Hi, Dr. Mark Burhenne here of AsktheDentist.com So, I’ve been a dentist for 30 plus years. I’ve been providing the service of braces, orthodontic care and Invisalign clear aligners. And now there’s this, the Smile Direct Club and you or anyone, even a dentist, me, can become part of the club. And what is this club? Well, I called them, and actually it was online, and I order this because I’m very curious and you know I have a few little things that could be straightened on my lower anterior teeth and so I’m wondering if this could be done without the supervision of a dentist. And I’m gonna try and be very impartial and just pretend I’m Joe patient and I want my teeth straightened and you know, I haven’t seen a dentist yet. I got this in the mail. I’m gonna take impressions. Send it off back to them and they’re gonna send me back some aligners that will straighten my teeth. Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? Smile Direct Club So, this is a new thing. Okay, I gotta open this first and let’s see what is inside. I have no idea what to expect. I cannot imagine that I can take impressions at home that are accurate enough for them to make trays that will move my teeth. Again, Invisalign does this with robots and optical scans and you know, the accuracy is pretty good. Anyway, so I’m having problems opening the box. Okay. Right. There it is. Let’s make a good first impression. We use that joke many times in dentistry. All right, there are some instructions here. There’s an impression guide. The cost. So, Invisalign is four to six thousand dollars for a case. And you get a lot for that and we can talk about what you get for that. This, I get $100 saving probably because I’m doing this at home, this cost $1,700. $1,750, option one. Option two is pay-as-you-go but it’s over $2,000. So, they’re getting a little interest. And you can add retainers for a hundred dollars. So, okay. So there’s that. That’s the cost and that’s a big savings. Okay, there’s a network of 225 doctors. We’ve got 2,500 people working behind the scenes. And they’ve already fixed 20,000 smiles. So, it’s a small company, right? And we don’t know how many of those 20,000 are happy with their smiles, but that’s besides the point. So, first impressions. Get a line. Smiles are forever. What’s in your impression kit? I’m just gonna go. Since I’m a dentist I should know how to do this, right? Well, let’s see and find out. Okay, so this looks pretty familiar to me and it should to you. Those are impression trays. Okay, and it looks like this is an A-B putty set and that’s very similar to what dentists do. And so far it looks pretty good. This.. Hang on. There is another set of impression trays. Maybe for a different size and also more impression putty. So, let me see if there’s a difference here. I’m going to pull this apart. These are nice trays. Not bad. They’re rigid. Trays have to be rigid and well made but they have to fit. So, let’s see if they’re labeled. There’s a medium and medium and… I think I told them online when I ordered this that I wanted a medium. So I guess I get two tries at it. Maybe that’s what it is. Okay, I’m going to try this and send them an impression and then let you know how it goes. We need your teeth selfies. Okay, so I have to take a selfie. That’s very similar to what I do with my Invisalign patients, we take photos. The picture is worth a thousand words because you can tell a lot from a photo. Alright so, lip retractors. There is my photo. Okay. Usually for Invisalign I’d take about six to eight photos. And it is easier for someone else to take the photos because I have someone, I have an assistant helping me and I can get different angles. I get a top view of the lower and upper arch. So, I can see rotation. So, we’re not getting that here, but they’re getting a general idea. I’m not sure how helpful that photo is because they’re going to get this information in the impression materials. So, okay. So, let’s make sure I did that correctly. Use the “smile stretcher” to take the, oh that’s cute, smile stretcher. I’m going to use that instead of lip retractor, to take the three pics requested in your guide then upload them online. If you don’t, we cannot get started on your new smile. So, I will look and see what it is but that’s basically how you take the photo. It’s pretty simple. They’re giving me gloves that match the tray. Well, I mean that’s up to you. Wear gloves to keep your hands clean and your grin grit-free. So, this is going to be gritty material. Okay, I’m not sure what kind of impression material this is. It could just be a putty and again this material that we use in dentistry, it’s called impression material. We usually inject it. It’s a auto mix syringe. So, we inject it from the two tubes. It mixes in a little swirly tube and when it comes out at the end, it’s very well mixed. So, when you mix this by hand, this is going to be very technique sensitive. If you don’t mix it properly, it may not work. So again, this is the old fashioned way of doing it. We used to mix by hand, but that was decades ago. So, it’s like silly putty and everything is color coded. Purple seems to be their favorite color. So, this is what we used to do and I’m not sure what the set time is but if you wait too long and hold it in your hand too much, then it’s going to set and won’t work. So, maybe that’s why they have a second try here. So, mix it so that the color’s uniform. If you see stripes, you haven’t mixed it properly. I don’t know how long the set time is, but we’re about to find out. Roll it into a little again, I have not have read the instructions, roll it into like a little sausage here and then we’ll line it in the tray. These trays look the same, upper and lower teeth Okay, so there we go. Pretty easy, right? Anyone can do that, right? You don’t need to see a dentist to do that. Okay, I am going to do my upper teeth first. I’m going to look in the mirror so I center this right. I want this sticking straight out, right on the midline. There we go. That’s not bad. That’s a pretty good impression. What we look for is, you know, capturing the very bottom of the vestible, which is the, “vestible” is what it’s called. I probably missed, they would want a little information on the backside of that second molar. I got it here. That’s not a bad impression. So, that would work. I’m not sure whether they scan this. Invisalign would scan this. They’d probably pour it up and create their models or their aligners over it, but this isn’t bad. So, I would do this to the, to my lower teeth. I would send it off. There’s a prepaid mailer. It wouldn’t hurt to take four impressions. They can take the best of the lot. Why not do that? I would probably, in hindsight, mix it a little bit longer. The set times and the mix times are listed. I would have a timer out, in front of you, so that you can watch the time. I would stick to it very carefully. All these materials set at different rates. In our office, we use a fast set time. The photos, they do want three photos. They want a photo of your upper arch, lower arch. So, when you put this in you would have to, and of course, this is best done, not outside but near an open window so you get a lot of bright indirect light. Yeah. The photos are gonna be tough of the arch. You’d have to open wide with the lip retractors. Some people, I have a very small opening to my mouth so I need a smaller set. So, you have to be able to open wide with the lips retracted to get a view of the upper arch and lower arch. But you know, worst case scenario is they call you back and you do it again. So anyway, very interesting. I’ll be very curious to see what I get back. I’m gonna keep my purple gloves. I’ve got a little purple sticker. It really is a club because they want you to take a before and an after and show everyone. I’m sure this is all about Instagram marketing and that’s fine as long as it works. So, if you subscribe to this channel, I will get back to you on actually how it works for me. And so far, so good. My one caveat is purple’s not my favorite color but I can live with that. So anyway, thanks for watching!