A number of factors go into deciding which method to use to straighten crooked teeth. Patients need to consider what will provide the best result for their specific problem, how long it will take, and how well it fits with their lifestyle. For many people, Invisalign checks all of the boxes.
Invisalign is an extremely popular alignment tool. It offers good results for moderately crooked teeth while being less noticeable than traditional braces. Once the choice is made to move forward with Invisalign, the next question is inevitable: “What does Invisalign cost, and what are some ways to cover the cost?”
Patients using Invisalign get a series of custom-fitted aligner trays that gradually move their teeth into place. They are made of a clear plastic that fits over the top and bottom teeth. Patients wear each set for about two weeks before moving on to the next one.
The fact that Invisalign is clear means the trays are nearly invisible compared to old-fashioned braces—a fact that appeals to adult users. Another difference between Invisalign and braces is that the trays are removable. Patients take them out to eat or drink. As long as they are worn for 20-22 hours each day, the teeth will move as desired.
Another significant difference between braces and Invisalign is that many dentists can provide Invisalign. Braces, on the other hand, require a visit to an orthodontist. Our online search tool has a list of dentists across the country who fit patients with Invisalign.
Invisalign isn’t for every alignment problem. Severe crookedness or malocclusions such as an overbite, underbite, or crossbite, get better results from braces. But mildly crooked, crowded, or gapped teeth are good candidates for Invisalign.
What Will Invisalign Cost?
The cost of any kind of dental work varies depending on the region where the dentist works. The average cost of Invisalign here in 2020 is approximately $2500 to $7000. Braces will run about $2000 to $6000.
Many feel Invisalign is worth the slightly higher price because of its convenience and comfort compared to braces. Adults who are candidates for Invisalign are often willing to pay more to straighten their teeth discreetly.
Cheaper Alternatives to Invisalign
Besides the option of braces, there are other cheaper options for aligner trays. A product called ClearCorrect is offered by some dentists and is very similar to Invisalign. Some users note that they are made of thinner plastic. (One online user called it “cheap Invisalign,” though we think this is unfair.) ClearCorrect will work perfectly fine for some candidates. In some cases, though, they may be less effective or break more easily.
There are also “at-home” products on the market such as Smile Direct Club. The Smile Direct experience is almost entirely DIY and online. Patients can visit a retail location if one is available nearby; otherwise, they make their own impressions of their teeth at home and mail them in. The trays are then mailed to the patient. The tradeoff for the lower price is the lack of interaction with a dentist. If issues arise, interaction is with customer service rather than a dental professional. And while the product may work well for some, its DIY nature gives inconsistent results.
Insurance for Invisalign
Unfortunately, Invisalign is not something that most dental insurance plans cover. Teeth straightening is usually considered “cosmetic dentistry”, so it is up to the patient to pay for it themselves.
If, however, the treatment is considered necessary for dental health, it might be covered. Usually, this would include more serious problems, in which case the patient may need braces instead of Invisalign. But it doesn’t hurt to discuss the exact nature of your misalignment with your dentist and check with your insurance provider. There is a chance that some of the cost of Invisalign might qualify.
FSA for Invisalign
Many employers offer Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA). This allows employees to set aside money for medical and dental costs through a deduction in their paycheck, much like a 401(k).
Money saved in an FSA can be used for just about anything related to health. It can go toward copayments, deductibles, prescriptions, and even over-the-counter medications. Funds can also go toward dental and orthodontic treatment—including, in most cases, braces or Invisalign. It is best to check with the provider first to make sure what is and is not covered.
Dental Credit Cards and Dental Loans
Think of dental credit cards like credit cards for specific stores or gas stations. They can’t be used everywhere, but they can help cover the cost of Invisalign. In addition to paying for services at the dentist or orthodontist office, many of these cards can be used for other medical expenses too. Some of the most popular are Care Credit, iCare Financial, and Citi Health Card.
Dental credit cards might be a good option when a patient doesn’t have insurance or any other means to pay. The terms of service should be examined carefully, though, as some may have very high interest rates or stiff penalties for missed payments.
There are also some third-party financing companies that specialize in loans specifically for dental work. Two such providers are DentalLoans.com and American Medical Loans. Again, be sure to read the fine print on any agreement to make sure you know what you’re signing up for.
Discounts and Payment Plans
Finally, don’t forget to discuss payment options with your dentist. Many dental practices will offer payment plans if the full amount can’t be paid all at once. They may also offer a discount for a cash payment. Some may even offer “specials” on Invisalign or other products at certain times of the year.
There are ways to cover the cost of Invisalign or other straightening methods that can get you the smile you want without breaking the bank. Straightening crooked teeth is a good investment. Good alignment is important to the health and condition of your teeth throughout your life. Straight, even teeth will make a smile look better, and can impact overall dental well-being too.