The Average Cost of Invisalign and How to Pay for It
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The average cost of Invisalign® ranges from $3,500 to $8,500. For those whose teeth only need minor adjustments, Invisalign® Express may be an option. It costs between $1,500 and $4,500. That kind of price tag can be daunting – even if you’ve been dreaming of a straighter smile.
But you have various options for covering the cost of Invisalign®. Here’s a look at the costs associated with treatment, how Invisalign®differs from alternative treatment options and how to pay.
- Breakdown of your cost for Invisalign®
- Paying for Invisalign®
- Alternatives to Invisalign®
- Is Invisalign® worth it?
Breakdown of your cost for Invisalign®
Invisalign® has a wide price range, from $3,500 and $8,500, because different smiles need different treatment plans. The same is true for other treatment options, like traditional braces. Factors that will affect your cost for Invisalign®include: your dental insurance, length of treatment, and location of the orthodontist.
And here are the steps you’ll encounter when getting Invisalign®:
- Find an orthodontist that offers Invisalign®: Not all orthodontists offer Invisalign®, so you may need to search around for one. The Invisalign®website offers a Find a Doctor search tool you can use to shop orthodontists.
- Initial consultation: Many orthodontists charge between $100 and $200 for this appointment. However, it is possible to find an orthodontist with a lower initial consultation fee. You may also need to take X-rays, which cost between $25 and $250 for a set. One possible, more affordable option is to bring in your recent dental X-rays from your regular dentist to avoid that charge.
- Digitally scan your teeth: After the initial consultation, your provider will take a 3D scan of your teeth, sans any sticky goop in your mouth (standard for mold-making with traditional braces). With the scans, your orthodontist will be able to outline your treatment plan. Then you’ll decide whether or not to move forward with it based on his or her recommendations. If you do, you’ll need to set up a payment plan or pay for the entire treatment upfront. In some cases, it is possible to receive a discount by paying for the entire treatment upfront.
- Wear your aligners: Your orthodontist will have unique aligners made, which you’ll wear 20 to 22 hours each day. You’ll change your aligners every one to two weeks.
- After treatment costs: Once your teeth are aligned, you’ll continue treatment with evening retainers. Your after-treatment costs will often be around $1,000 or more. It is important to follow through with your aftercare treatment plan, otherwise, you risk losing your beautiful new smile to shifting teeth.
If your teeth only need minor adjustments, you may pursue Invisalign® Express. Minor adjustments will take less time which translates to less money out of pocket. Typical costs of Invisalign® Express range between $1,500 and $4,500. You’ll need to talk to your orthodontist to get an exact estimate for your smile.
Paying for Invisalign®
Shopping around can reduce your cost of Invisalign®. Some of the cost will be based on the experience level of your orthodontist. If you are comfortable working with a less-experienced practitioner, then you may be able to significantly lower the cost of your Invisalign® treatment. Also, be willing to drive outside of your immediate area. Sometimes driving an hour for treatment can help to lower the costs of your treatment dramatically.
If you have dental insurance, then it may cover a portion of your Invisalign® costs. Invisalign® is considered a cosmetic treatment, so you may have some trouble getting your dental insurance to work with you.
However, some dental insurance plans do cover dental alignment therapy that could help to your Invisalign® treatment. Typically the dental insurance plans that cover realignment therapy are more expensive than a traditional dental insurance plan. It is critical that you take the time to work out the costs of dental insurance plus your out-of-pocket costs to ensure that an insurance plan is worthwhile.
Your FSA or HSA
If your employer offers a flexible savings account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA), then you may be able to use those funds to pay for your Invisalign® treatment.
- A FSA allows you to save money through an automatic paycheck deduction. The account is managed by your employer but you have the option to determine how much you would like to contribute to the FSA. For the 2019 plan year, you have the option to save up to $2,700 into your FSA. Check with your HR department to see if your employer offers a FSA option.
- A HSA, or health savings account, is designed to help you save for medical expenses. Typically, if you have a high-deductible insurance plan, then an HSA is a good option. The money in the HSA can be used to fund medical costs, including your Invisalign® treatment. For the 2019 plan year, you are able to save $3,500 for an individual or $6,700 for a family into your HSA. This account may not be offered through your employer, but you can open one on your own if you meet the eligibility requirements outlined by the IRS.
Both of these accounts allow you to contribute pre-tax dollars which can help to increase your savings rate towards larger medical expenses. In many cases, you will have to pay for the treatment costs upfront and then be reimbursed by your FSA or HSA. Check with your Human Resources department to find out more about these options.
Most providers offer monthly payment plans for your Invisalign® costs. You will need to talk to your provider directly about your payment options.
In most cases, the payment plan is simply the total cost of your treatment spread out over the duration of your treatment. However, it is possible that some providers would charge interest for this payment option. Make sure to get the details of the payment plan from your provider before you choose to move forward.
Typically, you will be asked to provide a down payment to get started. If a payment plan is important to you, then you should contact several orthodontists before your consultation. Find the payment plan option that works best for you before proceeding.
Dental loans are personal loans, which can be used for a variety of purposes including medical expenses and dental expenses. Due to charging interest fees, a payment plan through your orthodontist is preferable over a personal loan. Yet, if your orthodontist offers a discount for paying for Invisalign® in full upfront, then a personal loan may be the better option, assuming your loan’s fees don’t exceed the discount provided.
If you have a good credit score and high income, then finding an affordable personal loan can be easy. If your credit is less-than-stellar, then you may have more difficulty finding an affordable personal loan rate. Be sure to consider your alternative options to a personal loan.
Before you commit to a loan, you can go through the preapproval process to obtain a variety of quotes. Many lenders offer preapproval with a soft pull, which won’t affect your credit. Compare the quotes from these different lenders and read up on each lender’s fee structure. Look for the best terms available to you before signing for a personal loan.
Alternatives to Invisalign®
Traditional metal braces are typically more affordable than Invisalign®, costing between $3,000 and $7,500. Although the total cost of both options will depend on your needs, traditional braces may be far more affordable if you need significant adjustments made to your smile.
On the flipside, Invisalign® is often more comfortable than traditional braces, which requires metal brackets. Sometimes, the metal braces can cause uncomfortable abrasions on the inside of your mouth, for example.
In terms of appearance, traditional braces are more noticeable. However, over time, the adhesive of the Invisalign® attachments can stain your teeth. The stain color is similar to coffee stained teeth which can be inconvenient to remove after your treatment. There is also the inconvenience of removing, cleaning and putting in your Invisalign® trays in public before and after consuming food or beverages.
There are other options for clear retainers on the market that can help to correct your smile. Smile Direct Club and ClearCorrect are more affordable clear retainer options. You can save hundreds of dollars by going this route. The cost of Smile Direct Club ranges between $1,895 and $2,290, based on your payment method which is considerably less than the price of traditional Invisalign®. However, the cost of Invisalign® Express may be more affordable depending on your smile. It may be worth it to get a quote from an Invisalign® Express provider and an at-home option to compare and see what you stand to save.
If you are considering the at-home route, then you should be aware of the risks associated with at-home orthodontia. Many dentists and orthodontists have warned against these at-home correction retainers because it is possible to misalign your teeth even further without the proper supervision from a professional. If your teeth are misaligned in a minor way, then this could be a viable option. But if you need extensive work then you may want to consider Invisalign® with a professional instead.
Is Invisalign® worth it?
In some cases, Invisalign® is a cosmetic adjustment to your smile. With that, it is only worth it if you feel that it is worth it. If you want a more confident smile, then Invisalign® is a great way to improve your smile without the appearance of braces.
In other cases, Invisalign® can be medically justified to assist with alignment issues in your mouth. As with all other medical treatments, it is up to you exactly how valuable your health is to you.
However, the total cost of Invisalign® can be a large hit to your bottom line. Look into your payment options to find the most affordable option for you.
The rates and fees mentioned in this article are accurate as of the date of publishing.