Home Industry Dental specialist SmileDirectClub ceases operations

Dental specialist SmileDirectClub ceases operations

SmileDirectClub, the direct sales startup for transparent dental splints that relied heavily on 3D printing technology, has ceased operations with immediate effect. The company made the announcement three months after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Founded in 2014 as an exclusive distributor for Align Technologies braces, SmileDirectClub decided to sell its own products directly to end customers following a legal dispute. By 2018, the company had raised USD 380 million in investor funds at a valuation of over USD 3 billion. SmileDirectClub went public in 2019, but the share price quickly fell to below USD 1.

Similar to its former partner Align, SmileDirectClub relied heavily on 3D printing to produce millions of individual braces at low cost. In 2019, the company installed 49 industrial 3D printers to produce 50,000 aligners per day.

Ultimately, however, SmileDirectClub was unable to make a profit and accumulated almost USD 1 billion in debt, as Fortune reports. A Chapter 11 reorganization failed, and the company has now ceased operations. On its website, SmileDirectClub apologizes to its more than 2 million customers and announces the discontinuation of customer service.

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