The 5-minute segment, which aired on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, featured a customer who experienced complications, as well as a hidden camera investigation into SmileDirectClub shops.
SmileDirectClub hit back at a segment that ran on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt on February 13 that investigated customer complaints against the direct-to-consumer aligner company. The company said NBC failed to “provide its viewers with a balanced and fair news story reflecting” the facts.
The 5-minute report included accounts from several SmileDirectClub users of inability to connect with their assigned dentist during treatment and poor treatment results, including a crossbite which caused other symptoms, specifically neck and jaw muscle strain which led to migraines.
The report also highlighted the fact that more than 1,800 complaints have been registered with the Better Business Bureau nationwide.
SmileDirectClub’s Chief Legal Officer, Susan Greenspon-Rammelt, was interviewed for the segment and pointed out that the company has helped more than 750,000 people through its network of licensed dental professionals, saying, “They’re subject to the same standards of care that a doctor in a traditional setting is.”
As part of the report, NBC News sent hidden cameras to SmileDirectClub shops in Ohio, New Jersey, and Alabama. Cameras recorded employees telling potential customers they weren’t required to see a dentist before starting treatment, with one employee saying, “that’s what the scans are for.”
Greenspon-Rammelt responded to the videos, saying, “That may be a Smile guide who didn’t actually have or remember the proper training.”
In a statement released Friday morning in response to the NBC Nightly News report, the company said:
“We are disappointed that though we provided NBC with the opportunity to obtain all relevant facts as to the safety and efficacy of teledentistry for the provision of clear aligner therapy, NBC failed to provide its viewers with a balanced and fair news story reflecting those facts. The piece misrepresents SmileDirectClub and the quality of care provided by the over 250 state-licensed dentists and orthodontists across the country who use our platform to treat their patients. We are surprised by the journalist’s blatant disregard for the facts and failure to include all of the accurate information we provided.
“Notably, the almost 5-minute report and online story does not include one interview or statement from the more than 750,000 satisfied customers who have used our products to improve their lives, nor does it include a single interview with any of the hundreds of dentists who have publicly supported our technology. In fact, though NBC conducted interviews over the last 30 days with these doctors and customers under the guise of providing a fair and balanced story, their statements were not included or referenced in this story.”