As recently as last year, Smilelove were known for their great service at great prices. This has changed dramatically as 2020 came around. They are undergoing a serious crisis, both financial and COVID-related.
Their customer service has become inadequate and reviewers claim it is difficult to get support. What’s more, the prices increased and orders are allegedly not being sent out. The website, nonetheless, continues to state that treatment can be undertaken.
Bearing all this in mind, we do not recommend Smilelove. Consider other teeth straightening brands, like byte, instead.
Check if you’re a candidate
You might want to get a general idea of whether you qualify for the Smilelove treatment before purchasing a starter kit. To do that, you can fill out the online assessment. It is composed of a few quick questions and won’t take more than a few minutes.
Here are some things that Smilelove look at when considering you for treatment:
- Small misalignment
- Slight crowding or spacing
- No baby teeth
- Patient is 15 or older
- No permanent retainer
Not so good
- Small misalignment
- Gum disease
- Small teeth
- Eroded teeth
- Dental implants
- Wisdom teeth (not always)
- Missing dentition
- Extreme overbite
- Extreme underbite
- Dental work or oral surgery required
Some of these issues (like periodontitis or tooth decay) can be fixed as with any orthodontic treatment. Make sure to do that before sending in your impressions. Others, however, might pose a challenge.
This is one of the reasons why Smilelove require patients to visit a dentist prior to treatment. If they give the go-ahead, you might be a candidate despite having, for example, wisdom teeth or missing dentition.
Do your impressions
The SmileLove impression kit is available online. It costs $79 or comes free with a bundle (more on payment options below). Bearing in mind the current situation, order treatment at your own risk.
Smilelove claim that if it turns out that you don’t qualify for treatment or if you just don’t like the preview they prepare, you will be fully reimbursed.
Platforms like Facebook and Better Business Bureau are full of comments about this declaration being false. Many patients have published screenshots online that Smilelove no longer “issue any refunds under any circumstances”.
Smilelove advertise that the package will be sent to you within two business days of your purchase. Shipping should take about a week.
The Smilelove impression kit contains:
- practice putty,
- 4 trays (2 for top teeth and 2 for bottom),
- dental impression (real) putty,
- instructions for photos and impressions,
- a mouth stretcher, and
- a prepaid shipping label.
Doing impressions at home isn’t self-explanatory, though, so check out Smilelove’s instructional video before you begin.
There are three sizes of trays to accommodate anyone. You get a text after you order the kit and this is the time to let them know if you think you need anything other than the “regular” size. This helps avoid wrong-sized trays.
What if you only want treatment on one arch? It’s possible, however, you do have to take top and bottom impressions anyway. This is to prevent your bite not shifting out of alignment during the process.
Once you ship the box off, wait for Smilelove to confirm they got it. They should let you know by email.
Check the treatment preview
After submitting all your information (online assessment, impressions, photos) you will get an email with the treatment preview. Do not ignore it. Your aligners are going to be made after you accept it.
The preview is prepared by an orthodontist. It includes a digital rendition of your smile before and after. There are five snapshots of your mouth from different perspectives: the front, left, right, and the upper and lower arches.
At this point, you also find out how many aligners you are going to have and how long your process will last. Treatments with Smilelove typically take between 6 and 24 months.
You can then accept the plan or cancel your purchase. In the case of the latter, you should be fully reimbursed. Aligners are to arrive within 4-6 weeks. If they don’t, use the contact form to find out what’s going on. Remember though, that Smilelove are currently largely understaffed. Customer service does not respond regularly.
Straighten your teeth
The aligners themselves are made of Essix plastic and are completely BPA-free. They were designed with Smilelove’s own ClearComfort technology. They are clear and hand-trimmed to fit around your gums.
The Smilelove package comprises of:
- all of your aligners upfront,
- a removal tool,
- a file,
- a movement calendar, and
- free retainers.
If you purchase the bundle you will additionally receive a carrying case, tray spray, lip balm, and premium whitening. The last will be shipped at the end of treatment, though.
What’s it like to wear the aligners?
First of all, you should be wearing them as much as possible. The recommended time is 22 hours a day, giving you just enough of a break to eat and drink (liquids other than water). Yep, this means you sleep with them on as well.
Maintenance is not too difficult either. Brush and floss your teeth before you put the trays in and rinse them under cold water when you take them out. Do not put them in the dishwasher or use toothpaste, as it can be too abrasive. Soap is actually best, but you can also use retainer or denture cleaner.
Soaking them in mouthwash would be a bad idea. Those often contain green or blue coloring which your teeth are immune to. Aligners are not so lucky.
If you develop cavities or gum disease during the course of your treatment, it can negatively impact results and even require that you restart in some cases.
Lastly, straightening your teeth with clear braces means no gum chewing. That doesn’t mean your breath can’t be fresh! Some bundle options include Tray Spray that keeps your trays minty and clean.
To make things even easier, each packet has detailed information on the back. This includes what you can or cannot eat, care instructions, and what to do in case of potential issues.
Dispelling your concerns
If you are already in the middle of treatment with Smilelove, you might end up stuck in case of any issues. What was not a problem earlier, can now be a very difficult situation.
Here are a few tips on how to deal with any issues that may arise during the teeth straightening process.
If an aligner gets lost, that’s not a huge problem. Pop in your next one and wear it for the remaining time, plus the two weeks that were intended for it.
If the trays are tight and uncomfortable even after a few days, you are not wearing them as much as you should. If you miss a couple days or only wear them for a couple hours a day, you might need new impressions and another treatment plan.
This could be an issue due to the problems Smilelove are undergoing. The best plan would be to visit your dentist and seek advice there. It may be a good idea to make new impressions with a different aligner brand.
What if I feel like something has gone wrong?
You might be doing everything right (or maybe you do have a guilty conscience) but something can always go wrong. Your mouth is an organ system and it can behave in unpredictable ways.
If you are worried about anything you can try reaching out to the team. Again, reviews claim that this can be difficult lately. Patients are not receiving any feedback to phone calls, emails, comments, or complaints on dedicated platforms.
The Smilelove customer support is 100% US-based. Until last year, it was one of the company’s best assets. A video call when doing your impressions was even possible. Now, it may be challenging to get in touch with them at all.
Love your new smile
You can expect a whitening kit at the end of your treatment. It includes a 3-month supply and an LED light. You get a code by email that lets you order the kit online with a free checkout.
After you are done with all your trays it is time to wear a retainer. You, unfortunately, have to wear it indefinitely. For the first two weeks it acts as your last set of aligners. After that, only put it on when you go to sleep.
Your first one comes free with your Smilelove package. However, if you lose or break it, you are looking at a cost of $99.
Smilelove claim that if you take really good care of your retainer, it can serve you for up to 2 years. It is a good idea to have spares on-hand, though. You don’t want to go without it if you lose or break one. Your teeth may use this time to revert to their initial position.
The cost of Smilelove treatment
The price for the Smilelove treatment depends on how many aligners you need. If your case needs less than 40 aligners, you will be charged according to the information in the cost table below. Otherwise, you are looking at an extra charge of $300.
Here is an overview of the costs:
|What you're paying for||Amount|
|Fast-track bundle (impression kit included)||$1,895 (+ $300)|
|Pay monthly||$79/mo and $250 down payment|
HSA and FSA are honored. In case you are unsure whether your dental insurance covers orthodontia, you can reach out to your provider directly.
Take into account, however, that due to the current situation, you may never see this money again. Most patients who have recently purchased treatment declare that their order was never sent out.
Brooke B, August 7, 2020
They apparently shut down due to Covid, which is understandable, but I never received any notification of it. I sent my impressions in in February, and never heard another word since. (This is after I paid in full).
I never received my aligners and after months and months of trying to contact them any way possible, I finally got an email that said they weren’t able to issue a refund, or continue production of my aligners.
But they are still accepting new customers, even though they aren’t able to provide for their current customers who have spent thousands. I’ve still tried reaching out to them for the past two months to see if they have a timeline of starting production again and cannot reach them.
So they have $1,500 of my money and I haven’t seen a single cent’s worth of it. I’ve received absolutely nothing from them and they’ve dropped off the face of the planet. It’s basically theft.
Stephanii, April 30, 2020
I’m just so amazed by the differences in the trays and the physical results I’m seeing in my smile.
Going through the Smilelove process was easy and without a doubt the best decision I made!
Smilelove vs. byte
byte are a home teeth straightening brand with great reviews. Where Smilelove come short, byte provides. Their customer service is praised for responsiveness and readiness to help.
byte offers the shortest treatment time on the market. The average duration of the straightening process is 3 months. This is thanks to the HyperByte, a device that simultaneously makes the process less uncomfortable. Smilelove treatment lasts 3 to 18 months.
As per the cost of treatment, it is the same when comparing base prices. Smilelove’s starter kit, however, is the most expensive out there at $250. The code BYTEAUTHORITY2020 makes the byte impression box 8 times cheaper ( only $29.95).
The same promo cuts the byte aligners price by $100. And what is worth noting, byte don’t have an additional charge for more complicated cases.
The similarities between the two companies are that both are completely remote. Have a look at this quick run-down:
- customer service gets bad reviews
- lately there have been difficulties in receiving orders
- longer treatment time
- additional charge for complex issues
- great reviews on customer service
- shortest treatment time on the market
- HyperByte and Smile Science
- Much cheaper impression kit
- $100 cheaper aligners with our code
These two brands are not the only home teeth straightening kits on the market. You’ve probably already heard of Invisalign, Candid, and SmileDirectClub. And if you haven’t, it’s worth checking them out, even if it’s just research.
Are Smilelove legit?
Up until 2020 the company was doing great but there have been a lot of troubles recently. It seems that Smilelove are no longer sending out treatment packages, despite continuing to accept money from new customers.
What's more, many patients report serious issues in reaching out to customer service. Some claim they have not gotten a response in weeks.
Lastly, the brand raised the price for their treatment recently and added an extra charge for cases that include more than 40 aligners.
Do Smilelove accept insurance?
Many policies cover orthodontia and teledentistry. Smilelove accept coverage as long as you reach out to the insurance provider beforehand to make sure they will allow it.
Which clear aligners are more reliable than Smilelove?
The brand we recommend most is byte. They have the shortest treatment time, get great reviews on their service, and provide patients with a device called the HyperByte. Some orthodontists sell similar gadgets for up to $900.
SmileDirectClub are another well-known home teeth straightening provider. They have been around for a very long time and might soon be available in-office as well. Patients can do their impressions much like with byte and Smilelove, or visit a Smile Shop for a scan and consultation.
You can also go with Candid. Their treatment is a lot more expensive, but they work with orthodontists only. They also provide a device that makes coming into contact with them easier. It may be harder to get approved, though, as they routinely reject more complicated cases.