Updated on February 22, 2024
5 min read

Why Is Invisalign Expensive and How to Cut Costs

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Invisalign, made of nearly invisible polyurethane plastic, corrects misaligned teeth within 12 to 18 months. These aligners are removable, allowing for easy removal before eating, drinking, and oral hygiene practices. 

This makes Invisalign the best discreet alternative to traditional metal braces. However, its cost may be sizeable to some.

How Much Does Invisalign Cost Without Insurance?

Without insurance, Invisalign costs an average of $1,800 to $9,500. According to Invisalign, their treatment is within the typical price range of conventional braces.

How Much is Invisalign?

Invisalign can cost anywhere between $3,000 and $8,000. However, the national average price for Invisalign is between $3,000 and $5,000. 

The cost of Invisalign Express ranges between $1,800 and $4,000. These are the average costs without insurance. Most insurance providers cover 25% to 50% of the treatment’s total cost.

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Does Insurance Cover Invisalign? 

Insurance may or may not cover Invisalign. It depends on your plan and whether you get Invisalign for cosmetic or medical reasons. For cosmetic treatment, insurance will likely deny coverage.

Most dental insurance plans cover Invisalign clear aligners in the same way as conventional braces. Depending on your plan, your provider can cover up to 50% of the treatment.1

Many insurance companies have a lifetime cap on dental benefits. If you exceed your coverage, they may not pay for additional treatment.

How Much Do Invisalign Retainers Cost?

After Invisalign treatment, you’ll receive a custom Vivera retainer from your orthodontist to keep your teeth straight. The cost depends on your provider, but it averages between $600 and $1,200 for four sets, which could last you ten or more years.

If you have dental insurance, they may partially cover the cost of your Vivera retainers. Speak to your insurance provider to find out. You can also use the pre-tax dollars in your flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA).

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Factors That Affect Invisalign Cost

Invisalign treatments are generally more expensive than traditional metal brackets and wires. Some factors affect the overall price of Invisalign, including:

1. Complexity 

Invisalign treats a broader range of problems than traditional braces. This makes it more costly than conventional braces. 

  • Invisalign Full — $3,500 to $9,500
  • Invisalign Teen — $2,000 to $5,000
  • Invisalign Express $1,800 to $3,000
  • Invisalign First — $3,500 to $8,000

If you need multiple sets of aligners, your total cost will increase. Complex cases may also require additional appointments and materials, making them more expensive.

2. Refinements

If your doctor offers you Invisalign Assist, you’ll need an extra set of trays called refinements. The treatment cost already includes these trays. Should you need more, each extra tray may cost you an additional $300.

3. Cooperation

Wearing Invisalign means you need to cooperate with your orthodontist. You must also wear it every day. 

If you don’t follow instructions, your orthodontist may have to remove your aligners and start again. This increases the time and money for treatment.

4. Doctor Expertise

Orthodontists with more experience with Invisalign are likely to charge higher prices. This is because they know how to treat complex cases and ensure treatments go smoothly. 

5. Location

In general, orthodontics offices in urban areas are more expensive than those in rural areas. In the United States, locations in the Northeast or along the West Coast are usually more costly. Living in these areas is more expensive, resulting in more expensive Invisalign treatment costs.

6. Additional Procedures

When you choose Invisalign, your orthodontists may recommend other procedures. For example, if you have crowded teeth, they might suggest extractions. These procedures add to the overall cost of your treatment.

Other Ways to Pay for Invisalign

Consider these payment options to make Invisalign’s cost more affordable:

Dental Insurance

Many dental insurance plans cover Invisalign as they do traditional braces. Your insurance company may pay for a specific percentage of your Invisalign clear aligners or comprise a particular dollar amount. 

Health insurance may cover orthodontic treatment instead of dental insurance or have separate orthodontic coverage. Orthodontic treatment often comes with a lifetime coverage limit.

To verify your insurance coverage:

  • Reach out to your benefits manager 
  • Contact the customer service line of your insurance company
  • Review the details of your orthodontic benefits package

When booking an Invisalign consultation, ask your orthodontist about the dental insurance plans they accept.

HSA/FSA

FSA is short for Flexible Spending Accounts. You can use this to pay for medical, dental, and orthodontic treatment costs, including Invisalign clear aligners.

Your employer manages your FSA. You pay money into the account during the year, often through a deduction from your paycheck. 

You may set aside up to $2,600 each year. However, not all employers provide an FSA option.

FSA

HSA is short for Health Savings Accounts. It’s a unique account for people with a high-deductible health insurance plan. 

Account owners transfer money into their HSA. This money pays for specific medical, dental, and orthodontic costs, including Invisalign treatment.

HSA owners can set aside $3,400 for an individual or $6,750 for a family each year. However, you must meet IRS requirements to open an HSA.

Monthly Payment Plans

A monthly payment plan for Invisalign is an arrangement between you and your orthodontist to divide your clear aligners’ cost over the length of treatment. Usually, orthodontists require a down payment before treatment starts.

Many provide flexible and affordable monthly payment plans. During your initial consultation, ask your orthodontist what payment options they offer.

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Why is Invisalign So Expensive?

Invisalign costs about the same as traditional metal braces. However, Invisalign is more expensive than at-home clear aligners

Here’s why:

  • Personalized treatment — Your provider will take digital impressions of your teeth to provide a custom fit. They’ll also create a treatment plan and a model of what your teeth will look like at the end of treatment.
  • More precise Invisalign aligners are made of a patented material called SmartTrack®. You can use them with SmartForce® Attachments for complex tooth movements.
  • Convenience and comfort Invisalign trays don’t require painful adjustments like metal braces. You must wear them for 20 to 22 hours daily and switch aligners every 1 to 2 weeks.
  • Professional treatment — A dentist or orthodontist will be with you every step of the way during Invisalign treatment. At-home aligners don’t offer the same benefit.
  • Fast results — Traditional braces typically take 1 to 2 years to straighten teeth completely. With Invisalign, you can get straighter teeth in as little as 6 months, though this is likely because Invisalign is only for mild cases of tooth misalignment.

Summary

Invisalign is a popular way to straighten crooked teeth. It’s a convenient way to correct minor misalignment without wearing metal brackets and wires. Different factors affect the cost of Invisalign treatment, but various payment options help keep prices low.

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What’s Next?

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Last updated on February 22, 2024
13 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 22, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
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  5. Papadimitriou et al. “Clinical effectiveness of Invisalign® orthodontic treatment: a systematic review.” Progress in Orthodontics, 2018.
  6. Tamer et al. “Orthodontic Treatment with Clear Aligners and The Scientific Reality Behind Their Marketing: A Literature Review.” Turkish Journal Of Orthodontics, 2019.
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