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SmileDirectClub shuts down 4 months after filing bankruptcy

More than 2 million clients signed up for SmileDirectClub services between 2014 and 2023. Now they're out of dental care and hundreds of dollars.
Posted at 8:26 PM, Jan 03, 2024

A great smile can help boost self-esteem, but now patients seeking that million dollar smile through the SmileDirectClub are shut out of their dental care and out hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars.

The company posted on their website, "SmileDirectClub has made the incredibly difficult decision to wind down its global operations, effective immediately."

Eric Snyder, the chairman of the bankruptcy department at Wilk AusLander says the company faced mounting legal problems and competition.

"In this particular case, it became clear that they couldn't pay their day-to-day operations and so they said we're going to shut down, because to stay in bankruptcy you have to pay your ongoing expenses," said Snyder. "Not surprisingly the orthodontic lobby wanted to paint them as the bogeyman."

Last September, SmileDirectClub filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy and by December confirmed it was shutting down. Now, customers with appointments in the books or in the middle of treatment are taking to TikTok to share their shock.

SCRIPPS NEWS' ADI GUAJARDO: Will any of their customers see a refund that were in the middle of their treatment?

ERIC SNYDER: The answer is no. No, I don't believe anyone's going to see a refund.

More than 2 million clients signed up for SmileDirectClub services between 2014 and 2023. The company apologized and announced that customer care and support will no longer be available. All orders placed were canceled and lifetime guarantees came to a screeching halt.

"The issue is the viability of the company offering a warranty, and in this particular case, they're gone. There's nothing you can do," he said. 

The American Association of Orthodontists issued guidance to SmileDirectClub patients, including the suggestion to make an appointment with a licensed orthodontist, and warning against mail-order orthodontic companies feeding on SmileDirectClub's failure.