braces vs smile direct club

Smile Direct Club vs Braces: Tips for Picking the Right Option for Your Teeth

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Last Updated: September 10, 2020

The direct-to-consumer orthodontics industry has been booming. This is primarily due to the fact that only 35% of adults have well-aligned bites [1]. That’s right, a whopping 65% of people could use some type of orthodontic treatment.

Unfortunately, treatment is really only prevalent in higher-income groups with the majority of lower-income groups skipping out on the treatment altogether. There is no wonder why a lot of lower-income groups skip out on orthodontic treatment like traditional braces. After all, the average cost of traditional braces can range anywhere from $3,000 to $8,000 [2].

Needless to say, not many people can afford this type of treatment that is typically not covered under your insurance unless deemed medically necessary. While you may believe crooked teeth aren’t worth treating, there is a reason 47.2% of adults aged 30 and up have gum disease [3]. Unfortunately, it is the leading cause of tooth loss, and having crooked teeth is one thing that can boost your risk factor for developing it yourself.

Luckily, there are alternatives available within the marketplace. Smile Direct Club has managed to leverage a direct-to-consumer approach to orthodontics that can cut the cost of traditional braces by as much as 60 percent [4]. By cutting out a lot of costs and getting rid of the high markups orthodontists charge, people that wouldn’t normally be able to afford custom orthodontic treatment now have it readily available thanks to Smile Direct Club.

If you are considering getting orthodontic treatment, you will likely be interested in learning more about Smile Direct Club to decide whether or not it is the right treatment option for you. By the end of this article, you should be able to tell why Smile Direct Club is the superior choice over traditional braces.

Smile Direct Club vs Braces: How They Both Work

Smile Direct Club Process

smile direct club kit

3 Steps:

1. Get A Scan or Kit

The first step in the process of getting your teeth straightened with Smile Direct Club is getting your teeth either scanned or by sending in an impression kit. You can visit any of the physical SmileShops scattered around to get a completely free in-person scan.

This scan will give them a 3D model of your mouth to help formulate a highly accurate treatment plan. They can also do the same with an impression of your teeth that you can have mailed to you at no cost.

Once your scan is inputted or your kit is sent in, they will be able to determine whether or not you are a candidate for successful treatment.

2. Creation Of Your Customized Treatment Plan

Once they have everything they need to properly model your mouth/teeth, they will be able to come up with a customized treatment plan. You don’t have to worry about being set on the wrong plan because they have partnered with 250+ state-licensed dentists and orthodontists.

Therefore, one of them will be reviewing and approving your treatment plan prior to you ever beginning your treatment.

3. Receive and Wear Your Custom Aligners

As soon as you get your aligners mailed to you, it’s time to start straightening your teeth.

Not only do you get a full preview of your smile before you get started, but you will also be able to get your teeth straightened without having to worry about going in for weekly in-house orthodontist visits.

You will have 24/7 access to the dedicated dental care team at Smile Direct Club which can answer any questions or alleviate any concerns you may have during the course of treatment.

Traditional Braces Process

a girl with braces

1. Consultation

Like with Smile Direct Club, you will consult with an orthodontist in order to determine if you are a candidate for treatment with traditional braces. During this, they will make a custom mold of your teeth which they will use to design an effective treatment to straighten your teeth.

2. Custom Treatment

Because every mouth is different, your orthodontist will have to complete a mock-up of your treatment plan and come up with a plan of action to ensure you are able to get the optimal end result.

3. Placement Of The Braces

To get started with braces, they will need to place your braces on your teeth. This entire process is long and tedious. During the process, they will need to condition the surface to prime it for the cement, they will place and cement the brackets into place, and they will have to insert the wire in order to apply pressure in the right areas of the teeth.

Because the entire process is manual, your orthodontist must be skilled and experienced.

4. Regular Adjustments

During the course of your entire treatment, you will have to consistently head into the orthodontist’s office for in-person visits to ensure that you are proceeding according to plan. Each visit your orthodontist will be making subtle to not-so-subtle adjustments gradually moving the teeth towards their optimal positioning.

Biggest Factors to Consider When Deciding Between Braces and Alignment Trays

1. Do You Want Visible Braces?

While it’s true, you can get ceramic braces that have less visibility than traditional braces may have had in the past, they are still going to be prominently displayed on your teeth. This is one of the main reasons a lot of people opt for clear aligners because they can be easily hidden to help you straighten out your smile without people even knowing.

2. Do You Want To Spend More?

This one is likely obvious, but you really need to ask yourself whether or not you want to spend extra just to get traditional braces. Smile Direct Club has managed to completely cut down the price of orthodontic care by as much as 60 percent.

If you are looking to save money, there is no better way to do so. Where you could end up paying up to $8,000 for traditional braces, you can get custom aligners with Smile Direct Club for $1,895.

3. Do You Want Added Convenience Throughout The Course Of Your Treatment??

The traditional method of orthodontics is outdated. With newer and more advanced technology available to us, there is no reason for you to need to go in weekly or bi-weekly for orthodontist visits.

The amount of time you spend traveling to and in the orthodontist office during traditional braces treatment could be much better spent doing other things. With custom clear aligners and online treatment with Smile Direct Club, you can win your time back while improving the look and health of your teeth simultaneously.

Best of all, you don’t have to sacrifice having experienced orthodontists overseeing your smile plan or progress as you can schedule regular virtual check-ins at your convenience.

4. Do You Want Whiter Teeth?

With Smile Direct Club, you get a premium teeth whitening kit included.

5. Do You Want To Keep Your Teeth Healthy?

While you could certainly make it through traditional braces treatment without developing problems, having brackets and wires placed on your teeth and in your mouth can make it very difficult to properly maintain optimal oral hygiene throughout the course of treatment.

This can make it much more likely you develop excess plaque and tartar that can eat away at your healthy teeth and gums.

Price Comparison: Are Braces or Smile Direct Alignment Trays Cheaper?

Smile Direct Alignment Pricing:

  • Single pay – $1,895.00
  • SmilePay – $85 per month with a $250 deposit (total of $2,290)

Traditional Braces Pricing:

This one is difficult to say because you will find variable pricing depending on where you are getting your treatment done. However, as mentioned previously, you can expect to pay anywhere from $3,000 to $8,000 for traditional braces treatment [2].

Summary: Will Smile Direct or Braces Work Better for You?

Traditional braces offer a good method of straightening your teeth. However, traditional braces are extremely costly and inconvenient. Not only do they make it increasingly difficult to exercise proper oral hygiene, but they can contribute to gum recession and gum disease [5].

Because poor dental hygiene is the leading cause of periodontal disease, this is an important factor to consider.

After all, you don’t want to develop gum disease due to your teeth straightening treatment making it difficult to brush and floss normally.

That is something you don’t have to worry about at all with custom aligners. After all, you will be able to take them out while eating and brush and floss your teeth as you would normally do so. Therefore, you are much more likely to avoid experiencing the consequences that many who opt for traditional braces are faced with.

However, the real determining factor is figuring out whether or not you are an actual candidate for Smile Direct Club. The easiest way to do this is heading to their website, and requesting a free impression kit. More details below:


  6. Read our review of Smile Direct Club
  7. Find the Best Invisible Braces Here