My Smile Direct Club Experience - Starting off and the first 24 hours
For as long as I can remember, people have told me they loved my smile. While I can agree I have a good one, I've always been bothered that my teeth, particularly my bottom teeth, aren't the straightest. I wasn't keen on trying the traditional braces and Invisaligns were fairly expensive so I thought I was out of luck. I started seeing various commercials for a company called Smile Direct Club which was based out of the States. For a fraction of the cost of braces from an office, the aligners are shipped to you without having multiple dentist visits. I loved the idea, but was bummed to find out they were only in the US.
Happily as of November 2018, Smile Direct Club arrived in Canada and when they did, I was sure to get an appointment at a Smile Shop which was fortunately near where I live.
Part 1: Getting Measured and Approved
The first step to getting aligners is to head to a Smile Direct Club SmileShop or ordering an impression kit. SDC has opened seven shops across Canada so far; four in Ontario, two in Alberta, and one in British Colombia. I was lucky enough that there are multiple shops close to me, so I went to one for an appointment. During the 30 minute appointment, the smile consultant who was a licensed dentist in the Dominican Republic working towards a degree in the US advised what the process was. A scan was done in my mouth using a tool that takes 600 images a second resulting in a 3D scan of my smile. After the scan was complete, it is sent to SDC's head office where it is formally reviewed by dentists and orthodontists to ensure there are no major issues.
At the end of my visit, I chose my payment plan of month-to-month where I pay $99 for about two years. There is also the option to pay the full amount less $300, but for my own financial situation, the monthly plan was right for me. In total, I will be paying $2650. As I left, I was given the SDC whitening kit which included the tool and a few whitening pens. I haven't used the tool yet, but will most likely in March when I have two weeks off. The whitening requires two applications daily for a week every three months, so I thought I would get used to my aligners first.
Part 2: Waiting for my Aligners
After I was approved, I was sent a few emails so I could follow along in the process of my aligners being completed. I was told it would take 5-6 weeks from my appointment, but there was a delay. I received an email a few weeks ago stating that because the demand in Canada for the aligners was so high, I would be waiting a bit longer to receive my kit. To compensate, SDC offered me the retainers I need at the end at no charge. Saving me an additional $125.
I did contact SDC throughout my waiting period and they were very patient and courteous in replying to me and updating me on what was happening.
Part 3: The Aligners Arrive & The First 24 Hours
My aligners arrived January 17th, about 48 hours after I had received notification that they had been shipped. I honestly wasn't expecting them until sometime the week after. The aligners all arrive in this beautiful purple box filled with all the goodies. Along with all 16 sets of my aligners, the kit included: more whitening product, lip balm, an aligner removal kit, chews to help put the aligners in place (although I haven't needed to use them), and detailed instructions on what to do next.
Each aligner is numbered and I have a total of 16 sets of aligners. When you receive the package, you login to your SDC portal and confirm you have received them. The portal then asks what date you are starting and will from then on, track your progress. Your portal has a schedule and informs you when it is time to change to your next aligner, how many days are left on your plan, and what aligners you should be on.
For additional tracking purposes, I put a reminder on my phone to tell me when it is time to change over to my next set.
After flossing and brushing my teeth, I popped the aligners into my mouth. I was happily surprised at how easily they snapped into place. Naturally, they feel odd in my mouth. I spoke a little bit with a lisp at first, but that quickly vanished. I wore them for the first time before bed as they are a bit uncomfortable at first and the smile consultant recommended wearing them to sleep to start. To help me sleep, I took a Tylenol to help ease the pain.
Next, it was time to take out my aligners for the first time to eat the next morning. This was a bit tricky at first so I watched a video on how to pop them out. If you can, use your index finger to remove the top aligner and your thumb to remove the bottom. Smile Direct Club includes a tool to help remove the aligners and it has been extremely helpful. After taking them out, my mouth ached a bit. I took another Tylenol to help and the pain passed. After eating breakfast, I flossed and brushed again (as you have to do after any meal or non-clear liquid) and popped the aligners back into place.
I think the most challenging part of this process is having to remember to remove the aligners, then floss and brush after every meal and consuming non-clear liquid. SDC recommends a kit of items to bring with you wherever you go so I put together my own to keep in my purse at all times.
Each month, I will update you all on my progress, thoughts, and naturally, fun pictures like these to show how things are going. I am excited to get started!
For more information on Smile Direct Club, head to their website at smiledirectclub.ca.