Smile Direct Club vs Impress: similarities and differences in aligner treatments

21 December · 6 minutes

Over the past few years, numerous companies, such as Smile Direct Club and Impress, have emerged, providing invisible orthodontic treatments through aligners and retainers. Impress, having established a strong presence in eight countries across Europe and the United States, stands out for its consolidated growth. On the other hand, Smile Direct Club, which was recently dissolved, was another player in this market.

While both companies offer invisible orthodontic treatments using aligners, there are notable differences in their approaches, which we will explain into in this article.

What was Smile Direct Club?

Founded in 2014, Smile Direct Club was a teleorthodontic company that offered teeth straightening services from home. Smile Direct Club was presented as an affordable alternative for those looking to straighten their teeth from home. In December 2023, Smile Direct Club ceased its activity after 9 years in operation.

Smile Direct Club offered a variety of services to improve the aesthetics of your teeth, from whitening to accessories such as fluoride toothpaste or dental floss. Despite offering these products, the main service they offered was clear aligners to correct mild to moderate cases of misaligned teeth.

What is Impress?

Impress is synonymous with next-generation digital orthodontics. We have a network of dental clinics specialized in invisible orthodontics and have a large team of experts, including orthodontists with more than 15 years of experience. We are pioneers in the digital orthodontics sector, since our patients can follow up on treatments remotely, without having to go to our clinics, but always under medical supervision.

We offer high-quality invisible orthodontic treatments, using state-of-the-art technology, at very competitive prices, which has allowed us to differentiate ourselves from existing competitors in each of the countries in which we are present.

Girl holding the open Impress kit with one hand and an aligner with the other.

Similarities and differences between Impress and Smile Direct Club

At first glance, the services offered by Impress and Smile Direct Club may seem similar, but there are significant differences. Below we will analyze the main similarities and differences between both companies and their services:

Similarities between Impress and Smile Direct Club

In this section we will see the main similarities between the two companies and the services offered:

Alternatives to traditional orthodontics

Smile Direct Club and Impress specialize in orthodontic treatments using invisible aligners, the primary alternative to traditional braces. These aligners are known for being more discreet, removable, and hygienic than their conventional counterparts.

Fewer clinic visits

One of the main advantages of invisible aligners, at both Smile Direct Club and Impress, is that fewer in-person check ups are required, since adjustments to the brackets or wires are not needed. By reducing clinic visits, the time that patients must dedicate to treatment is reduced and, therefore, minimally altering their pace of life when compared to traditional orthodontics.

Digital treatment monitoring

Both Smile Direct Club and Impress offer an app to their patients to track their treatment. Through the Impress App you can carry out medical monitoring of your treatment, with expert supervision at all times.

Thanks to the app, our team of specialized orthodontists can follow and monitor the treatments, offering care 7 days a week, reviewing our patients' oral scans and telling them when they should change to the next aligner.

Retainers after finishing your treatment

Teeth have memory, and that is why, after completing orthodontic treatment, that’s another things Impress and Smile Direct Club have in common, we know it’s important to use retainers to keep them aligned and in the proper position. Impress includes retainers in our treatment portfolio, and Smile Direct Club also offered them.

Treatments with medical supervision

Medical supervision during orthodontic treatment is a guarantee of its safety and efficiency. Impress currently offers and Smile Direct Club offered this medical supervision during all of your treatment: from aligners to retainers. Orthodontic treatment is not only an aesthetic issue, but, above all, it is a health issue. Therefore, following the Impress methodology we ensure that all our treatments are designed and supervised by orthodontists specialized in invisible orthodontics who guarantee safety and effectiveness at all times.

The extensive expertise in the sector of our medical team allows us to deal with almost all cases, regardless of their complexity, achieving optimal results. Furthermore, having a large medical team allows us to accompany and supervise the patient throughout the treatment, guarantee the results and avoid risks associated with treatments without professional supervision, such as orthodontic, oral, functional or aesthetic problems, which for the patient can be irreparable.

More competitive price than other suppliers

Smile Direct Club and Impress treatment prices are more competitive than alternative providers. The two treatments offered by Smile Direct Club had a cost of approximately $2,500. On the other hand, Impress offers a wider range of treatments, and, therefore, prices vary, depending on the complexity of the treatment. At Impress the price range for treatments is between $3,500 and $6,500.

Impress treatments, although at a slightly higher cost than those from Smile Direct Club, provide pre- and post-treatment, the first review and diagnosis visit with a specialist, unlimited clinic visits and the kit with everything necessary for the treatment.

Orthodontist shows patient 3D scan of their teeth.

Differences between Smile Direct Club and Impress

Now that we have seen the similarities between Smile Direct Club and Impress, we will analyze the most relevant differences:

The first visit: in person vs remote

Smile Direct Club offered its patients the possibility of choosing between an in-person consultation at one of its clinics or alternatively, you could also choose to take an impression from home. Carrying out this first study remotely can pose a risk to your oral health, since there are factors that can affect the development of your treatment that are not visible with this type of study.

On the other hand, at Impress we consider the first visit very important and, that is why we believe that it should be in person at one of our clinics. In this first visit, one of our orthodontists will perform a CBCT x-ray and a 3D scan to see your teeth from the roots, and ensure that your oral health is optimal to begin treatment with aligners.

Complexity of the cases they can treat

The treatments offered by Smile Direct Club were aimed at people interested in aesthetically improving their teeth, but without considering the health of their teeth, gums or bite. Furthermore, their treatments could only correct mild or moderate cases of dental malposition.

On the other hand, treatments with Impress aligners can treat everything from the mildest to the most complex cases, correcting cases of dental malposition and also malocclusion. This is possible thanks to the latest technology with which we develop and supervise treatments and the specialized medical team that accompanies and supervises the patient throughout the process.

A purely aesthetic solution?

At Impress we believe that orthodontic treatment can improve the aesthetics of your teeth, but, more importantly, it can improve your oral health. That is why our treatments include a first diagnosis visit and study of your oral health to guarantee optimal conditions to begin treatment. Furthermore, correcting the position of your teeth or your bite will positively affect your oral health, potentially avoiding irreparable problems in the future.

Alternatively, Smile Direct Club offered treatments that improved dental position, via aligners and retainers, but did not offer advice on oral health, such as gingival or bite problems.

Impress aligners box. 

The role of clinics in treatment

At Impress, despite offering treatment with digital monitoring, clinics play a key role. All our treatments include visits to clinics, so you can visit us whenever you need to and feel accompanied at all times.

At Impress clinics we have the most cutting-edge technology in the sector throughout the entire treatment process. Furthermore, the architectural and interior design proposal of the Impress clinics seeks to turn the clinic into a friendly and pleasant space to make patients feel more comfortable. Technology and design are two key pieces to offer patients a unique experience.

On the other hand, Smile Direct Club only offers the possibility of going to its clinics for the first visit, which is not mandatory. Therefore, all monitoring is done digitally through the app or its website, but without the option of going to one of its clinics if the patient prefers or if any complications arise during the treatment.

Impress as the definitive alternative to Smile Direct Club

Among the various companies like Smile Direct Club, Impress stands out as one of the premier choices. If you're considering embarking on orthodontic treatment with invisible aligners, Impress emerges as a secure, efficient, and cost-effective option. As highlighted in our comparison with Smile Direct Club, Impress ensures the safety of orthodontic solutions through rigorous medical supervision, ensuring optimal results for your oral health.

If the closure of Smile Direct Club has impacted you and you are looking for advice, you can count on Impress. Visit us at your nearest Impress clinic, and let us assess what we can do to help you. You can also make an appointment online, via email at careteam@uniformteeth.com, or by calling us at 888.490.1421.

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