Cassidy was never wild about her smile.
The 24-year-old had an overbite, and her front tooth was crooked. “I had a snaggletooth,” she says. “No one ever said anything about it, but I was very insecure. I thought about (my teeth) constantly. I was hesitant to even smile.” Look at photos of her growing up, and Cassidy’s smiling with a closed mouth, to hide her teeth.
About two years ago she decided to change her smile — and her life: She got SmileDirectClub clear aligners.
Just six months later, she had a mouth full of straight, white teeth. Now she flashes a smile that flaunts her movie-star-worthy teeth. “I smile a lot more,” she says. “Now I have no problem talking to strangers or my friends.”
Cassidy’s teeth had bothered her since she was a little kid. “I got made fun of for my teeth in elementary school,” she says. “I had buck teeth even then, and my teeth didn’t fit my face.”
All the teasing affected her personality, making her shy and withdrawn. “I got so cautious,” she says. “I wasn’t eager to speak up or be noticed because people would judge my teeth.”
It seemed like a permanent condition. Her family never looked into getting her braces because they couldn’t afford them. “My family wasn’t in the top of the money scale. We had other things to pay for,” she says.
Fast forward to 2018, when a 22-year-old Cassidy saw a Facebook ad for SmileDirectClub at 2 a.m. “I thought, ‘Hmm, that looks interesting,'” she says. While braces cost an average of US$5,000 to US$6,000, SmileDirectClub could straighten her teeth for up to 60% less. Cassidy was so impressed that she opened a savings account that week so she could start socking away money for her dream smile.
Cassidy, a shift manager at a sandwich shop in Cleveland, spent the next nine months saving money for SmileDirectClub clear aligners. Her dad contributed money toward the cause too. “He had always known my teeth were a big insecurity for me, and he wanted to help,” she says.
A Black Friday sale offering 50% off SmileDirectClub aligners helped her get started on her treatment sooner than she had dreamed. “I paid only about US$1,000,” she says.
Cassidy had her initial 3D scan done in a SmileDirectClub office in Cleveland. And she got her aligners in December 2018, right after her daughter, Elaina, was born. Talk about piling on the life changes. She was a new mom on her way to a new smile. “I figured it was a good time for me to try to do something for myself,” she says.
To document the changes to her teeth — and share her smile journey with the world — Cassidy started an Instagram account and posted photos of her teeth weekly. “There were times when I was feeling discouraged, like my teeth weren’t moving,” she says. “So I would go back and look at photos from a few months earlier, and it helped. I could see such a big difference.”
When she returned to her job from maternity leave, after just three months in the aligners, her coworkers were blown away by her improved smile. “They all said, ‘Wow! You look great!'” Cassidy says. “It made me feel so good. I was still wearing aligners, but I was already getting compliments.”
When she completed her treatment in June 2019, she couldn’t believe the gorgeous grin beaming back at her in the mirror. “My teeth had shown a crazy-good amount of change,” she says. “My smile was great!”
A great smile has been life-changing. “I’m not afraid to laugh at a joke, and I don’t think about how I have to hold my mouth so my teeth look OK,” Cassidy says. “It’s such a big weight off my shoulders.”
Cassidy says she’s more outgoing now, and the world seems bigger and friendlier. “I don’t think twice about talking to strangers,” she says. “I smile a lot more at people, and I feel like people are smiling more at me.”
And when she’s talking to customers throughout her 11-hour shifts at work, that means she’s spending a lot of her life as a more confident Cassidy.
“It’s like confidence in a box,” she says.