Updated October 11, 2021
Invisalign has become the biggest name in clear dental alignment since it was first introduced in 2000. If you’re considering this solution for straightening your teeth, it’s likely that the price tag will play a part in your decision. So just how much does Invisalign cost?
In general, the price for a full course of Invisalign treatment in 2021 will run from about $3,000 to $8,000. Why such a wide range? Because how much Invisalign costs will vary from case to case.
Here are some of the considerations that affect how much Invisalign costs include:
- The complexity of the situation. How many teeth need to be moved and how far? Invisalign trays are typically switched out every two weeks. The more straightening needed, the longer the treatment, which translates to additional sets of trays. This will have an impact on the price of treatment.
- Where a patient lives. Like the cost of many other services, location impacts prices. Cities and states with higher costs of living will tend to cost more. And, if dentists and orthodontists who provide Invisalign are scarce in a particular region, patients might have to pay more due to the principles of supply and demand.
- Insurance coverage. This may be the biggest single factor determining how much Invisalign costs. Dental insurance might cover part of the cost. The amount it will cover varies, but it should be the same as what it would cover for traditional braces. To qualify for coverage for teeth straightening, patients must sometimes prove that treatment is not just cosmetic, but necessary for their dental health. If a policy does not include orthodontic work, or for people without any dental insurance, there are other ways to keep the cost down and help pay for Invisalign.
- Additional costs. Along with the aligner trays, patients will need an initial consultation and ongoing dental appointments to monitor progress. These may or may not be included in the initial cost estimate given by a dentist or orthodontist. After the straightening treatment is done, many Invisalign patients use nighttime retainers to keep their teeth straight. Be sure to check if this will be an extra expense or if it is part of the Invisalign package being offered.
Make Sure Invisalign is the Best Option
The cost of Invisalign is not that different from the cost of traditional braces. There are other reasons besides the cost to choose one over the other. Invisalign works best for mild to moderate crookedness, crowding, or gaps. Braces sometimes work better for more severe misalignments, as well as for overbites, underbites, and crossbites.
If Invisalign will take significantly longer or will not achieve the desired results the way that braces will, it could end up costing more in the long run too. Extended treatment time means more aligner trays and dental visits. And, if Invisalign fails to do the job to a patient’s satisfaction, they may find themselves starting over with braces.
On the other side of the spectrum, some patients may only need a slight adjustment to their teeth. This is common for someone who had braces or went through aligner treatment years ago. Their teeth can relapse and shift slightly over time. Some dentists and orthodontists offer Invisalign Express which is an accelerated treatment plan taking only about 10 weeks. The cost is lower too, averaging from about $1800 to $3000.
Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign clear trays are designed to be easily removed in order to do activities like brushing, flossing, and eating or drinking anything other than water. But, this means that it is up to the patient to make sure to wear their Invisalign trays for the prescribed 22 or 23 hours each day. A lack of discipline means it might not be as effective, which could lead to a need for longer or more extensive—and expensive—treatment.
Paying for Invisalign and Managing Invisalign Costs
Health or dental insurance can go a long way toward making Invisalign more affordable. First things first: Check to see if the insurance policy covers orthodontic procedures, and for how much. This will give a clear picture of what needs to be paid out-of-pocket, and how that will look for the individual’s budget. It is also a good idea to ask about lifetime maximum coverage under the plan. There may be a limit to how much the plan will ultimately pay.
Shop around. Unlike braces, Invisalign is offered by both dentists and orthodontists. It might be possible to stick with the family dentist instead of finding another dental professional for treatment. This allows for some comparison shopping. Find who offers the best price as well as experience, a convenient location, and the most welcoming staff.
Ask about payment plans. Many dentist and orthodontist offices are happy to work with patients to set up a payment plan allowing them to pay for Invisalign treatment over time through installments. Invisalign also offers a payment plan through LendingPoint Patient Financing. The LendingPoint Virtual Card is a fixed-rate installment loan that allows for monthly payments with no money down. As with any loan or credit option, patients should be sure to understand the terms, interest rate, and possible hidden fees, of any financial agreement before signing up.
FSAs and HSAs. Some employers offer Flexible Spending Accounts or Health Savings Accounts. These are savings plans funded by voluntary payroll deductions. Employees can save up and use the funds for any medical or dental purpose including Invisalign. Drawing on these funds can be a big help in paying for treatment.
Talk to an accountant about deducting the cost of Invisalign. In some cases, orthodontic treatments like Invisalign can be tax-deductible along with other medical expenses if they are considered medically necessary. However, the cost has to exceed a certain threshold before it is allowed. The bottom line? Hang on to all receipts and paperwork relating to Invisalign treatment in the event that treatment is deductible.
Check out dental school clinics. Many university dental and orthodontist schools offer clinics that provide a wide range of services at a lower cost than traditional practices. Becoming certified to treat patients using Invisalign is not always included in dental school curriculums. But it is worth contacting your local university to find out if this is an option.
Plan ahead. This is especially true if looking into Invisalign teeth straightening for one or more teenage children. Orthodontists will often be able to tell that a child will need straightening years in advance. A consultation before your child hits his or her teenage years—say, between the ages of 7 and 10—can offer a good idea of what to expect. Knowing Invisalign might be in a child’s future, a family can begin budgeting and planning for how to cover the cost.
Invisalign Can Be Within Reach
If you want the discreet and convenient experience that Invisalign can provide, the cost does not have to be a major barrier to getting the treatment. Schedule an appointment with a dental professional who provides Invisalign with our online search tool. They will be able to explain what is in store for your smile and explore your payment options.