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Braces and aligners are the most popular ways to achieve straighter teeth. Still, you should consider various factors before choosing a teeth-straightening treatment.
Common teeth-straightening options include:
|Teeth Straightening Option||Cost|
|Traditional Metal Braces||Between $3,000 and $7,000|
|Clear Braces||Between $4,000 and $8,000|
|Lingual Braces||Up to $10,000|
|Invisalign (Clear Aligners)||Between $3,000 and $8,000|
|At-Home Aligners||Between $1,145 and $2,300|
You may be hesitant about getting braces because of the cost and inconvenience. However, there are budget-friendly ways to pay for braces. These include:
Smile for a Lifetime and Smiles Change Lives are nonprofit organizations that offer affordable braces to low-income families. The braces may be fully covered, depending on where you live and your treatment needs. In most cases, you’ll pay up to $500 out-of-pocket.
Some low-income families and individuals qualify for Medicaid, state-sponsored insurance programs, or the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP).
Some states cover children up to 18, while others cover them up to 21. Your child must also have an orthodontic condition that’s considered medically necessary.
A flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) allows you to pay for braces with pre-tax dollars. To qualify, you must be enrolled in a company-sponsored medical plan and put money aside in your FSA or HSA each month.
Dental discount plans, also called dental savings plans, work like a club membership. You’ll pay an annual fee and save on oral care services (including braces) throughout the year.
After signing up, you’ll gain access to a nationwide network of dentists that offer 10 to 60 percent savings on preventive and restorative treatments.
Discount dental plans do not require time-consuming paperwork or claim-filing. There are also no pre-existing condition restrictions.
DentalPlans offers cost-effective dental discount plans from more than 30 of the most trusted insurance companies in the U.S., including Aetna and Cigna. They are also accepted by more than 140,000 dentists and orthodontists nationwide.
There are many ways to find low-cost braces and alternatives. Braces discount programs (nonprofits), Medicaid, CHIP, FSA and HSA, state-sponsored insurance programs, and dental savings plans are some options.
Clear aligners can save you thousands of dollars compared to braces. Learn about clear aligners.
At-home aligners could be a good fit if you want a more discreet teeth-straightening option. Companies that offer at-home aligner treatment typically offer personalized treatment plans based on the initial assessment of your teeth.
Aligners are nearly invisible and are removable. They are designed around convenience and comfort. You can remove them anytime for cleaning, eating, and brushing.
Each custom-made aligner is worn for about 2 weeks at a time (22+ hours a day). Treatment length depends on your plan and the severity of misalignment.
Byte is our top recommendation for convenient, at-home teeth-straightening. The aligners are affordable and don’t require in-office visits. We recommend them if you have mild teeth misalignment.
Candid is our top recommendation for hybrid aligner treatment. The aligners are pricier, and you must visit a provider to begin this comprehensive treatment. We recommend them if you have mild to severe teeth misalignment.
Here are the four cheapest at-home aligner brands:
Byte is a popular brand that stands out in the at-home aligner industry. It boasts strong customer support and fast treatment times (4 to 6 months).
Byte aligners can straighten teeth in under 6 months (in most cases) with consistent HyperByte use, according to Byte. This unique acceleration device safely moves teeth faster with HFV (high-frequency vibration). Read our article comparing the positives and negatives of the HyperByte and similar vibration-based aligner therapies.
Byte's All-Day Aligners can straighten teeth in 4 months, while the At-Night Aligners straighten teeth in about 6 months (while you sleep).
We do not recommend night aligners because there is no scientific proof they are safe.
Byte's All-Day Aligners cost $1,999.
SmileDirectClub is 6 years old. They offer remote teeth straightening for about 60% less than braces. They are the first and most well-known brand of at-home aligners.
SDC also works with registered doctors, dentists, and orthodontists to ensure each treatment case runs smoothly.
Treatment costs $2,250 if you make a one-time payment. They also offer a payment plan.
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NewSmile is a newer aligner brand that takes between 4 and 10 months to straighten teeth.
They are also the only brand that offers a video call service with an impression specialist.
NewSmile aligners do not touch your gums. The trays are trimmed to sit along your gum line in a scalloped fashion. This results in less irritation and makes the aligners more invisible.
NewSmile aligners cost between $1,395 and $1,595.
Use code NewMouthDeal for $100 off Aligners and code NewMouthKit for $20 off impression kit.
ALIGNERCO is one of the most affordable at-home aligners on the market. The aligners cost between $875 and $1,075, which is up to $1,000 cheaper than leading competitors.
ALIGNERCO is typically a great option if you are on a budget, only have minor teeth misalignment, and do not require hands-on care.
Black Friday Sale: $875 for aligners with free aligner cleaner.
We recommend at-home clear aligners if you have mild teeth misalignment. View our top recommendations.
The five most common types of braces include:
Traditional metal braces consist of small brackets and fixed wires to the front of teeth. This orthodontic treatment gently applies pressure to each tooth, pulling them into the correct position. The brackets are metal and sometimes feature colored or clear elastic rubber bands.
Traditional braces cost between $3,000 and $7,000.
Clear braces, also called ceramic braces, are the same as metal braces except for their design. These braces consist of tooth-colored brackets. They blend in with your natural teeth, making them less noticeable. The rubber bands and elastics are also see-through or white.
Clear braces cost between $4,000 and $8,000.
Lingual braces work the same as standard braces. However, the brackets and wires are fixed to the back of the teeth (tongue side).
Lingual braces cost up to $10,000.
Invisalign is a non-invasive, removable alternative to metal braces. Each aligner set is worn from 1 to 2 weeks for 22+ hours a day until teeth are straight.
Invisalign costs between $3,000 and $8,000.
At-home clear aligners are a great alternative to Invisalign for mild to moderate cases. The whole treatment process is from home. They also cost less than Invisalign.
At-home aligners cost between $900 and $2,500.
There are five types of braces to choose from: traditional, clear, lingual, Invisalign, and at-home clear aligners. Traditional braces are the most visible, while clear and lingual braces are more discreet. Invisalign is a brand of invisible aligners that costs about the same as metal braces.
To determine whether braces or at-home aligners are right for you, consider these comparisons:
Traditional braces can fix complex orthodontic issues like overbites, underbites, crossbites, and open bites. This is because braces can move teeth individually, while aligners move all of your teeth at once.
At-home aligners are only recommended for minor teeth misalignment. Some cases of moderate misalignment may qualify.
Candid is the only at-home aligner brand that can treat complex bite issues.
At-home aligners require consistency. They can be removed at any time, but you must wear them for 22+ hours a day. Remote aligners are only recommended for older teens and adults.
Braces are fixed to your teeth, so you cannot remove them. Many children require add-on treatments like headgear and palate expanders, which are not possible with at-home aligners or Invisalign.
At-home aligners cost between $1,145 and $2,300. Braces, including Invisalign, cost between $3,000 and $10,000. Braces may be the only option in many cases, especially if you have severe misalignment issues.
With braces, you must visit your orthodontist for an initial consultation. After they fix the braces to your teeth, you’ll see your orthodontist every few weeks to check progress and adjust the brackets.
At-home aligner treatment is 100% remote. You’ll order a kit online, take the impressions yourself, and send them back.
If you’re a candidate, the company will create your aligners and send them to you. You’ll send in-progress photos and videos via an app throughout treatment.
Because at-home aligners are removable, you can take them out anytime for eating, drinking, and brushing your teeth. However, you must brush and floss your teeth before putting the aligners back in. This ensures the aligners stay clean.
Braces are difficult to clean between and require special flossing tools. This can be inconvenient for many people.
Traditional braces are more expensive than at-home aligners, but treatment is more intensive and accurate. At-home aligners are cheaper and more convenient, but treatment is not monitored as closely.
Remote aligners can treat minor to moderate bite issues. Braces can fix complex orthodontic problems. Candid aligners are the only exception.
Interested in straightening your teeth at home? Here are the best clear aligner companies.
At-home clear aligners are safe when you carefully follow instructions. Always clean and wear your aligners properly.
However, there are concerns about at-home aligners’ effectiveness. Most at-home aligners only treat mild to moderate teeth alignment. Other brands promise quicker results. Always manage your expectations when using these products.
Braces are a great way to straighten permanent teeth in older children, teens, and adults.
The most common age to get braces is between 10 and 14. All permanent teeth have grown in by then, but the jaw is still not fully developed, so it's possible to fix complex issues
Always weigh the pros and cons to determine if braces suit you.
Braces can vary with age because some children in transitional dentition need early orthodontics. Braces have many benefits but are not suitable for everyone.
Many dental insurance plans cover orthodontic treatment. This includes braces and retainers. However, note that these plans usually only cover braces if you’re under 18.
Remember that dental coverage is usually not part of typical medical insurance coverage. A dental insurance plan is usually an optional plan purchased separately.
Review your plan beforehand to ensure what is and isn’t included in your plan.
To determine the best clear aligners available, the NewMouth editorial team analyzed 26 different brands of clear aligners from around the world.
Our evaluation and recommendations are based on:
NewMouth is a trusted online resource for dental information, including orthodontics, at-home teeth-straightening, primary dental care, procedure costs, and more. We have been researching and writing about clear aligners for over 3 years.
We have a dedicated team of medical writers, expert researchers, licensed dental professionals, and medical reviewers who create and oversee every piece of content published on our site.
To determine the best teeth straightening kits on the market, our team:
After extensive research and product testing, this article also underwent an intensive review process:
Braces are expensive because an orthodontist closely monitors treatment. Treatment also takes longer than other orthodontic services. Many people also require add-on treatments like spacers and headgear, which can significantly raise costs.
The minimum cost of traditional braces is $3,000.
Yes. Many orthodontists allow people to pay with a payment plan. Speak with your provider for more details.
Some people are eligible for free braces through Medicaid or nonprofit programs.
Braces take between 12 and 24 months. Aligners take between 3 and 24 months, depending on the brand.
Only minor to moderate teeth misalignment cases are eligible for at-home aligners. If you have severe bite issues, braces or Invisalign will be necessary.
Candid is the only brand of at-home aligners that can treat more complex bite issues. Invisalign can also treat complex issues with special buttons.
ALIGNERCO is the cheapest teeth aligner, costing under $1,300. However, treatment is not monitored closely, so you get what you pay for.
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