How Much Does Invisalign Cost?
How much does Invisalign cost? Oddly enough there isn’t a one-size-fits-all price for Invisalign treatment. The cost of Invisalign depends on how many adjustments your teeth will need.
Some patients need minor orthodontic work. Their teeth are relatively straight and their top and bottom teeth match up when they bite. These folks will pay the least amount for their Invisalign services.
While those with lots of crooked teeth, crowding, or large spaces will pay more. Open bites, underbites, and overbites also add to the overall Invisalign cost.
The more changes your teeth require the more aligners you’ll need. The more aligners you need the higher your Invisalign cost will be. Invisalign prices rise because you need more materials to make all of those extra trays.
Some patients need eight to ten aligners to straighten their teeth. Other patients need fifty or more! As the number of aligners increases so do your trips to the dentist or orthodontist.
A patient that requires six months of treatment will pay significantly less than a patient who requires two or more years of care. If you need attachments or elastic bands to move your teeth you’ll also pay more.
How Much Is Invisalign: Average Cost of Invisalign
According to the Invisalign website patient’s pay between $3,000 and $8,000 for treatment, but the average cost of Invisalign depends on where you live, the amount of work you need, and the experience level of your provider.
If you live in an area with a high cost of living you will pay more for your Invisalign treatment. It’s the same as paying higher rent or paying more for your groceries. If you live in an area with a lower cost of living you will typically pay less.
Why? In part, because that’s just how it works. In big cities and towns, things cost more, but prices also vary based on provider experience.
Dentists in high-density areas typically handle more Invisalign cases per year. That means they are more experienced and can often charge more based on that experience.
Invisalign Cost: Why Do Invisalign Providers Charge Different Prices?
Invisalign ranks providers based on the number of cases they complete in any given year.
For example, a general provider only needs to complete 10 Invisalign cases per year. An elite provider treats 50 Invisalign patients and a top 1% provider treats over 200 cases per year.
Why do Invisalign providers charge different prices? Invisalign treatment costs vary based on a provider’s experience. The more cases a provider treats the better they become at treating them.
Think about doing anything for the first time. Are you great at it? Probably not. Most of us improve over time. An experienced orthodontist can treat cases quickly and efficiently.
As an Invisalign patient, you pay more for that efficiency. Invisalign prices rise with more experienced providers.
Invisalign Cost: You’ll Pay More for a More Experienced Provider
Many people think the Invisalign process is completely automated. While Invisalign software does create a customized treatment plan it doesn’t always work perfectly right out of the box.
A skilled dentist or orthodontist will tweak the Invisalign plan based on their experience. They make adjustments to the plan before authorizing Invisalign to begin making clear aligners.
An inexperienced dentist may not make any changes to that plan. As a result, your treatment plan may not move as smoothly. Again, it depends on the complexity of your case.
Experienced providers charge more because they know how to handle more difficult cases. They know that the Invisalign plan does not always move stubborn teeth.
A provider’s experience may be worth the extra cost. Especially if you have a complex case to solve.
How do you know your provider’s experience level? Providers often advertise that information on their website. If they don’t make sure to ask them.
Note: Orthodontists receive special training to move teeth, so they tend to charge higher prices for Invisalign. They can also use various techniques beyond Invisalign when necessary.
How to Find the Best Price for Invisalign
So how do you find the best price for Invisalign? If you are price conscious ask around. Visit a few different orthodontists and dentists for price comparisons. When you call to set up an appointment make sure to ask for a free initial Invisalign consultation.
You can visit as many dentists and orthodontists as you like to receive free Invisalign price quotes. Again, just make sure you ask up front for a free consultation. You don’t want to receive an unexpected bill just for meeting with them for the first time.
Listen to what each Invisalign provider has to say. Do they take the time to review your case in detail. Do they explain the process and discuss your options? Make sure you feel comfortable with their plan and ask questions if you feel unsure of anything.
To find the best price for Invisalign it helps to shop for providers just like you’d shop for a new car. You wouldn’t walk into the first dealership and sign on the dotted line, would you? No.
Instead, you would do your homework and meet with various dealerships to see which one can give you the best price. You can do the same thing when shopping for Invisalign. Ask around and get quotes free of charge. Then you can take those quotes home and compare them.
Should You Choose the Provider with the Best Price for Invisalign?
In my experience, dentists charge much less than orthodontists. One local dentist in my area offered to perform the work for $4,000. Another dentist further from my house provided me with a $5,000 quote. A top 1% provider gave me a quote for $7,900.
The best price for Invisalign came from a dentist in my local area, but I opted for the most expensive provider.
Why didn’t I choose the provider with the best price for Invisalign? Well, my dentist already told me my case was complex. My teeth were relatively straight, but my bite was not lining up. She told me not to go to a dentist for treatment.
Choosing the Best Provider: Ignoring the Price
I had orthodontic work when I was a teenager. At the time my orthodontist tipped my teeth back to get my upper jaw to fit over my lower jaw. This was common at the time, but is no longer considered to be a wise treatment plan.
As a result of that tipping, my teeth looked perfectly straight, (except for one or two), but my bite was off.
The most expensive provider, (an orthodontist), was the only one who spoke about my bite issues. The dentists I visited only talked about the appearance of my teeth.
The orthodontist described the process in detail. What teeth would move, how they would move, and how they would all fit together once the process was complete.
Unfortunately, pretty teeth aren’t always functional. I chose the provider with experience in adjusting bites using Invisalign.
Keep in mind that the lowest price isn’t necessarily the best price. After all, if your result isn’t satisfactory you’ll wish you paid more.
Invisalign Cost: What Does Your Invisalign Payment Cover?
So what does that big Invisalign payment cover? What does the price of Invisalign include?
The initial cost covers all future visits with a trained Invisalign provider. Most doctors charge you per visit. For example, if you see the dentist for a cleaning you receive one charge. If you return for a filling of a cavity you’ll receive another.
The Invisalign cost structure doesn’t work like that. When you undergo Invisalign treatment you pay upfront for all future work.
The cost includes impressions, x-rays, a complete set of custom Invisalign aligners, attachments and future office visits. You are also paying to visit your orthodontist as often as he or she deems necessary.
Invisalign Cost: Refinement Trays
Most Invisalign patients need refinement trays to complete their Invisalign treatment plan. That means the initial set of trays won’t actually align your teeth the way the Invisalign treatment plan says it will.
That’s because some teeth simply don’t move in a timely manner. Even if you wear those trays for 24 hours a day.
How do I know? It happened to me. I was a diligent Invisalign patient and my trays still didn’t work on a stubborn tooth that was twisted quite a bit from it’s desired position.
Make sure to ask your provider if refinements will be included at no extra charge. Some cheaper plans, including Invisalign express, do not include the cost of refinement trays.
Invisalign Cost: Retainers
After you spend time straightening your teeth and perfecting your bite you’ll want to keep your teeth in tip-top shape for years to come. That means wearing a retainer for the rest of your life.
Believe it or not your teeth will shift back into their old positions if you don’t wear a retainer at night. You definitely don’t want to spend thousands of dollars to correct your teeth only to have them return to their old unwanted positions.
Some dentists and orthodontists include Invisalign retainers in their initial cost estimates. Invisalign retainers cost between $100 and $500, so it’s nice to prepare for this cost upfront.
Ask your provider if retainers are included in the initial price. They can also tell you what type of retainer they want you to use.
Paying for Invisalign: Dental Insurance
Before choosing a provider it helps to find out if your insurance covers Invisalign. Call your dental insurance company and ask. Tell them you are considering Invisalign treatment and not traditional braces. Some companies treat these orthodontic appliances differently.
While most companies provide very little coverage a few provide up to $3,000 or more. Delta Dental covered $1500 worth of Invisalign treatments. My previous insurance carrier wouldn’t have covered any of it.
Paying for Invisalign: Invisalign Discounts
Moving teeth is an expensive process, but there are ways to reduce your Invisalign costs. Paying the entire Invisalign cost upfront will typically save you between 3% to 6% off.
Thankfully Invisalign isn’t an emergency treatment, so you can save for it long before you sign up for it. Six percent of $5,000 is $300. Six percent of $7,900 is $474.
Some Invisalign providers will also provide a discount for paying in cash. This can reduce your cost by another 1% to 2%.
Paying for Invisalign: Using FSA and HSA Accounts
A flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) is a great vehicle to help pay for your Invisalign treatments. You can schedule automated savings into these funds through your employer.
You get to choose how much of your paycheck to set aside each month. Then on payday, the money is automatically redirected to those accounts.
You won’t pay tax on any of these funds, which means you’ll have more to save. In 2020, an individual can save $2,750 in an FSA account. Unfortunately, these funds cannot be rolled over. So make sure you sign up for Invisalign the year you begin saving.
An HSA also allows you to save pretax dollars for Invisalign costs. Unlike FSAs, HSA funds do not need to be used by the end of the year. However, to use an HSA you must have a high-deductible insurance plan.
An individual HSA plan will allow you to save $3,550. If you have a family plan you can save up to $7,100.
Paying for Invisalign: Credit Cards
If you’ve saved money in an FSA or HSA you can also double down and earn points with credit card rewards. I only suggest using this approach if you can pay off your credit card in full each month.
How does this work? You pay your Invisalign provider using your credit card. Then you request reimbursement in the form of a check from your FSA or HSA account.
Make sure your FSA or HSA account will provide direct reimbursement. Most do, but you should double check before using this technique.
You’ll pay with pre-tax money and receive extra credit card points. You can get even more bang for your buck if you open up a new credit card that offers bonus points.
Again, I only suggest using this option if you can pay off your credit card in full. You will always pay more interest on your credit card than you will earn in credit card points.
So if you can’t pay it off, don’t try this technique.
Paying for Invisalign: Monthly Payment Plan
If you aren’t eligible for any of the tips and tricks listed above just ask your dentist or orthodontist for a monthly payment plan.
Providers know the Invisalign price is incredibly steep and most patients can’t afford to pay the entire price in one lump sum. In those instances the Invisalign provider will offer you a monthly payment plan.
This allows you to pay off your bill over time. Usually within twelve months.
Is Invisalign Worth the Money?
If you’re looking for more information about Invisalign check out my Invisalign journey. I paid almost $8,000 for my Invisalign treatment plan. It wasn’t the cheapest option, but it was the right choice to ensure the future health of my teeth.