Why Clear Braces?
There’s a high value placed on having straight, even teeth in our society. If your teeth are very uneven, you may feel judged by others. You may hide your teeth when you talk or smile.
Traditional metal braces are commonly used on adolescents to straighten the teeth. However, many adults with uneven teeth don’t want metal braces, because of the impact on their image, especially if their jobs require a lot of social contact. Many people also find metal braces uncomfortable. Because of these issues, many people feel they would like to straighten their teeth, if only there were an option that weren’t so intrusive and obvious to others.
This is why clear braces, commonly called by their brand name Invisalign, were developed. Rather than gluing brackets to the teeth and pulling them straight with wires, as with traditional braces, Invisalign uses a series of custom-made clear plastic trays that bring the teeth closer and closer to perfect alignment, until the desired outcome is achieved. For more detail on clear braces, please visit our Clear Braces (Invisalign) page in our Education Wiki. If you’ve decided that Invisalign is right for you, then you’re probably wondering how much you’ll need to pay for it.
According to the Invisalign company, the typical cost of Invisalign is $3,500 to $8,000, with an average cost of $5,000. This is very similar to the cost of traditional metal braces; many people are surprised to learn that Invisalign isn’t more expensive than traditional braces. There is typically one price quoted for the entire treatment, including the initial exam, X-rays, and impressions; regular check-ups and necessary imaging; and the Invisalign trays themselves. Make sure you know what’s included in the price you’re quoted.
Keep in mind that this is only an average; it varies by region and by individual orthodontist, so you should check with the orthodontist(s) you’re considering to determine their exact fee for the procedure. Ask what’s included in that fee, to make sure you aren’t surprised by extra costs when you get the bill later.
Will Insurance Cover It?
Some dental insurance plans include coverage for braces, and Invisalign is typically covered the same as traditional braces. This is typically partial coverage; most plans cover 50% of the cost, and only up to a specific maximum amount. The plan may only cover the cost of braces once in a patient’s lifetime, so if you’re among the many who had braces as a teenger, but then found your teeth drifting and becoming uneven again over time, then you may not be able to get your insurance company to pay for Invisalign. You should call your insurance company to determine your coverage, or ask for help from the staff at the orthodontist’s office; they’re used to dealing with insurance companies and can help you accurately determine your coverage.
Medical insurance typically does not cover dentistry or orthodontics at all. You need to have a separate dental insurance plan to cover dental care.
To many people, paying thousands of dollars up front seems impossible. However, if you don’t already have the money saved, you have many options available for financing. In some cases, dentists offer financing plans for their patients. You can also get a medical credit card or other credit card, often with an attractive introductory interest rate; a medical loan, personal loan, or home equity loan from your bank; a loan from your 401(k); or loans or gifts from family and friends. Even if your credit isn’t great, you’d be surprised how many options you have. For more details about the financing options for your procedure, check out our Dentistry Financing page.