Alex Fenkell on SmileDirectClub’s Work to Deliver Tens of Thousands of Pieces of PPE to Covid-19 Essential Workers

Jul 6, 2020 2:20 PM ET

Nashville, Tenn., July 2, 2020 — Alex Fenkell, co-founder of the first direct-to-consumer telehealth platform for teeth straightening, SmileDirectClub, has seen significant progress in helping out during the COVID-19 pandemic after directing an army of 3D printers be used to create essential personal protective (PPE) equipment for first responders, hospitals, and other medical facilities. Alongside the clear plastic aligners for teeth-straightening used by more than a million SmileDirectClub patients, Fenkell and his team have already created and sent tens of thousands of face shields to medical professionals and hospitals – with more PPE being produced daily. 

“When we heard about medical professionals working without the essential gear they need to avoid infection, we knew right away that we had to step in and help all those on the front lines of this terrible pandemic. There was no question, no second thought. We had to put their needs first,” said Fenkell of the decision. “We have one of the largest printing facilities in the world, filled with highly advanced HP Jet Fusion 3D printers, so it made perfect sense to change direction and do our part in protecting the people working long hours to care for sick patients.”

Fenkell’s decision came after a banner year, which saw the company become the first of its kind to sell directly to the public. Across 2019 and 2020, SmileDirectClub made high-profile deals to sell products at Walmart, produce teeth aligners for dentists and orthodontists, and continue with a successful model that has seen more than a million customers straighten their teeth within months after using the company’s affordable clear aligners. 

The company also established itself as a leader in teledentistry, and expanded its footprint with a number of new SmileShops where customers can get a scan of their teeth, and then work with a remote dentist on an ongoing custom treatment plan.

“This last year has been an incredible one for SmileDirectClub, but the most deeply satisfying feeling has been with our work during this pandemic. Our printers are capable of producing 7,500 medical face shields per day, and they’ve already gone to children’s hospitals, medical clinics, and the heroes working long hours to care for coronavirus victims and other vulnerable patients.”

SmileDirectClub is seeking medical supply distributors, hospitals, and clinics in need of PPE, and other organizations that can help get PPE into the hands of essential workers. If you work for an organization that falls under this umbrella, please contact the SmileDirectClub team at


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