Impression of Smile Direct Club

I was 3D scanned at Smile Direct Club’s Boston location yesterday. They use a WeWork location at 745 Atlantic Ave.  I checked in on the 8th floor, waited for a bit, then down to their offices on the 2nd floor.


I had to reschedule it a few days ago, the online scheduler was super-easy to use. They had 4 rooms for impressions and one general office space. It was cramped but clean and orderly.

The SmileGuide described the entire process and explained all the contents of the box of aligners you receive. I asked a lot of questions, which the SmileGuide — who was a Certified Dental Assistant — happily answered. To be clear, the SmileShop is not a clinic and I am not a patient, just a customer. If I were to reference an HBR article, this company’s value stream is customer service.

Believe it or not, this was my first digital impression.  Imaging started with photos of my upper & lower arches and in occlusion.  Then onto the 3D scan. At this location, they used an iTero Element. — I once met the guy who came up with “iTero”. Before that, I met the guy who created the technology! —   I didn’t time the process, but it was over in minutes. There was no spittoon or bib. It was a not a dental office. The arch scans automatically processed on screen and then shown  in color.  I brought along a USB stick in the hopes of getting my scans, but no luck.  I will follow-up with the central office.

It made me grin to see Invisalign options on the scanner interface.  Align Technology might not like competition to Invisalign, but has to like the equipment sales. There are 6 locations in Massachusetts and it sounds like there are more to come.

I went in knowing the cost:  $1,850 up front, or a payment plan that totals $2,170 over 2 years. I did not commit.  I left with a *nice* canvas bag and an at-home tooth whitener system.  If you skip the trays, you may buy more of the tooth whitener goop.

I asked, but could not receive, a copy of my scans at that time.  There should be a way for customers to receive their scan data.  Mail the customer a USB stick, or e-mail a download link.

The rap on aligners is they don’t work for teenagers. The reason being: compliance.  A $3,500 discount over braces huge.  Can you ensure your child will wear them 22 hours a day?

The scanner! I think this was a v1 iTero Element. The software was top-notch. I watched the data collect onscreen.  Whoever figured out how to display the scan in-process should win an award. Oh snap, they did!

Have you been to a SmileShop? What do you think about at-home orthodontics? Tell me about it in the comments. Thanks!

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