A Detailed Look at Invisalign and Its Costs

A row of Invisalign retainers used to straighten teeth long term

Invisalign is probably the most popular alternative to conventional braces out there. It is a type of aligners that offers many perks. This blog post gives you all the information you need about Invisalign and also alternatives such as the Spark clear aligner system we also offer. We will focus on its benefits, why it is a great choice, and most importantly, we will answer how much it will cost you.

What is Invisalign and How Did It All Start?

Zia Chishti the fonder of retainer technology posing in front of a digital screen boasting the brilliance of the product

Traditional braces with their metal wires and arches are what most people think of when someone mentions teeth straightening appliances. But they are not the only ones used in orthodontics. Invisalign has been around for many years now. Its history began in the mid-90s. 

Zia Chishti, a Stanford student, along with Kelsey Wirth, founded Align Technology. Chishti experienced what it was like to have orthodontic treatment. For him; It was not entirely pleasant, so he thought about ways to improve it.
Coincidentally, his orthodontist was placing plastic retainers on his newly straightened teeth. So he figured, “Why not use the same technology in straightening teeth?” That was when clear aligners were born.

By 2004, there were already 175,000 people who had Invisalign as their treatment. In just a few more years, this number grew. By 2012, more than two million were Invisalign users. In 2018-2019, there are now more than eight million people wearing these clear aligners to improve their smile.

If you are still unfamiliar with Invisalign or the Spark brand, it is the clear way of straightening teeth. Instead of braces, you will use aligners, which are removable and almost invisible. Aside from people not noticing that you are wearing the aligners, you also have the freedom to eat and drink whatever you want. Another great benefit is that you can brush and floss like you normally do. You never have to worry about abrasions because there are no wires or brackets that irritate the mouth.

How Effective are Clear Aligners? h2

The procedure is quite simple. After booking an appointment, and everything is set, the process typically involves three steps:

  1. You go to your orthodontist to get a preview of what your smile will look like after the treatment. Technology has improved dramatically, so you will most probably have to deal with a scanner. This scanner will perform a quick scan of your teeth. You will see it all unfold right in front of you with a 3D digital result. Taking the scan into consideration, your orthodontist will create a custom plan for you.
  2. With the aligners in place, you will need to wear them for at least 20 hours. Cases are unique each time, so be sure to ask your orthodontist the recommendation for you. You will also have to check in with your doctor every few weeks. Once again, your schedule will depend on your case, but you may have to drop by every four to six weeks.
  3. The treatment can last for as short as six months, but it can also take a year or so. However, you will notice the difference in just a few weeks. It’s truly exciting! Once the treatment is complete, you will still have to wear retainers to ensure that your teeth will not move.

You can remove the aligners when you eat, drink, brush, and floss. As much as possible, wear them so the teeth can move to their right places more efficiently. Never skip an appointment because your Invisalign will also require some adjustments, just like braces.

Invisalign & Spark vs Other Treatments

A young lady fitting her retainers to her top teethPerhaps the most significant selling point of Invisalign is the freedom it offers. With traditional braces, you can never remove them when you eat or brush your teeth. When you have to play sports or even do interviews, you cannot take your braces off. But with Invisalign, you can do all these things. The only rule is that you try your best to wear Invisalign for 20 to 22 hours each day.

Other benefits include:

  • No broken wires
  • No emergency visits
  • Virtually pain-free
  • More comfortable
  • Transparent and almost invisible

The reasons mentioned above are precisely why orthodontists choose Invisalign. When it comes to traditional braces, the colour and materials are among the biggest issues for the wearers. The metal, which is usually silver, will be visible. You can, however, use the colour you want, such as enamel to match your teeth.

Braces also require you to wear them 24/7 for about a year or more. Even with ceramic braces, you also have to wear them for 24 hours straight. With maintenance, you will need to brush your teeth, along with the brackets and wires to make sure that there are no food pieces stuck between them.

Invisalign and Spark, on the other hand, has its own cleaning system. You can also brush and rinse the trays using lukewarm water.

It should be noted though that not everyone is a candidate for Invisalign. Most people, however, can wear braces, including those with complex issues. Invisalign is designed for people with mild to moderate cases.

Perks of Having Professionally Straightened Teeth h2

The benefits of having straight teeth extend beyond aesthetics. You can improve your oral health and even have more confidence. Here are reasons why you should have your teeth straightened by your orthodontist:

  • It is easier to clean your teeth, unlike people with crooked or overcrowding which can have hidden pockets that the toothbrush cannot reach.
  • It increases your self-esteem. Who doesn’t want to smile with straight, beautiful teeth?
  • You can chew better, thanks to your proper bite.
  • Having straight teeth can help you live longer. Crooked teeth and other issues can affect your gum health, which can lead to potentially life-threatening health conditions.

And because it is professionally done, you can trust that the whole procedure is suitable for your wellbeing.

Invisalign Provider Rules

Before you go to any dentist, you must know first whether or not the professional is a legitimate Invisalign provider. Specific training is needed before a dentist, or specialist orthodontist can provide the treatment. You can go to both, as long as they have had the Invisalign training completed.

However, there is a difference in their job title. An orthodontist is a type of dentist, but he or she is a dental specialist with at least three years of additional training and intensive education. An orthodontist only practises orthodontics while a dentist performs cleanings, fillings, and other general services.

You can directly go to an orthodontist who is an Invisalign provider without a referral from your dentist. Sometimes, however, your dentist will give you a referral if you need the treatment. The same thing goes for your orthodontist who may refer you to a dentist for tooth extraction, for instance.

A dentist or orthodontist who provides you with an Invisalign treatment has undergone and completed training for the treatment. There is a training course offered where the dental practitioner will receive a qualification certificate before they can provide the treatment. Of course, it does not mean that completing the training guarantees the skills and licence of the dentist or orthodontist.

Despite being an Invisalign provider, the practitioner is still in control of their decisions and will be held accountable for them. It involves the treatment plan, which should be suitable for the patient, as well as the design of the clear aligners.

Invisalign providers are labelled with the following:

  • Platinum
  • Platinum Elite
  • Diamond
  • Black Diamond

These designations are based on the number of cases that they have treated with Invisalign over a set period of time. Please note that this tier-system does not have anything to do with the practitioner’s skills and experience. While some doctors are in higher tiers, it does not mean you should avoid the newer providers. Base your decision mainly on your own judgement, including the proposed treatment, experience, the environment, and how comfortable you feel with the orthodontist.

To make sure that you are only dealing with an Invisalign-trained practitioner, please find the doctor or clinic in this list.

Invisalign Costs vs Other Treatments

A straight set of teeth from using retainers for an extended period of timeNow let us move on to one of the most important deciding factors: the price.

How much does Invisalign cost? The answer is, “It depends.” The doctor, the complexity of your case, and how long the treatment will take can all affect the total expense of the treatment.

This cost calculator can help you get an estimate of how much it could cost you. However, it would be best if you speak to your orthodontist to get an accurate price. In Australia, the average cost of Invisalign is $4,500. However, for complex cases and more customisation, it can go all the way up to $9,000. The total amount will be based on your treatment, the doctor’s fees, additional consultations, X-rays, and other supplementary procedures.

For minor issues, Invisalign Express may be recommended where the treatment cost is only between$1,500 and $4,500. For treatments that require full Invisalign, they can cost around $8,200 or more depending on the case. For moderate problems, the approximate amount is $7,200. Invisalign for teens cost about $8,500. Lite and i7, if offered, are around $5,500 and $3,200 respectively.

If you are a candidate for Invisalign, but you think braces are cheaper, you should get an estimate first. It is because there is a huge possibility that Invisalign is priced almost the same as conventional braces. If you want to smile without metal and wires, you already know which one is the better choice.

Metal braces are usually the cheapest, followed by ceramic braces that mimic the colour of the teeth. Invisalign and other clear aligners follow in terms of the price. Lingual braces are more expensive, and they can be even pricier depending on your case. The cheapest, of course, are retainers, which can also correct teeth but they are not as effective as straightening appliances. Retainers are used after any treatment to protect teeth.

Other options you are:

  • Porcelain Veneers: They can make teeth appear straight, but the effect is only temporary. You need to have the veneers redone every few years. They can also damage the tooth enamel.
  • Composite Bonding: Another cheap alternative, composite bonding is just like porcelain veneers that provide a quick fix but can also be damaging to your enamel.
  • Home Kits: You can straighten your teeth at home and do not even have to go to your orthodontist. Even if it is cheaper and more convenient, it is not as effective as braces and clear aligners.

Comparing the costs of other treatments, Invisalign is not as expensive. However, it is not cheap, either. Unless you have the budget, you may want to look for ways to get some discounts. A payment plan may also help make payments easier for you.

Ways to Pay for Invisalign

There are different ways to pay for your Invisalign treatment. The first one is the simplest yet the hardest of all. You will need to pay for the entire treatment, including the additional services. If you are among those who cannot afford this type of payment, there are other methods to choose from:

1. Opt for an Orthodontist That Offers Payment Plans

Payment plans are the best way to pay Invisalign. You can pay for the treatment each month or on a schedule that suits you best. With a payment plan, you do not have to pay for the whole cost upfront. After the consultation, you will receive an all-inclusive quote, which informs you of the treatment cost. You will also get other options before starting your treatment.

Some payment plans offer interest-free payments as long as you pay on time. Plan terms are often flexible as well, and you can set up automatic payments, so you never miss a schedule.

Applications are typically easy with just a few requirements, including your personal details, driver’s licence or passport, and a credit or debit card. These requirements can vary between payment plans and orthodontic clinics. Once approved, you need to provide a deposit before commencing the treatment. The remaining fees will be spread over the agreed period.

2. Use Your Health Insurance From a Private Provider

A common question concerning Invisalign costs is whether or not it is possible to pay for the treatment with health insurance. The answer is yes – IF your level of cover includes major orthodontics. The rebate may be approved for your Invisalign treatment.

Many health insurance providers now impose a limit on the orthodontic cover. Make sure that you know the restrictions. For instance, even if the coverage includes orthodontics, you may not be able to claim the rebate unless a Dental Board of Australia-accredited specialist carries out the treatment. Most of the time, claims are rejected if a general dentist does your Invisalign treatment. It makes sense to go to an orthodontist to get proper treatment and also the rebate.

Your insurance may also cover part of the expenses if you are a health fund member. You may want to join first and get insurance from your general health insurer before getting Invisalign.

Private health insurance often covers orthodontic work, which means that you can claim a rebate for your treatment. If you do not have an orthodontics cover on your extras plans, you will need to wait 12 months before you can become eligible after adding the coverage. Therefore, you may want to invest now in an extras policy to get help for your treatment later.

Be aware that switching to another plan to increase your orthodontic limit means that you will need to wait a year to claim. For instance, if your limit is $1,500 and you switch to another plan with a $2,500 limit, you can only access the $1,500 now. You will then have to wait 12 months to claim the extra $1,000.

3. Apply for a Personal Loan

Another way that you may want to consider to pay for Invisalign is to take out a personal loan. Unlike a payment plan, you can pay for the treatment right away. However, you will have to pay for the interest rate of the loan. Repayment terms can vary, from a few months to a few years. Make sure that you do not get more than you need and pay on time to avoid hefty fees.

4. Use Your Debit or Credit Card

You can use your credit or debit card to pay for Invisalign. It’s convenient and quick. If you do not have a credit card, now is a good time to get one. Many companies offer interest-free periods for new users from six to 18 months. Take advantage of this promotion to get a low-cost financing option to pay for your aligners.

It is essential, though, that you take special care in paying off your balance before the promotional period is finished. Using a credit card can increase your interest rate, especially if you compare it to a personal loan. Avoid paying late to keep the interest low.

5. Choose the Flexible Spending Account Method

An FSA is an account available through your employer. The amount that you can set aside will depend on the employer, so make sure to ask about it. You can use your FSA to get the funds you need for your Invisalign.

All the options to pay for the treatment can provide great assistance to you. If you have money saved up, it is the primary choice. But if you need more time, you may want to enquire about the available in-house payment plan. It is more convenient since you can pay in multiple instalments instead of a lump sum. Your credit may not need some checking as well. Even better, you will not have to pay any interest.

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Kingsley Orthodontics is now called Oasis Orthodontics. We are now operating in two locations: Clarkson and Kingsley.