As the oldest of four kids, I felt that I should have had my pick of the genes. Unfortunately, this is not how genetics works. Now, while I have some great “genes” in the form of an awesome immune system, strong bones, and a big head (“familial megacephaly” is, no kidding, an entry in my medical record circa day 8 of life), I did not luck out when it came to eyesight. That was fixed in 2009 with Lasik, which I highly recommend!
But I did think I lucked out when it came to teeth. I never needed braces and I felt like my smile was a fairly attractive one. Over the years, though, my teeth have become a bit more crowded and actually angled in a way that puts a lot of pressure on the bottom front two when I grind my teeth at night. One morning I woke up and there were actual cracks in my teeth known as Craze lines, which are vertical cracks in the enamel. Augh! Action was needed to prevent me from grinding my teeth into little nubs!
So, the Craze lines happened two years ago and I’ve been faithfully wearing my night guard ever since. Unfortunately, I can’t meditate the internalized stress away that’s probably behind my nighttime bruxism. Recently, though, I decided to try Smile Direct Club to try and straighten my teeth and reduce crowding.
Thanks to my job, I have already had a few consultations regarding my teeth. Treatment recommendations ranged from Invisilign to breaking my face to reset my jaw, aka orthognathic surgery. Surgery seems completely insane but it was recommended by the two doctors (one dentist, one OMFS) that I trust the most. Despite that trust, there is no way I’m choosing that option for what I consider to be mild occlusion concerns. The two that recommended it are perfectionists and surgery is what would be needed to attain optimal results. As Dr. Schendel said, “You’re brachyfacial.” To which I thought in my head, “I’m not bracyfacial, you’re brachyfacial!”
In contrast, the dentists that recommended Invisilign seemed to be choosing the easiest, “no muss, no fuss” option that would net the most easy money. I’m not against people making money but I just felt like it wasn’t completely worth it. I had my night guard and was doing pretty well.
Enter Smile Direct Club. Their advertising has been hitting the ‘Gram pretty hard and I started thinking more about it. I ended up making an appointment at my local office, which took about 25 minutes. There was a brief introduction followed by a few close-up teeth photos and an imaging device/camera with a very high-resolution acquisition process for tray manufacturing. I felt that this would be more accurate than at-home impressions. It may have sped up the tray manufacturing as well since I got the trays in two weeks rather than the predicted 4-5 weeks.
The biggest tip I have is to use Google to get a promo code. There are a lot of $100 off promo codes out there which are super simple to use. The one I used even netted me an additional $25 off in the form of an Amazon gift card. I entered my promo code when I made the appointment. I used another promo code when I ordered the trays since it didn’t seem to carry over.
The payment was the one weird aspect to the appointment that I still don’t completely understand. So, at the appointment, I felt the tiniest bit pushed into giving my credit card information on the spot, but I really wanted to see the predicted results before deciding to go through with it. I couldn’t quite figure out when I’d get charged if I gave my credit card info there so I decided not to. I think it was just a situation where the salesperson and I were talking slightly past each other. Anyway, I got my predicted model within two days, liked it, and decided to sign up for the one-time payment option. As mentioned about, I did enter another promo code since the discount didn’t seem to apply anymore but again, that could just be me not understanding their billing process.
The trays arrive all at once. The packaging is pretty amazing and overall, SDC does a great job with making the user experience pretty intuitive. Also, their branding is impressive- they definitely had a great product development team. The tray sequence divides each month into three aligners: week 1, week 2, week 3/4.
So, what were my initial impressions? Holy hell, why does it feel like there are a thousand razor slices to my tongue!!! It was not a good start. The first tray had some flaring of the plastic that sliced my left lateral tongue and it really hurt. So much so that I took a break for a day. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to hack it in the Smile Direct Club. I tried to trim the tray, which I wouldn’t recommend because it didn’t work and I could have messed the tray up. Instead, I used dental wax which was a total lifesaver. I got some from the clinic but it can also be purchased on Amazon. I also bought an electric nail file for $12 on Amazon, which according to Reddit (sounds dubious) can help smooth down rough edges. As it turns out, week 2 and week 3/4 had no plastic flaring but if it does happen again, I’m ready!