Monday, May 8, 2017

SmileDirectClub - Part 1 (my first box and set of aligners)

My aligners came in the mail late last week--meaning it only took about ten days from the day I went in for my scan appointment until I received the physical aligners! In the meantime, they did also send me an e-mail with a 3D animated model of how my teeth were going to slowly adjust to get to the smile I want. That was pretty cool to see! My treatment duration is also going to be 6.5 months.

This is the box that I received:

And here's what's inside (a bit messed up from me ravaging the contents like a beast because I was really excited):

So this first box comes with two months' worth of aligners.  There are four bags total (I already got started on Aligner 1 by the time I took this photo). Each bag you see below contains an aligner for your upper teeth and an aligner for your lower teeth, and you are to wear them for two weeks at a time.

I'm not sure if it differs person to person, but for me, it said that I was to wear my aligners for 22 hours a day. Just before the eight weeks are up, I'll have my next box in the mail! I'm getting 13 aligners total.

There's also a little baggie of tools to help you with your aligners--taking them out (the purple stick thing, which has hooks on either end), filing them down in case they're too sharp anywhere (the popsicle stick looking thing), and some "Chewies" that you can chew on after you put on your aligners to help them really get into place. They look like ear plugs, and they're in the white bag. They actually kinda help me with my "teething" sensation, so I like to chew on them just because.

You also get five vials of Glo whitening gel. Each vial can be used four times, so 20 applications. This is supposedly a 3-month (90 day) supply; one vial should last you about 2-3 weeks. By that math, I guess you should apply once every 4-5 days. You can always order more (and not just from SmileDirectClub), but these first five vials are complementary with your SDC order. Also, it's recommended you only use 5 vials in a 90-day period, because otherwise, it makes your teeth sensitive.

Sephora's product page also says that Glo is gluten-free, latex-free, alcohol-free, vegan, and safe for people who have penicillin, nut, and soy allergies. (also, don't pay attention to the 1-star reviews, honestly. They're just whining about how the vials aren't shaped very well or some stupid shit like that, and not actually reviewing the efficacy of the product).

And last but not least, the container for your aligners! If you're ever not wearing your aligners (which is when you eat and when you're brushing your teeth and when you're drinking pretty much anything that's not water), you're supposed to put them in here after you take them off and rinse them with cold water.


So today is day 2 of wearing my first set of aligners, and... it's pretty uncomfortable, I'll tell ya. I keep having this urge to chew on something. I feel like I'm teething! And I keep wanting to just claw them out and go back to my life of crooked-ass teeth. But no pain, no gain. Since they're doing a lot of work in a shorter amount of time than traditional braces, you can definitely expect some discomfort. The aligners are literally pushing and pulling against your teeth, so it's right at the horrible line between discomfort and pain. I just took some extra strength Tylenol to help me go to sleep last night. When I first took them out to eat, my teeth felt "spacey," kinda like when you push your arms straight against a doorframe really hard for 30 seconds and then step out to feel them "floating." I'm not sure how else to describe it lol. I'm pretty sure the pain will subside in a few days. And I'm pretty sure it'll hurt just as bad again when I'm onto my next set of aligners. 1 day down, 181 more to go. :'(

From reading other reviews about SDC, I've heard that they sometimes have an issue with responsiveness and also with sending their aligners on time. I guess we'll see by month three if this happens, since the first two months' worth of aligners have already been sent to me in this box.

SmileDirectClub - Intro!

So I decided to start SmileDirectClub and review it in the process. I never had braces when I was younger, and after my wisdom teeth all erupted, it caused some serious crowding issues near the front of my teeth. I'm rather self-conscious about my smile, but I promise to post a 'Before' and 'After' shot once I'm done!

I did go to a dentist and an orthodontist to see if I could get Invisalign or some other type of invisible aligners, but due to my insurance coverage (or lack thereof, for braces after a certain age), it would have cost me over $5k to do Invisalign. SmileDirectClub, on the other hand, is a flat fee regardless of how fucked up your teeth are (provided that it's still within the eligible "fucked-up" range; I think if your teeth require much more extensive work, you may not be eligible for SDC). You can either pay $1700 all up front or you can pay $1933 total if you pay in monthly installments ($250 down at the time of purchase, and then $99/month for 17 months). The reason it's so cheap is because they take the human element out of it--no orthodontist visits and stuff like that. I believe there is someone keeping regularly in contact with you to check your progress, though.

I went into the D.C. SmileDirectClub office on Connecticut Ave on April 24, 2017. Their office is actually really difficult to find, because there's no directory; you're only told that it's on the 10th floor and a part of the "WeWork" offices. So I got up to the 10th floor and then went to the side that said "WeWork" on the glass door, but upon entering, it was an absolute maze full of tiny-ass start-ups and small companies. So I guess "WeWork" is a "coworking" office space company. I swear there are about 50 "offices" crammed into a space of about 6,000 square feet, and they all look alike! Not sure if all SDC offices are contracted with WeWork, but for others' sake, I hope not. The office was really hard to find, and when I called customer service to help me find it by transferring me directly to the D.C. office, they ended up not transferring me and accidentally kept me on-hold-but-not-really, because I could hear my agent giggling and just talking to one of her co-workers. I kept shouting "HELLO?!" hoping that she'd hear my voice and realize that she never transferred me, but she didn't. That was kind of annoying. I ended up being 15 minutes late because I had to call back again, and the only reason I ended up even finding the place is because someone went out to search for me. But this person also asked me if my name was Sonia, and I said no, my name is Alice... and she said that the customer service rep (who I guess DID end up connecting with the D.C. office and told them that a customer is wandering the halls) said that my name was Sonia. Get your shit together, SDC. lol.

The scan process was very painless and easy. They prop your mouth open using a mouthpiece and they just stick a probe in your mouth and go around your teeth from all angles to get an exact 3D image of your teeth and gums. I know you can also do this yourself at home; they send you an impression kit for $95 (not sure if this goes towards the total price or not) so that you can just do it yourself from home, but I don't trust myself lol.

NOTE: Do not go do this scan appointment if you are awaiting dental/orthodontal treatments such as root canals, crown replacements, cavity fillings, and anything else that may end up affecting your overall teeth appearance and surface; you'll just have to go in and do it all over again.

Afterwards, they gave me the mouthpiece to keep (I guess so that I can take pictures from home using it), along with a sample teeth whitening vial (five comes with every SDC kit, I believe!), and a booklet. That was it! I paid my $1,700 up front, got my receipt, and then went about my merry day. I got an e-mail with a copy of the "Consent and History" form they had me sign at the office, and then a Welcome e-mail was waiting for me when I got home as well. It was such an easy and quick process. The appointment took maybe 20 minutes max.

Also, as a bonus, I was watching the promo video they had on loop on their TV in the office, and I saw my friend Kelly from Mimosas & Manhattan on it (she's the beautiful blonde)! That was a cool little surprise. Also kinda embarrassing when I randomly shouted out "Oh, my God! I KNOW HER!!" at my attendant.