I have been growing unhappy more and more recently...
18 Dec 2015
Day of treatment
I have been growing unhappy more and more recently with my smile and I really wanted braces, but I just could not see spending thousands of dollars on braces when my teeth really aren't too bad. I was searching around on Real Self and I found SmileCareClub which is a fraction of the cost of Invisalign, though the two brands look similar, they have many differences. I have done tons of research and the only negative comments I've read were from orthodontists who sell Invisalign, who have an obvious conflict with the product. My teeth are healthy and I see a dentist regularly. I had metal braces at age 19. I've always thought of my previous orthodontic clinic as a "braces factory". This ortho office would have like 20 chairs lined up and the technicians did all the work while the practitioner just signed off on things. I was young, broke and naive and I remember the doc saying, "they're ready to come off" and they were actually still crooked when the braces were removed. I've always been angry that I let that happen, but I had no mentors in life; I was on my own at that point. My metal braces came off several months early because the doc said they were ready, but I still paid the full amount. I think this clinic was called Apple Ortho-something (in Texas) and I would be surprised if it was still open. I wore my top retainer for the majority of 2.5 years and I had a fixed banded bottom retainer. Somewhere down the line the wire broke on my bottom retainer. Also at the time my dentist refused to pull my wisdom teeth. I have a very small mouth and I strongly believe the wisdom teeth did contribute to my tooth movement. Dentists have agreed and disagreed with me on this, but the dentist who refused to pull the teeth......I still hold a lot of contempt for. I currently have mild-mod crowding in the front upper and lower teeth. My lateral incisors stick out and as a kid it was described as "vampire teeth" and I think it's unattractive. My teeth aren't as bad as when I had metal braces in 1994, but they seem to continue to move even after all these years. My teeth shifted about 3 years after the braces came off and did seem to stabilize. I had two back to back pregnancies at 38 and 39 years old. I've heard that teeth movement can accelerate during pregnancy and again certain dentists have told me that this isn't true, but my teeth did move significantly during my pregnancies.
Right now I have the starter set of trays and I will continue to wear them until my real trays arrive. I'm on the smile 10 plan, which is 10 trays each for upper and lower arch, to be worn for 3 weeks before moving to the next set of trays.
I first heard about SmileCareClub in Real Self and came across a voucher on Living Social for the impressions kit + a $200 off treatment coupon (I think it was$19.00 ? For the voucher). I had to take several pictures of my mouth/teeth from different angles. Then once my cased was approved I received my impressions kit, which was very easy to make because I watched the videos and followed the directions very closely. After sending in the impressions it took approximately 4-5 weeks to receive my treatment plan. During this time I confirmed my orthodontic benefit with my insurance, which covers 50%. I've had my treatment plan for almost one month and today moved forward with purchasing the trays. The insurance must be completed by the patient, but SCC assists with the necessary forms and it seems fairly straightforward. I will give an update on that as soon as I have anything new. The remainder qualifies for HSA reimbursement and again I will update with any info on how that goes. I'm really excited to get started. It takes about 21 business days to get the trays. Holidays and weekends do count, so I'm guessing my treatment will start the end of January and should be completed by the end of August. After completion my goal is to get fixed retainers for both arches to insure my compliance with retaining.
Received my aligners yesterday. Customer Service issues!
I received all of my aligners yesterday. They arrived via FedEx from Nashville. I expected them 1st week of February so I'm impressed the got here so early. The aligners are the same material as the starter trays excepted they have my patient number on them in a hidden spot. They come with a remover tool, a set of chewies to set them properly, a file to adjust the free edge and a new case. The starter trays also come with a tool, file, chewies and case. It's good to have extras. This 1st set of trays haven't hurt at all. They look and feel fine.
The only issues I've had are that I called prior to Christmas just to get the scoop on the insurance. I had to leave a voicemail. I wanted to check if I should start the insurance reimbursement before the end if 2015 or if it would be okay to start filing insurance after 2016. I purchased my treatment plan in 2015, but didn't get the aligners until 2016, so I wanted to be sure I would qualify for reimbursement. I never heard back from anyone at the company. Today I got an email from two people who will counsel me thru my treatment and remind me to change my aligners every 3 weeks. The email basically said to contact them with any questions. I called them to find out what's up with the insurance and to discuss why I haven't received a response from my December voicemail. My call went to voicemail again and the name in the greeting was not their names. So I emailed and discussed my situation and told them I was blogging on here about my experience. Hopefully I can get some answers quickly. If I'm hosed now on the insurance, because this guy never responded to my voicemail I'll be packing the aligners up and requesting a refused. So far not happy with the customer service. I'll keep you posted!
It's a miracle! Finally got someone on the phone at SCC.
Quick recap- I paid for the treatment aligners in full, mid-December. I've been attempting to reach someone in the billing/insurance department since my purchase to discuss insurance filing questions because it was my understanding that I needed to do everything on my own, in the filing process. I knew I would need documentation to go along with the form to obtain reimbursement. I work in the medical field and have some prior knowledge to I'm okay doing this. My concern was the change of year and when my treatment officially started 2015 or 2016.
I'd been attempting to contact billing/insurance and my patient care specialist via phone, vm, email and the SCC chat since mid-December and I'd had absolutely no responses. Today I did reach someone. She was very nice and explained that SCC fills out the paperwork and sends the documents to the patient to file herself. This makes it even easier for the patient. The problem for me is the NO RESPONSE at all! I get that this was happening thru 2 major holidays, I paid for a treatment/service and I had questions. SCC has a responsibility to be available to their patients within a reasonable amount of time and they were not, so I felt I was left hanging. I had my aligners ready to be returned and for now I have that on hold. I feel that once insurance is taken care of, my treatment should be on autopilot for the most part and I'm hopeful it will be smooth sailing from this point on.
Treatment wise, I'm still on 1st set of aligners and they are fairly comfortable. My speech is mumble-y, which I'm working on. I don't eat between meals because it's a pain to have to brush/floss all the time so hopefully I lose that bad habit. I'm drinking water all the time instead of snacking. The free edge painfully rubs the inside of my mouth in certain areas. I've been putting a tiny bit of dental wax to help with that. SCC supplies a file, but so far filing the sharp edges had made it worse.
Good luck to you if you're just starting! Just call everyday until you get a hold of someone at SCC but hopefully you will have a better experience with that!
More of the same.
10 Feb 2016
2 months post
A few weeks ago I finally complained to the right person at SCC about my inability to get a call back with my issues and concerns regarding filing the insurance claim. A SCC VP did email me with the "completed" form. I submitted the form immediately. Delta has denied the claim because SCC provided the wrong tax ID for the local provider. In fact, around the same time I filed insurance, I requested a consultation with this local provider thru SCC and she notified them that she wasn't accepting new patients, but aren't I technically her patient? Which makes me think that this is somehow fraud with her name on the form as my provider. I'm not digging SCC at all, specifically the customer service or lack thereof. I really have no complaints about the system itself and my teeth seem to be moving into proper alignment. I changed to my 2nd set of aligners 1.5 weeks ago. Switching aligners is easy and self explanatory. Cleaning the aligners takes some work. I do soak them each morning and I only scrub them with water and my toothbrush.
I have a consultation with a local provider for 6 month smiles. I'm curious how that works and about the price. I have insurance and I want to use my benefits. If I didn't have insurance, SCC would be great because customer service would never be an issue. I would love to leave the insurance paperwork to someone else and if I'm not having luck getting reimbursed for the Smile Care Club system, then I would like to put that money towards something that gives me a better customer service experience. I'm nervous about the refund process and I will comment if it comes to that. Many people seem to be having great experiences with SCC and I'm hopeful that I'm the only person not happy. If you don't have insurance benefits or don't want to use your benefits then SCC should be a perfect choice. Good luck to anyone going the SCC route!
4th set of aligners/insurance update
16 Mar 2016
3 months post
I'm about a week into my 4th set of trays. My teeth are moving and seem straighter to me. My bite does feel strange. My bottom teeth have several small spaces forming to allow the bottom front left tooth to go back into correct alignment. It's never been so easy to floss. I've had no issues with the treatment.
I do have an ongoing issue with my insurance claim because Smile Care Club dropped the ball or gave me incorrect info or "helped" me by filled out the claim form incorrectly.
1st I want to say that if you have no insurance this type of ortho treatment is a good option. If you do have insurance SCC might be a hinderance in obtaining reimbursement. My claims have all been denied. SCC has failed to return my emails and calls with my questions on correcting and self submitting my claims. You can't ever speak to anyone beyond the receptionist and she does not care if you get your insurance reimbursement.
Today I contacted the SCC contracted provider in my home state and she's going to contact SCC on my behalf. I also spent a couple of hours on the phone with a caring employee at Delta Dental who said he's got it squared away with all the info previously supplied by my failed claims and thinks I'll be getting reimbursed within the month. My opinion is if you have decent ortho dental coverage go with a local provider who will submit the claim on your behalf. If I had it to do over I would have gone with 6 month smiles. My share of the bill after would have been around $1200, which is the the full price of my Smile Care Club treatment. If I'm paying that anyway, I'd rather have better service.
I haven't read about anyone else having issues with reimbursement. I'm guessing most people don't use their benefit because it's low cost or they don't have orthodontic benefit. Good Luck and I'd love to hear from other people who tried to get insurance reimbursement with SCC!
Issues resolved with Smile Care Club!
27 Mar 2016
3 months post
As of March 17th all my issues with Smile Care Club have been resolved!!!???? All my issues have been documented in my past updates here on RealSelf. Simultaneously I'd posted a low star review on Yelp. My review was not defamatory, but just stated my experience in a factual way. Out of the blue a guy from SCC asked me to send the email that I have my SCC account under. I was a little skeptical that he could or would follow thru with helping me, as I hadn't been able to get help since I gave my credit card info and purchased the aligners.
To make a long story short this man reviewed my complaint and made everything better. The message from Smile Care Club was from a person named Hal, which is kind of funny if you're into Stanley Kubrick. This Smile Care Club employee "fixer" resolved the matter. I'm not going to go into what the resolution was here on Real Self. I want to believe that my situation was an unusual chain of events and most people have had very smooth treatment and billing situation. I'm extremely happy and I see smooth sailing for the next 5 months.
I think it's hard to tell from the pictures, but I've seen more movement with my most recent aligner change. The update before this said it was just moving to set-3, but I'm actually in 4. I'll post s new image but again I think it's hard so see much change with pictures alone.
7th set aligners.
13 Jun 2016
6 months post
I'm almost finished with my 7th set and my teeth have straightened nicely. It's remarkable how straight my teeth have become. I still have a speech impediment, which has never improved, but I know some people have no issues with this. My treatment should be complete by the end of July. I was originally planning to get a permanent retainer placed by my dentist, but now im probably going to get a clear retainer from SDC to wear at night and I'm going to get a Hawley retainer for daytime. I did some research on retainers and I decided the permanent retainer would be a nusaince because I enjoy flossing and those make flossing difficult. The clear Essex restrainer is good to have because over time if your teeth begin to shift, the Essex can help move them back into place. The Hawley retainer is good because it's healthy for your bite/teeth if they are touching. I think this is good for teeth in the way that bones stay healthy by bearing weight. I could be wrong but that's what I've read. The Essex retainer works great for night use and Hawley for day use. I might change my mind again and I'd be happy to hear other suggestions. There are many online websites that make retainers of all types and mouth/night guards in the same way as SDC makes aligner systems. I'm looking at reputation and pricing and I'm going to compare this with what my dentist will charge. I do think the $99 clear retainers from SDC is the best price I've seen, but I anticipate some difficulty in communicating with the company because I've had issues in the past. I have a few more weeks remaining so I'm open to ideas from other SDC patients.
My treatment with SmileDirect (formerly SmileCareClub) is complete tomorrow. My teeth are much straighter, but they are still crooked. When I started the treatment they offered a package with 10 aligners and now I think everyone has 20 sets of aligners. At the time I was thrilled, but now that my teeth are still crooked I think it was overly ambitious to think 10 sets would be enough. I'm waiting to see if I can get refinements. I'd really love to hear from other patients who have gotten to the end of their treatment and needed refinements. Did they charge for this additional service or was it included? Smile Direct is still very slow at offering any feedback, nothing new.