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SmileDirectClub ceased operations in December of 2023, less than 3 months after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. They were the first and largest telehealth platform for orthodontic aligner treatment. Now they are gone. What does their failure mean for the industry in general? This article explores the rise and fall of SmileDirectClub. It identifies some key lessons that can be learned to help the industry move forward in a positive direction for patients, platforms, and providers alike.

 

Background

SmileDirectClub was founded by Jordan Katzman and Alex Fenkell in 2014 with a vision of disrupting the traditional orthodontic industry. Importantly, neither of the co-founders had any orthodontic or dental expertise. Jordan Katzman's father, David, served as the company's CEO since inception. Below is a timeline of key events in the company's evolution:

  • Somewhat counterintuitively considering their disruptive goals, SmileDirectClub initially partnered with Align Technology (the parent company of Invisalign)
  • A non-compete clause dispute between Align and SDC resulted in an arbitrator ordering Align to return its ownership stake back to SDC. In 2021 the arbitrator ordered SDC to pay Align around $45 million for the returned ownership stake. This would be the first in a seemingly unending series of legal disputes for SmileDirect.
  • In October 2018 SmileDirectClub raised $380 million.
  • In November 2018 SmileDirectClub expanded into Canada.
  • In 2019 SDC expanded into the UK and Australia and has approximately 300 retail locations.
  • In April 2019 CVS announced that they would add SDC locations to hundreds of their stores.
  • In May 2019 the company announced a 3D printing partnership with HP.
  • In August 2019 SDC filed paperwork to go public.
  • On September 12, 2019, the company went public by offering initial shares at $23, above the expected price of $19-$22 per share. SDC's IPO opened at $20.55 and closed at $16.67 after the first day, a 28% loss from the initial shares offering.

Trouble signs

SmileDirectClub ended 2019 with $750 million in revenues, a 77% increase over 2018. However, 2019 proved to be the high water mark for SmileDirectClub. Notwithstanding the sales growth, the high-profile partnerships, and the IPO, the company was losing massive amounts of money. Losses exceeded half a billion dollars in 2019 alone. Those losses may have been sustainable if revenues continued to grow. But they didn't. Storm clouds were brewing behind the scenes:

  • Leadership attributed the losses to investment in growth. In reality, SmileDirectClub was spending exorbitant amounts of money marketing. It could be argued that they never figured out a marketing model with a viable CAC (customer acquisition cost).
  • In September 2019, a group of customers filed a class-action lawsuit against the company, claiming SmileDirectClub engaged in false advertising and violated FDA regulations. Due to a clause in SmileDirectClub's consent forms that required disputes to be resolved via arbitration, all but two plaintiffs in the lawsuit withdrew.
  • In January 2020, the New York Times published an article revealing SmileDirectClub's usage of non-disclosure agreements worked to limit information about customers' dissatisfaction with its products, including medical concerns.
  • In March 2020, CBC News's Marketplace released an investigative report where they found the company had made misleading claims about their aligners and gave questionable treatment plans.
  • On June 30, 2020, SDC filed a lawsuit against major dental insurer Delta Dental claiming it was illegally denying claims for treatment delivered through the SDC. Six of the seven claims in the case were denied in 2022.
  • SmileDirectClub was awarded a business model patent on the process used for plastic aligners for customers on April 28, 2020. SmileDirectClub sued a competitor, Candid Care, calling it "a copycat model". U.S. District Judge Colm Connolly invalidated the patent.
  • On April 14, 2021, the company was the subject of a cyberattack.
  • On August 3, 2021, a workplace shooting occurred at the company's manufacturing facility in Nashville.
  • In December 2021, SDC's $2.8 billion lawsuit against NBC was dismissed after a court ruled SmileDirectClub failed to meet its burden under the Tennessee Public Participation Act, the state's anti-SLAPP law

SmileDirectClub's litigious run included lawsuits against the dental boards in multiple states. The COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly hurt the company financially given the investment they had made in retail space for their smile shops. In addition to these other headwinds, other low-price competitors continued to enter the D2C orthodontic market.

The real problem

Though it is rarely one thing that causes the demise of a publicly traded company, it is the opinion of this author that SmileDirectClub's underlying problem was one of leadership. The company recklessly prioritized sales and growth over treatment results, patient experience, and patient safety. They were both financially and clinically over-aggressive with too few legitimate clinical voices involved in high-level decision making. At one point SDC actually bragged on its website that 97% of people were good candidates for its service. Given that this style of orthodontics is only suitable for mild-to-moderate orthodontic cases, this was an absurdity. Nowhere was the company culture more evident than in their smile shops where all visitors were taken through a polished sales process to get them to move forward with treatment without any consideration of legitimate clinical concerns. The company seemingly spent more energy and resources trying to muzzle unsatisfied patients than it did trying to improve patient satisfaction and outcomes. They accepted patients who were not good candidates for the service. The astronomical marketing spend and high customer acquisition costs were a testimony to the lack of organic referral business.

Even down to their final days. SmileDirectClub was not honest with patients, prospective patients, or investors. They reassured all that the Chapter 11 restructuring would allow the company to continue serving customers. Patients were blindsided by the cessation of operations less than 3 months later.

Takeaways

SmileDirectClub's demise is a cautionary tale for other D2C orthodontic companies to ensure they put the patient's best interests ahead of their own. SDC left many patients high-and-dry so those considering clear aligner treatment via a telehealth platform are right to be cautious. However, the reality is that the overwhelming majority of patients who have undergone clear aligner therapy via telehealth have experienced excellent results while saving significant time and money as compared to traditional orthodontic solutions. Our advice to anyone considering this type of treatment? Don't choose a company based on the strength of its social media presence, celebrity endorsements, and TikTok ads. Instead, choose a company that prioritizes patient experience and results.

Did you know that Strayt is the only major D2C clear aligner company that is founded and majority-owned by a licensed orthodontist?

In a world where life races past at breakneck speed, maintaining a healthy lifestyle might seem like an uphill battle. Yet, achieving wellness doesn't have to be a herculean task. With eight straightforward strategies, you can seamlessly integrate health into your daily life, ensuring a journey toward complete well-being. This article will go over several tactics that are designed to cater to your entire body, ensuring a balanced approach to healthy living.

Hydration Harmony

The simplest yet most potent tool for health is water. Strive to consume at least eight glasses of water daily. Hydration is a cornerstone of health, aiding in digestion, enhancing circulation, and energizing your entire system. Make it a habit to start your day with a glass of water and keep a bottle handy throughout the day. Remember, your body thrives when it's well-hydrated, making this an essential step in your healthy living routine.

The Power of Multivitamins

Our diets, no matter how balanced, might still miss crucial nutrients. Here's where a daily multivitamin becomes invaluable. This simple addition to your routine can fill nutritional voids, ensuring your body gets a well-rounded supply of essential vitamins and minerals. It's a small step with significant benefits, supporting your journey towards optimal health and vitality.

Moderation is Key

Alcohol, while enjoyable, can be detrimental to health when consumed in excess. Aiming for moderation or reducing intake can have profound health benefits. If you find the challenge of cutting back on alcohol daunting, explore your options by searching for rehab facilities. These facilities offer professional guidance and support, making the journey towards sobriety more manageable. Seeking assistance from a rehab center, especially from among the best in the US, can be a transformative step towards reclaiming your health and well-being.

Expand Your Horizons Online

Engaging in continuous learning is as vital for your brain as exercise is for your body. Enroll in online courses to keep your mind active and expanding. This pursuit of knowledge not only sharpens your intellect but also contributes significantly to your personal and professional growth. Not only that, but the flexibility of online courses means you’ll be able to work on a bachelor’s or master’s degree in psychology, which will allow you to help others. You can learn more about the programs available with just a few clicks.

Invest in Your Health

When it comes to products impacting your health, being a discerning shopper is crucial, especially when it comes to buying products for your family. Read reviews, scrutinize product descriptions, and make informed choices. This approach ensures that you invest in products that genuinely contribute to your health, aligning with your goals for a healthier lifestyle.

Get Active

Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. Whether it’s a jog, cycling, or a yoga session, regular physical activity is a pillar of healthy living. Exercise not only strengthens your body but also uplifts your mood and boosts your energy levels. Make it a fun and integral part of your daily routine by finding different ways to get active and involving pets or your family members.

Focus On Oral Health

Solid oral health is essential not just for a beautiful smile, but also for your overall wellbeing. Taking good care of your teeth and gums doesn’t have to be challenging; by creating a routine for both morning and night, you can ensure that your mouth is as healthy as possible. Need to build confidence in your smile? Take a look at all that Strayt has to offer, including aligners and whitening strategies.

Stand Up Against Sitting

The sedentary lifestyle that comes with prolonged sitting has numerous health risks. Counter this by taking regular breaks. Stand, stretch, or walk for a few minutes every hour. This practice improves circulation and reduces the health risks associated with sitting, making it a crucial component of your daily health strategy.

Incorporating these eight simple yet effective strategies into your daily life can lead to substantial improvements in your overall health. Remember, small, consistent steps can create significant impacts on your journey towards healthy living. Start today and witness the transformation in your head-to-toe health. Embrace these habits and watch as your future self rejoices in a life of improved health and vitality.

A healthy lifestyle not only improves your physical and mental health but also has the potential to increase your finances. Eating right, maintaining a healthy home environment, and exercising regularly will save you money in the long run. The key is to find ways to make these activities more affordable. Below are some tips on how to do just that.

Work Out at Home

One way to save money while staying fit is to work out at home. You don’t need expensive gym memberships or equipment — all you need is a few pieces of basic workout gear like resistance bands or free weights and some space in your living room or backyard. Tons of online resources offer free workouts for different fitness levels, so you can get started with minimal investment.

Be Your Own Barista

One way to stay energized throughout the day without spending too much money is by making coffee at home instead of buying it from coffee shops. A moderate amount of coffee each day will boost your metabolism and your brain function. If you're looking to lower your calorie intake, try an Americano, or an espresso mixed with hot water, instead of a cappuccino. Just don’t forget to keep track of how much caffeine you’re drinking each day, as too much can lead to restlessness or anxiety.

Shop Nutritious Food in Bulk

A great way to stay healthy without spending too much money is by buying healthy food in bulk. This provides the opportunity for bulk shopping at reduced prices, so you can get nutritious food without breaking the bank. Plus, stocking up on staples like grains, beans, and nuts means that meals come together easier when time is tight.

Pack Your Own Lunch

Eating out during lunchtime can add up quickly. Instead of spending extra money on takeout every day, pack your own lunch from home. This will not only save you money but also give you more control over what you eat as you can choose healthier options like salads or whole grain sandwiches instead of greasy fast food items.

Address Your Smile

A straight, captivating smile through teeth straightening transcends mere aesthetics. Oral health has notable impacts on an individual's overall health. Properly aligned teeth not only bolster self-esteem but also alleviate a myriad of health issues, such as preventing abnormal tooth wear, improving gum health, and mitigating speech and chewing difficulties. Additionally, misaligned teeth can be a breeding ground for bacteria, potentially leading to gum disease and consequently, has the potential to influence systemic health, being linked with heart disease and diabetes.

Clear aligners from Strayt offer a cutting-edge, almost invisible solution to these issues, providing a convenient, comfortable, and aesthetic method to straighten your teeth, simultaneously enhancing your oral and general health by alleviating the complications associated with misaligned teeth.

Keep Your Home Clean

Another way to keep costs down while still taking care of your health is by preventing allergies from building up in your home through regular dusting and vacuuming. Dust mites are tiny creatures that feed off dead skin cells found on furniture surfaces and dust particles trapped in carpets and curtains. These can cause sneezing if left unchecked. Regular vacuuming helps eliminate these pesky critters.

Make Money From a Healthy Lifestyle

Once you begin eating healthier, working out regularly, and cleaning up around the house, you might find that you have a certain skill set that could be monetized. This is a great opportunity for starting a business, whether you want to open a yoga studio or sell vegan food items. No matter which route you take, it's a good idea to form an LLC for your business so you can gain some tax benefits and protect your assets. Check the rules for formation in your state, as every area has its own.

Also, don’t forget to advertise! It’s a good idea to go beyond social media, as well. You might even try an old-fashioned approach like making a brochure! These are a great, time-tested way to spread the word, and if you aren’t sure where to start, simply click here to access some free brochure templates!

It's also advisable to keep an updated resume on hand to attract clients with your unique accomplishments and skill set. Fortunately, there are several resources online that can help, like free resume templates that you can customize with your choice of fonts, colors, and images.

Make Changes for a Happier You

Changing to a healthier lifestyle can be a challenge at times, even if it's something you really want to achieve. Set small goals for yourself to avoid becoming overwhelmed, and keep track of your progress so you can see how far you've come. With a few of the right tools, you can start (and advertise) an LLC, get fit, and be sufficiently nourished in no time.

In the quest for looking and feeling our best, we often focus on the physical aspects like diet and exercise. While these are undoubtedly important, other aspects of our lives contribute significantly to our well-being. Here are seven powerful steps that can help you look and feel your absolute best, courtesy of Strayt.

Foster Your Friendships

Human beings are social creatures, and maintaining strong social connections is vital for our mental and emotional health. Spending quality time with friends can provide a sense of belonging, improve self-confidence, and help reduce stress and anxiety. Make an effort to reach out to your friends regularly, engage in activities you all enjoy, and be there for them in times of need. Remember, a good friend is not just about having a shoulder to cry on but also about sharing laughter and creating memories together.

Make Sunscreen Your Daily Shield

The health of our skin significantly influences how we look and feel. One of the best ways to protect your skin and prevent premature aging is by wearing sunscreen daily. Even on cloudy days or during winter, harmful UV rays can damage your skin. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and make it a part of your daily skincare routine. Don't forget to apply it to all exposed areas of your skin, including your neck and hands.

Walk Towards a Healthier Body and Mind

Physical activity is crucial for maintaining good health and a positive mental state. Incorporating regular walks into your routine can boost your mood, improve cardiovascular health, and enhance creativity. Try to take short breaks throughout your day to walk around, especially if you have a sedentary job. You can also use this time to clear your mind, meditate, or listen to your favorite podcast or audiobook.

Choose Locations With High Walkability

Where you live can also influence your health and well-being. If possible, opt for locations that have a high Walk Score. These are areas where essential amenities like grocery stores, parks, and public transport are within walking distance. Living in such locations encourages you to walk more, reducing your reliance on cars and promoting physical activity. Plus, it's an excellent way to save on transportation costs!

Cut Back on Processed Foods and Sugars

Your diet plays a significant role in how you look and feel. Consuming too many processed foods and added sugars can lead to weight gain, skin problems, and energy crashes. Instead, aim for a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. These foods are packed with nutrients that support your body's functions and keep you feeling satisfied and energized throughout the day.

Find Low-Caffeine Alternatives

While caffeine can give you a quick energy boost, too much of it can lead to sleep disturbances, anxiety, and even dependency. Consider exploring low-caffeine or caffeine-free alternatives like herbal tea, decaf coffee, or infused water. These options can help you stay hydrated, offer health benefits, and still provide that comforting ritual of sipping on a warm beverage. Learn more about how you can maintain a healthy caffeine intake.

Prioritize Your Pearly Whites

Good dental hygiene is more than just a means to a bright smile; it's a crucial part of your overall health. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups can prevent oral diseases and boost your confidence. Consider using products that strengthen enamel and whiten teeth for that extra sparkle. Remember, a healthy mouth is a gateway to a healthy body. Take Strayt’s free assessment today.

In conclusion, looking and feeling your best is a holistic process that involves nurturing your relationships, protecting your skin, staying active, eating well, and maintaining good dental health. Implement these seven steps into your routine, and you'll be well on your way to being the best version of yourself.

In this blog post, we will delve into the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for gum disease to help you better understand and prevent this prevalent dental issue.

Causes of Gum Disease:

Gum disease primarily occurs due to poor oral hygiene habits that allow harmful bacteria to accumulate in the mouth. However, other factors can contribute to the development and progression of gum disease, including:

  1. Plaque buildup: Neglecting regular brushing and flossing leads to the accumulation of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria on the teeth and gums.
  2. Tartar formation: When plaque hardens and turns into tartar, it becomes more challenging to remove with regular brushing and requires professional dental cleaning.
  3. Hormonal changes: Hormonal fluctuations during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause can make gums more susceptible to inflammation and gingivitis.
  4. Smoking and tobacco use: Tobacco products impair the gum tissue's ability to heal and increase the risk of gum disease.
  5. Genetic predisposition: Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to developing gum disease, making them more susceptible even with proper oral hygiene.

Common Symptoms of Gum Disease:

Recognizing the early signs of gum disease is crucial for prompt intervention and treatment. Look out for the following symptoms:

  1. Red, swollen gums: Healthy gums are pink and firm. In the early stages of gum disease, gums become inflamed, appear red, and may feel tender.
  2. Bleeding gums: Gums that bleed during brushing, flossing, or even spontaneously should not be ignored and may indicate gingivitis.
  3. Persistent bad breath: Chronic bad breath that lingers despite oral hygiene practices can be a sign of gum disease caused by bacterial growth.
  4. Receding gums: As gum disease progresses, the gums may start to recede, making the teeth appear longer and exposing the tooth roots.
  5. Loose or shifting teeth: Advanced gum disease can cause the supporting structures to deteriorate, leading to loose (mobile) teeth or changes in tooth alignment.

Treatment and Prevention:

Treating gum disease depends on the severity of the condition. Home remedies may alleviate symptoms, but we recognize professional help for comprehensive resolution:

  1. Professional dental cleaning: The first line of defense against gum disease involves professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar.
  2. Scaling and root planing: For more advanced gum disease, a deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing may be necessary to remove bacteria and smooth the tooth roots.
  3. Antibiotics: In some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed to control bacterial infection and promote healing.
  4. Surgical intervention: In severe cases of gum disease, surgical procedures such as gum grafts, flap surgery, or bone grafting may be required to repair damaged tissues and restore oral health.

Prevention is key to avoiding gum disease. Follow these preventive measures:

  1. Maintain proper oral hygiene: Brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily, and use an antiseptic mouthwash to remove plaque and bacteria.
  2. Schedule regular dental check-ups: Regular dental visits allow your dentist to detect and address any signs of gum disease early on.
  3. Quit smoking: Tobacco use is a significant risk factor for gum disease. Quitting smoking can improve gum health and overall oral well-being.
  4. Eat a balanced diet: A nutrient-rich diet promotes gum health. Include foods rich in vitamins A and C, as well as minerals like calcium and phosphorus.

Gum disease and orthodontics

It is vital that teeth and the surrounding tissue are healthy before beginning any type of orthodontic treatment, including clear aligner therapy. Attempting to move teeth when gum disease is unresolved could result in severe and permanent tooth damage. It is equally important to continue routine dental visits during orthodontic treatment.

Conclusion:

Gum disease is a prevalent oral health concern that requires attention and timely treatment. By practicing good oral hygiene, visiting your dentist regularly, and being aware of the early signs and symptoms, you can protect your gums and maintain a healthy smile. Remember, prevention and early intervention are the keys to preventing the progression of gum disease and preserving your oral well-being.

Toothaches can be excruciatingly painful and can significantly impact our daily lives. Whether it's a throbbing ache or a sharp, shooting pain, finding relief becomes a top priority. While it's always advisable to seek professional dental care, there are several toothache remedies you can try at home to alleviate the discomfort. In this blog post, we will explore ten effective toothache remedies that can provide quick relief.

1. Saltwater rinse:

One of the simplest and most effective toothache remedies is a saltwater rinse. Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water and swish it around in your mouth for about 30 seconds before spitting it out. This rinse helps reduce inflammation, fights bacteria, and eases the pain.

2. Clove oil:

Clove oil has natural analgesic properties, making it a popular remedy for toothaches. Apply a small amount of clove oil directly to the affected tooth using a cotton ball or swab. Its numbing effect can provide temporary relief from the pain.

3. Garlic:

Garlic has antimicrobial properties that can help fight infection and relieve toothache pain. Crush a garlic clove to form a paste, mix it with a pinch of salt, and apply it to the affected area. Alternatively, you can chew a garlic clove to release its natural oils.

4. Cold compress:

A cold compress can provide temporary relief from toothache pain by numbing the area and reducing swelling. Wrap a few ice cubes in a thin cloth and apply it to the cheek near the affected tooth for 15 minutes. Repeat as necessary.

5. Peppermint tea bags:

Peppermint tea bags can be used to soothe toothaches. Steep a peppermint tea bag in hot water for a few minutes, allow it to cool, and then place it against the affected tooth for relief. Peppermint has numbing properties that can ease the pain.

6. Hydrogen peroxide rinse:

A hydrogen peroxide rinse can help reduce inflammation and kill bacteria in the mouth. Mix equal parts of 3% hydrogen peroxide and water, swish the solution around your mouth for about 30 seconds, and spit it out. Be careful not to swallow it.

7. Over-the-counter pain relievers:

Non-prescription pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help manage toothache pain until you can see a dentist. Follow the instructions on the package and consult a healthcare professional if you have any concerns.

8. Salt and pepper paste:

Create a paste by mixing equal amounts of salt and pepper with a few drops of water. Apply the paste directly to the affected tooth and leave it on for a few minutes. Rinse your mouth thoroughly afterward. This remedy can help alleviate pain and fight bacteria.

9. Tea tree oil:

Tea tree oil possesses antibacterial properties that can help reduce toothache pain. Dilute a few drops of tea tree oil in a carrier oil (such as olive oil) and apply it to the affected area using a cotton ball.

10. Maintain good oral hygiene:

Prevention is key to avoiding toothaches. Brush your teeth twice a day, floss regularly, and use an antiseptic mouthwash to keep your mouth clean and free of bacteria. A healthy oral hygiene routine can go a long way in preventing dental issues that may lead to toothaches. Misaligned teeth can make it harder to maintain good oral hygiene. Visit this page to find convenient, discreet and affordable teeth straightening options in your area.

While these toothache remedies can provide temporary relief, it's essential to remember that they are not substitutes for professional dental care. If you experience severe or persistent toothache pain, it's crucial to consult a dentist as soon as possible to address the underlying cause.

According to a Statista survey, the most common New Year’s resolutions for 2023 are:

  1. To exercise more
  2. To eat healthier
  3. To lose weight

Year after year these three resolutions top the list in America. Overeating and under exercising during the holidays no doubt puts physical health and appearance at top of mind for many people. Then we fall right back into bad habit sin the new year. Why is it so hard to keep these resolutions? Why do so many of us repeat the same mistakes and end making the same resolutions year after year?

Delayed consequences can be a major stumbling block for health-related goals. Most people will notice the benefits of eating better and exercising within a couple of weeks. But the negative impact of not doing those things can take much longer to register. Those consequences accumulate over years and even decades. If you eat a whole tub of ice cream or the entire bag of chips, chances are it will have no immediate impact on your body weight, cholesterol, or heart health (though it may make you feel a little sluggish). The disincentive is too far off in future to be useful in the moment. It’s the same with exercise. If you miss a workout there is no immediate change to your physical appearance or physical abilities. So skipping that workout becomes all to easy.

Aligners: The Secret Weapon

What if there was a disincentive that helped us in the moment to resist picking up that bag of chips, eating that cookie, or skipping that workout? For many people, clear aligners provide the perfect disincentive. Like steroids for your self-control, clear aligners can make snacking simply not worth the effort.

During clear aligner treatment the aligner trays are typically worn around-the-clock but must be removed to eat, smoke, and drink anything other than water. You’ll want to clean your teeth after eating to ensure no food particles get stuck and cause irritation. This routine isn’t a big deal if you’re only doing it at mealtimes, but it may provide just the right amount of disincentive to avoid snacking throughout the day. If you’re a heavy soda or coffee drinker or smoker, aligners will help reduce your consumption of those too.

Strayt clear aligner treatment typically takes around 6 months which is the perfect amount of time to get out of the snacking habit. Those improved eating habits will endure long after you’ve stopped your aligner therapy treatment. So if you want to give your health-related resolutions a better chance of succeeding this year, consider bundling them with a resolution to level up your smile game with clear aligner treatment.

Is there ever a situation in which straighter teeth are not preferable? Yes. This article explores what you need to know when it comes to orthodontic treatment and gingival embrasures (AKA “black triangles”).

The most common compliant we treat is crowding of the lower front teeth. Resolving this crowding involves an outward expansion to create enough space for all of the teeth to fit into the archform. The animated GIF below represents four lower front teeth that are being expanded in this way to resolve crowding:

As the teeth become less crowded, the triangular spaces between the teeth appear larger. The clinical term for these black triangular spaces is gingival embrasures. There are three primary contributing factors that will make gingival embrasures larger and more noticeable:

  1. The shape of the teeth. Teeth that are more triangular will be narrower at the gumline than at the crown of the tooth. This creates more space between the teeth at the gumline.
  2. The amount of overlap/crowding present before the orthodontic treatment.
  3. The presence of gum recession. As gums recede, more of the narrower part of the tooth is exposed. This will exaggerate the appearance of black triangles. To demonstrate this principle, the GIF below represents the exact same teeth and movements as in the GIF above, but with the gumline moved a slightly lower. Note that the black triangles appear larger:

For the majority of patients – even those with lower teeth crowding – gingival embrasures are not an issue. However, some patients are a “perfect storm” of 2 or 3 of the factors listed above. If our doctors anticipate that black triangles may become conspicuous, we’ll let you know and discuss options with you to mitigate the appearance of black triangles. These options may include one or more of the following:

  • A treatment plan that does not fully resolve tooth crowding so as to avoid excessively large gingival embrasures
  • A treatment plan that includes to IPR (shaping of the teeth) to make them more rectangular and less triangular
  • Cosmetic dental and periodontal solutions

As with any medical or dental procedure, knowledge is power. It is important to know what questions to ask and what things to look for. When evaluating an orthodontic treatment plan, be sure to look at how tooth movements might affect the appearance of gingival embrasures.

Living a happy and fulfilling life sometimes means building self-confidence. To take charge of your future and chase your ambitions, you need to take the necessary steps to grow confidence. There are many ways to develop self-confidence, and this article can help you find the way that’s right for you.

 

BEGIN WITH SMALL CHANGES

You do not have to overwhelm yourself with significant life changes right away. You can rebuild your confidence at a steady pace. Some minor changes you can make include:

  • Starting a workout routine
  • Eating healthily
  • Staying away from negativity

Spend time talking to new people. Consider breaking out of your typical social group to meet others and discover new things. Going out for meals is a common way to develop friendships, but be aware of what you eat. When it comes to changing your eating habits, experts claim you do not need to diet to eat healthily. A healthy diet includes whole grains, vegetables and fruits, fish, poultry, nuts and seeds, and plant-based proteins. Consuming antioxidants can make you feel better about yourself and increase your health. Minor changes may include cutting down the number of sugary drinks or fatty foods you eat throughout your week.

If you want to feel good about yourself, you can start an exercise program. It doesn’t have to be a major life change, although it might lead to one. Start with a walk in the morning, or an at home yoga routine in the evening to destress. You might even want to join a gym where you can work with a personal trainer or wellness coach to start where you are and make a few goals.

 

TAKE STEPS TO IMPROVE YOUR SMILE

A smile is one of the first things people notice about you, and having straight teeth can go a long way in making a good impression. In fact, research has shown that having straight teeth can improve your self-confidence and make you seem more successful and likable to others. Not to mention, it can also make you feel better about yourself.

If you’re looking to straighten your teeth but don’t want to deal with metal braces, at-home teeth aligners from Strayt are a great option. These clear aligners are virtually invisible, so no one will even know you’re wearing them. And best of all, they can be used in the comfort of your own home. So if you’re looking to boost your confidence and put your best foot forward, straightening your teeth is a great place to start. And with at-home teeth aligners from Strayt, it’s easier than ever to achieve that perfect smile.

 

REMEMBER TO DESTRESS

Chronic stress can cause your mental health to deteriorate. Your body cannot live in a constant state of stress. There is a correlation between stress, anxiety, and depression. Depression and anxiety can tear up your self-worth and confidence. You may struggle to enter the world again because you feel down on yourself.

If you find it difficult to relax, try to schedule time for you to rest. Even if you can only afford a few minutes at a time, you should have time dedicated to relaxation every day. Some days, you may need to allow yourself to cuddle up on the couch and binge-watch your favorite show or read a good book. Give yourself opportunities to relax intentionally.

If money is keeping you from making good choices, or if you feel bogged down by debt, look into refinancing your home. If you have lived in your house for a while, you may have equity stored up that you can use to reduce debt (and therefore stress) or even invest in something new that would bring you joy.

 

ANALYZE YOUR PRESENT AND FUTURE

Ask yourself if you feel happy with your life right now. When you feel happy and comfortable in your life, other people's opinions cannot hurt you. You may understand what you need the most and how to practice self-care. Real happiness may involve chasing the dreams and passions you have. If you do not feel you have reached that goal yet in your life, learning to boost your confidence can help you seize your dreams.

If you do not feel satisfied with your current work environment, you may want to consider other opportunities. People may experience dissatisfaction because of high-stress levels, no passion for the job, or interests in other areas.

For some people, starting their own business can help them achieve their dreams. Before you convince yourself that now is not the time nor place, stop! Really consider what it would look like to start a new company, as well as all of the steps and processes involved. Don’t just dismiss your idea. If you decide to start a business, make sure you have a business plan. Your business plan needs to detail your services, describe your company mission, and explain the structure. Additionally, include your funding plans and any financial projections.

All people deserve to live their best life and achieve their goals. To rebuild and start fresh, you need to learn to care for yourself and chase down the dreams that matter to you rather than what matters to other people.

People choose to get clear aligner therapy because they want straighter, whiter teeth and a more confident smile. Many patients are pleasantly surprised by some other benefits that they weren’t expecting when they began the treatment process. These unexpected benefits include:

  • Improved oral health
  • Instant esthetic improvement from wearing the aligners
  • Healthy weight loss from improved eating habits

Improved Oral Health

Clear aligner treatment can result in improved oral health for a few reasons:

  • Patients develop more consistent brushing habits while in treatment
  • It is harder to clean teeth well when they are misaligned. As teeth become aligned better, it becomes easier to clean the teeth
  • When teeth are misaligned, it can result in chipping and premature wear on the teeth. Effective orthodontic treatment will prevent this type of tooth damage

Instant esthetic improvement from wearing the aligners

Many patients are pleasantly surprised by how much better their smile looks immediately when they first put their aligners in. Aligners work on teeth in a similar way to how makeup works on skin; covering up the blemishes. The picture below shows a patient with and without the aligners. Both pictures were taken on the same day…

Comparison of teeth with and without aligners

Healthy weight loss

Snacking. Drinking soda. Many of us do it more frequently than we should, and our waistlines pay the price. Grabbing that salty or sweet snack is just too easy!

Clear aligners need to be removed when eating and drinking (other than water). Teeth then need to be cleaned before the aligners go back on to ensure food particles don’t get stuck in there and cause irritation. The aligner routine isn’t difficult, but it can provide a powerful disincentive to snacking. That bag of chips or that cookie all-of-a-sudden become not worth the trouble. For this reason, many patients LOVE wearing aligners because it makes it easier to be more disciplined with what you consume throughout the day. Often that results in some of those unwanted pounds being shed during the treatment process.

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