I’m about to start week seven of a five-month plan with the Smile Direct Club. With some time under my belt, I wanted to provide a review of my experience so far. And if you make it all the way to the end, you’ll find a few ways to save money on your own smile plan!
Like a lot of people that consider Smile Direct Club, I had braces when I was little. But after throwing away my retainers one too many times in my lunch napkin, my parents were tired of paying over $100 for yet another pair. So I’ve gone without retainers ever since. Not surprisingly, my teeth shifted. It happened slowly over time, until one day I realized just how crowded my bottom teeth had become (I actually have two teeth that are starting to turn sideways — eek!). I began to worry about what my teeth would look down the road, when it might be too late to correct them. That’s when I began looking into the Smile Direct Club.
I did a little research and found a Smile Direct Club office minutes from my house. I made an appointment for the upcoming weekend, which was scheduled to take just 15 minutes. The appointment was quick and painless. I filled out a form, my technician ran through a list of questions with me, and then using a wand they took 3D images of my teeth from various angles. Two days later I received an email with my recommended plan. It included a 3D view of what my teeth look like now, and projections for what they will look like each month until complete. It was pretty cool to see!
Here are the before and after for my bottom teeth:
Those who don’t live near a Smile Direct Club office can order an impression kit to make their own impressions and mail them in. I have no direct experience with this, but from what I’ve read it’s a pretty easy and straight forward process.
Once I received my plan, it took me about a month to pull the trigger. The price, while more affordable than Invisalign or braces, it still significant. There are two ways you can pay: a one-time payment of $1,850 or 24 monthly payments totaling $2,170. Neither include the night retainers you need upon completion, which total $198. I decided to go with the one-time payment option because I like to save money, and $320 is a lot in my book!
Once I placed my order it took about three weeks for the retainers to arrive, something to keep in mind if you have a specific time you want to start. Everything arrives in one big box. The kit includes a chapstick, a whitening treatment, an instruction manual, tools to help you put in and remove your retainers, a carrying case and all aligners needed for your full treatment. Each set of aligners is in an individually sealed and labeled plastic bag. I liked that I had everything I needed up front, and it seemed pretty impossible to mess up.
THE FIRST FEW DAYS
I’m not going to sugar coat it, the first few days were rough for me. Going in I expected my teeth to be sore, something I’ve heard from friends that use Invisalign. While that was not the case for me, my tongue was hurting! It was subconsciously rubbing against the edges of the aligners, which made my tongue extremely sore and it was somewhat painful to talk. This lasted about three days before subsiding. With each new set of aligners I’ve only had one day of tongue discomfort, at most.
WHAT ABOUT TOOTH PAIN AND SENSITIVITY?
I had no tooth pain or sensitivity in the first week. I honestly those aligners were direct molds of my teeth and intended to simply get me used to wearing them. In week two I felt tightness in the bottom aligner only (there are only minor shifts happening in my top teeth) for the first 18-24 hours. The discomfort did not affect my sleep in any way.
Around week 3 or 4 I started noticing some tenderness when eating. As an example, if I remove the aligners and eat an apple, those first few bites feel tender because my teeth spend most of the day in movement. However, it’s completely manageable so far. I should note that I don’t have any pain or sensitivity while actually wearing the aligners, except the first day after switching to the next set or after they were out of my mouth for an extended period of time.
HOW NOTICEABLE ARE THEY?
The aligners are surprisingly subtle. I didn’t notice much difference in my talking, and no one else has noticed either! This includes my kids, who would be the first to let me know if something was “off” with me! I’m a stay at home mom, so I was OK if there was a bit of an adjustment period, but I think you would feel completely comfortable in a professional environment from day one in these.
From an appearance standpoint, these are not very noticeable. I’m wearing them in the picture below, and you can’t even tell! I compared mine with my sister’s Invisalign and noticed that her aligners do not fully cover her teeth while my aligners go all the way to the gums. I think this helps make them a bit more discreet.
DO THEY GET GROSS?
Aligners are switched out every week or two, so there is never really enough time for plaque to build up. And cleaning them with an electric toothbrush and water works like a charm. I personally love being able to pop in a fresh new set so often.
So far I am happy with my decision. I am having minimal discomfort, and am already starting to notice some small shifts in my bottom teeth. The two hardest things for me have been:
- Not being able to drink tea all day long. This is by no means a big deal, just a shift in habits, but I do enjoy my hot beverages in the winter.
- Nights where I lose a few hours of wearing the aligners because I’m enjoying a few glasses of wine or dinner with friends. The retainers are always a little more tight and uncomfortable when they go back in, so I try to keep these times to a minimum.
If you are considering it, I recommend at least getting the scans to see what is possible. There is no better time than at the start of a new year!
WANT TO SAVE A LITTLE MONEY?
There are a few ways to save money with Smile Direct Club.
- Pay the one-time payment of $1,850 (savings of $320).
- Use this coupon code to get 50% off your impression kit or a free scan at a Smile Direct Club office near you.
- Once you decide you want to move forward with Smile Direct Club, wait a few weeks to place your order. I got inundated with marketing emails encouraging me to sign up. Eventually I got one with a code for $250 off my order, bringing the total down to $1,600.
- If you are a CouponCabin member (which I highly recommend!), you can receive cashback on your purchase. It varies based on the time of purchase, but seems to be between $50-$100.
Have any questions I haven’t covered here? Drop me a note in the comments below!
This post is in no way sponsored by Smile Direct Club.