The ADA Cautions Patients against SmileDirectClub

Cosmetic, General & TMJ Dentist Serving Boston, Medford, Winchester, Cambridge, Somerville & Nearby Massachusetts

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Posted: November 27, 2019

Straight teeth are highly sought after, and for good reason. Misalignment can cause bite issues which can threaten your oral health. Additionally, an aesthetic smile goes a long way in improving self-esteem and social interactions. It is no surprise that patients seek affordable methods of achieving a beautiful smile. However, not all teeth alignment methods are safe, and lower cost do-it-yourself (DIY) systems could cause irreversible problems.

The American Dental Association (ADA) warns against DIY teeth straightening, such as the aligner tray system offered by SmileDirect Club. The ADA has filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) against the company. Boston cosmetic dentist, Dr. Ryan Clancy, agrees with the ADA’s position on SmileDirectClub, as he understands the importance of using proven, professionally supervised approaches to improve bite and alignment issues.

How is SmileDirectClub Different from other Teeth Straightening Methods?

In-person evaluation and progress monitoring by a trained dental provider are key components of treatment with traditional braces, full face orthodontics, and Invisalign®.  With SmileDirectClub, the ADA cautions patients that in-person evaluation and supervision are not involved. A SmileDirectClub patient may not be aware of existing oral health issues or bite concerns that could jeopardize his or her oral health, especially when teeth movement begins.

If proper diagnosis of existing conditions and alignment issues is not obtained, you may be risking permanent damage by starting a DIY teeth straightening system. The ADA cites “bone loss, lost teeth, receding gums, bite problems, jaw pain, and other issues” as potential risks of moving teeth without a proper assessment.

At Cosmetic & Esthetic Dentistry, Dr. Clancy begins your treatment with a thorough examination of your oral health, bite, and dental history. This step is highly important for preventing damage and for determining the best teeth alignment treatment for you. Many patients are good candidates for Invisalign®, while other cases require more intensive adjustments, making full face orthodontics the most effective choice.

The ADA’s Complaint against SmileDirectClub

In June of 2019, the ADA filed a complaint with the FTC alleging that SmileDirectClub engages in false and misleading advertising, putting consumers at risk. As stated in the complaint, the ADA has found that SmileDirectClub:

  • Markets their product as able to correct various bite issues while stating elsewhere that their product can only treat minor alignment issues.
     
  • Claims that customers get dental care equal to that of dental patients while not providing adequate or equal care to customers nor providing the teledentistry services it claims to deliver. The ADA’s policy on teledentistry holds dental providers to the same standards as in-person interactions and requires “live, two-way interaction.” The ADA has found SmileDirectClub to be negligent in meeting such standards, despite their promises to consumers.

Safe, Discreet Alignment is Available

woman with invisalign trayThe ADA’s complaint includes discussion of confusing statements in SmileDirectClub materials that may lead consumers to believe that clear aligner treatment is only suitable for minor alignment issues. In fact, the Invisalign® system can address a range of bite and alignment concerns with its custom, clear aligner trays.

Invisalign® is a safe, proven treatment conducted under the supervision of a trained and qualified dental provider. This system’s aligner trays are designed to incrementally shift your teeth, and Invisalign® technology allows for the creation of custom, comfortable trays. If trays do not fit properly, an Invisalign® patient can see his or dentist, and adjustments can be made or new trays created as necessary. In contrast, SmileDirectClub patients must adjust their own trays or deal with the discomfort, which could be an indication of other oral health issues.

Call Us for a Consultation

Whether you have damage as a result of SmileDirectClub or are just starting to explore your teeth straightening options, Dr. Clancy is qualified to help you get your smile back on track. The team at Cosmetic & Esthetic Dentistry takes our role as your dental provider seriously. We welcome our patients’ questions and concerns and make it a priority to find solutions that meet your unique needs, including financing options.

Call us at 781-396-8558 to schedule a consultation and find out how to safely and effectively address your dental concerns. We serve the communities of Medford, Winchester, Cambridge, Somerville, Boston, and the surrounding areas.

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