If you’ve been considering at-home clear aligner treatment for a while, you’ve probably encountered the name Smilelove.
In the past, Smilelove was well-known for being one of the more affordable at-home teeth straightening brands. But in the wake of COVID-19, Smilelove suddenly ceased operations.
Life at Smilelove has been a bit complicated recently. Although they’ve halted manufacturing, they’re still accepting new orders, and it’s resulted in a ton of negative feedback—both from existing customers and the Better Business Bureau.
In this updated Smilelove review, we’ll discuss everything we think our readers should keep in mind about Smilelove, and why we no longer recommend their services.
In the past, we ranked Smilelove as one of our top recommendations for online clear aligners. But times have changed drastically at Smilelove. If you look up their profile on the Better Business Bureau, you’ll actually find an extensive disclaimer warning consumers away. You’ll also see a long list of complaints from disgruntled customers.
Here’s why: Smilelove is currently accepting orders from new customers…but they’re unable to deliver products or refund their standing orders. They aren’t manufacturing aligners. So they’ll gladly take your money, but there’s no telling when you’ll receive your aligners.
It’s also very difficult to get in touch with anyone at the company. Many customers have paid nearly $2,000 for a service they haven’t received, and can’t manage to get anyone to respond to their messages.
What Happened To Smilelove?
In short: COVID-19 hit Smilelove hard, and they stopped being able to consistently deliver products and support for their customers.
Smilelove’s blog post from May 2020 admits they’ve come across some hard times; even before COVID-19 hit, they were struggling financially. They lost some of their financial support from investors, and in the end, they had to stop manufacturing aligners. And unfortunately, some of their customers who’d ordered aligners never received them.
So Smilelove promised to make some changes to its operating model. They let some employees go and found some new financial partners. They’ve also updated their pricing model, raising their sticker price and adding a “Complex Case Adjustment” fee for cases that required more than 40 aligners. With those changes, they hoped they’d be able to get going again.
But to put it simply, they haven’t. While they’re still accepting new orders, they’re not manufacturing at all. That’s a concerning (and unsustainable) business practice. So they’ve lost our recommendation.
Up until pretty recently, we were holding out hope that they’d be able to turn their situation around, but it’s reached the point where even if they did manage to get back up and running, they no longer have our recommendation. To put it bluntly; they’ve dragged customers along due to their own poor business choices, and we can’t endorse such practices.
How Has This Affected Smilelove Customers?
In the past, Smilelove got pretty good ratings from customers. Top loves included the fact that Smilelove ran frequent discounts, the treatment kit was easy to use, and customers could review treatment before committing.
Today’s reviews tell a totally different story, unfortunately. Now, customers are understandably upset that they shelled out $1,895 and never received their aligners. And a lot of them were left hanging with very little communication from Smilelove. Customer support essentially vanished.
In early 2020, Smilelove was pretty hopeful that their new investors would help get things running again. But nearly every customer review we’ve read recently shows that Smilelove’s support team still isn’t responding to complaints and refund requests. Some standing support tickets are over a year old. We have tried to reach them too, to no avail. So as it stands presently, Smilelove’s online reviews basically instill zero confidence in this company.
Best Smilelove Alternatives
Normally in a company review we like to explain all the nitty-gritty details of what you can expect from their treatment offerings. However, this is a bit of an exception; since Smilelove has become less so a clear aligner provider and more so a website to visit if you’d like to make $1,895 disappear.
Since Smilelove has gone kaput, we should probably take a look at some other options. There’s really no shortage of other, better options than Smilelove.
Here are our top four clear aligner choices:
Byte | #1
Byte has the shortest treatment lengths on the market. Thanks to their HyperByte system, Byte can correct some smiles within 4 months of treatment. They offer both nighttime and full-day wear schedules, too.
Candid | #2
Candid began as a fully remote clear aligner provider, but recently made the switch to “CanidPro,” a hybrid at-home/in-office treatment option. If you’re interested in the convenience of home aligners, but want the robust oversight of in-office care, look no further than Candid. Their sophisticated CandidMonitoring system allows you to complete the majority of your treatment from home—without compromising on oversight.
AlignerCo | #3
AlignerCo just joined the clear aligner scene in 2019, and they’ve completely replaced Smilelove as the industry’s most affordable option. Their sticker price is just $1,145 for daytime treatment.
Smile Direct Club | #4
With Smile Direct Club, you can take advantage of a nighttime treatment option to avoid wearing your aligners all day. They also have more than 300 office locations across the country, so it’s convenient to get started.
Final Verdict: Should You Use Smilelove?
We don’t recommend using Smilelove. To us, it’s extremely concerning that they are accepting new orders when they aren’t even manufacturing. We’d hate for you to shell out nearly $2,000 and then be left hanging without aligners. And there’s a good chance that they won’t ever resume normal operations.
We’re not wishing them out of business, but things aren’t looking good. And since your well-being is our priority here, we want to keep things realistic.
We Recommend Byte
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Smilelove alternative delivers the fastest results?
Byte—hands down. In some cases, Byte’s all-day treatment option can deliver results in just 4 months. Their nighttime treatment isn’t much slower, either, with some treatments wrapping up in just 5 months.
Which Smilelove alternative has the best treatment oversight?
If you’re feeling a bit skittish to start a remote treatment after seeing the fallout with Smilelove, then Candid may be a good alternative. Candid’s treatment is somewhat hybrid between at-home and in-office. You’ll kickstart your treatment with a local dentist in the Candid network, but you’ll complete the majority of your treatment from home thanks to their robust CandidMonitoring system. You’ll send photo updates every 14 days for the Candid team and/or your local dentist to review, so there will always be eyes on your treatment. If any issues arise, you’ll be able to return to your local dentist to troubleshoot.
Which Smilelove alternative has the lowest prices?
That would be AlignerCo. Their all-day treatment is just $1,145, and their NightOnly treatment is $1,345. They’re the most affordable at-home clear aligner treatment out there by a few hundred dollars.
Which Smilelove alternative has the most experience?
That would be Smile Direct Club. They were the first at-home clear aligner provider out there, and have served over 1.5 million customers since their 2014 start. They’re the most experienced at-home clear aligner provider by far.
Do any at-home clear aligner providers offer nighttime only treatments?
Yes! Byte’s At-Night treatment is our favorite nighttime only treatment option. But AlignerCo and Smile Direct Club also have their own nighttime only options. But Byte is the only one of these providers who makes their nighttime aligners stronger and more durable, so they get our vote. (Not to mention they’re our favorite provider overall, too.)
Can what happened with Smilelove happen to another clear aligner provider?
Technically anything could happen, but what happened with Smilelove is highly unusual. Some other providers experienced delays due to COVID-19, but no other provider completely stopped production while continuing to accept new orders.
How will people get their money back from Smilelove?
We’re still trying to figure this out ourselves, it seems to be a developing situation. The last we saw, the Better Business Bureau was recommending Smilelove customers file disputes with their credit card companies and banks directly to stop payments.
I completed treatment with Smilelove, but I need post-treatment retainers. What should I do?
This depends on your particular situation. Talk to your dentist about what your options are. You could get a permanent or a hawley retainer, or they could recommend a reputable provider for clear retainers that you would have gotten from Smilelove.
If Smilelove starts production again, would you recommend them?
We were holding out hope for awhile, but we no longer feel comfortable giving them our support based on the way they’ve treated their customers. We don’t wish them out of business, but we won’t be recommending them to our readers again.