As with any new trend, it’s important to get experts’ opinions to ensure that the latest trend is safe and won’t cause any lasting damage. As dental professionals in Sheffield, we’ve been asked to give our opinion on Smile Direct Club. So let’s take an honest, professional look at it.
If you’re not already aware, Smile Direct Club is an at-home aligner service. They position themselves as an affordable alternative to traditional wire braces by providing clear aligners via post.
What The General Dental Council (GDC) have to say about Smile Direct Club
Who are the GDC?
The General Dental Council is an independent organisation regulating dentists and dental care professionals in the UK. They are responsible for setting industry standards, holding a register of qualified dental professionals (which all our team are registered on, see here), and quality assuring education. Finally, the GDC are responsible for investigating concerns about treatment or consult.
Smile Direct was brought to the GDC’s attention, so the regulatory body investigated the new trend.
The GDC identified that there is a place for remote consultations in dentistry. But only in specific settings. They determined that a remote consultation is not an appropriate substitute for orthodontic treatment: face-to-face interaction or physical clinical assessment were deemed necessary.
Moreover, the GDC explained that “there is no effective substitute for physical clinical examination as the foundation for orthodontic treatment.” When a face-to-face or physical examination doesn’t occur, a dentist must rely on information from another source (such as another dental professional’s examination) to make a clinical judgement. In this situation, the responsibility rests solely on the prescribing dentist. They must keep a complete patient record and include their reasoning for deviating from established practice and guidance.
To summarise, the GDC identified that direct interaction is essential throughout the orthodontic process and isn’t present throughout Smile Direct Club’s services, confirming that they do not endorse this service.
User’s experiences with Smile Direct Club UK
When looking for Smile Direct Club reviews, we discovered that users who had not had a good experience with the service (for example, aligners have not given them the results they were promised) had been asked to sign nondisclosure agreements to receive their money back.
We also found that when a person registers to use Smile Direct Club, they must tick a box on a consent form to confirm they have had their teeth examined and x-rayed by a dentist to proceed. However, they are not asked to prove this in any way. Therefore, Smile Direct Club does not ensure that a dental professional has been involved and that a full clinical evaluation has occurred.
Finally, we found reports of a user who turned to Smile Direct Club to align a slightly crooked tooth. However, nine months into the treatment, they began suffering from migraines and jaw pain. As it turns out, the aligners had shifted their teeth so much that they couldn’t properly chew and developed an overbite. The company declined the user’s refund request and suggested more treatment instead.
Safe, affordable alternatives to Smile Direct Club Sheffield
To conclude, as dental professionals, we recommend you opt for a safer, regulated and professional alternative to Smile Direct Club. As the GDC identified, there is no suitable replacement for an in-person clinical examination carried out by a professional throughout Smile Direct Club UK’s process.
Fortunately, there is a safe, affordable alternative to Smile Direct Club.
Introducing Invisalign, Invisalign is a clear aligner system that can straighten your teeth in as little as six weeks. It is used by dental professionals worldwide and is endorsed and performed by us to the GDC’s standards.
“Very welcoming staff which creates a relaxed atmosphere at the onset – a plus sign if you’re the nervous type.
Information on the process is clearly explained as are any recommendations of treatment necessary. I’m looking forward to receiving my ongoing treatment.” – Kathlynne C
Invisalign involves an in-person clinical examination where our dentists will evaluate your suitability. Not everyone is suitable for Invisalign, but our dentists advise with your best interest at heart and will make alternative recommendations if you are not suitable for treatment.
If suitable, you’ll receive custom-made to-fit aligners designed especially for you. You’ll receive a new set every two weeks.
To find out more about Invisalign, click here.
If you’re interested in Invisalign in Sheffield, we suggest you book on to our next Invisalign open day in our Archer Road, Sheffield practice on Friday, 18th November. You’ll be able to take full advantage of the Mola Dental Invisalign offer, which saves you over £1000! Click here to find out more about the offer and book your place.