What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a fairly new orthodontic device used in correcting mildly crooked teeth and bite issues. Unlike braces, which are bonded to the teeth with cement and are connected by a metal wire, Invisalign is a clear, removable aligner that is tailored and manufactured from molds of each individual patient. A series of trays are replaced every two to four weeks with updated molds that match the teeth as they continue to move and shift into their proper position.
According to a 2007 study done by the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics, the national average cost of braces for children was $4,941, and $5,354 for adults. Invisalign, on the other hand can cost anywhere from $3,500 to $8,000, depending on a variety of factors. The national average for Invisalign, though, is $5000. Orthodontists will typically charge customers more for Invisalign treatment than general dentist practitioners. This is because orthodontists have specialized training and experience in straightening and correcting the teeth. If you are still unsatisfied with your smile after undergoing Invisalign treatment, your orthodontist can arrange to apply braces in order to fine-tune the positioning of the teeth, where a dentist may not be able to do so.
When comparing the cost of braces and Invisalign two or more different orthodontic offered by the same doctor, oftentimes the cost for Invisalign will be $500 to $1000 more than the braces option. This additional cost represents the lab fee that your doctor must pay for the Invisalign trays.
Due to the advanced technology and materials involved, Invisalign tends to be more expensive than traditional metal braces. If cost is a major factor in choosing between Invisalign and metal braces, consider doing thorough research on both appliances before making your decision. Many orthodontists offer a free consultation, wherein they can examine the condition of your teeth; based on your assessment, your doctor can determine the best treatment plan for your teeth. The cost of Invisalign may even vary depending on the orthodontist, your location, and the complexity and duration of your treatment.
Most doctors are willing to offer options that will make your treatment affordable. Flexible and reasonable month-to month payment plans, which may or may not be interest free, are often made available through the doctorâ€™s office or through third-party financing programs. There are plenty of different options to choose from, so it may be of interest to you to research and speak with your doctorâ€™s office to get an idea of what may be available to you.
You might also consider getting consultations from two or more different dental or orthodontic offices and comparing their prices and suggested treatment plans, as well as the projected duration of the suggested treatments. Some offices may even be willing to lower the price of their treatment plans if you inform them that nearby offices are offering the same services at a cheaper price. Get several different opinions before selecting your dental or orthodontic provider.
Insurance For Invisalign
Check with your insurance provider about coverage for dental and orthodontic devices, including braces and Invisalign. Most dental plans will cover at least a portion of the cost of braces, while many policies will not cover any part of the Invisalign treatment. However, according to the official Invisalign website, Invisalign.com, a patient who has orthodontic coverage should be covered for Invisalign to the same extent that conventional braces are covered.
Benefits of Invisalign
There are a number of advantages in choosing Invisalign over braces. First and foremost, the Invisalign appliance is almost entirely invisible when worn, unlike metal braces, which are visible upon opening the mouth. Invisalign retainers are also generally more comfortable than braces. Once braces are applied, they remain on the teeth for the duration of the treatment. Invisalign retainers, however, are to be removed while eating and can also be removed for easy and thorough cleaning. Braces tend to cut, irritate the insides of the cheek and gum, and wires can jab the inside of the mouth, causing discomfort and pain. Invisalign is a smooth, solid unit that fits comfortably in the mouth and causes very little discomfort other than the expected pain from the teeth as they shift.
Keep in mind that the treatment that your teeth need may not qualify you for the option of Invisalign. Invisalign may be effective in treating mild spaces between the teeth and in straightening front teeth. More complex problems such as a severe under-, over-, or cross bite, and overcrowded, or crooked teeth may be treated more effectively with the use of metal braces, as opposed to Invisalign retainers. Extensive bridge and crowning treatment as well as deep, skeletal problems may also disqualify you from Invisalign treatment. Fortunately, modern technological advances of Invisalign involving rubber bands and cement may prove to help treat mild bite problems and crooked teeth, so you should consult your orthodontist about these possible options.
The length of your treatment may also vary depending on the severity of your bite. While some Invisalign clients may only require a six-month treatment, others may require up to 18 months or even two years.