Growing up, Rebecca Grafton was happy with her smile. She was even able to avoid braces during her teenage years. But in her 20s, what she calls a “snaggletooth” appeared. She became insecure about her smile but felt too old for braces.
“Why couldn’t my teeth shift when I was young: when it was socially acceptable to have braces?” Rebecca asked.
Rebecca isn’t alone. Research shows more than one-third of American adults are unhappy with their smile. Dental experts say straightening crooked or crowded teeth may improve an individual’s social and psychological well-being with a boost in self-esteem and confidence.
Your overall health may improve, too. Straightening your teeth may make brushing and flossing easier, which can help you avoid bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease and even tooth loss. Maintaining good oral health may also decrease the likelihood of bacterial infections that can be linked to various diseases and conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.
Almost half (45 percent) of adults in the United States want to improve their oral health in 2019. But time and expense remain the biggest obstacles. Braces or clear aligners may be cost prohibitive, and the office visits are time consuming. An average of 321 million work or school hours were lost annually for dental care in the United States, including 160 million hours lost during routine and orthodontic care.
But for those like Rebecca, there may be a better option – with fewer hours and dollars spent at the orthodontist.
Rebecca chose SmileDirectClub to straighten her smile, which enabled her to create teeth impressions, receive clear aligner therapy and check progress through a digital network of duly licensed dentists and orthodontists assigned to her case. No in-person office visits were required, but she had the support of dental experts and customer care at her fingertips – through an app, phone call or chat. And she saved money, paying a fraction of the price of braces.
To extend access to straighter smiles, SmileDirectClub and UnitedHealthcare have collaborated to enable people enrolled in most UnitedHealthcare employer-sponsored and individual dental plans with orthodontic coverageto purchase clear aligners for less than $1,000 out of pocket.
What’s more, people living in more than 60 percent of U.S. counties don’t have access to an orthodontist, so the collaboration may increase access to orthodontic care through SmileDirectClub’s new and convenient direct-to-consumer care model.
“UnitedHealthcare’s new relationship with SmileDirectClub enables more people to improve their smiles, and encourages them to make a greater commitment to their dental health,” said Tom Wiffler, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Specialty Benefits. “Research shows oral health is connected to overall health. Working with SmileDirectClub helps further meet the oral health needs of our dental plan participants and reinforces our commitment to whole-person health.”
Health Savings Account (HSA) and Flexible Spending Account (FSA) funds can be used toward the price of SmileDirectClub’s clear aligners, which potentially offer significant time and financial savings compared to other care options. And some dental plans reimburse qualifying customers for a portion of the costs, enabling people to save and straighten their teeth. Plus, you don’t need to budget time for repeated in-office checkups.
How it works:
- Visit SmileDirectClub.com to schedule an introductory visit at one of the 235+ SmileShops to get a 3D digital image of your smile, or to order an impression kit sent directly to you.
- A duly licensed dentist or orthodontist will approve and manage a custom treatment plan for you. Upon your approval of the plan, SmileDirectClub sends all of your clear aligners directly to your door.
- Once your teeth are aligned, you can purchase retainers to keep your smile in place.
Rebecca had a straight smile in just seven months.
“It’s amazing how fixing something so small, such as a snaggletooth, could make such a huge difference in my confidence level,” she said.
To learn more, visit SmileDirectClub.com
*Not all UnitedHealthcare dental plans include orthodontic coverage. If you are a UnitedHealthcare