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Updated on September 23, 2022

SmileDirectClub UK Review

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What is SmileDirectClub? 

At-home clear aligners, also called direct-to-consumer aligners, are a convenient and affordable way to straighten your teeth. 

Unlike Invisalign and metal braces, you do not have to visit a dentist or orthodontist for bi-weekly checkups. Instead, you’ll take virtual scans from home every few weeks to ensure your teeth are moving correctly. 

SmileDirectClub is a 6-year-old aligner company that offers remote teeth straightening for 60% less than braces. 

smile direct kit

SmileDirectClub

The biggest aligner company

SmileDirectClub is the largest, longest-standing clear aligner manufacturer.

They are the first and most well-known brand of at-home aligners. The company also works with registered doctors, dentists, and orthodontists to ensure each treatment case runs smoothly. 

SmileDirect’s aligner trays are made of comfortable, smooth, BPA-free plastic. The aligners are nearly invisible and slowly straighten your teeth in small increments. They can be removed at any time for cleaning, eating, and brushing your teeth. 

Cost of SmileDirectClub: £1539 or £1,682.17 financed at £70.09/month

SmileDirectClub can ONLY fix minor to moderate teeth alignment issues, including:

  • Crowded teeth — some teeth are overlapping or crooked
  • Diastema (gapped teeth) — small gaps between one or multiple teeth 
  • Other minor to moderate bite problems

Overbites, underbites, crossbites, and open bites typically require more intensive treatment with braces.

Pros and Cons of SmileDirectClub

Here are the benefits and downsides of SmileDirectClub:

PROS

  • Treatment costs thousands less than braces (£1539)
  • Two options: order a home impression kit or visit a SmileShop for a risk-free consultation (3D images/scan) 
  • Doctor-prescribed and directed
  • Free whitening treatment (premium whitening available for an additional cost)
  • No credit check required 
  • Monthly payment plan available
  • Accepts insurance 
  • Starter kit refunds (if you aren’t a candidate)

CONS

  • Quick treatment and night aligner option (NewMouth is concerned about the risks of night aligners and moving teeth too fast — learn why here)
  • Treatment is monitored 100% remotely (this means there is a slightly higher risk for complications to occur than in-office orthodontic treatment)
  • Customer service can be difficult to reach
  • Risk of impression errors with at-home kits
  • No refunds on aligners (only the impression kit) 

How Does SmileDirectClub Work?

The SmileDirectClub aligner process is straightforward and convenient. 

There are two ways to start your treatment:

1. Visit a SmileShop

SmileShop’s are open around the UK based on local conditions. At your appointment, a SmileGuide will take a 3D image of your current smile.

It only takes me 30 minutes. They will then create a treatment plan for your new smile.

2. Order an impression kit online

If you don’t want to visit a SmileShop, you can order an impression kit online.

First, you’ll take a 30-second smile assessment on their website. If they think you’ll qualify for treatment, you can then order an impression kit online. 

smile direct kit

SmileDirectClub

The biggest aligner company

SmileDirectClub is the largest, longest-standing clear aligner manufacturer.

They’ll send you an impression kit with easy-to-follow instructions. Complete the impressions and photos and return them with the pre-paid return shipping label. 

Once your photos and impressions are complete, SmileDirect will create a 3D image of your smile using proprietary software. Then a licensed doctor, dentist, or orthodontist will review the image/scans to determine candidacy. 

From there, SmileDirect will create your treatment plan and send it to you via email.  

After reviewing, you can ask for refinements and reach out with any questions. If you decide to move forward, SmileDirect will charge you in full for the aligners (unless you choose a payment plan). 

SmileDirectClub technicians create your aligners and mail them to you all at once. The aligners are cut along your gum line to ensure they fit comfortably. You’ll also receive a complimentary whitening kit. 

You’ll schedule regular virtual check-ins throughout your treatment. You’ll begin by changing out your aligners weekly.

If you aren’t a candidate (or simply change your mind about treatment), you’ll receive a full refund on the impression kit. However, you cannot request a refund if you have already approved your treatment plan.

How Long Does SmileDirectClub Take to Straighten Teeth?

The average treatment time for SmileDirectClub is between 4 and 6 months. However, some cases may take longer, especially if you need refinements (an additional set of aligners after your initial treatment is complete).

SmileDirect’s Night Aligners

SmileDirectClub offers two types of aligners. The most popular is the original aligners, which are worn for 22 hours a day. 

The Nighttime Aligners™ are only worn for 10 hours a day (at night/while sleeping). 

*Disclaimer: Although night aligners may be convenient, NewMouth does not recommend them over traditional aligners. Many oral health experts are concerned about their safety and effectiveness.

In fact, there is no scientific proof that night aligners are safe. They may actually do more harm to your teeth than good.9 There are also concerns about what could go wrong if aligners are worn for less than 20 to 22 hours.9, 10

Every additional hour that you are not wearing the aligners increases the likelihood of your teeth shifting in an undesired direction.9, 10

Without a longer and more consistent wear schedule, your teeth can stay inflamed. This means your teeth and gums take much longer to heal, or they won’t heal at all.9

NewMouth recommends SmileDirect's original aligners over the night aligners. Learn why.

Is SmileDirectClub Safe?

Current research shows that direct-to-consumer aligners are generally considered effective and safe (87.5% satisfaction rate).2 To prevent poor results, make sure you follow the impression kit instructions very carefully and stick to your treatment plan.

In general, most dentists and orthodontists recommend in-office aligner treatment (like Invisalign or metal braces) over at-home aligners. This is because remote orthodontic treatment is not monitored as closely and it is more difficult to make mid-treatment adjustments. 

With Invisalign, your dentist can make adjustments easily at any time. This is not the case with at-home aligners because you typically receive all of the aligners at once. Your dentist can also not directly intervene if there is a problem mid-treatment. 

Since at-home aligner treatment is still new, more research needs to be done on the benefits and risks of treatment. But many patients are happy with the results and prefer remote aligners over traditional orthodontics due to convenience and pricing.2

Keep in mind: direct-to-consumer aligners are not suitable for severe cases of teeth misalignment. These treatment cases will require braces, Invisalign, and/or other orthodontic devices (like attachments). 

SmileDirectClub is one of the only at-home aligner brands that offer in-person scans and impressions. If you do not want to order an impression kit and take them yourself, SmileDirect recommends visiting a SmileShop to ensure your aligner trays fit perfectly.

 

SmileDirectClub vs. Other Clear Aligners

SmileDirectClub vs. Invisalign

Invisalign is the oldest and best-known clear aligner brand. They have treated over 10 million patients around the world. 

Invisalign can treat most cases of teeth misalignment, from mild to severe. SmileDirectClub is only recommended for mild to moderate cases.

Invisalign treatment requires regular in-office visits (every four to six weeks). This ensures the highest quality of care. But it also costs more and can be inconvenient for certain lifestyles.

SmileDirectClub does all of their monitoring 100% remotely. This greatly reduces costs.

However, the level of care is not as intensive. This is why we only recommend SmileDirectClub and other at-home aligners for mild to moderate teeth straightening.

Invisalign Cost: up to £5,500 

SmileDirectClub Cost: £1,539 or £1,682.17 financed at £70.09/month

SmileDirectClub vs. PlusDent

PlusDent uses a hybrid model for aligner treatment. Like Invisalign, you’ll set up an initial consultation with a PlusDent provider registered through the General Dental Council (GDC). They currently have over 20 locations in the UK. 

Afterward, they provide you with a custom treatment plan. They provide remote monitoring via an app, similar to SmileDirectClub.

PlusDent’s hybrid model is less comprehensive than Invisalign but more comprehensive than SmileDirectClub. They provide free refinements throughout treatment.

The aligners can fix minor to moderate malocclusions in the anterior region. This includes gapped, crowded, and crooked teeth.

PlusDent Cost: 

  • Light (minor) corrections cost £1,390 (or from £34.63/mo)
  • Medium corrections cost £1,890 (or from £47.08/mo)
  • Complex corrections cost £2,190 (or from £54.56/mo)

SmileDirectClub Cost: £1,539 or £1,682.17 financed at £70.09/month

SmileDirectClub vs. Straight Teeth Direct

Straight Teeth Direct is one of the most popular at-home clear aligners in the UK. They have the same model as SmileDirectClub but cost slightly less.

Like SmileDirectClub, you can choose to do your own impression kit at home. Or you can visit a dentist in Central London to take a 3D scan of your teeth. 

Once they have your impressions or scan, a trusted dentist will come up with a treatment plan. They will send you the treatment plan for approval.

Once everything is approved, Straight Teeth Direct will send the aligners to your home in stages. You’ll use an app to check in monthly with your assigned dentist. This specialist will adjust your treatment and aligners to ensure your teeth are moving correctly.

Straight Teeth Direct Cost: £1350

SmileDirectClub Cost: £1,539 or £1,682.17 financed at £70.09/month

SmileDirectClub vs. Wondersmile

Wondersmile is a relatively new at-home aligner company. They were founded in Australia, but expanded their operations to the UK and other countries in 2019. 

They are growing in popularity because they offer:

  1. Single-arch aligner sets for patients who only need to straighten their upper or lower teeth. 
  2. Interest-free payments, so you never pay more for treatment, even if you choose a payment plan.
  3. Nighttime aligners that straighten your teeth while you sleep. Although convenient, NewMouth doesn’t recommend night aligners. Learn why here.

Like SmileDirectClub, you can start your treatment with an impression kit or visit a studio for a 3D scan. They currently have 13 studio locations in London and Scotland. 

An orthodontist will determine whether you are a candidate or not. Then they will design your treatment plan. This includes a 3D digital model of how your teeth will move and a personalized walk-through of your treatment plan.

If your teeth shift post-treatment they have a guarantee that covers the teeth initially involved in your Wondersmile treatment plan. You'll have to show that you have been wearing your retainers as recommended. 

Wondersmile Cost: £1,450 (or £24/wk with a minimum 10% deposit)

SmileDirectClub Cost: £1,539 or £1,682.17 financed at £70.09/month

SmileDirectClub vs. Straight My Teeth

Straight My Teeth is the most affordable remote aligner. The best way to begin treatment is by ordering an impression kit online. They currently only have one studio location in the UK. 

However, they don’t offer detailed remote monitoring. Refinements also aren’t free. 

While more expensive, we recommend the other options mentioned in this article because they provide more comprehensive care. Straight My Teeth may be a good option if you have very mild misalignment

Straight My Teeth Cost: £999

SmileDirectClub Cost: £1,539 or £1,682.17 financed at £70.09/month

SmileDirectClub Aligners

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Alyssa Hill

smile direct club logo
Overall Value
Affordability
Treatment Time
Customer Service
Convenience
Comfort

Summary

SmileDirectClub is a 6-year-old aligner company that offers remote teeth straightening for 60% less than braces. They are the first and most well-known brand at-home aligners. The company also works with registered doctors, dentists, and orthodontists to ensure each treatment case runs smoothly.

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Last updated on September 23, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
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