According to a 2014 survey from the American Association of Orthodontists, about 1.5 million adults are orthodontics patients in the U.S. and Canada. These days the value of having a great smile and straight teeth are much higher than ever. Since Invisible braces introduced, most people prefer them over metal braces as they look sleeker, and also, they are removable. The first company that started the invisible braces is Invisalign. Let us find out what Invisalign is and how much they cost.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign has revolutionized the orthodontist world. They are a newer version of metal braces and made of transparent material which works the same as traditional braces. To be clear, the aligners are solid plastic and strong enough to put pressure on your teeth, so gradually they get aligned.
To get Invisalign, you need to visit your orthodontist; they do a quick consultation and take an impression of your mouth. Based on the impression, Invisalign makes custom-fit aligners.
Invisalign uses several aligners that you need to replace every couple of weeks. Usually, the first few days after getting a new aligner, it may hurt a little, but then you get used to it. To get the best results, you need to wear Invisalign for at least 22 hours per day. You can easily remove them when you are going to eat or brush your teeth.
Cost of Invisalign
Invisalign cost is not the same for everyone. Several factors can affect how much you pay for your invisible braces. Here are a few:
- How much work needs to be done on your teeth
- Where you live
- How much your insurance covers
Based on their website, getting Invisalign braces can costs you between $3000 to $7000, and you may qualify for up to $3000 help from your insurance.
Even though Invisalign seems to be expensive, there are several ways you can use to save on invisible braces. By the way, most of these methods work for other companies that offer clear aligners as well.
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
If your insurance plan includes FSA, you can use the pretax money for your healthcare. Since aligning your teeth is part of the healthcare, you may be eligible to use your FSA fund.
Health Saving Accounts (HSA)
Like FSA, you can also use your HSA money on healthcare costs. With HSA, you can always roll over to next year, but you need to have a high deductible insurance plan to be eligible for it.
Payment Plans/Dental Credit Cards
There are several credit cards you can use. Depending on your dentists, this may vary, but most of the dentists and orthodontists have contracts with care credit, and you can pay the cost of your braces with monthly installments.
Some dentists also offer payment plans, but you need to ask about it as sometimes they do not tell you unless you ask
Invisalign vs. braces
You may be wondering why some people still go with braces. There are several reasons, but the most important one is that they are a better option for those with bad tooth alignment. Invisalign braces cannot grip on cylindrical or rounded bicuspids without slipping; on the other hand, braces can be affixed to the tooth and will not move. The second reason is the cost. The average cost for braces is about $2500 compared to the average price for Invisalign, which is around $3500.
The most common complaint about braces is that they cannot be removed for eating or brushing the teeth. Keep in mind, if the braces were removable, every time you were taking them out, it would interrupt your teeth alignment, and the interruption can impact the overall result of your treatment.
People choose Invisalign because it looks much more beautiful and you can eat whatever you like because you can remove them. If you are wearing braces, there are certain food types that you cannot eat as they get stuck in the metal.
Finally, most patients reported they have less pain with Invisalign vs. braces.
Invisalign treatment time vs. braces
When comparing the treatment time of Invisalign vs. braces, the winner is Invisalign. The average treatment time with braces is between 12 to 18 months. With Invisalign, you are looking at about 6 to 12 months. The length of time depends upon your needs. The invisible aligners move your teeth by about 0.25 millimeter (avg. hair diameter is about 0.017 millimeter)
Invisalign Pros and Cons vs. braces
- They are invisible
- You can remove them when eating
- Moves your teeth in a more gradual way which mean it is less discomforting
- Could be more expensive
- They cannot treat very complicated cases
Is there a cheaper alternative to Invisalign?
Since 2017, several companies started competing with Invisalign, offering cheaper invisible braces. Most of them are produced with similar technology (clear braces), but they work faster and cost less. The main reason they cost a lot less than Invisalign is that they are home-based treatments, which means you don’t need to visit your orthodontist every 4 to 6 weeks, which can save you a lot of time and money.
The process is very similar for most of them. All you need to do it go to their website and take the survey. Based on your answers, they can tell you whether you are the right candidate or not. Next, they will send you an impression kit which instructions on how to use it. After you mail back your kit, an orthodontist will check the impression and provide you with a treatment plan. When you approve the plan, they will send your aligners with detailed instructions. During the process, if you have any issues, you can contact the customer service. After everything is done and you get the smile you are looking for its time to wear your retainers (yes!!!! You do not want all your effort and money go to waste).
Invisalign Pros and Cons vs. Home-based aligners
- 100% orthodontist supervision
- Can treat more complex cases
- More expensive
- Regular office visit
- No freebies
- Longer treatment time
Best Invisalign alternative
If you are looking for cheaper options, mail to order clear aligners, then this is the best time to be alive😊. Several companies offer tailor-made clear braces, which are mostly below $2000. The reason for them to be more affordable is that you are not going to visit the orthodontist, and everything is being done online. The treatment plans are prescribed with a licensed orthodontist, but it is going to be online instead of in person. To name the few, you can look up Smile Direct Club, Byte, and Candid.
By the way, some of these companies offer at night only aligners, which means you can only wear them around 10 hours every night. Of course, when you were aligners for 10 hours vs. 22 hours it would take longer for the treatment to be completed.
Candid started by five professionals who wanted to revolutionize the orthodontist industry. They partnered with the world-class orthodontist, Dr. Lynn Hurst, to found Candid. Candid started very small (like many other startups), but now they have about 300 employees and more than 10,000 patients. They follow all the instructions from the American Association of Orthodontists when doing the diagnosis process, and they only accept cases that they are confident can be treated.
Among so many new companies that offer clear aligners, Candid is one of the well-established ones and they also have some physical locations so you can book in-person teeth screening if that is something you are more comfortable with. Candid also offers the first set of retainers for free.
As far as eating and brushing your teeth, there are no restrictions as the aligners are removable. They are also very affordable compared to Invisalign.
Candid works with Smile Train (a charity to help children with cleft lip and palate). So, a little of the money you spend there is also going to help small children.
If we want to summarize Byte in one sentence, it would be a minimum hassle with maximum benefits. Byte believes that you need to make smart choices in every aspect of your life, and choosing them as your teeth aligner provider is one of those intelligent choices 😊. They offer smile science aesthetic treatment, which gives you a smile that matches your features.
With the HyperByte™ technology, they reduce the treatment time to half of the other companies. Let say you were told your treatment with other clear aligners takes ten months. If you choose Byte this time will reduce to 5 months. This is great for people who have an event coming up and do not have a lot of time left. Byte has also introduced nighttime aligners recently, in order to get the nighttime aligners, you need to consult with their specialist to make sure you are a candidate.
Byte has created a program called Bytecares. Their aim to build confidence, one smile at a time, and improve 10,000 smiles by 2022 and their ideal candidates are people who want and deserve a smile but cannot afford it.
Some advantages of Byte:
- 100% approval with bytepay™ (you can pay for your treatment in monthly installment)
- Their customer service is 100% U.S. Based
- Your treatment is directed with a doctor
- You get free retainers
- You receive whiting kit treatment (this is great because while your teeth getting aligned, they get whiter as well)
- They have the shortest treatment time (about three months avg.)
- And on top of everything, they have a lifetime guarantee
Smile Direct Club:
Smile Direct Club was founded in 2014 since then they treated more than 700,000 patients and currently employ about 5000 people. Their clear aligners are made of BPA free material and they have about 300 shops in different locations (you can do your assessment at home or go to one of their sites). As a customer, you will receive sets of clear aligners that gradually improves your smile and straighten your teeth.
If you do not like to visit your orthodontist every few weeks or just don’t have the time, Smile Direct Club can be a good fit for you as the whole treatment can be done from the comfort of your home.
Unlike braces, you can remove the aligners when you eat, so there is no restriction on what you can have. Also, for the same reason, you do not have any difficulty brushing your teeth. One of the advantages of Smile Direct Club is the installment payment, and they also accept insurance.
Smile Direct Club can only treat minor cases, so if you have complications with your teeth, you need to visit an orthodontist. Even though a specialist provides the treatment, the progress is not monitored in person, and you take responsibility for your results. Some people also say their customer service is not very easy to reach.
Treatment time is about six months but can vary depending on your needs. As far as the price, they are more than 50% cheaper than Invisalign.
Smile Direct Club also offers nighttime aligners which are great for people who do not want to wear aligners during the day for 22 hours. With nighttime aligners, you need to wear them about 10 hours every night. Since the time you are wearing the aligners is less than half of the daytime aligners, the treatment time will take longer.
Here is a little summary of the comparison between these three.
|Invisible braces||Candid||BYTE||Smile Direct Club|
|Impression Kit or Digital Scan||$95 per kit||$95 per kit||$95 per kit|
|Free Retainers||1st one Free ($99 per set)||Yes||No ($99 per set)|
|Payment Plans||Yes ($99 for 24 months)||Yes ( $62 for 36 months)||Yes ($250 down, $80 for 24 months)|
|Other Payment Options||Yes (FSA and HSA)||Yes (FSA and HSA)||Yes (FSA and HSA)|
|Freebies||whitening treatment with aligner purchase||BrightByte HyperByte and Aligner Case||whitening kit, aligner case with aligner purchase|
To conclude, these online companies offer similar invisible braces, but they only work for mild to medium alignments. If you don’t have a significant complication with your teeth and interested in learning the similarities and differences between these companies, you can read Byte vs. Smile Direct Club vs. Invisalign or Candid vs. Smile Direct Club vs. Smilelove vs. Byte.