Smile Direct Club has shut down weeks after filing for bankruptcy, it has been revealed.
The direct-to-consumer aligner company announced the ‘incredibly difficult decision’ to shut down operations at the end of last week.
The statement reads: ‘Smile Direct Club has made the incredibly difficult decision to wind down its global operations, effective immediately. For new customers interested in Smile Direct Club services, thank you for your interest, but aligner treatment is no longer available through our telehealth platform.
‘For existing customers, we apologise for the inconvenience, but customer care support is no longer available. Thank you for your support and letting us improve over two million smiles and lives.’
It confirmed that all current orders have been cancelled and patients should not expect to receive any further aligners.
This comes after Smile Direct Club filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year.
In its petition, it listed $499 million of assets and more than $1 billion of liabilities.
The British Dental Association (BDA) has criticised Smile Direct Club’s business model, where patients were offered plastic aligners based on a 3D scan of their mouths or via an impression taken from at-home moulding kits. This approach, it stated, can lead to ‘irreversible’ changes in a patient’s mouth.
It added that it should not take bankruptcy to protect patients.
BDA chair Eddie Crouch said: ‘Dentists are left to pick up the pieces when these providers offer wholly inappropriate treatment.
‘It shouldn’t have taken a bankruptcy to protect patients from harm. It requires decent laws and effective regulation.
‘Sooner or later, someone will find a way to make remote orthodontics turn a profit. Before that time proper safeguards must be in place.’
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