Invisalign® TREATMENT: everything to know before
By dr. daneshgar
WHAT IS INVISALIGN treatment
Invisalign is a form of braces that use clear tray aligners. They’re made of Invisalign’s own blend of plastic, and manufactured in their own facilities based on molds of your mouth. The aligners are a solid piece of plastic that is strong enough to put pressure on specific parts of your teeth to slowly move them into a better position.
To get Invisalign, you first need to have a consultation with your dentist. They’ll look at your smile, your overall oral health, and take impressions of your mouth. Then, Invisalign makes their aligners unique to your mouth for a custom fit. Your dentist creates your overall treatment plan.
Invisalign uses a series of aligner trays that are replaced every one to two weeks. Each replacement tray will feel slightly different, as it’s designed to continue shifting and moving your teeth.
You need to wear Invisalign trays for most of your day (20–22 hours/day) in order to see results. However, they’re easily removed for eating, brushing, flossing, or for special occasions.
|Invisalign Pros||Invisalign Cons|
|Nearly invisible ||May be more expensive|
|Easy to remove when eating or cleaning teeth||Can be lost and/or broken, resulting in more money and time spent on treatment|
|Requires fewer visits to dentist's office||May cause mouth discomfort and achiness|
|Moves teeth more gradually compared to traditional braces, which may lead to less discomfort|
who can benefit from invisialign
Orthodontics may seem like purely aesthetic treatments for a more attractive smile, but that’s not always the case. Crooked teeth are harder to keep clean, which puts you at risk of decay and periodontal disease, and can cause jaw pain. Also, people who aren’t confident in their smile may feel that they lack a certain quality of life in social and professional situations.
Invisalign is a form of orthodontics that utilizes clear aligners to correct the alignment of teeth.
It is a popular and highly sought out treatment because it is nearly invisible and removable. Invisalign is widely used in the dental industry to treat common orthodontic issues such as:
When there is not enough room in the jaw for all of the teeth to fit comfortably or normally (one to five millimeters).
Gaps and spaces
When there is too much space between the teeth due to abnormal growth of the jaw or shifting of the teeth due to missing teeth (one millimeter to five millimeters).
When the upper teeth bite over the lower teeth.
When the upper and lower jaws are misaligned, causing one or more upper teeth to bite on the inside of the lower teeth, on either the front and/or sides of the mouth.
Transitional orthodontics (early intervention for mixed dentition)
In orthodontics, a severe malocclusion may require traditional braces to properly correct how the teeth and jaw align and improve your overall oral health.
After traditional braces have been removed, when some relapsing tooth movement has occurred.
Invisalign may also be a treatment alternative for certain simple malocclusions (bite irregularities).
Compare invisalign with traditional orthodontics
|Invisalign||Traditional Braces||ClearCorrect||Smile Direct Club|
|Treatment Timeline||Worn for 20-22 hours per day. Overall treatment time varies by case. ||Cemented onto teeth 24/7. Overall treatment time varies by case.||At least 22 hours per day. Overall treatment time varies by case.||Requires 6 months of treatment time on average.|
|Maintenance||Keep clean by brushing and rinsing with water. ||Brush teeth while wearing braces. Floss or use interdental brush to clean between.||Keep clean by brushing and rinsing with water.||Keep clean by brushing and rinsing with water.|
|Office Visits||Includes initial consultation, possible check-ups during treatment, and a final consultation. ||Includes initial consultation, regular dentist visits to get braces tightened, and a final removal of braces.||Includes initial consultation, possible check-ups during treatment, and a final consultation.||Does not require in-person consultation.|
|Aftercare||Requires retainer to maintain results. ||Requires retainer to maintain results.||Requires retainer to maintain results.||Requires a retainer to maintain results.|
|Ideal Candidate||Ideal for professionals or anyone who wants to keep their orthodontics discreet. ||Ideal for anyone who do not want to worry about taking them in and out or possibly losing them.||Ideal for professionals or anyone who wants to keep their orthodontics discreet.||Ideal for anyone with minor orthodontics needs.|
insurance coverage & financing options FOR INVISALIGN
The cost of Invisalign treatment is comparable to that of traditional braces – ranging from $3,000 to $5,000 (based on the U.S. national average). However, only your dentist can determine the actual cost of treatment because it will be based on your specific needs, including how extensive your dental problems are, how long your treatment will last, etc.
Payment options or financing may be available through your dentist’s office. If your dentist doesn’t offer financing, you may be able to enlist the services of a third-party financing company like CareCredit or Capital One.
Additionally, orthodontic coverage through a dental insurance plan may cover Invisalign in the same manner that traditional orthodontic treatments are covered. Consult your dental insurance policy to determine what orthodontic benefits you may qualify for.
COST OF INVISALIGN WITHOUT INSURANCE
If you have dental coverage that will not pay a portion of Invisalign, you can expect to spend an average of $3,000 to $5,000 on treatment.
On the higher end of treatment plans, Invisalign may cost $8,000 to $10,000. Like most orthodontic treatment plans, the process, timeline, and costs will vary based on your needs and the dentist treating you.
If you don’t have dental coverage, you can expect to pay either in a single payment or pay over several months or years, depending on the extent of your Invisalign treatment. The average monthly cost without insurance is $100 per month.
hOW MUCH DOES INVISALIGN COST WITH INSURANCE
Dental insurance widely varies, but many larger insurance policies will cover a percentage of Invisalign. Others consider Invisalign a cosmetic treatment unlike traditional braces and will not cover any portion. The average coverage will depend on your individual insurance provider, and most dental insurances will cover between 25% to 50% of the treatment fee, leaving you with the balance.
This means even if you and your friend both have Delta Dental, they may cover her Invisalign treatment at 30% while yours is only covered at 25%. Most dental insurance plans have a lifetime maximum, meaning once you meet that dollar amount, you will be responsible for any remaining or additional costs that you incur.
If you have dental insurance that will cover a percentage of Invisalign, you can expect to pay a monthly fee of around $83 a month over the time period of 36 months.
The dental insurance companies most likely to cover a portion of Invisalign are:
Invisalign is almost always more expensive than traditional metal braces. One of the biggest reasons for Invisalign’s higher cost is the substantial laboratory cost to the orthodontist to fabricate the custom clear aligners.
Invisalign charges dental practices anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 depending on how many cases a dentist does per year and the “status” with Invisalign. Treatment costs will always depend on the severity of the case, the dentist treating the case, the location, and your dental insurance policy.
Invisalign typically costs $3,000 to $10,000, while traditional braces average $3,000 to $7,000. These costs may also not include records like x-rays and models, and retainers following the treatment. It is always wise to discuss all out-of-pocket costs before treatment starts, even if a bracket breaks or an Invisalign tray cracks or becomes lost.
alternative ways to pay for invisalign
Since Invisalign out of pocket costs can be high and not feasible for many people, most dental practices offer options to make it convenient and affordable. Most importantly, different payment options help patients get the treatment they need without delaying it due to finances.
Monthly Payment Plans
A personalized monthly payment plan will be an arrangement between you and your dentist to decrease your initial expenses. Most dental practices offer monthly payment plans at no additional cost or interest rate. Typically, a practice will require a larger deposit of the treatment upfront and low-cost monthly installments that span several months or years.
FSA (Flexible Spending Account)
Several employers offer flexible spending accounts (FSA) for their employees as a healthcare benefit. An employer will typically fund the account with pre-tax money to help cover co-payments and other forms of out-of-pocket costs. An FSA usually has a time limit of one year to use the funds.
HSA (Health Savings Account)
An HSA is similar to an FSA but does not have a one-year time limit to use the funding. Also, an HSA is usually only eligible to contribute to if you have a high deductible health plan. This savings account is used to help cover the costs of co-payments, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket expenses that you may incur.
CareCredit is a great way to finance Invisalign treatment for people who may have high out-of-pocket costs. Even for those with partial dental coverage, this may still leave thousands of dollars left at your expense. CareCredit is a credit card that can be used for medical and dental expenses.
Most dental practices will accept CareCredit as a form of payment as it can help finance several dental procedures without delaying treatment. You will pay similar to a traditional credit card with paying a minimum balance each month at a low-interest rate.
cOMMON QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Cigna, Delta Dental, Humana, Aetna, and USAA Dental often cover a portion of the cost of Invisalign.
No, Invisalign is never covered in full with insurance. However, some insurance companies cover a portion of the cost.
Invisalign is a customized treatment, so the cost varies greatly. Patients will pay a minimum of $99 for 36 months. Some patients may pay up to $200 for 24 months.
Invisalign typically costs $3,000 to $10,000. Traditional braces cost $3,000 to $7,000.
Invisalign packages include your entire set of removable clear aligners. You will buy the retainers separately after treatment to keep your teeth straight.