The Experts Behind SmileDirectClub

Friday June 15, 2018

A recent survey indicated that 54 million people in the U.S. want a better smile. SmileDirectClub co-founders Alex Fenkell and Jordan Katzman saw this as an opportunity to redefine an industry standard (metal braces!) with a model both affordable and effective. But they couldn't do it alone, so they sought advice from some of the most reputable dentists and orthodontists in the country.

Jeffrey Sulitzer, DMD, is the lead dentist at SmileDirectClub. A graduate of Temple University School of Dentistry in Philadelphia, Dr. Sulitzer has been in practice for 33 years and has treated patients with needs ranging from basic preventive services to orthodontic aligner therapy. He recently chatted with EDGE about SmileDirectClub's impact and how the brand maintains its high level of industry standards within the cutting-edge teledentistry model.

Who are the dentists behind SmileDirectClub?
SmileDirectClub works with a network of 225 affiliated, state-licensed dentists and orthodontists. These doctors are located in all 50 states and have many years of invisible aligner experience. A SmileDirectClub-affiliated, state-licensed dentist or orthodontist treats every SmileDirectClub customer and prescribes and oversees their treatment, as well as providing check-ins every 90 days to make sure their patients' teeth are moving on track, all the way into retention.

A Clinical Advisory Board recommends guidelines to the affiliated doctors in SmileDirectClub's network. The board establishes recommended clinical guidelines and best practices, which the affiliated doctors utilize to guide the care of their patients. These affiliated doctors are also guided by the Standards of Care within their local communities. These dentists and orthodontists don't work for SmileDirectClub and are under no obligation to provide SmileDirectClub invisible aligners.

An individual who is requesting treatment by using SmileDirectClub's aligners is receiving the same level of care from a treating dentist or orthodontist as an individual visiting a traditional orthodontist or dentist for treatment. The teledentistry platform allows for more convenient access and flexibility for individuals who may not have access to or means to afford local care.

What are some of the health concerns of misaligned teeth?
Invisible aligners can help correct or prevent several health concerns. Crowding of the teeth can make it difficult to floss properly and can cause food to build up, which can lead to poor overall dental hygiene and more significant problems down the road.

The American Dental Association (ADA) has linked poor dental health to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and more. If teeth are too widely spaced or too crowded, it could increase the risk of periodontal disease and tooth decay. Additionally, crooked teeth can result in added pressure and stress on your teeth, causing premature wear, gum recession, and even loose teeth. SmileDirectClub invisible aligners are a great way to address mild to moderate misalignment.

Are invisible aligners as effective as traditional metal braces?
Invisible aligners are just as effective as braces when it comes to treating mild to moderate crowding or spacing concerns. They also cost up to 60 percent less and can take less time to achieve a straighter smile - just six months on average. Plus, customers love that aligners are removable, eliminating the need for food restrictions and allowing them to brush and floss more easily than with braces. Traditional braces are still recommended for more severe issues including overbite, underbite, crossbite, and jaw disorders.

How can a SmileDirectClub-affiliated dentist evaluate someone's teeth without an in-person consultation?
SmileDirectClub's affiliated dentists and orthodontists create custom smile plans for each of their patients using either the impressions or the 3D image from a SmileShop scan, a series of photos uploaded online by the patient, the patient's informed consent, medical history, dental history, their chief complaint and other clinical data points if necessary. They also check in with patients remotely every 90 days to help monitor progress and make sure the patient's teeth are moving according to plan.

Additionally, the affiliated dentists and orthodontists require all patients to have visited their local dentist for a cleaning and checkup at least six months before starting invisible aligner treatment. Any patient whose clinical data, including 3D images and photos during the initial assessment or their 90-day check-ins, show signs of cavities, periodontal disease, or any other dental or gum issues will need to visit their local dentist before starting or continuing orthodontic aligner treatment.

What makes SmileDirectClub's invisible aligners different than others on the market?
SmileDirectClub is the pioneer of doctor-directed, doctor prescribed, at-home orthodontics, and we've created more than 200,000 smiles since 2014. Our invisible aligners are cut straight across the top, giving them optimal turning force to straighten your teeth. Aligners are hand-cut and custom-fit to each person's individual teeth and gums. With a slight texture and clear finish, SmileDirectClub aligners are natural looking. They're less reflective on teeth and virtually invisible when worn. The aligners are made of smooth, comfortable, BPA-free plastic. They won't irritate your mouth like traditional metal braces do.

Is there any discomfort or side effects?
As with any orthodontia, it's normal for some customers to feel slight discomfort while wearing aligners as they gently move your teeth into your new smile. Any discomfort should be minimal and subside within a few days. We recommend that patients start wearing a new set of aligners before going to sleep to help minimize any discomfort or soreness they might experience. Click here for tips on making aligners more comfortable.

What are the most important things to keep in mind when wearing invisible aligners?
For optimal results, customers must wear their aligners all day and night (except when eating and drinking anything other than cool water). Just like any prescription, customers should carefully follow the invisible aligner plan provided by their doctor. They can use dental wax and the provided Chewies to help make aligners more comfortable. And always keep aligners clean! Use antibacterial soap instead of toothpaste to gently clean aligners, and always rinse them with cool or warm water (never hot) after removing. Brush and floss your teeth before putting your aligners back in after eating or drinking.

How do you keep the perfect smile once treatment is complete?
Wear your retainers! For the first two weeks after treatment is complete, customers should wear their retainers all day and night, except when eating and drinking. After that, they should be worn every night for at least 8 hours. SmileDirectClub retainers are made from a thicker plastic than the aligners, which helps keep your teeth in place. Retainers are essential for maintaining your new beautiful smile.

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