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Why did Smile Direct Club, the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Orthodontic Company, fail?

I’m sure many of you have heard about the recent collapse of Smile Direct Club (SDC), the DIY aligner company.  SDC’s failure emphasizes that you cannot take the doctor out of the orthodontic equation.  Dental boards and regulatory authorities raised concerns about the legality and safety of SDC’s business model since its inception, so what are some of the reasons that ultimately might have caused SDC to go under?  Read on to discover our opinion.

1)     No x-rays

An orthodontist will take an x-ray of your teeth as part of their orthodontic records.  This x-ray allows us to look at the jaw bones and roots of your teeth.  These DIY companies were not requiring an x-ray for treatment and thus could miss issues in your mouth that should be addressed before or during treatment. 

2)     No in-person exam

It is important to make sure your teeth are healthy before you try to straighten them.  Moving unhealthy teeth through unhealthy bone can make any problems present (cavities, bone loss, gum disease, etc.) become worse and can cause even more expensive issues in your mouth!  SDC had no idea how healthy the teeth and bone were before they started moving a patient’s teeth because they did not look at any information beyond the scan of their teeth.

3)     No customized treatment

As humans, we are all unique and have different biological limitations when it comes to moving our teeth. Just like someone might have a different pant size, we all have different size jaw bones, teeth and sometimes even number of teeth!  SDC performed inadequate, if any, assessment and diagnosis because they lacked an in-person examination and prescribed generic treatment; nothing was customized to their patients’ mouths and teeth condition. 

4)     No bite correction

As orthodontists, we look at your whole mouth instead of just the front teeth.  We make sure you have a proper bite in the back so you do not wear away your teeth incorrectly or leave your teeth in a position that is difficult to clean and prone to decay.  Correcting a bite involves connecting the upper and lower teeth in some manner during treatment (usually rubber bands) which was completely absent from any SDC treatment.  In other words, the bite was not addressed or corrected in any of their prescribed treatment.


5)     No treatment monitoring


It is pertinent that a trained orthodontist monitor your progress during treatment.  Sometimes an aligner or tooth is not tracking or moving the way that we want or expect it to and adjustments need to be made, etc.  SDC did not monitor their patients’ treatment in-person at any point in time, which could lead to missing these issues and causing additional problems.

Hopefully we have given you a sense of how important it is to see a trained orthodontist when you want to straighten your teeth and the demise of SDC truly underscores that.  We provide you with everything that SDC did not: completely customized orthodontic care with x-rays and an in-person exam to check the teeth, roots and bone before starting the case, coordinating the bite, and changing plans if the first is not working.  Remember, a clear aligner is just a tool to move teeth –who is using the tool matters.  Is there another medical procedure you would consider bypassing your doctor?  When you consider the potential to lose teeth and add more expensive treatment costs, we certainly think seeing a trained orthodontist is worth the investment!

To the Smile Direct Club patients abandoned by the SDC failure, Fairfield Beach Orthodontics has you covered!  Seamlessly switch your treatment from SDC to FBO today.  We will help you continue your treatment and reach the goals you want to achieve.  Our practice includes complete doctor supervision, free consultations, flexible financing and Invisalign® clear aligners.  Say goodbye to uncertainties and continue your smile transformation with Fairfield Beach Orthodontics!



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