We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post, and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please see my full disclosure for more information.
This post is in no way sponsored by Your Smile Direct – all opinions are 100% my own in order to provide an honest, authentic review of my experience.
Jump straight to my November 2019 Update about my COMPLETED Your Smile Direct Experience!
I’ve never been one to spend money on ‘high maintenance’ things. I don’t get my nails done, I get my hair cut about once a year, and for a long time, my gym membership felt like a real luxury spend… so yeah, on balance, I’d say I’m a pretty low maintenance person.
So when I started seriously considering getting invisible braces this year, you better know I read every review under the sun to get a well-rounded understanding if Your Smile Direct – one of the most popular invisible braces companies here in the UK – is worth the money.
If you didn’t know, Your Smile Direct provides a series of invisible braces (similar to a retainer, but thinner), that straighten your teeth over a period of around 6 – 10 months. The braces cost around £1,300, which is actually considerably cheaper than the leading brand, Invisalign, which you can get fitted at an Orthodontist.
I had braces when I was a teenager, and unfortunately, I didn’t grasp just how essential it is to wear your retainer post-braces at the time. As a result, my front teeth have shifted slightly and are no longer perfectly straight. A small flaw – but one I’m constantly aware of.
I’ve been looking into invisible aligners for a while now, and when I started to look at Your Smile Direct as an option, I wanted to document my experience to help anyone else thinking about this process, too.
Below is my totally unbiased first impression and review of Your Smile Direct and my experience with them so far – I’ll be updating this post as we delve further into the treatment.
Why is Your Smile Direct cheaper than Invisalign?
Well, it’s because you get sent your aligners in one go, and don’t need to go to an Orthodontist to get them to adjust your braces throughout the process. It’s totally online based – aside from when you get your 3-D scan is done to get your treatment plan and the right fitting aligners (I’ll go into that in a minute).
I recently went to the Your Smile Direct clinic in London to have my 3-D scan done, and wanted to provide a little insight into that experience as well as a summary of what I’ve read about the company, plus my final decision on whether I’ll be progressing with my treatment plan (and paying the money for perfectly straight teeth!).
Read Next: My Not-So Frugal Confessions as a Money Blogger
The 3D Scan
Your Smile Direct provide the option to either have a home kit sent to your house, in which you can do your own impressions of your teeth and then send them back in order to receive your customised treatment plan.
Alternatively, you can go to one of their Smile Clinics and have a 3D scan done by one of their dental team. I went for this option because I got a voucher which meant I paid just £9.99 for it, instead of the normal £99 price – I know, too good a deal to pass up!
The nearest clinic to me was in London, so I caught the train there and my first impressions of the clinic were great – it’s in a gorgeous building and all feels very legit.
The lady who did my 3D scan was really friendly and explained the process and what would happen afterward (I mean, I already knew all of this from reading everything online but still, helpful).
The scan took maybe 10 minutes max and was way better than I had anticipated.
I thought I was going to have one of those mouth guards that pull your lips back to reveal your teeth in my mouth for half an hour, but actually, the majority of the scan was using this white rod that shone a light around inside my mouth to take the scan.
I don’t know how well I’m explaining that, but it was completely pain-free and not uncomfortable at all.
The end of the scan did involve the mouthguard for a few photos of my teeth, and she also took photos of my profile to see where my bite is.
My Treatment Plan
I received my treatment plan about 5 days after my 3D scan, so everything has moved incredibly swiftly for me. I read a lot of reviews online that suggested Your Smile Direct customer service might not be up to scratch, but I’ve experienced nothing to suggest they are anything but professional and timely with their replies so far.
When I didn’t respond to my treatment plan straight away, I received a few emails from one of their team asking if everything was alright etc, and I responded that I want to go to the dentist first for a quick checkup before fully committing to the plan.
I was told that was perfectly fine, and my plan will remain valid for 6 months; after 6 months, they will need to re-do the scan in case my teeth have shifted at all.
Receiving the Aligners & Tray 1
So, I decided to go ahead with my treatment plan. This website is based around frugal living – but it is also about spending your money on the things that make you happy. Thanks to this attitude, I had the savings I needed to get the perfect smile.
I purchased my treatment a few weeks ago, just before I went on holiday for 10 days. The aligners arrived the day after I got back – I’m sure that would have felt like a much longer wait if I’d been in the country!
In the box were my aligners (a total of 10 sets), a retainer box, pullies (to help you remove the trays), and chewies (to help any slightly awkward trays fit around your teeth better).
I waited until night as advised before putting in my first tray, which I was pleased to find fitted very well. After reading a few nightmare reviews from people complaining their aligners barely fit around their teeth, it was a relief to be able to snap mine into place easily.
I slept fine the first night, although I did experience some pressure in my mouth for the first couple of days. I wouldn’t describe it as painful – more of a very mild ache.
One of the biggest reasons why I was undecided for a while on getting clear aligners was not wanting a lisp. I had a series of removable braces before getting train tracks as a teenager, and the lisp they gave me definitely knocked my confidence.
After a few days of having my aligners in, however, I’m thrilled to find that I have barely any lisp at all! My family noticed I had them in, but they said it was more because they noticed something different about the way I was talking/holding my mouth than because of an actual lisp. Plus, from what I’ve read, the more used to your aligners you get, the easier it is to talk.
Right now, I just find myself running my tongue along the aligners because, hey, it’s two pieces of plastic in your mouth. If you’ve been worried that you’ll have a lisp with the clear aligners though, let me put your fears at rest: it is not an issue.
I’ll be regularly updating this post with how I get on throughout my treatment – looking at my 10th aligner with perfectly straight teeth is so exciting, I can’t wait to see how I progress!
I’m now on tray 5 out of 10, and halfway through my Your Smile Direct journey.
Honestly, the time has absolutely flown by.
I’m at the point where having my trays out feels weirder than having them in.
My teeth have changed dramatically – where the front two teeth overlapped and were crowded, they are now almost completely straight (the final change to my front teeth will take place in tray 6, with the remainder of my treatment plan focused on my bottom teeth).
I’ve had a few issues with my top aligner tray not always fitting my teeth perfectly, but I use the chewies provided by Your Smile Direct to help correct this and despite one tooth not quite fitting the aligner correctly, I’m still over the moon with the changes made so far.
I can’t believe how quickly the months have flown by! If anyone is sitting there thinking 7 months is too big a time commitment for straight teeth, I’m already on tray 7 out of 10 and the closer I get to the end of my treatment, the faster it goes!
As I said, I’m now on tray 7, so I have tray 8, 9, and 10 left before I get my retainers and am officially finished! Aahh!
It’s been so worth it.
So worth it.
My upper row is now completely finished and my teeth are super straight. These final few trays are dedicated to my bottom teeth which, honestly, never bothered me – but it will feel awesome to get the complete set!
At this point, my mouth feels weirder without my trays than with them in. I have no trouble talking, and brushing my teeth after meals has become second nature. I only drink one cup of coffee and then water for the rest of the day, which is an additional plus.
On nights I’ve gone out drinking, I’ve taken out the trays for a few hours and this hasn’t affected my progress in any way (just don’t do it every night!).
Below are some progress pictures that taken from tray 1 (October 2018) to now (February 2019) – weird angles, but what do you expect with teeth I guess haha!
Left Top: Feb 19
Left Bottom: Oct 18
Right Top: Oct 18
Right Bottom: Jan 19
November 2019 Update: My Complete Your Smile Direct Journey
I’ve now completed my Your Smile Direct journey, including wearing my retainer for 6 months. Now, I only wear my retainer at night.
So, first things first, am I happy with my results?
Yes. 100%. I am absolutely over the moon with how my invisible braces have changed my teeth. My teeth are not only perfectly straight now, but they are also whiter, my gums look healthier, my brushing habits are better, and I’m a million times more confident.
The impact of wearing braces for almost an entire year
I think a lot of people hesitate to get invisible braces for two reasons: the price, and the fact that they’ll have to wear braces every day for months.
I was worried about this part too – I think having to wear several different braces as a young teenager really impacted my confidence speaking to people, and I’ve struggled to overcome that even as an adult.
That being said, after about a month wearing the retainers, I really didn’t notice them.
I could speak totally normally, so having a lisp definitely wasn’t a problem.
Regarding people actually noticing I was wearing them – I’ll be honest, yeah, people did ask me if I had invisible braces a couple of times.
It was normally after having a longer conversation with them – the braces are invisible, but you can still tell if you’re actually looking at someone’s mouth.
It really wasn’t a big deal though – 9 times out of 10, the conversation would go like this:
“Oh, have you got those Invisalign braces?”
“They’re Your Smile Direct, which is a bit cheaper, but yeah, same thing.”
“Cool! I keep thinking about having those for my teeth.”
And that’s about it. I know for a lot of people having someone notice your braces isn’t a big deal, but for an introvert like me this was one of the biggest causes of anxiety when debating getting the braces, so trust me when I tell you it’s not as big a deal as your mind is telling you it is!
Is Your Smile Direct Worth The Cost?
In my opinion, that £1,300 was well spent. My teeth – although only slightly crooked – had become a point of insecurity for me that wasn’t going away. I had a lot of regrets that I’d already had braces and neglected to wear my retainer to keep them in good condition.
I had the money saved, and although obviously it’s more of a ‘luxury’ item, I would say that if your teeth are something you really want to address and you have the money to save, the investment is worth it.
The company isn’t particularly hands-on once you’ve received your box with all the trays, but they always responded promptly if I emailed them, the trays always fit me (I think I ended up needing to file down maybe 1 tray out of 10), and my results are exactly what they promised.
I found real accounts and reviews the most helpful when deciding whether to take the plunge into invisible braces or not. After all, £1,300 is a lot of money, so it’s worth doing your research.
I hope this review of my own experience is helpful to someone – everyone’s results are going to be different, but I can only provide my own experience, and that’s an overwhelmingly positive one.
Thanks for sticking on this journey with me, and good luck in yours!