The True Cost of Invisalign (Five Factors That Impact Your Final Bill)

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Invisalign sounds just about perfect: an alternative to braces that allows you to straighten your teeth without anyone noticing. So, what’s the catch? It’s expensive.

Invisalign’s high prices have led many people to opt for more affordable mail-order clear aligners like SmileDirectClub in recent years. However, Invisalign remains a popular option for people seeking hands-on care.

If you’re looking into Invisalign treatment while trying to stick to a budget, you’re in the right place. In this guide, we’ll discuss various factors that can impact treatment costs and how to keep your Invisalign bill as small as possible.

Average Price

There’s no flat rate for Invisalign treatment because the cost depends entirely on how many office visits and aligners your condition requires. The only way to get a specific estimate for your customized treatment plan is to consult your dentist or orthodontist.

That said, average costs for Invisalign are generally between $3,000 and $8,000 (most often falling somewhere around the $4,000-5,000 mark). Certain cases can fall outside this range, but chances are you’ll end up paying something close to the average.

You can ask your friend how much they paid for their Invisalign aligners, but it could be completely different from what you pay because your teeth are unique! Again, you’ll want to schedule an examination and consultation to get an accurate, personalized estimate.

Five Factors That Impact Your Treatment Cost

Your Invisalign price is based on several factors, each of which can have a significant influence on the bottom line.

1. Condition Complexity/Severity

Invisalign can treat almost the entire spectrum of dental and jaw misalignments. This is because regular office visits allow your dentist or orthodontist to modify your treatment and supplement your aligners with attachments that can facilitate more drastic or complex teeth movements.

However, more acute conditions take more time and supplies to correct, and your dentist’s time and supplies cost money. Therefore, a severe condition might end up with higher overall costs.

2. Doctor Expertise

Like many other professions, more experienced, in-demand dental professionals can charge higher prices. But this isn’t always the case with Invisalign providers.

Invisalign places each of its providers on a scale called “Invisalign Advantage,” which consists of eight tiers, ranging from Bronze to Diamond II. Dentists and orthodontists earn points for each Invisalign treatment they complete, allowing them to advance to higher tiers. A comprehensive Invisalign package, for example, is worth 100 points. To reach the highest tier (Diamond II), a provider needs 20,000 points, so Diamond-ranked providers are highly experienced.

In some cases, more experienced providers charge higher prices for orthodontic treatment, while inexperienced ones lower their prices to attract new customers. However, Invisalign gives lab fee discounts to their ranked providers — the higher your tier, the bigger the discount. For example, a Silver-tier provider receives a 10% discount, while a Diamond II provider receives a 46% discount. Some providers will pass on these savings to customers by lowering their Invisalign fees.

3. Aftercare Retainers

After you complete all of your aligners, your teeth will be nice and straight: a sparkling new smile. And you want to keep it that way.

Teeth have a natural tendency to shift back after they’ve moved. To prevent this from happening, you’ll need to wear retainers, all day at first and then just overnight.

Invisalign works with Vivera to produce these retainers, which look much like your aligners but are even more durable. As a reputable high-quality company, Vivera’s retainers will cost a few hundred dollars, but the exact price varies between providers.

4. Refinements

Most of the time, your Invisalign treatment will deliver the exact results you expect. Regular office visits allow your doctor to continuously evaluate your progress and make adjustments when necessary to keep you on track.

But occasionally, there can be a hitch in the plan. Maybe your teeth move more slowly than initially expected, or they just don’t look like the original treatment plan showed. In cases like these, your dentist can issue a refinement: new custom aligners that will fine-tune your smile. If you’re on Invisalign’s full treatment plan, refinements won’t often cost extra, but you should ask your dentist or orthodontist to confirm.

5. Office Location

Certain places are simply more expensive to do business. In the United States, individuals living in the Northeast or along the West Coast will tend to pay more. In addition, if your doctor’s office is in a city or another expensive area, their rent, utilities, etc. will cost more. Ultimately, this can mean higher costs for patients.

Below, we have estimated the typical price you can expect to pay for Invisalign treatment based on where you live within the United States. These ranges are estimates based on what we know about Invisalign costs, national survey data, and some information from a few local orthodontists.

Financing Options

When you’re looking at treatments that can cost a few thousand dollars, payment plans can be comforting. These financing options break down that intimidating price tag into manageable monthly chunks.

Invisalign doesn’t have one overarching financing option. Instead, they leave that up to specific dentists and orthodontists. Most dentist offices provide financing, so it’s just a matter of finding out which ones are available to you. There are also third-party financing providers out there, but they can potentially come with higher interest rates.

Some financing options require a credit check to qualify while others don’t. If you’re not confident in your credit score, you’ll want to seek out one with no credit check. And while monthly payments are nice, they also allow interest to accrue, increasing your final cost. For this reason, it’s better to pay up front if you have the financial flexibility.

Insurance Coverage

If your dental insurance includes orthodontic benefits, they’ll likely cover part of your Invisalign treatment. Of course, insurance coverage varies on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes an insurer will consider clear aligner treatment cosmetic and refuse to cover it. In other words, you shouldn’t assume that Invisalign will be covered just because your dentist recommends it — check with your insurance provider first to make sure.

Alternatively, if you have a Health Savings Account (HSA) or a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), your dentist’s office may accept payments from either. These tax-free funds – which may receive contributions from your employer – could be more convenient than paying out of pocket.

How Does the Cost Compare to Other Clear Aligners?

As we’ve already mentioned, Invisalign is one of the more expensive options out there, especially when compared to at-home aligner options like SmileDirectClub, Byte, and AlignerCo which cost $1,200-$2,300. But there’s a good reason for this.

With Invisalign, you’re paying for the personalized care and expertise of your dentist or orthodontist throughout your entire treatment, as well as the ability to treat more severe conditions. This consistent in-person care ensures treatment quality, safety, and effectiveness.

For some people, the peace of mind that they’re getting facetime with a highly skilled professional every 4-6 weeks is enough to justify the higher prices. We think that it’s well worth the cost if you have a severe condition like a bite misalignment, or prefer traditional one-on-one dental care. But if your condition is minor and you’re looking for the most affordable, convenient option, at-home teeth aligners are worth considering as well.

Final Thoughts

All of this comes down to one question: does it work with your budget? Your personal financial circumstances are the most important consideration. But as you measure various options against your finances, it’s important to consider all the factors that can influence costs. Even if a sticker price looks appealing, that might not end up being what you pay.

But don’t focus so much on price that you neglect other aspects of clear aligner treatment, like effectiveness, convenience, appearance, and customer support. While you probably have specific priorities, you don’t want to make a decision on just one thing. Be well-rounded in your research and honest in your priorities and it will empower you to make a confident, well-informed decision.

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