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Teledentistry Revolution: SmileDirectClub Challenges Invisalign & Leading Startups

SmileDirectClub: Teledentistry at its Best

Imagine having the perfect smile youve always wanted without stepping out of your home. Say hello to SmileDirectClub, the teledentistry company making it possible to straighten teeth from the comfort of your own home.

No more monthly visits to the dentist, no more uncomfortable metal braces, and no more huge bills. Sounds too good to be true?

Lets dive in and take a closer look at SmileDirectClub.

SmileDirectClub Overview

SmileDirectClub has been helping people achieve the smile they want since 2013. Unlike traditional orthodontic treatment, invisible aligners are used to straighten your teeth.

These aligners are custom-fit for each patient and made of clear plastic material that makes them inconspicuous when worn. The process starts with a scan of the patient’s teeth, which can be done at home using SmileDirectClub’s impression kit or at one of their physical locations.

The scans are then evaluated by a team of experienced dentists or orthodontists who will create a customized treatment plan tailored to the patient’s needs. Once the treatment plan is approved, the patient receives a series of aligners that are worn for approximately 22 hours a day for two weeks before moving on to the next set.

Typically, treatment lasts around six months, depending on the severity of the case.

Products and Services offered by SmileDirectClub

SmileDirectClub offers several products that cater to people’s varying dentistry needs. Their most popular product is the invisible aligners.

However, they also offer other products and services such as Nighttime Clear Aligners and Smile Shop (physical locations where you can get a scan of your teeth). Their Nighttime Clear Aligners are designed for those who cant wear aligners during daytime activities.

The Nighttime Clear Aligners are less bulky, more comfortable, and are worn for a longer duration, ensuring the same results as traditional clear aligners. SmileDirectClub also has a partnership with Align Technology, a company that creates

Invisalign braces.

Through this partnership, SmileDirectClub offers its patients

Invisalign aligners that are only available through their network.

SmileDirectClub Process

SmileDirectClubs at-home process is a straightforward journey without any obstacles. The process starts with ordering an impression kit, which includes a dental impression and a set of cheek retractors.

Once you receive your kit, you need to take an impression of your teeth and send it back to SmileDirectClub. Once they receive your impression kit, a team of experienced dentists or orthodontists will evaluate your scan and prepare a customized treatment plan.

After you approve the treatment plan, the aligners are sent straight to your doorstep. You wear the aligners for the recommended time, typically 22 hours a day, for two weeks before moving on to the next set.

Youll need to take occasional progress pictures of your teeth to ensure that your treatment is on the right track. SmileDirectClub’s at-home process is available in several countries worldwide, including the United States, Canada, and parts of Europe.

Company Information

Founded in 2013 by Alex Fenkell and Jordan Katzman, SmileDirectClub’s mission is to provide convenient and affordable options for teeth straightening and to make people smile confidently. Over a million customers have been served by SmileDirectClub to date, with the company raising a whopping $1.3 billion in its initial public offering (IPO).


Like any product or service, there have been criticisms leveled against SmileDirectClub. Traditional dentists and orthodontists have raised concerns about SmileDirectClub’s lack of in-person appointments and physical examinations.

However, their team of board-certified dentists and orthodontists oversee all treatments.

Another critique is that the aligners, while personalized, may not work for everyone.

According to SmileDirectClub, their aligners can fix most teeth-straightening cases, but for those with more severe cases, treatment with an orthodontist may be necessary.


SmileDirectClub is an innovative company that has disrupted the traditional dental industry by offering at-home teeth straightening through teledentistry. Their products and services have helped countless people achieve the perfect smile without having to visit a dentist or orthodontist in person.

While they have not been without criticism, their team of experts, personalized treatment plans, and internationally recognized presence make SmileDirectClub a leader in the teledentistry industry. SmileDirectClub may be a leader in the teledentistry industry, but it is no stranger to competition.

In this article, we will take a closer look at SmileDirectClub’s competitors, their respective advantages, and how they stack up against SmileDirectClub.


Invisalign is the industry leader in teeth straightening. The company has been around since 1997 and boasts a patented technology that no other company has been able to replicate.

Invisalign aligners are made of a proprietary material called SmartTrack, designed to be more comfortable than traditional braces while being able to fix severe cases of malocclusion.

Invisalign treatment requires in-office visits, and its cost is generally more expensive than SmileDirectClub. According to the

Invisalign website, the prices can range from $3,000 to $8,000 or more, depending on the complexity of the case.


Invisalign has a significant advantage over SmileDirectClub in terms of orthodontic treatment.

Invisalign treatment is always monitored by a professional orthodontist; the treatment outcome, therefore, has a higher guarantee of success.

They also offer their aligners to teenagers, unlike SmileDirectClub, who only allows adults aged 18 and above.


Candid is a newer entrant in the market, having been in business since 2017. Like SmileDirectClub,

Candid offers clear aligners to correct malocclusion, but

Candids process involves in-person care from licensed orthodontists.

Candid aligners, like Invisalign, use a proprietary material to make the aligners more comfortable.

Candid’s pricing is in line with SmileDirectClub, with costs ranging from $2,400 to $2,800. However,

Candids in-person care differentiates it from SmileDirectClub.

Patients can visit

Candids SmileShops for consultations and scans or receive a home impression kit.


Byte is another newer entrant in the market that has substantial differences from SmileDirectClub.

Byte offers treatment that is shorter, often taking less than half the time of other major competitors.

Byte also introduced Hyper

Byte, a device that vibrates to stimulate tooth movement, which reportedly results in faster results. The company raised $1 billion in funding and was acquired by D.

Holdings in 2021. However, with its unique offerings comes higher pricing, with

Byte’s treatment costs starting at around $1,895.

Byte also guarantees orthodontist supervision throughout the course of the treatment.


Founded in Germany in 2017,

PlusDental is a European provider that focuses on invisible aligners as well. In addition to straightening teeth,

PlusDental offers additional dental products, such as teeth whitening and retainers, which differentiates it from SmileDirectClub.

PlusDental also has a presence in several European countries, such as the UK, Switzerland, and Austria, a feat not yet accomplished by SmileDirectClub. However, pricing for their treatment plans begins around EUR 2,290, making

PlusDental more expensive than some of its competitors.


ClearCorrect is another US-based aligner company, known for its global presence.

ClearCorrect is available in over 40 countries and boasts having treated over 6 million patients worldwide.

ClearCorrect also has the advantage of offering both remote and in-person consultations, which allows patients to choose the option that suits them best.

ClearCorrect pricing is also in line with SmileDirectClub, beginning at around $2,000.


SureSmile has been in the teeth straightening business since 2004 and is one of the earliest companies to introduce braces technology. Dentsply Sirona acquired the company in 2017.

SureSmile does not offer direct-to-consumer sales but instead partners with dental professionals, who provide orthodontic treatment monitored and supervised by a dentist. The

SureSmile treatment is computerized, meaning that the treatment plan is customized and accurate.

They also use 3D imaging to plan the treatment process.

Uniform Teeth

Uniform Teeth is a US-based provider that offers in-person care in addition to virtual consultations. The company raised $14 million in 2020 and differentiates themselves from SmileDirectClub by including the involvement of orthodontists throughout their treatment process.

Uniform Teeth also has a guarantee of 30-minute wait times for in-person appointments, which sets them apart from many other brick-and-mortar orthodontic practices. Pricing for their aligners is comparable to other major competitors’, with their pricing starting around $2,950.


NewSmile is a newer entrant to the teledentistry industry, operating since 2019.

NewSmile offers lower pricing for its aligners, with plans starting around $1,699.

Unlike SmileDirectClub,

NewSmile serves both the US and Canada.

NewSmile offers personalized treatment plans, and patients will have access to orthodontic professionals throughout their treatment. However, the company has been criticized by some for being too focused on affordability, potentially compromising on overall quality.


Zenyum is a leading provider in Southeast Asia. Founded in 2018,

Zenyum has since expanded to several other countries, including Australia and Hong Kong.



Zenyum offers additional dental products in addition to aligners.


Zenyum has a variety of additional products and services, the prices for their aligner treatment plans are lower than most of their competitors.

Plans begin around $1,335.


DrSmile is a European provider that emphasizes the quality of its treatment and its relationships with dental professionals.

DrSmile’s treatment process combines in-person consultations with virtual scans, enabling patients to customize their aligners’ treatment plans.

DrSmile also offers a unique feature called Partner Practices, which allows patients to choose from a network of healthcare providers. Similar to SmileDirectClub,

DrSmile pricing is competitive, with treatments starting around EUR 2,290, and their in-person consultations set them apart from other virtual-only providers.

SmileDirectClub Competitive Advantage

SmileDirectClub’s competitive advantage over its rivals is evident in several aspects. One of the most crucial aspects is their price point.

SmileDirectClubs pricing is lower than most of its competitors, enabling them to target a larger audience.

SmileDirectClub also has a unique advantage regarding physical retail presence.

They have partnerships with CVS and Walgreens, where customers can visit and receive an in-person consultation to begin their teeth straightening journey. This partnership gives SmileDirectClub a significant footfall advantage compared to its competitors, who mainly rely on virtual consultations.

Another advantage is brand recognition and customer awareness. SmileDirectClub has become a household name worldwide, and many people who consider teeth straightening are likely to recognize the brand.

Their extensive advertising campaigns on various platforms have led to an increase in brand awareness.


SmileDirectClub may have been a pioneer in affordable, teledentistry treatment, but they are now facing fierce rivalry from other invisible aligner providers. Each competitor has its unique selling point that differentiates them from the others in the market.

However, SmileDirectClub has a particular advantage in terms of price, retail presence, and brand recognition. This shows that while innovation and technology are essential, businesses must also consider pricing, partnerships, and marketing to remain competitive in their industry.

As we conclude our exploration of the teledentistry industry and SmileDirectClub’s place within it, it is essential to note that while SmileDirectClub has carved out a significant presence in the market, it still falls behind the industry giant, Invisalign. Invisalign’s long-standing reputation, patented technology, and in-office treatment have solidified its place as the go-to option for many patients seeking teeth straightening solutions.

Additionally, it is crucial to acknowledge the fierce competition that SmileDirectClub faces from well-funded startups in the market. These startups bring alternative treatment methods or pricing strategies that challenge SmileDirectClub’s dominance.

Startups like


Byte, and

NewSmile have emerged with unique offerings and competitive pricing, making the market more dynamic and giving patients plenty of options to choose from. One notable aspect of SmileDirectClub’s position in the market is its status as a publicly traded company.

In September 2019, SmileDirectClub went public with its initial public offering (IPO), raising $1.3 billion. This move has enhanced the company’s visibility and financial standing, enabling it to invest in expansion and innovation.

However, being a publicly traded company also means facing scrutiny and pressure from investors, who expect consistent growth and profitability. The competition from well-funded startups brings to light the changing landscape of the teledentistry market.

These startups often have significant financial backing, allowing them to invest in research and development, marketing, and customer acquisition. They introduce alternative treatment methods, such as the use of vibrating devices (like

Byte’s Hyper

Byte) or shorter treatment times (like

Byte’s accelerated timeline).

These innovations aim to attract patients by promising faster results or enhanced comfort during treatment. Another key aspect of competition lies in pricing strategies.

Companies like

Candid and

NewSmile have entered the market with lower pricing structures compared to SmileDirectClub. This affordability is a significant draw for price-sensitive consumers, as it allows them to access teeth straightening solutions at a more affordable cost.

While SmileDirectClub still maintains a competitive price point, it must navigate this landscape wisely to attract and retain customers. In this ever-evolving industry, it is essential for SmileDirectClub to stay ahead of the curve and adapt to the changing demands of patients.

This includes continuous innovation in technology, treatment plans, and customer experience. By investing in research and development and collaborating with dental professionals, SmileDirectClub can ensure the effectiveness and safety of their treatment.

Furthermore, maintaining strong partnerships with retail chains like CVS and Walgreens gives SmileDirectClub an advantage in terms of physical retail presence. This allows them to reach a broader audience and provide in-person consultations, addressing the needs of those who prefer face-to-face interactions and guidance.

It is crucial for SmileDirectClub to strengthen and expand these partnerships while also considering strategic collaborations with dental professionals to increase their credibility and offer a comprehensive range of services. In conclusion, SmileDirectClub has established itself as a key player in the teledentistry industry, but it faces tough competition from well-funded startups that bring alternative treatment methods and pricing strategies to the table.

While SmileDirectClub’s position is strong, it must continue to innovate, improve customer experience, and adapt to the evolving demands of the market. By doing so, SmileDirectClub can maintain its position in the industry and continue to provide accessible teeth straightening solutions to a larger audience.

In conclusion, SmileDirectClub has made great strides in the teledentistry industry, offering at-home teeth straightening solutions to a wide audience. However, it faces competition from well-funded startups and industry leader Invisalign.

Despite this, SmileDirectClub’s lower price point, physical retail presence, and brand recognition give it a competitive edge. The evolving landscape of the teledentistry market highlights the importance of continuous innovation and adaptability.

By investing in technology, forming strategic partnerships, and focusing on customer experience, SmileDirectClub can maintain its position and provide accessible teeth straightening options. As the industry continues to evolve, it is clear that teledentistry is transforming the way people achieve their dream smile.

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