How Much Does Invisalign Cost?
Dr. Jono Explains
Written by Graham Wooding
Reviewed by Dr. Jonathan Gluck on March 23rd, 2021.
Are you interested in orthodontic treatment with Invisalign but wondering how much it costs and if your insurance will cover it? This is a very common question. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to answer these questions and help you make a decision on how to achieve your perfect new smile.
Invisalign clear aligners are a popular choice for orthodontic treatment. These days, over one-third of all patients at our practice choose Inivsalign over traditional braces. There are a lot of articles out there on aligner treatment, so we hope this guide can provide useful information on the financial aspects of orthodontic treatment with aligners. We’ll also tell you what you can expect to pay for your new smile in Nashville, Tennessee.
The #1 Most Common Question We Receive – How much does Invisalign cost?
The average fee for Invisalign treatment In Nashville is around $5500-$8500. That said, there is a wide range of fees based on geographic area. Often, the cost of treatment in big cities (eg. New York, San Francisco), will be more expensive. Another thing to take into consideration is that orthodontists usually have a range of fees, and will choose the overall fee for your treatment based on several factors. The main things are the length of treatment time and the complexity of treatment. The more straightforward and shorter the treatment time, the lower the fee.
One other thing to take into consideration is whether or not there are additional costs associated with treatment. You should check with your orthodontist to see if the overall fee includes things like orthodontic records (photos, x-rays, digital impression), retainers, emergency visits, and all follow-up visits once treatment is complete. Your orthodontist’s office should be able to give you a breakdown of everything that’s included in the fee.
Here are a few other factors that come into play when determining cost of orthodontic treatment with Invisalign:
- Complexity of the treatment – the amount of tooth alignment problems, overbite, crossbite – the fee is usually higher for more difficult cases
- Expertise & Experience of the Orthodontist – the Top 1% expert Invisalign providers often charge a slightly higher fee. It’s important to do your research about the different Invisalign provider status levels. There can be huge differences that don’t seem that apparent. When you go for a consultation, make sure to ask the orthodontist to show you similar treated cases to your own.
- Surgical Orthodontics – orthodontics + jaw surgery.
- Tooth Extractions – these cases are usually longer and more complex.
Does dental insurance cover Invisalign?
This is a fantastic question. The short answer is yes – as long as there is orthodontic coverage available. Often we see patients who assume that their dental insurance policy will cover the full amount of orthodontic treatment. That is extremely rare. The most common form of coverage for orthodontic treatment is a lifetime maximum per individual covered by the policy. There are also some details that are different for each policy, such as a waiting period, a percentage of the total fee that’s covered, and a maximum amount that can be covered.
Here’s a common scenario for using dental insurance to help cover orthodontic treatment for a child. Through a parent’s policy, the patient will receive 50% coverage of the total fee up to a lifetime maximum of $1000. So, if their child’s treatment fee is $6000, the insurance carrier will pay $1000 towards treatment.
This process can be confusing to say the least! Our office will be happy to check your benefits and help you navigate the dental insurance world. We are used to filing insurance on behalf of our patients, and working with the insurance companies to make sure all benefits are received. If you have any questions about this prior to starting treatment, the best person to talk to is the Financial Coordinator or Insurance Coordinator at your orthodontist’s office.
Are there discounts for Invisalign?
While most orthodontic offices do not discount their overall fee just because, they usually have some other programs to help offset the cost of treatment. They also give a sibling discount for multiple family members who have treatment at the same office. Most will also provide a discount if the treatment fee is paid-in-full.
Some offices also run promotions for special occasions – Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc. You can always call and ask if the office is having something like this. One other tip is to check out charity auctions in your city. A lot of orthodontists donate gift card towards treatment, that you can purchase at one of these auctions.
How much does Invisalign cost monthly?
The monthly cost for treatment depends on three things: the overall fee, the down-payment, and the length of treatment. In our practice, we usually set up payment plans so that patients will pay a down-payment, then spread the remainder of the fee out equally over the treatment time. So if the patient has a 12-month treatment plan, they will make a down-payment when they start treatment and pay the rest off over the next 12 months. Our office is extremely flexible with helping patients decide what financial arrangements are best for them. And by the way… Interest-Free Financing. Yup! That’s right. Orthodontic offices have been offering this service to their patients for decades.
To see what this looks like with real numbers, let’s use the following scenario: The overall treatment fee for 12 months is $5600. If you put down $1200, and split the remaining cost over 18 months (most offices will extend payments 6 months past treatment time), then the monthly cost would be $245.
Is Invisalign more expensive than braces?
We love this question! The answer is usually not. In the past, a lot of offices were charging more for Invisalign than braces. Gluck Orthodontics was one of the first practices in the United States to change this pattern, and start charging the same for both. Over the past few years, most other orthodontic offices have made this change, and these days, it’s the norm.
The great thing is that even though the cost is the same, orthodontic treatment with Invisalign comes with a lot of added benefits. Our patients tell us all the time how much they love the fact that they don’t have any changes in their eating habits, the aligners are comfortable and look great, and the appointment intervals are a lot longer so they don’t have to make as many changes to their schedule. Invisalign has also come out with an awesome app that provides aligner-change reminders and new technology to allow you to send progress photos to your orthodontist right from home!
Here is a table of the different stages of wearing Invisalign trays:
|Initial consultation and treatment planning||During the initial consultation, your orthodontist will assess your dental health and discuss your treatment goals with you. They will create a personalized treatment plan that outlines the steps involved in your Invisalign treatment, including the number of aligners you will need and the length of your treatment.|
|Impressions and digital scans||After your treatment plan has been created, your orthodontist will take impressions or digital scans of your teeth. These impressions or scans will be used to create a 3D model of your teeth, which will be used to design and manufacture your custom Invisalign aligners.|
|Aligner manufacturing and fitting||Once your impressions or digital scans have been received, the Invisalign laboratory will use them to create your custom aligners. This process typically takes about two weeks. Once your aligners are ready, your orthodontist will fit them and make any necessary adjustments to ensure that they fit properly and are comfortable to wear.|
|Wearing and switching aligners||During your Invisalign treatment, you will wear each aligner for about two weeks before switching to the next aligner in the series. As you switch to each new aligner, your teeth will gradually move into their desired positions. You will need to wear your aligners for at least 22 hours per day to achieve the best results.|
|Regular check-ups and adjustments||Your orthodontist will monitor your progress throughout your Invisalign treatment. They will schedule regular check-ups to assess the movement of your teeth and make any necessary adjustments to your aligners|
Are there different aligner products out there?
This is also an awesome question! Invisalign was the first aligner product and is the industry leader. That said, over the past 5 years, a lot of other aligner companies have come along. It’s important to ask your orthodontist what specific aligner company they use at their practice. There can be a big difference in the different products, and you want to make sure you know what you are getting.
What happens after orthodontic treatment with Invisalign?
After the treatment is completed, you’ll be in what we call retention. This is the stage in which the teeth are settling into their new place. At Gluck Orthodontics, on the day patients have their Invisalign attachments removed, we give them two sets of top and bottom clear plastic retainers. While orthodontic offices have different recommendations for retainers, we prescribe to our patients that they wear their retainers 12 hours a day for 3 months, then switch to wearing them only at night while they sleep, around 8 hours. In order to keep your teeth and smile looking great, you will need to wear your retainers every night for life!
Retainers may or may not be included in the overall cost of Invisalign treatment. Before starting treatment, make sure to ask if they are included, and also what happens if your retainer breaks or is lost. At our office, we give patients two sets so they will have a backup. We also give them a plastic model of their teeth that can be used to make a replacement. You should know that if you lose your retainers, your office will probably charge you a replacement fee.
These are a special retainer product made directly by Invisalign. They have to be ordered by your orthodontist’s office. What’s great is that you will get four sets total – four top, and four bottom. They are the highest quality and should last you a very long time. Vivera retainers can be included in your overall treatment fee, but may not be. You can ask your orthodontist before treatment if you can receive them, but expect to pay extra because you will get four sets, and because they are such amazing quality. When our Gluck Orthodontics patients order Vivera retainers, we recommend they wear one set, and keep the other 3 as backups. They can then switch out to a new set when another set breaks, or gets lost.
Nashville Invisalign Teen
Gluck Orthodontics was one of a small select group of orthodontic offices to be chosen by Invisalign to conduct early initial clinical testing of Invisalign Teen. Since the early days of this pilot study, our practice has been performing comprehensive orthodontic treatment on teens using Invisalign. While most teens still choose traditional braces, Invisalign is becoming a popular choice! Often parents will ask what are the similarities and differences between the two, and how to make a decision. We made this video to help out!
Monthly Payment Plans
As we mentioned before, the most common method to pay for treatment is to combine a down-payment with monthly payments. This way, you can choose what works for your budget. Our Treatment Coordinators are used to working with patients to figure out payment terms that make things easy and comfortable. The great thing about orthodontic offices is they have interest-free payments! You can also choose to pay for the treatment in full, and a lot of offices will offer a discount for this option.
An Orthodontist or a Dentist
This is another topic about which we spend a lot of time educating patients. Because Invisalign works with both general dentists and orthodontists, it can often be hard to know the differences. Since this is an article about cost, in our research, most orthodontists will charge slightly more than general dentists for Invisalign treatment. But, the increased value from seeing an orthodontic specialist usually far outweighs the differences in cost.
The most important factor is the overall experience and expertise of the provider. Orthodontists go to an additional 2-3 years of graduate school to become specialists. They have much more experience in diagnosing and treating orthodontic patients. Not only that, but the only thing orthodontists do is orthodontics! It sounds simple, but that’s our passion and our speciality! We do it all day, every day!
At Gluck Orthodontics, we have made a commitment to becoming the best possible Invisalign providers we can be. We’ve dedicated hundreds of hours to study and learning, and treated thousands of Invisalign patients. Because of that, we have achieved Top 1% Diamond Plus status. What does that mean? Well, just like an airline or hotel reward system, Invisalign providers achieve status levels based on their overall volume of treated patients and expertise at Invisalign treatment.
When you choose a doctor for your orthodontic treatment with Invisalign, we suggest searching for a Diamond Plus or Diamond provider. Not only that, you should ask to see before and after photos on treated cases that are similar to yours. Invisalign has a Locator Tool that uses your zip code to help you find a practice. Most of our Invisalign patients have found Gluck Orthodontics through a combination of the Invisalign Doctor Locator and our Google Reviews.
This is the chart we got from our Invisalign rep. This represents the cases that need to be completed every 6 months. We are currently Top 1% Diamond Plus
Invisalign vs. Braces – How do you choose?
We get asked this question all the time! There’s a lot to think about, but we’ve tried our best to make it as simple as possible. In this video, Dr. Jono discusses the main differences between the two.
- For the most esthetic treatment, if your goal is to keep things as invisible as possible, Invisalign is a clear winner. The aligners have a fantastic clear appearance and blend in nicely with the natural tooth structure. While you will have some plastic “attachments” bonded to the teeth, these are tooth-coloured and won’t show up very much.
- The second most cosmetic option would be clear/ceramic braces. These have a great appearance and are also extremely durable. While our adult patients usually choose these, a lot of kids do as well, and even dress them up with fun colors too!
- Finally, there are metal braces. If you go with these, people will know you are wearing them! We are still somewhat partial to metal braces as they make a statement and are a lot of fun. We love it when patients get creative with their color choices.
- The main point with convenience has to do with the time required visiting the orthodontist for appointments. With braces, patients generally come to our office every 4-8 weeks for a checkup and adjustment. These are short, 20 or 30 minute appointments. We will also see them for a few longer appointments to reposition some braces. For aligner patients, because the treatment planning is done at the beginning, patients have much longer appointment intervals and are usually seen every 10-12 weeks. A lot of patients and families prefer aligners because there is less disruption to their already busy schedules.
- This is the area that provides the largest difference between braces and aligners. With aligners, patient cooperation is paramount to achieving success with treatment. Simply put, if patients do not wear them aligners consistently every day, then they will not get the results that are expected. Not only that, but treatment can take longer than expected and have difficulties along the way. On the other side, braces are attached to the teeth so there is a lot less emphasis on patient compliance. We tell our braces patients that their job is to keep their teeth and gums healthy, take care of their braces so things do not break, follow our instructions with rubber bands, and show up to all of their appointment. We will do the rest!
- In our experience, aligners are a more comfortable option for orthodontic treatment. There are less things glued to the teeth, and less wires and rubber bands that can break or cause issues. The aligners are custom-made and fit snuggly against the teeth. While there is usually an adjustment period to starting treatment with aligners, most patients will get used to them within a few days.
- As of April 2021, most orthodontic offices, if they don’t already, are shifting towards charging the same amount for braces and aligners. There are still some practices that upcharge for aligners, but usually they are offices that do not have much experience with Invisalign. When you are doing your research before starting treatment, it’s a good idea to ask the practice if they have a difference between their fee for braces and Invisalign. If cost is an important factor for you, then knowing the answer to this question can help you make a decision.
|Treatment Time – Average Case||12-18 Months||12-18 Months|
|Treatment Time – Complex Case||18-24 Months||18-24 Months|
|Orthodontist Visits||4-8 Weeks||10-12 Weeks, Change to a new aligner set every week|
|Any Food Restrictions?||Yes – Crunchy, Sticky, Hard Foods can damage braces||No|
|Oral Hygiene Concerns?||Yes – difficulty with brushing & flossing around braces and wires||No – Removable aligners allow for easy cleaning|
|Treatment Cost – Average Case||$5500-$6500||$5500-$6500|
|Treatment Cost – Complex Case||$6500-$8000||$6500-$8000|
What about Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) aligner products?
The past few years, we have seen lots of different DTC aligner products come to market. These are offered at a much lower fee compared to orthodontic treatment from a specialist. Based on our research, the average fee for these products is around $2000. That said, we do not recommend these products because they do not involve the same level of diagnosis, treatment planning, and ongoing care that comes with orthodontic treatment at a specialist practice. We have also seen patients in our office who have had this type of treatment and experience significant damage to their teeth and gums. Often, these patients need additional treatment costs a lot more than the initial amount they paid for the DTC product.
|Mail-Order Aligners||Invisalign @ Gluck Orthodontics|
|In-Person Comprehensive Diagnosis & Treatment Plan by Licensed Board Certified Orthodontic Specialist||No||Yes|
|In-Office X-Rays + Review||No||Yes|
|Ability to speak directly to your Doctor||No||Yes|
|Face-To-Face Supervision & Office Visits with an Orthodontic Specialist||No||Yes|
|Aligners made of SmartTrack Material||No||Yes|
|Attachments for Most Effective Treatment||No||Yes|
|Office Support Staff for 24/7 Follow-Up||No||Yes|
|Ongoing Treatment Progress Tracking||No||Yes|
|Customized Personal Payment Plan||No||Yes|
|Cost||Average $2000||Average $5500-$6500|
How should you choose an Invisalign Provider?
Deciding to undergo orthodontic treatment is an exciting endeavour. We see patients all the time who ask us what’s the best way to choose an orthodontist for their Invisalign treatment. Here are a few recommendations:
- Start by asking your General Dentist which orthodontists in the community have the highest quality results with Invisalign treatment. They will know which specialists in your town have dedicated time and energy to learning and mastering Invisalign.
- Use the Invisaign Doctor Locator to search for providers in your area. You want to pick an office that is near the top of the ranking for providers (Diamond or Diamond Plus) as these are practices that do a high volume of cases.
- Look up the practice and Doctor online. Check out their website, social media, and reviews. See if the office looks like a good personality fit for you. A lot of offices are posting finished cases to their Instagram and Facebook pages. You should take a look and feel free to ask questions directly to the office through social media!
- You should definitely find an office that uses an iTero Digital Impression machine. These are incredible technology that makes the impression process easy and fun. Not only that, but the Doctor can use Invisalign’s Outcome Simulator software to show you just what your smile could look like after treatment!
- Decide what’s important to you in your treatment. There’s a lot that goes into coming up with a treatment plan and financial estimate for a patient. The best information you can provide the office and Doctor is that you are hoping to get out of treatment, and what’s important to you (for example – length of treatment, cost, comfort, convenience, etc.).
- When you go to the office for a consultation, ask to see before-and-after cases that are similar to yours. Ask the Doctor to review your diagnosis and discuss a proposed treatment plan. Have them use the Outcome Simulator to show you a proposed treatment outcome. You can work together to show them exactly what you are hoping to achieve.
Can Anyone Use Aligners?
This is an awesome question! At Gluck Orthodontics, we have successfully treated patients with Invisalign from as young as age 7, all the way up to age 86. While those are extremes, the idea is that people of all ages can have orthodontic treatment with aligners. In our practice, almost all of our adult patients and approximately 1/3 of child patients are treated with aligners.
There are a few specific cases in which aligners aren’t the best idea – for example, impacted teeth. We have treated cases like this with aligners, but usually, the treatment times are extended and not as efficient as we’d like. When these things come up, we will discuss with the patient and parent if we think that braces will be a better option.
If you’re wondering whether Invisalign will work for your teeth, the best thing to do is ask! After COVID-19, a lot of orthodontic offices are offering virtual consultations that make it easy to submit photos and get some feedback from the Doctor on what’s possible.
Virtual Consultations – Chat with an Orthodontist from home!
Since COVID-19, a lot of orthodontic offices have added new telehealth technology to allow for virtual consultations. These are incredibly easy and efficient. On our homepage, patients can use a simple portal to answer a few questions and upload photos of their teeth. We receive them at the office, then reach out to the patient about their questions and reasons for seeking treatment. The Doctor will review the photos, and provide an initial recommendation for treatment. The patient can ask questions and gather more information over the phone, or through text and email. We can also schedule a video chat to speak face-to-face. After that, we’ll schedule them to come into the office for a New Patient Consultation, at which time the Doctor will complete a comprehensive exam and go over a treatment plan.
These virtual consultations have become a simple way for patients to reach out to us without having to disrupt their lives to come in for an appointment. We can discuss options and cost with them, so they know exactly what to expect before coming in for a consultation.