The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) is encouraging SmileDirectClub (SDC) customers who have been left scrambling in the aftermath of the immediate shutdown of the clear aligner company to book an appointment with a local licensed orthodontist.
With multiple mail-order teeth-straightening companies approaching these customers, the AAO said that having an in-person visit with a clinician is the best approach to continue their ongoing orthodontic treatment, the organization stated in a press release issued on December 14.
“Most SmileDirectClub patients have not had an x-ray or in-person exam, which are critical to ensuring an accurate diagnosis and safe and effective treatment plan,” Dr. Myron Guymon, MS, AAO president, said in the release.
For patients with complaints, including those who were SDC customers who are unable to contact the dentists supervising their SDC treatment, the AAO -- which represents 19,000 orthodontists in the U.S., Canada, and abroad -- recommends contacting state dental boards that have individual complaint processes for dental treatments.
On December 8, SDC shuttered its operations globally after a failed attempted to find a new buyer to rescue the company from liquidation. The company, which had filed for bankruptcy in September, immediately stopped future sales, canceled outstanding orders for clear aligners, and ended its lifetime guarantee, according to the company website. Since its inception, SDC has had 2 million present and past patients.
When SDC filed for voluntary protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas on September 29, it had almost $900 million in debt.
At the time of its closing, SDC was operating a number of retail shops in more than a half-dozen locations, including the U.S., Canada, Australia, Ireland, Germany, Singapore, and the U.K.