Few things give one an ego boost like having Hollywood-worthy teeth.
Just ask Addie Sibley, 16. The high school sophomore is flashing a perfect smile after spending just four months in SmileDirectClub aligners. Talk about speed straightening. Addie’s crowded teeth have transformed into a gorgeous grin in just one semester of high school. She says that most of her friends have braces or another brand of clear aligners, and it took more than a year for their teeth to straighten. “So they’re shocked at how fast my teeth improved,” Addie says.
Her new smile has changed her life.
“Before, when I would be laughing, I would cover my teeth with my hand,” Addie says. “I would make sure people could only see me from certain angles, and I would always smile with my mouth closed.” Her days of hiding her teeth are over. “Now I smile with my mouth open, to show my teeth,” she says.
Her brother, Joey, 14, is wearing SmileDirectClub aligners too. He also had crowded teeth that were making him self-conscious. The eighth-grader started in treatment at the same time as Addie and completed treatment in May 2020.
The kids each chose different treatment plans. Addie got SmileDirectClub’s Clear Aligners, which she wore day and night for a treatment that took less than six months. Joey has Nighttime Clear Aligners™. That means he wears them only at night, so his treatment takes longer (up to 10 months). The reason they took different paths? Addie was interested in finishing her treatment as quickly as possible, but Joey didn’t want to wear the aligners while playing sports. Both kids found a plan that fit their own priorities and schedule.
Before it all started, the Sibley teens knew they wanted to do something about their smiles, says their dad, Joe Sibley, an attorney in Austin, Texas. But when he took them to an orthodontist to look into getting braces, the price gave him sticker shock. The price quoted was $7,000 to $8,000 for a two-year treatment plan for both kids, with monthly office visits.
That didn’t fit with the family’s schedule or budget. “We were at a place of, ‘Do we really want to do it?'” Joe says. Because the only thing more expensive than braces for a teenager is braces for two teenagers.
But then Joe saw a commercial for SmileDirectClub and “a light went on,” he says. “I thought, it’s probably like everything else, that there’s an online solution that’s better than anything you find in a store.”
Joe took Addie and Joey in for the initial 3D scan at a SmileShop in Austin, Texas. “We liked the relaxed feel of the place, and they answered all our questions,” Joe says. Even better was the price of the SmileDirectClub treatment plan, which was half the cost of traditional braces1. “You could pay for a cruise to Alaska with the money we saved,” Joe says.
Addie and Joey saw improvements in their teeth as soon as they were done with their first set of aligners. “My smile looked better after a week,” Addie says. “You could really see it was moving my teeth.”
She took photos of her teeth three times a month, holding up her phone and snapping selfies to track her progress and stay motivated.
“The photos inspired me to keep going,” she says. “Sometimes I didn’t want to put the aligners in. But I would look at the photos, see how much better my teeth looked, and keep going.”
Addie and Joey say the aligners were uncomfortable at first, but they got used to them. Four months in, Joey can already see a difference — and so can his friends, because they’re telling him how good his teeth are looking. “It’s made me feel a lot more confident,” he says.
Joe says he hasn’t had to be a helicopter dad to make sure the kids wear the aligners because the support they’ve gotten from SmileDirectClub staff has helped Addie and Joey manage their own treatment. “It’s been very user-friendly. We get the reminder emails that go out, telling them when to change the aligners,” he says. “To be honest, sometimes I forget (Addie and Joey) have (aligners.) I really don’t hear anything about them from either of them.”
Of course, there have been sacrifices. No gum. No late-night snacks. But straight teeth are worth it. “I think I’ll be ready to try new things now that I feel better about my teeth,” Addie says. “My teeth were an insecurity of mine. They were holding me back.”
Joey says having straighter teeth is already making him more outgoing. “I’m more likely to talk to somebody if I’m not worried they’re judging my teeth. I feel a lot more secure about how I look.” Unlike his peers in braces, Joey doesn’t want wires glinting in his mouth whenever he speaks. Clear aligners let those straight teeth show sooner.
Joe says he’s delighted with the difference he sees in his kids’ smiles and lives.
“They have more confidence, and they are more comfortable speaking and smiling,” he says. “It makes me feel good as a parent because you want your kids to have all they need to be successful and happy.”
1 “Half the cost of braces” claim based on Single Pay vs. avg. fees (incl. diagnostics and exams) for braces treatment, as reported in a nat’l survey of orthodontists. Comparison does not include added costs, such as retainers, and is limited to mild-to-moderate teeth correction, as braces may treat additional issues.