How Much Do Clear Aligners Cost?
While there are many factors to consider in choosing a clear aligner orthodontic treatment, many people have one big question: how much will it cost? This can have a big impact on the treatment people select.
Treatment costs with clear aligners vary widely. Some brands offer a fixed price, while others quote you based on the specifics of your case and the severity of your diagnosis.
Treatment prices range from $1,500 to $12,000. At the low end of the price range are the smaller mail-order tele-dentists, who offer bare-bones prices for minimal care. The higher end of treatment costs are for in-office care for the most severe cases of misalignment, but include full spectrum care plus follow-up treatment to keep your smile intact for a lifetime.
Higher-end treatment in-office also includes an unlimited number of aligners, preventing added-on costs for ineffective treatment. Mail-order aligners generally include only a fixed number of aligners, which often means added costs when further care is required. This means the cost-per-aligner goes down significantly with comprehensive in-office care.
Looking Beyond the Price-Tag: What’s Included in Treatment Cost
Despite the wide range of prices, it’s important to look closer to see what’s actually included in the cost. Some brands may offer a smaller price tag, but fail to mention that many aspects of treatment are not included and must be covered separately. Others may cut costs by using less-effective materials, such as inferior plastic for their clear aligners.
Things that may be missing from the price-tag of low-cost aligners:
- Diagnostic records, including x-rays
- In-office consultation
- Effective, premium materials
- Emergency care
- Payment plans
- Supervision by a licensed orthodontist
- Extra aligners if needed
- Supplemental treatment
- Follow-up care
Insurance: Cost-Saving Benefits, But Not for Every Brand
Another critical component to consider when looking at the cost of your aligner treatment is whether you can use your insurance, which can greatly reduce your cost and save you money.
Most dental insurance plans have some form of orthodontic coverage. If you have private dental insurance, there’s a good chance you can get help to pay for your clear aligner treatment (state-sponsored plans, with very few exceptions, cover only metal braces treatments for children and adolescents). However, insurance companies are very selective in choosing which treatments to cover.
Because mail-order clear aligners have inconsistent results in straightening teeth, and due to rising concern about their effectiveness and safety, most insurance companies do not cover these brands. Tele-dentists sometimes say that they accept insurance, but you will first have to pay up front and then submit your case for approval by your insurance company, which can deny it outright or only cover a small portion.
On the other hand, in-office care is proven to be the most effective, reliable form of clear aligner orthodontic treatment, so insurance companies are much more likely to approve these cases. Check out the difference between Invisalign and at-home aligners to understand how insurance companies decide what to cover. Most offices will handle the insurance verification for you directly, so you don’t have to negotiate with them and can focus on what matters: your treatment!
In-office orthodontists will usually accept health savings accounts such as FSA or HSA plans, another great way to save money while achieving your dream smile!
Before choosing a clear aligner treatment, look into your insurance options and see if you can cover some of your care this way.
Interest-Free Payment Plans Can Help You Pay for Your Clear Braces Treatment
Another important factor to consider when comparing clear aligner treatments: can you pay in installments? And is there interest accrued?
Dividing your payment up into manageable installments can make a big difference in your ability to pay for your treatment! Not all clear aligner brands allow you to pay monthly: some ask for a big payment upfront, or for you to pay for your treatment in one lump sum.
When you explore clear aligner treatments, ask about payment plans, and whether there is interest accrued! Look for flexible monthly payment plans with $0 down, so you can start right away, and make sure the plans are 0% interest! You may be able to straighten your teeth for less than $100 a month!
Look for Seasonal Promotions and Family Discounts for Big Savings
Most orthodontic companies run promotions and seasonal savings opportunities! Keep an eye out during key times, like the winter holidays, back-to-school, or Independence Day for potential big savings.
Many offices also offer family discounts, so you can get treated along with your spouse or child! When scheduling an appointment, be sure to ask about any potential promotions. It can’t hurt to ask, and you might end up saving a bundle!
Find the Right Price, But Don’t Forget to Put Your Smile First!
As with any big purchase, you want to strike the right balance between saving money and achieving your smile dreams! Payment plans, insurance, and promotions can allow you to save money while still getting a clear aligner treatment that really works.
Don’t skimp on your smile: it’ll be with you a lifetime, and you want it looking great for years to come! Understanding clear aligner treatment will help you achieve a healthy, long-lasting smile: get all your questions answered here.