileDirect NDA agreement. The company requires patients who ask for a refund or are otherwise unsatisfied to sign a form that prohibits them from sharing negative opinions publicly.
At the same time, byte online reviews are more trustworthy. You can find just a few complaints about byte treatment, which means the overwhelming majority are positive opinions. Patients are also pleased with excellent customer service.
The biggest difference between these two brands is the amount of time the teeth straightening process takes. With SDC, the average duration is 6 months, while with byte it usually takes about 3. The short treatment time is possible thanks to HyperByte, a device that is provided by only one company.
Another benefit of going with byte is their Smile Science technology. The results are planned according to the features of the patient’s face. SDC goes with making each smile straight and symmetrical.
The byte process is entirely remote. SDC, on the other hand, offer their patients outposts where they can have scans during the initial assessment instead of the impression kit. This may be more attractive to those who prefer face-to-face contact.
When it comes to costs, both SmileDirectClub and byte treatments cost the same. However, using the code BYTEAUTHORITY2020, you can save $60 on impressions and an additional $100 on aligners with byte.
And lastly – satisfaction guarantee. With SDC, patients must reach out within 30 days of finishing the journey if they are dissatisfied with the results. byte provide lifetime warranty. Whether teeth move out of alignment during the treatment or afterwards, they will help fix the smile at no cost.
- Smile Studios are available to patients
- 6-month average treatment time
- Club warranty
- Fully remote process
- 3-month average treatment time
- Lifetime warranty
- HyperByte and Smile Science
byte isn’t SmileDirectClub’s only competitor. Other major home teeth straightening brands include Candid Co and SnapCorrect. You can also go with an in-office option, the most popular one being Invisalign. It is a lot more expensive but offers a lot more face-to-face time with the designated dentist.
Are SmileDirect aligners safe?
Yes. Each set is designed by a dentist or orthodontist to make sure the treatment is safe. There is a 90-day check-in with your designated specialist who will make sure everything is going according to plan.
What’s more, if you are worried about anything, you can contact customer service and they will work with you to fix the issues. If the best option is to stop treatment, you will be reimbursed for the trays you haven’t used.
SDC may soon be available in-office, like Invisalign, giving you more specialist support.
Can SmileDirectClub fix really bad teeth?
Home teeth straightening kits are not meant for those with severe misalignment. It’s worth reaching out, however, and getting a free scan at a SmileShop or doing your impressions. If SDC feel like your issue can’t be fixed with aligners, they won’t begin treatment with you.
Is Invisalign better than SmileDirectClub?
Invisalign provides patients with more face-to-face time with a specialist and their treatment can change throughout the process. They can also treat more complicated cases.
On the other hand, SDC is a lot more affordable. It is just as safe as Invisalign, so it might make more sense to go with a home teeth straightening kit if your issues are not severe.
How long does SmileDirectClub take to straighten teeth?
The average treatment lasts six months. This might be shorter if your condition is mild, or longer if the misalignment is moderate.
What happens if I lose my SmileDirect aligners?
Contact customer support to order a new set. You should get them within 30 days. Until they arrive, wear the last pair that fits.
The first set will be free, but if you lose them again, they will cost $99.