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Helping people smile better: Q & A with Victor Tesnière, Director of Southeast Asia at SmileDirectClub

We are living in a day and age where presentability is extremely important, and a good smile is a key to having a memorable presence. It not only helps us feel good on the outside but also boosts our confidence. As such, a leader in oral care innovation, SmileDirectClub is helping Singaporeans and Southeast Asians smile better without breaking the bank. With a mission to democratize access to a smile every person loves by making it affordable and convenient for everyone, SmileDirectClub is revolutionizing the oral care industry.

We recently spoke to Victor Tesnière, Director of Southeast Asia at SmileDirectClub to understand more about SmileDirectClub’s goals, emerging trends in the dental care industry, the impact of the pandemic and more.

TVM: Amidst the pandemic, big and small companies were struggling to survive. How did you manage to not only survive but achieve the feat of expanding to an all-new market? Also, why Singapore?

Victor: As the global pioneer of dentist-directed clear aligner therapy using a teledentistry platform, we are fortunate to be in the growing field of telehealth. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to see a lot of opportunity in Singapore to provide customers seeking a straighter smile with a safe, and quality experience at an affordable cost. The stay-at-home orders and lockdowns around the world have led many to rely more heavily on telehealth and become more comfortable with the technology as a convenient, safe, and effective method to get the care they need.

During treatment, there is no mandatory in-person visit required. A patient uploads photos and checks in with their Singapore registered to treat the dentist as required. The dentist evaluates the patient’s progress and can modify the treatment plan as necessary. The customer can ask for additional consultation 24/7 using the SmileDirectClub teledentistry platform.

A recent survey revealed that 89% of Singaporeans are concerned about the cost of dental care. Priced at up to 60% less than traditional braces, with an average treatment length of only 6 months, SmileDirectClub’s direct-to-consumer clear aligner therapy helps bridge that gap. As the cost of dental care increasingly concerns Singaporeans, we are confident that consumers in Singapore will embrace the brand’s launch.

We are excited to partner with Nuffield Dental Holdings to offer this safe, yet affordable, teeth straightening solution in Singapore. 

International expansion continues to be a key focus for the Company. SmileDirectClub believes everyone around the world should have access to the confidence that comes from having a smile they love.

TVM: How has the response in Singapore been so far?

Victor: Our launch in Singapore is a first step into the Southeast Asian market During the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to see a lot of opportunity in Singapore to provide customers seeking a straighter smile with a safe, and quality experience at an affordable cost.

TVM: With safety guidelines and movement restrictions, how is SmileDirect coping to run?

Victor: We are following all government regulations and are enhancing our already extensive health and safety protocols by allowing only the customer in the room together with either our SmileGuide or dentist.

TVM: SmileDirectClub is the first MedTech platform for teeth straightening. Please share more about how SmileDirect leverages technology to provide dental care to its customers?

Victor: Over the past five years, dental care has changed dramatically due to the ease and convenience of telehealth – even more so just this year as more dentists and orthodontists embraced teledentistry to safely provide continued care to their patients. It is a privilege to be at the forefront of the industry and to witness the power of teledentistry, which we have already made 1.5 million smiles across the globe. At SmileDirectClub, we continue to innovate and provide the best possible customer experience through our telehealth platform.

SmileDirectClub has helped lead this charge by remaining committed to doing its part to increase understanding, acceptance, and adoption of telehealth. Every unique patient treatment plan is prescribed, approved and overseen by a registered dentist or orthodontist. The dentist reviews all of the patient information collected – including medical and dental history, 3D images of the mouth, intro- and extra-oral photos, chief complaints, patent comments and any additional records or clearance they deem necessary to assess, diagnose and/ or treat the patient according to the standard of care- and will customize a treatment plan.

During treatment, the patient must routinely check in with their dentist or orthodontist using SmileDirectClub’s teledentistry platform to ensure that treatment is going according to plan; giving the treating doctor the opportunity to refine the treatment should any changes be needed. Customers may also contact SmileDirectClub’s customer care and dental care team at any time throughout treatment via chat, email, phone and Facebook inbox message.

Now, during times of Covid, people can’t really leave their homes unless it’s something medically urgent. That’s where the benefit of our platform and the opportunity to do everything from the comfort of the customer’s own home comes into play. Customers can complete the dentist-prescribed and monitored clear aligner therapy through our teledentistry platform. They can even continue to engage with our dental care team through video chat after the free 3D image appointment. Offering this care virtually limits the risk of exposure in addition to being more convenient and affordable. On the other hand, we’re taking extra precautions to ensure the health and safety at SmileShop, such as sanitizing our hands, wearing masks/face shields and gloves at all times. Between appointments, we sanitize scanners, iPads, chairs, door handles – anything the customers might touch.

Here is a little bit more about our latest technology:

  • Comfort SenseTM technology features the company’s patented laser technology, which cuts aligners with great precisions for a smoother fit. Combining with the variable thicknesses of SmileDirectClub aligners as well as dentist-monitored treatment plans, the technology brings customers a result in a more comfortable fit for aligners.
  • Smart SculptTM technology forecasts exactly how SmileDirectClub would move your teeth to give you a smile you’ll love. Customers can have a more comfortable treatment experience from start to finish as it helps monitor smiles plans that start with lighter movements.

TVM: Can you share a bit more on the Nuffield Dental Holdings partnership?

Victor: SmileDirectClub has entered into a partnership with Nuffield Dental to open SmileShops within its clinics at HarbourFront Center, One Raffles Place and Wheelock Place.

This partnership was a natural fit for us. Nuffield Dental’s focus on personalization and tailoring treatment to individual needs aligns well with SmileDirectClub’s mission to help more people realise the life-changing potential of their smile through convenience, affordability and accessibility that works with their day-to-day lifestyle.

Nuffield Dental also strives to use innovative technology to improve and enhance patient care, which aligns with SmileDirectClub’s focus on telehealth and innovation. They have 10 locations across the island and provide a wide range of dental services, giving our customers access to more than clear aligners should they need that benefit.

TVM: Are there any other new partnerships on the horizon?

Victor: At the moment, our mission is to make it affordable and convenient to transform customers’ smiles, not only attain but also maintain a smile they love is paramount to SmileDirectClub and the benefits we can provide consumers.

TVM: Can you walk us through the process?

Victor: The process is simple:

  • Step 1: Visit one of the SmileShops – SmileGuides will create a digital image of the customer’s teeth using 3D scanning technology during a free 30-minute SmileShop visit. The camera takes 6,000 photos per second, creating a 3D image. Each customer will also be able to have an in-person consultation with the Singapore registered dentist. At the end of the appointment, customers will receive a complimentary lip balm and a bright on TM teeth-whitening sample set. Once a Singapore registered dentist or orthodontist reviews and approves the treatment plan it is sent to the customer virtually.
  • Step 2: A new smile is created – Once the smile transformation is approved, custom-prescribed SmileDirectClub aligners are manufactured in FDA-registered and certified U.S. manufacturing facilities. Each aligner is custom-made from BPA-free plastic thermoformed onto personalized 3D-printed mouth moulds. SmileDirectClub’s aligners are manufactured using a ground-breaking fleet of HP industrial 3D printers, making the company the largest 3D printing manufacturer in the U.S.
  • Step 3: Delivered to your doorstep – Each customer’s aligners are shipped in an “all in one” blurple box directly to the customer’s door. An assigned Singapore registered dentist or orthodontist will have regular virtual check-ins, guiding each treatment remotely from beginning to end. Each treatment plan of wearing an aligner 22 hrs daily is on average 4-6 months; whereas for Nighttime Aligners, wearing 10 hrs aligner daily, the treatment plan is on average 10-12 months.
  • Step 4: Smiles are forever – As the customer nears the end of their smile journey, SmileDirectClub encourages the ordering of a set of retainers to wear at night after treatment is complete to maintain the smile over time. Each journey begins with a 30-Day Money-Back Promise, followed by free aligner touch-ups during the treatment, and ends with The Lifetime Smile GuaranteeTM that protects customer’s smile for life.

Here are a few more details:

  • 30-Day Money-Back Promise If customers decide that SmileDirectClub aligners aren’t the right fit within the first 30 days of use, the company will refund the cost 100%. Even after the first 30 days, customers can return unused aligners for a prorated refund.
  • Aligner Touch-ups During Treatment During the treatment, SmileDirectClub uses regular virtual Smile Check-insTM to track progress. If something’s not quite right, or customers have a concern, their prescribing dentist might prescribe an aligner touch-up and new aligners will be shipped directly to them at no cost.
  • Lifetime Touch-Ups After Treatment Customers who complete clear aligner therapy with SmileDirectClub, and replace SmileDirectClub retainers every 6 months and wear them as prescribed, will qualify for the Lifetime Smile GuaranteeTM. The guarantee ensures customers can qualify for a free aligner touch-up each year, if determined necessary by the prescribing dentist or orthodontist, to achieve the desired results.

TVM: Who should consider coming down to SmileDirectClub?

Victor: SmileDirectClub aligners are for people who have mild to moderate crowding and spacing issues and are over the age of 12 with their parents’ guidance. A Singapore registered dentist or orthodontist will review the 3D image of a patient’s smile, photographs of their teeth and gums, and their health and dental information to determine eligibility.

If you are looking to fix that smile without breaking the bank, visit https://smiledirectclub.com.sg/en-sg/ to learn more.

 

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