Smile Direct Club: Getting Started

I never had braces as a kid. I actually WANTED braces at one point, because all my friends were getting them in middle school. But alas, my dentist said it would be mainly cosmetic, so I never got them.

Fast forward about 15 years.

Now, every time I go to the dentist, he asks me why I never had braces before. Besides the fact that I was in 6th grade with no choice in the matter, and the fact that he himself said they weren’t needed, I’m now almost 30 (gasp) and definitely don’t want traditional metal braces just because my friends have them.

So, I took a leap. I decided to do treatment using Smile Direct Club aligners. I’m not being paid for this, so this is completely unbiased. This seems like a relatively new company, mainly seen on lots of ex-Bachelor contestant Instagrams, so I wanted to provide a review for all the “normal” people out there who just want straight teeth without going broke.

I should finish my initial treatment plan by April, but for now, I thought I’d share a timeline of what it took to get started.

Click through to get the deets!

Before starting Smile Direct Club invisible aligner system
Sorry for the selfie. I hope this Snapchat filter never goes away, because it makes it so easy for me to track my teeth progress!

As for reasons why I want straight teeth. Doesn’t everyone? What bothers me most is that my top two front teeth REALLY aren’t in alignment with each other, and it stands out, especially from the side views. Other than that, I haven’t felt like my teeth are horrible or been super self-conscious of my smile. But when even my dentist starts asking almost every visit why I never had braces? Yeah, that makes me feel hyper-aware of my crowded teeth.

You can see here the “wonkiness” of my top teeth, although it’s not as bad or noticeable as some people’s “bad” teeth.

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  • November 2 — 3D scan appointment

Luckily for me, there is a Smile Shop here in San Antonio. If there is no Smile Shop you can get to, you can have an impression kit sent to your home. I’m glad I didn’t go the impression kit route, because I have heard stories of people having to send in multiple impression kits before they got an “acceptable” one, or the aligners didn’t really fit their teeth correctly, etc. I felt that going in person gives me a better chance that it’ll work out for me.

It took me a while to find the shop, as it’s inside a building with multiple suites/salons and it’s not clearly marked as such online or on Google Maps. When I arrived, I told the technician about the errors, and she actually took a photo of the maps on my phone to send to the company so they could fix this issue.

I had changed my appointment from 12 to 12:30 due to a brunch that was running a little long, and when I got there the reception lady was confused and said I didn’t have an appointment. She was a bit rude about it, but the technician, Samantha, said that she saw my appointment and took me to get the scan.

The scan was no big deal, it felt like an average dental appointment. However, some of the presentation was very “car salesman”-y. Lots of information thrown my way super quickly. She explained the process of the scan, how there is a dentist overlooking my case (so “tele-dentistry” in a way), what my package will come with, the process for using the aligners, and payment plans. It was kind of overwhelming. But I got the scan and walked out with some free stuff, so yay.

Smile Direct Club Smile Shop
At the Smile Shop
Smile Direct Club smile shop scan
Kinda creepy when you look at it like this…
  • November 5 — “Your new smile is waiting.” email

My treatment plan is ready! The 3D view was super cool, and I had only 4 months to straighter teeth. So I ordered my aligners, and instead of a month-by-month payment system, I just paid it all up front. With some codes I found on the Internet (aka, through stalking ex-Bachelor contestants on Instagram), the total came out to about $1,700. I am going to see if my insurance will reimburse me for some of the cost, but our plan is switching companies so I’ll have to wait until we get everything settled.

Immediately, I get a “Welcome to the club!” email that they have received my order and will begin creating my invisible aligners.

I was also sent a link to their aligner guide so I can prepare myself for life with aligners. This automatically comes with the aligners, but sometimes it’s good to get a leg up on things that can alter your day-to-day life.

  • November 13 — “We’re cookin’ up your smile!” email

I guess this means they are 3D printing the base for the aligners? I also noticed I’m starting to grind/push on my teeth a bit more but probably stress-related due to job probs.

  • November 20 — “Your smile is currently experiencing science.” email

So they are thermoforming the aligners now… whatever that means…

  • November 27 — “Your smile is getting a haircut.”

In other words, they’re trimming my aligners. This is also the point that I get suspicious they just have automated emails going out once a week to “keep me informed”, regardless of what step in the process my aligners are actually in. I mean, I’ve gotten 3 emails the past 3 Mondays now. It can’t be a coincidence.

  • November 29 — “Your aligners are on the way!” email

Grins incoming! Got a tracking number, and should be delivered by Friday December 1. I also received an additional “Your aligners and you” email, with a couple of notes about the lifestyle changes I’ll have with the aligners — namely, eating and drinking.

  • December 1 — Aligners get delivered!

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I decide I’m going to put them in starting on Sunday, as a convenient way to keep track of when to move on to the next set. I also want to prepare myself with a travel toothbrush and floss set, so I can clean my teeth if I have to take the aligners out and put them back in.

  • December 3 — Pop in the first aligners before I go to bed. I’ve heard from most people it’s helpful to start the aligners at night rather than during the day, so they can just adjust/get sore while you sleep!
Smile Direct Club invisible aligner system month 1 week 1
I’m sorry. Expect to see a lot of this on these Smile Direct Club posts. This is actually WITH my M1W1 aligners in, though!

That’s all so far. I’ll check in maybe when I’m about halfway done with treatment, and definitely when everything is final. The aligners felt weird at first, but I feel like I’m already sort of used to them. I didn’t realize exactly HOW big a deal it would be to not be able to eat or drink with them in, but wow, no more constant grazing or snacking while I’m sitting at home because I’m too lazy to be brushing my teeth almost every hour. I’ve heard a lot of people say they actually lost weight because they weren’t eating so much!

I also had them in without telling Aaron I had put them in yet, and he didn’t notice… but that may be because he’s still on trauma rotation and exhausted.

If y’all have any questions, just reach out to me! I’m happy to answer!


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Maddie

Just your average traveling, picture-taking, cooking, restaurant-going, craft beer drinking, dog loving, millennial registered nurse.

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