Posted on February 25th, 2020
SmileDirectClub, also known as Smile Direct, was one of the first popular alternatives to Invisalign and entered the clear aligner space back in 2014. Marketed as a convenient and cheap alternative, the company states that it has already treated over 250,000 patients. Uniform Teeth, on the other hand, is an up and coming startup, launching at the beginning of 2018 from our base in San Francisco.
At the surface, both Uniform Teeth and Smile Direct appear to be very similar companies in that they offer people a cheaper and convenient way of getting their teeth straightened. However, when you dig a little further, there are some not-so-subtle differences between Uniform Teeth and Smile Direct. Let’s take a closer look…
Firstly, target markets
You’d be forgiven for thinking that because both Uniform Teeth and Smile Direct offer competitive clear aligner treatment, they’re targeting the same audience, but you’d be wrong.
Take Smile Direct, for example. They operate mainly in the online teledentistry sector. In other words, they provide an at-home service for those people who require mild to moderate aligner treatment – a kind of DIY approach if you like.
That said, patients do, however, have access to a dental professional should they need it, but it’s usually via remote means only and SDC works with dentists and not licensed AAO orthodontists.
Smile Direct targets audiences who are looking to correct the aesthetics of a smile – E.g. to close a slight gap or to align a crooked tooth – vanity cases if you like! But while there is a growing market for these types of cases and is the area where the majority of Direct to Consumer (DTC) clear aligner companies operate in, Uniform Teeth takes a decidedly different approach…
Instead, we are looking to target mild, moderate and full spectrum cases where many people require additional procedures. According to our CEO Meghann Jewitt, “this makes up around 75% of the orthodontic market.”
We do this by insisting that every patient has a primary in-office visit where they are seen by an in-the-flesh licensed orthodontist who will examine them and work with the patient to correct their smile issues. Our approach means that more severe orthodontic problems can be tackled and we keep with the standards and values upheld by the American Association of Orthodontists.
When it comes to the subtle and not-so-subtle differences of Uniform Teeth vs Smile Direct, one of the underlying characteristics that sets them apart is in the process of pre-treatment examinations and impression taking.
The key to SmileDirectClub’s success is based around one of convenience.
The convenience of getting straighter teeth without the endless visits to the dental office, the convenience of undergoing treatment in the comfort of your own home, and the convenience of having a dental professional on hand should you need it (albeit remotely). One good example of this is impression taking…
Consumers will first receive a DIY impression kit through the mail that they will use at home. The idea being that instructions are followed; impressions are taken, and it’s shipped back to Smile Direct who will then fabricate your aligners.
It’s simple and easy!
Yet, one of the problems with this approach, however, is that untrained impression taking can lead to an improper or incorrect mold of the teeth. Without the oversight of a licensed professional or an x-ray of the patients teeth, treatment plans from SDC can lead to ineffective or unpredictable results.
On the other hand, we at Uniform Teeth take a thoroughly modern approach to impression taking. Rather than leaving this important task in the hands of an untrained person, all impressions are carried out digitally in-office by a trained dental professional using 3D X-rays that capture your roots and jaw and 360 degree intraoral scans. Our orthodontists are able to then treatment plans looking at your entire tooth from top to root and jaw. This allows us to be 2x faster in creating healthy smiles for our patients.
While this means less mess and less hassle for the patient, more importantly, it means greater accuracy, faster treatment times, more precise tooth movements and longer-lasting results.
The final point of difference that needs mentioning is in their differing business models.
SmileDirectClub is first and foremost a clear aligner company. Their business model is not based around offering professional dental solutions and is geared more towards providing a convenient way of straightening teeth. In instances where simple minor aesthetic tweaks are needed, then this model works in some cases. With this in mind, you could say that Smile Direct deals in ‘customers’ rather than patients.
Alternatively, when you undergo clear aligner treatment with Uniform Teeth, you can expect treatment that is geared more towards holistic dental care. Because we administer and control our patients care by a fully licensed orthodontist, They can determine factors like whether you are a good candidate or if you require dental work before undergoing treatment. A trained orthodontist will also carry out a full examination ensuring any treatment you have is both low-risk and safe.
In other words, While the focus of Smile Direct Club is to help people improve their smile using clear aligner technology, Uniform Teeth takes a more holistic approach to teeth straightening ensuring that all aspects of your dental health are aligned before, during, and after treatment.
As you can see both Uniform Teeth and Smile Direct have their advantages but when considering Uniform Teeth vs Smile Direct as a comparison, is there a clear winner?
We’ve seen how Smile Direct focuses their attention more on aesthetic ‘vanity’ cases. Whereas Uniform Teeth reaches out to those who want to straighten their teeth in order to improve their overall functionality and can treat beyond just aesthetic cases.
Ultimately, patients should consider who is moving their teeth at the end of the day. No one should trust a professional who is not a licensed orthodontist to move their teeth.
We have the ability to correct your smile in just a few months, so get in touch today!