A beautiful, straight smile is no longer a commodity. It is starting to be a necessity. But finding out how much tooth alignment treatment amounts to can be heartbreaking.
Invisible braces are gaining an advantage over regular tooth alignment options with each day. The most common Invisalign package costs $5,700 on average. Is it worth the price? Read on to find out.Creative Commons
Clear-cut Invisalign cost breakdown
The three most common Invisalign packages are Full, Teen, and Express.
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The cost for each package is dependent on several factors, much like in the case of conventional braces. The biggest ones are:
- the severity of your issue,
- the length of the treatment,
- the numbers of aligners necessary,
- experience of the dentist,
- and dentist specialization (an orthodontist might charge a little more than a regular dentist).
Below we have described the most common Invisalign packages. There are in-between solutions (such as Invisalign Assist) and the list keeps growing. Your provider will be able to advise best which package is right for you.
The average price for Invisalign Full is $5,700.
This package is appropriate for even the most complex cases. The Full option provides significant flexibility and control over the treatment: there is an unlimited number of trays. You don’t have to make the best of each step: the process can be gradual.
Additionally, the treatment can continue until you are happy with the result. That’s because refinement is included in this package.
You can read about refinement in the “additional procedures” section below.
You can expect to pay $3,000 on average for Invisalign Teen.
This package is recommended for teenagers and young adults whose teeth are still moving around or haven’t erupted entirely. Shifting can be controlled and the direction of root growth can be guided.
Just as in the Full option there is an unlimited amount of trays. The treatment can continue until the desired result is achieved.
What’s more, with the hectic life of a teenager, aligners might get broken or lost. Invisalign Teen includes six complimentary aligners if this were to happen.
Invisalign Express costs $2,400 on average.
If your issues are slight you might get away with this (more affordable) option. It is targeted at those who have minor overcrowding or spacing problems. There are only ten trays included in this package.
More often than not this is not enough. Many online reviews quote disappointment with the end result. On top of that, there is no refinement. You might be stuck with an unsatisfactory result.
Most offices do offer additional treatment in such cases, but you will have to pay for it. If your issue was not major to begin with, you will probably end up paying out-of-pocket. More on insurance coverage below.
Some of these procedures might be included in the price of your package, especially if you decide to go for the Invisalign Full or Invisalign Teen option. It is always a good idea to ask your dentist directly, though.
If you are interested in getting invisible braces, you should start by setting up an appointment with an Invisalign provider. This might be either a general dentist (perhaps your regular one) or an orthodontist.
Such a consultation is a great opportunity to ask all questions to do with costs, payment plans, frequency of subsequent visits, and how Invisalign works in general. You will be instructed as per what you are going to have to do at home.
Your dentist will assess which package is right for you.
iTero is an intraoral scanner that takes thousands of pictures to create a 3D model of your mouth. This model is used to plan out your treatment and predict the result. The procedure will be included in the cost of your package.
The device goes in your mouth, and a digital image of it will show up on the screen. This accurate digital representation will ensure the trays fit perfectly.
This technology is owned by Invisalign. There are also other intraoral scanners that can be used. Not all providers will have such a scanner, however, so you may have a diagnostic cast or an X-ray instead (or in addition).
In order to visualize the situation in your mouth your provider might want a diagnostic cast, sometimes referred to as a study model. Some find this very uncomfortable, but it is still a popular procedure at the dental office.
Your jaw will be moved to a centric, relaxed position. A cast of your mouth will be made by pressing impression putty into your teeth. This has to be done for each arch.
The putty will harden and it will be sent off to a lab. A cast of dental stone will be made. It is going to look like your teeth and gums and helps make comfortable aligners.
Invisalign doesn’t require an X-ray per se, but many orthodontists like to do at least one before performing any orthodontic work. Some might also be taken after. The costs of dental radiographs are something you have to consider with braces, too.
X-rays help the dental professional see what orthodontic problems you are dealing with. They also show whether the patient’s teeth and gums are healthy enough for orthodontic treatment. They help plan out the process and predict the results.
During an Invisalign treatment you can expect:
- a panoramic radiograph,
- an FMX, or
- a cephalometric X-ray.
Sometimes the end result is not exactly what was predicted during the initial part of the process. This can happen even if patients follow the Invisalign provider’s instructions very carefully.
The mouth is an organ system and it is impossible to foresee the results perfectly every time. Moreover, some things can hinder the process, for example:
- not wearing aligners properly,
- not wearing aligners for at least 22 hours a day,
- losing aligners and not getting replacements right away,
- not wearing aligners for a long period of time due to an illness or accident,
- using broken or cracked aligners,
- complex movements of difficult teeth, and
- genetically slow movement of dentition.
During one of your last visits, especially if the results differ greatly from what was expected, the dentist might say you need refinement. This happens in about a third of cases. New scans will be made and another treatment plan will be devised. You will get additional trays.
Refinement usually adds about three months to the treatment. It’s a good thing to consider when choosing your package: it’s kind of like a fail-safe.
The final stage of the Invisalign treatment is wearing retainers to “retain” the new alignment. This prevents teeth from shifting back to their original places.
Invisalign has its own brand: the Vivera retainers. They can be a little more expensive but are said to be twice as durable and thirty percent stronger than other kinds. Vivera includes an extra set with each order.
For the first few weeks, you will have to wear your retainers for 22 hours per day, just as you did the trays. Later on, you will only wear them at night. Every case is different, though. Retainers are usually not included in the price of the treatment.
Does insurance cover Invisalign?
On the Invisalign website, it is stated that insurance coverage can go up to $3,500. According to our research, however, providers rarely cover more than $2,000. Policies tend to cover more when the issues are more severe, making alignment “medically necessary”.
Blue Cross, for example, will only cover treatment of alignment issues when they cause pain, jaw clicking, or impaired speech. And that’s only for pediatric patients, meaning you have to be under 18.
Cigna, on the other hand, covers orthodontia under “Cigna Dental 1500”, but has a lifetime cap of $1,000. That means that under no circumstance will they reimburse you for any higher amount.
Insurance policies that cover orthodontic work sometimes do have higher maximums, though. Some go up to the aforementioned $3,500, rather than the usual $1,000-$1,500. They do tend to be lifetime caps however, and not “yearly” ones, as for preventive and basic dental care.
How much does Invisalign cost out-of-pocket?
Invisalign claim that insurance coverage can go as high as $3,500. Patients rarely report that their providers paid for more than $2,000. With an average of $3,700 for treatment, you can expect to pay about $1,700 by yourself.
Is Invisalign cheaper than braces?
It depends on the situation in your mouth and which package you purchase from Invisalign, but braces tend to be more expensive on average. This is especially true if your heart is set on porcelain or lingual braces. Overall, the costs are comparable.
Why is Invisalign so expensive?
Invisalign treatment is both extremely customized, long, and requires a lot of face time from your dentist or orthodontist. Other aligner companies usually work remotely on a larger scale, which lets them cut costs.
Additionally Invisalign owns a lot of patented technology. Choosing them, you’re paying for the brand and verified quality.
Is there a cheaper alternative to Invisalign?
Invisalign is not the only way to go if your teeth need re-aligning. There are a lot of home-teeth straightening kits on the market. Those are not only cheaper but offer payment plans with fees under $100 a month.
The treatment is typically shorter than Invisalign, but there is less specialist support and guidance.
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