Smooth Process, So for So Good, Too Early to Tell for Sure

A little about me: I'm 29 years old and have never...

A little about me: I'm 29 years old and have never worn braces. I have some moderate crowding and rotations on my upper teeth. I do also have an overbite, but I don't think it looks that bad. My lower teeth are nearly straight. Maybe one tooth out of place, but it doesn't bother me enough to address. I never thought correcting my teeth would be in my budget until I heard of this company, which charges less than half of what traditional orthodontics would cost. My insurance doesn't pay for ortho for adults. I plan on using our FSA plan to pay for it this year.
How it works: This company allows you to straighten your teeth at home with remote support from a dental professional. I believe that cutting out physical visits to a doctor is what allows them to offer such affordable prices. Which is fine with me. After all I don't have gobs of time off work I can use to visit an orthodontist once a week. And I don't have gobs of money to spend on things that are considered cosmetic procedures. The aligners are similar to the clear Invisalign trays. The difference is that invisalign trays only cover your teeth. Sometimes the doctor has to glue "buttons" onto your teeth so the tray can get leverage to move your teeth. With Smile Care Club the trays also cover your gums a bit for the leverage. No buttons required. :)
To begin with you go to their website and fill out a short questionnaire that initially rules out any situations that would disqualify you from using their aligners. That way you don't have to unnecessarily waste your time with the following steps. Then you purchase an evaluation kit for around $95. This is refundable if they determine that you aren't a candidate or if you decide that you don't want to go ahead with it after seeing your plan. The first step after purchasing this kit is to take photos of your teeth at various angles they ask for and upload them to your account. They can then further determine your candidacy. If you pass this step, they send you an impression kit in the mail. The kit has a more detailed medical questionnaire you have to fill out along with consent forms you need to sign. Of course they have to tell you all the scary things that can go wrong. But my guess is that those things are rare. Then you have to take impressions of your teeth. The kit has two different putties you mix together quickly, roll into a tube shape, seat into a tray and bite into it. It can be kind of tricky. So I suggest reading all instructions carefully and practicing putting the tray into your mouth and positioning it without the putty a few times before doing it for real. This much have worked because I didn't have to redo any impressions. So you bag it all up when you're done and send it back to them. Then you find out if you are officially a candidate for real. Next they will send you what are called starter trays. Basically they are same thing as the trays that will move your teeth, without the moving part because they are an identical impression of your teeth. You are supposed to wear these the same as you would the regular trays, 20-22 hours a day, to see if you think you will be able to comply with the program and to keep your teeth in place until you get the real deal. You are also supposed to call them as soon as you try them on to let them know if they fit so they can proceed with creating your plan. You also get both the top and bottom teeth starter trays even if you are only planning on straightening one arch. You only have to wear the starter tray arch you plan on correcting on a regular basis, unless you are whitening the other arch at the moment. The starter trays also come with whitening gel, a nail file to file any sharp edges, some chewies which are supposed to help seat each new set of aligners you get to get a tighter fit. Although I haven't really used the chewies with the starter trays since my teeth already fit them perfectly. Also has something called an outie tool to help pull the trays off your teeth. I don't use it, I just carefully use my fingernails. And a case for your trays. After several days you should get your plan emailed to you. This lets you know how many trays it will take to correct your teeth and how much it will cost. My upper teeth will take the maximum 20 trays (3 weeks each, 14 months). So it will cost me $1300. Would be less if your teeth require less trays. Or more if you are doing both arches. They also let you know if you will require IPR (shaving tiny amounts of enamel between your teeth to create more space for movement) which would require one physical visit to a dentist. Thank God this wasn't part of my plan. The idea of shaving precious enamel from my teeth made me extremely uncomfortable. It's also an extra $200 if you require it. The plan also includes a 3D computer model of your teeth so you can view the progression of your treatment from every angle. Pretty cool. I can't stop watching it. lol At this point you can purchase the plan and they send you all your trays and guide you along the way. I haven't purchased my plan yet so I can't really comment any further on the process yet.
My thoughts and where I'm at right now: As I mentioned before, I haven't purchased my plan yet. The reason for this is because my husband started a new job about a month ago and therefore we are not allowed to use our FSA plan until 3 months after his hire date. So basically, we don't have the money for it yet and won't until March 1st. They say the treatment plan is valid for 3 months after you receive it. I got mine December 16th. So theoretically I have about a 15 day window of time that I will still be able to buy it without having to start from square one. In the meantime, I'm required to wear my upper starter tray until I get the real trays. Booooo! Three months of wearing an annoying piece of plastic in my mouth that isn't even really doing anything except making sure my teeth don't move. My thoughts on the starter trays......for the first 5 days or so, they suck soooo bad! Even after filing the sharp edges down as much as I could without compromising the structure of the tray, they still caused canker sores on my inner cheeks, tongue, and gums. My mouth was really dry. I was thirsty all the time. My spit seemed twice as thick. And I had a lisp that made me sound mentally challenged. I was seriously wondering how I was going to wear these things for 14+ months if my mouth was going to feel this way. I later found out I only had to wear my top arch tray as I was only planning on straightening that one. So it did help only having to wear one. I bought mouth sore wash, oragel, and orthodontic wax from the drug store to put on the sharp edges. These things really helped with the pain and gradually the canker sores healed up and haven't reformed even though I've stopped using the wax. Maybe my mouth tissues have toughened up and adapted. The excessive thirst seems to have gotten better and I've managed to control the lisp to an acceptable degree. So I'm starting to think that I may be able to actually pull this off. As far as the plan goes for moving my teeth, it's not perfect, but I do think it will be a good improvement. My upper teeth will be able to be straightened and aligned, but to do so, my front four teeth will need to be moved forward to make room for my canines. So it will create a bit of an overjet unfortunately. I don't think this can be avoided without going the route of traditional metal mouth braces. And I'm not willing to do that. So I guess the question is would I rather have perfectly straight teeth with a little bit of an overjet or no overjet and crooked teeth. I think I prefer the overjet. But it's kind of hard to tell with the 3D model since all you see are teeth and gums. You don't see how your lips and face interact with this new alignment. So I am a little nervous. I don't want to trade one ugly for another. But I think I am going to go ahead with the plan as soon as I can pay for it in March. After that I plan on continuing with my review here.

Used the Whitening gel that came with kit for the first time yesterday, bad idea

So yesterday I decided to break out the whitening gel that came with my starter trays. I didn't want to use it until all my issues with the canker sores were gone and they were. Big mistake. I only used two application and by the time I got home from work, my front teeth were soooo sensitive. I should have known better. My teeth always do this whenever I try to use whitening products. I guess I hoped this stuff would be gentler because the manual that came with everything said that their gel is formulated to not cause sensitivity. Well either that's an exaggeration or I'm an exception. My teeth really weren't that discolored to begin with. With all the constant brushing I've been doing before putting my trays back in has pretty much taken care of any stains I'm might have had before. Needless to say, it's not worth it to me and I won't be using any more. This morning my teeth are still in pain. At least eating and drinking doesn't seem to be making it any worse. I actually stopped by the drug store and bought Crest sensi-stop strips hoping they would help. I just used a couple and it doesn't seem like it's done anything at all. :( I'm going to try taking some Advil, but I may just have to wait this mistake out. One other thing unrelated to the whitening gel I noticed this morning when I was looking at my teeth in the mirror. One of my canines has a faint line on it. It almost looks like a crack mark (omg I hope it isn't). But if it were I have no idea how it would have happened. I haven't had any violent impacts on my teeth and my starter trays don't actually move my teeth, so I don't think they could have done it.....of course it could just be my imagination and not even be a crack at all. Other than the sensitivity I'm getting from the gel it doesn't hurt any worse than the other teeth I applied the gel to. Lets just hope it's nothing.

Got My aligners Yesterday!

I got the first half of my aligners yesterday and started wearing them today. So my total plan includes 20 aligners worn for 3 weeks each. They sent the first ten. I guess that's because they want to make sure you check back in with them. And that's their way of making sure you do. So I started wearing aligner 1 today. Ok well technically I wore them over the night last night too, but today will be my first whole day. When I first put them on my first impression was "Man, they weren't kidding! These things put some serious tension on your teeth!" But that feeling kind of went away after several minutes of wearing them. Now they just feel firmly form fitting. Not sure if that's a good thing or not. They said the feeling of tension usually lasts the first couple days of each aligner. It only lasted a few minutes for me. I did take them out for breakfast this morning and I did notice my teeth felt a tiny bit achy with the first few bites I took but that quickly went away. So I hope these things are actually doing what they are supposed to. The aligners are a tiny bit flexible, so it kind of makes you wonder if your teeth could somehow warp the aligner out of shape. But I'm sure that's just me being crazy. After all clear aligners have been around for awhile and have been proven to work. Maybe my teeth are just really adaptable. One good bit of news is that I don't seem to be getting any of the soreness or mouth ulcers that I did with the starter tray. I haven't even had to file any sharp edges! I'm thinking maybe my mouth tissues have toughened up since wearing the starter tray. Whatever the case is, I'm really happy about that and happy that I don't have to mess with orthodontic wax. A confession I will make it that I did not wear my starter tray all the time until getting my real trays. I was supposed to, but I only wore it overnight and I often skipped nights. My rational was that my teeth have never been in braces, they have been in this position my entire adult life, so I seriously doubt that they a going to shift. And honestly my starter tray still fit the same yesterday as they did the first day I got them. So I don't think I was bad to do what I did. However, I can't recommend that anyone else does the same though. So as far as updates go, I will probably only do quarterly updates (trays 5,10, 15,20) because I really could hardly notice a difference in the 3d computer model of my teeth from tray to tray. So I don't think any changes will be noticeable until I've gone through several trays. I will do an update if anything noteworthy happens or changes otherwise only. Wish me luck!

Close to end of first tray, A DISCOUNT code for you!

First of all I managed to snag a discount code for anyone following my progress. To get $25 off your evaluation kit ($95 normally) enter code at checkout: MISSELISSA In about 1.5 days I will be switching to my 2nd tray. This 1st tray has fit passively over my teeth since almost the 2nd day. But I've done some research that mentions that you still need to wear your tray for the amount of time prescribed because even if your teeth have moved early on, the bone around your teeth is still reforming around the new tooth position. So annoying, but so necessary. Better slow and safe than fast and furious. lol To give you an idea of how loose these things are in my mouth, I can actually flip them out with my tongue. Which btw, I do not recommend. So even though I might be facing more pressure on my teeth here in a few days, I'm actually excited because that means something is happening and I'm one step closer to having straight teeth. If you are wondering, I notice absolutely no difference in my teeth at this point. And I didn't expect to. The movements from tray to tray are minute. And it will probably be harder for me to notice without looking at before and after photos in the future because I see my teeth everyday. Its kind of like when you start loosing weight. Your clothes might start getting looser every week and nobody notices that you are loosing weight until you've already lost 25 lbs and then they act like you've dropped it overnight even though you've been working at it for months. That's probably how it's going to be with my teeth. Something I've noticed in regards to cleaning my trays, is that it's not that easy. You would think that all it would take is brushing them like you do your teeth, but it's not that easy. It seems like plaque likes to cling to these things more than to teeth and then you also have to deal with trying to get your toothbrush into the recession where your front teeth go. It seems nearly impossible to get to all the areas there. I need to look into finding a soak that dissolves plaque but is safe for trays. And these things get a nasty odor to them. You would think with all the constant brushing I do, that that wouldn't happen, but it does. eww. Customer service still has quite the lag when it comes to getting email responses. Its been taking up to 5 days to get a response back. I'm just glad I haven't had any teeth emergencies since I don't think I can count on them for speedy help. At least not at this point. Well folks, that's all I have for now. I've also started doing you tube updates on my progress, so if you want to watch those my you tube user name is misselissalk.

Just switched to 3rd tray

I just switched to my third tray. And ive noticed something i'm a little worried about. A couple of my teeth aren't fitting all the way to the bottom of the tray, my one lateral incisor in particular. I hadn't noticed anything like this before this tray. So I don't know if this can be normal or if my teeth aren't tracking quite right. Ive tried to wear them as much as possible. I don't exactly time myself when im not wearing my trays. But maybe that would be a good idea, because sometimes after im done eating, I get side tracked and leave them out a little linger than i intended. But my trays always feel loose by the time I'm supposed to switch trays and i thought that was an indicator that you're wearing them enough. They also have everyone wear the trays a generic 3 weeks each. From what I've read, thats on the long side in the invisible aligner world. So i figured thats them being on the safe side because of not having direct contact with patients. Although i cant say thats a fact. So i am a little worried. Worst comes to worse, i guess they would have to take new impressions and send out a new set of trays. I hate that though. The process of making impressions and waiting for trays is already tedious enough as it is. And it would only tack more time onto my already seemingly light years away 14 months. Not to mention that I'm unsure of whether the company would charge me more to do this or not. I emailed them about this tonight. I will await their response. Unfortunately given their history of poor communication, I wouldn't be surprised if it takes 5 days or so to get a response.

I think the gap has lessened overnight

So last night is when I noticed a gap in the bottom of my tray and my right lateral incisor. Well this morning I looked in the mirror and it seems like that gap lessened considerably overnight. Maybe that tooth moved into place overnight. I will post a photo.

On tray 6/20

Im a week into my tray 6 of 20 and things are still going well. Two more trays and they will be done moving my four front teeth forward. Initially i was worried about my overbite becoming worse because of this but seeing as I'm only two trays away from them being done moving those teeth and they are looking really good so far, I'm pretty confident that its going to be just fine. Actually starting with the tray im on right now they've just started twisting my canines back. So my teeth have been a little more achy than normal this time around because they are moving more teeth, but it still isn't bad at all. In the photo I'm adding with this update, the right photo is my current status and the left was before starting treatment.

Tray 8/20

Really starting to see some good progress. Top photo is wearing tray 8. Bottom is before starting treatment. What's significant about tray 8 is that this is the last tray moving my front teeth forward. Which means that my fears regarding getting a super dork-faced overbite can be put to rest. Because they look great and while the overbite is more prominent, it really doesn't negatively impact my looks.

So they have started moving my canines since tray six. Cant wait to see improvement on those because those were why I started this process in the first place.

On a more negative note, customer service just seems to be degrading more and more. Its like pulling teeth (no pun intended) to get them to return emails or phone calls regarding questions about my treatment. When I started this process their website said it was NOT a do it your self treatment, but I'm going to be honest. It really is. Before i actually bought my plan, they were calling me every month just to see if i had any questions, but now i'm lucky if they even acknowledge my existence. I'm just thankful I haven't run into any serious problems so far and that the actual technology seems to be working as promised. But good lord, if something does go wrong, I'm terrified that i will be screwed and fall through the cracks. Im still giving it till the end of my treatment before i can recommend one way or the other. Because honestly, I'm torn. Im thrilled that I'm seeing my teeth transform into the smile I always dreamed of for an affordable price, but i am beyond disgusted with the complete lack of concern for paying customers. We may be paying less than people do for traditional ortho but that shouldn't mean that out money isn't worth basic support.

Tray 9/20

Just switched to tray 9 of 20 last night before bedtime. According to my treatment plan, Tray 9 should be the start of the rest of my trays ONLY moving my canines. But I experienced something kind of odd this morning upon removing my aligners to eat. I am used to have some soreness in the moving teeth the first couple days after switching to a new tray, but today was kind of different. I had soreness in the front four teeth and even a little in the teeth right behind my canines. Yet there is no soreness what so ever in the canines themselves. This even though the canines are the only ones that should be moving. Part of me is worried that my canines are being resistant to moving. But if you look at them in the tray, they seem to be seated completely, so who knows. Nerves are a funny thing though. Sometimes pain doesn't show up the worst right at the source. At least when you have a vertebrae go out in your back it doesn't always. I've have had pain radiate clear across my back and actually seem more intense in areas where my back wasn't out. So I wonder if nerves in the teeth can act the same way. I hope that's all that's going on.

I just wish SDC was more communicative. The people you talk to through chat or their call center have no dental training at all it seems. So I imagine they have to be careful about what they tell you. So if you have a more specific question about your treatment, don't even bother trying to ask them. You're lucky if they even pass it on to the dental professional. It often seems like the actual dental professional overseeing your case is like a royal king or something and to have your queries heard by the king is a rare and rushed occurrence. Really trying to trust the process. I just don't want to get to the end of treatment with a known issue and then have to have many months of refinements that could have been nipped in the bud, had they only been addressed sooner....sigh

Tray 10/20

I am basically at my halfway point now, in a week if you want to get technical. I am nearly a week into my 10th tray and it's loosened up enough at this point that I think my teeth have moved into position and stay that way for short periods of time without the tray in. Still not feeling the soreness in the canines. It's strange. Also noticed something else kind of weird but kind of good. I don't know if I mentioned it before or not, but for awhile now I've noticed my bite not really fitting together right. Like my right side molars weren't touching anymore, while my left side molars were. It was annoying, but wasn't preventing me from chewing or anything, so I kind of let it go. Well as of yesterday, I've noticed that without my aligners in, my right side molars are starting to touch again. It's not perfect, but it does feel better. Not sure what is causing it exactly because if my canines are only moving, then I don't know how that changes anything with my molars. My only guess is that maybe there are still micro movements happening in my plan that don't show up on the 3d model. In any case, it's a good thing.
Still waiting on them to send me my 11-20 trays. I am a little nervous because I don't want to prolong my treatment any longer than it already is. But I have a little more than 2 weeks before I need to have them so I can switch. I will post photos here a little later.

First hiccup

So I've had my first hiccup in the treatment process. Im a little more than two weeks into my tenth tray, the last of the first set i received initially and have been waiting on them to send me 11-20. At the beginning of tray ten they requested update photos and i sent them within a day.
Well i just got a response to those photos yesterday. They said my aligners aren't fitting and to wear this tray an additional two weeks before moving on!! I don't know how they are coming to that conclusion because i feel like this tray is actually fitting really well all my teeth, even my laterals i was having questions about several trays ago, are fitting very close to all the way into the bottom of the tray. It even felt loose a week into wearing it. My teeth seem to match what the 3d model says my teeth should look like at this stage. When i asked about my laterals several trays ago i was told that the gap i noticed still was within the range of acceptable. Well i think that gap has even closed up since then. So what gives?! I have suspicions that they aren't as close to having my next set of aligners made as they say they are and this is their way of stalling me until they do. Because what is wearing a tray additional weeks going to do? If they aren't fitting right, wouldn't that mean that you would have to take new impressions of my teeth and redesign my remaining aligners? Once again the information they gave me was vague and I'm not certain that i will get an answer to these questions even though I've emailed them. So i guess i will follow their instructions to be on the safe side. But I guess that means that my treatment completion will now be delayed by at least two weeks at this point.
Name not provided

My only interactions have been with customer service over the phone and email. Questions have been answered quite promptly and professionally.

4 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
3 out of 5 stars Wait times
Was this review helpful? {{ voteCountOthers + ' other' + (voteCountOthers == 1 ? '' : 's') }} found this helpful